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Graduate careers

Looking to start your career at a leading New Zealand law firm? Find out how you can join our team through our graduate recruitment programme.

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Key dates

Make sure you don't miss the deadline. Check out the key dates you need to #createyourfuture.

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The summer clerk experience

What happens during your time as a summer clerk? Find out how our graduate recruitment programme works.

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What it's like working here

Want to know what it's really like working at our firm? Check out what some of our most recent recruits have to say.

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Application tips

Want to know how to make the most out of your application? Read our tips for success.

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Applications

Applications for our Auckland office summer clerk programme closed on 30 March 2017. Applications for our Wellington office scholarship programme will open in July 2017.

Apply Now

At Simpson Grierson we pride ourselves on being a firm of specialists and innovators. We work with many of New Zealand's blue chip companies and government organisations. Our clients are building New Zealand's future – our job is to find smart, innovative, forward looking people to turn their dreams into reality. Sound like you?

We are on a mission to help bring New Zealand into the future: we are embracing digital disruption; we work on some of the biggest deals in New Zealand; and we are incredibly client orientated.

You'll no doubt want an idea of what a summer clerkship at Simpson Grierson looks like. From day one you will be involved in real work with real clients, and you will find yourself working with some of the most respected lawyers in New Zealand on major projects.

As a summer clerk you will rotate through two teams, with an assigned "buddy" in each team. Your buddy will help you with day-to-day questions and concerns. You will also be assigned a senior associate supervisor in each of your rotations. We will work with you to establish the best teams for you to try over the summer. If, after the summer clerkship, you are invited back to be a law graduate with us, you will have the chance to rotate through two further teams.

Although our recruitment campaign is aimed more towards a summer clerk level, we are also open to people in their last year to start as a graduate. All you have to do it outline this in your cover letter so we know which programme you're interested in.

We run two different processes for finding our super stars:

  • our graduate recruitment campaign which kicks off in March of each year and is completed by the end of May (you can find out more about this here) and
  • our scholarship campaign, which runs from June to September each year (you can find out more about this here).

In our opinion, it would be hard for your summer clerkship not to be one of the best summers of your life! We would love to help you #createyourfuture.

Key dates

There are three ways you can secure a graduate role at Simpson Grierson:

  • Graduate recruitment - summer clerks (Auckland)
  • Scholarships and summer clerks (Wellington)
  • General recruitment

Graduate recruitment - summer clerks (Auckland)

Applying for a summer clerk position

Applications for summer clerk positions are open for two weeks in March of each year. We advertise at all of the universities, and on Instagram (follow us at @simpsongrierson) and Facebook (like our page here), so it's hard to miss. We're looking for students who are in their penultimate year of studying at the time of applying - that is, students who are ready to summer clerk in the upcoming summer and finish university the following year.

Having said that, we love mature graduates too, so if you are further on in your degree, don't count yourself out. Apply and we'll definitely consider it.

At the moment, our summer clerk positions are for the Auckland office only.

2017 key dates
  • 8-9 March - Collect our Simpson Grierson brochure from your university
  • 16 March - Applications open for summer clerk roles
  • 12pm, 30 March - Applications close for summer clerk roles
  • 11-12 April - Summer clerk interviews
  • 18 May - Offers made
  • 24 May - Simpson Grierson post offer function
  • 29 June - Offer acceptance date 

Scholarships and summer clerks (Wellington)

Applying for a scholarship

Applications for our Wellington-based scholarship programme open on 1 July each year. We'll advertise the scholarships on our Facebook page (you can like us here) and Instagram (follow us at @simpsongrierson).

Lucky scholarship winners are given:

  • $5,000 cash payment
  • Guarantee of a summer clerk position at our Wellington office
  • $1,000 cash clothing allowance
  • Access to our law library
  • A supervisor to provide advice and guidance on studies and career, and
  • The opportunity to attend team building activities to meet your fellow scholars during the university year

Summer clerkship

So you've reached your penultimate year of law school and you can't wait to roll up your sleeves and gain some work experience. Simpson Grierson's summer clerkship can help you get a taste of the corporate world and start to create your future!


As a summer clerk you will rotate through two teams, one before Christmas and one after. Usually, we're able to place you in the teams that you're interested in.

At Simpson Grierson we are structured around four main departments, each of them divided into specialised  workgroups. When you join us, we will help you choose the route that will create your future.

You'll get the chance to rotate through two of these practice areas as a summer clerk and two more when you come back as a law graduate.


Sometimes, you'll have questions to ask, and that's why we pair you up with a "buddy" in each team. This buddy will help you with day-to-day questions and concerns, even if you might think they're silly (believe us, no question is a silly question).

You will also be assigned a senior associate supervisor in each of your rotations. This supervisor is there to provide you with guidance and advice about law firm life, having worked in the environment for a while.

Within the first month of your first rotation you will also attend a business writing workshop. This workshop is invaluable and you will stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.

During your second rotation you will be invited to a series of lunchtime seminars delivered by the partners. A partner from each work group will discuss their practice area, who their key clients are and the type of work they do on a day-to-day basis. These seminars will be very important to you when considering your preferences for your two rotation placements for your law graduate year.

Ongoing professional development

We really pride ourselves on providing training to our staff all the way from summer clerks to partners, to business services and legal administrators.

Please take a look at the professional development we offer to our permanent staff. 


Your cover letter

We reckon that your cover letter is the most important part of your application. It is your best opportunity during the application process to ‘stand out’ from the crowd, give us an insight into your personal style and approach and explain who you are.

Key things to remember:

  • keep your cover letter brief and focused - one page maximum;
  • use paragraphs (and/or headings) to structure your letter; and
  • check your spelling and grammar at least twice.

More tips on composing your cover letter:

  • The basics: Address your letter to the HR Consultant. Confirm the date that you will complete your degree. If you are applying a year earlier or later for the summer clerkship, explain why this is the case (travel/overseas study plans).
  • Key skills and/or achievements: While you will be covering these items in your CV, you should highlight particular attributes, achievements or skills in your cover letter so that we are aware of what you are particularly proud of. If you think it will help us better understand what makes you ‘you’, include it!
  • Knowledge about Simpson Grierson: Indicate that you have undertaken some research on Simpson Grierson and why you think our firm might be the right firm for you.
  • Your career aspirations: We do not expect you to have a view on the specific practice areas you want to focus your career on at this early stage, but let us know if you have any initial thoughts or more definite views.

Your CV

In our view, the best CVs are brief and informative, so try to keep it to two or three pages.

Key things to remember

  • only include items if they will truly strengthen your application;
  • there are a number of ways to structure your CV. Using chronological order is probably most straightforward at this stage of your career; and
  • ensure that your CV gives us a more in-depth insight into your background, experience and personal approach/style.

Don't waste paper with a cover sheet covering your personal details. Instead, list your name and contact details at the top of the first page, including your postal address, email address and a telephone contact number.

Education

We'll ask for your academic transcript with the application form, so you don't need to list all your grades on your CV. It's up to you whether you want to list particular grades, awards or scholarships to support your application, or note your GPA.

Employment history

You may choose to list your skills first, and then the various roles you've held (voluntary or paid employment) and key duties and responsibilities. Or you may go straight into outlining your work experience and listing the skills you gained in each role. Whichever approach you take, remember to keep your CV concise and focused and maintain a consistent style and format to ensure it is reader-friendly.

Job summary

In addition to listing each role, highlight the skills you developed in each role. For example, if you worked 30 hours per week while studying, you are likely to have developed strong time management and organisational skills which differentiate you from those who worked 10 hours per week.

It is also important to highlight any achievements or differences you made to your employer's business. In short, try to differentiate yourself from your peers!

References and referees

You need to choose your referees carefully - they should know you well and be able to provide some insight into your work ethic, personality and/or academic record. You must gain a potential referee's agreement before listing them.

While not compulsory, you should attach written references to your application where possible. Employers are far less likely than personal referees to provide written references but try to get one of each if possible.

Hobbies/interests/voluntary work

As a student, we know not everyone has a lot of work experience. We are therefore really interested to hear about clubs, community, church or sporting groups you've been involved in. These do make a difference. If you are a leader of a team, we'd love to know.

We love finding out what you like to do in your spare time! So please tell us. For example, you may be a member of a particular student body, a captain of a school or university team or you may have a real passion for surfing or writing. If it helps us better understand what makes you ‘you’, go on and include it!

Your interview

At Simpson Grierson the interview process is two-way. We want to get to know you better as well as give you the opportunity to find out about us.