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About JWS

Established in 1993, Johnson Winter & Slattery is a relatively young law firm that now occupies a unique place in the Australian legal market. We are differentiated by a “tier 1” practice capability and premium client portfolio normally associated with much larger firms, along with a genuinely collaborative culture.

Our business model distinguishes us from our rivals. At the heart of our approach is the recognition that when managing strategic and complex matters, superior outcomes are achieved through the hands-on’ involvement of expert senior lawyers. We therefore maintain a higher ratio of partners to lawyers than our rivals and focus on assignments that are well suited to this low leverage structure.

This ‘low leverage approach’ results in young lawyers being fully engaged on client assignments alongside more senior practitioners, providing them with development opportunities as well as the chance to develop strong client relationships early in their careers. 

Our business model distinguishes us from our rivals. At the heart of our approach is the recognition that when managing strategic and complex matters, superior outcomes are achieved through the hands-on’ involvement of expert senior lawyers. We therefore maintain a higher ratio of partners to lawyers than our rivals and focus on assignments that are well suited to this low leverage structure.

This ‘low leverage approach’ results in young lawyers being fully engaged on client assignments alongside more senior practitioners, providing them with development opportunities as well as the chance to develop strong client relationships early in their careers.

 

Eligibility Criteria

Penultimate year students only? Yes

Do you accept applications from interstate students? Yes

Does your firm offer flexible clerkship dates? In some circumstances students are able to change their clerkship dates. This is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

 

Clerkship Rotations

Our three practice groups are Dispute Resolution, Transactional & Advisory and Energy Resources & Infrastructure. At JWS we do not have a structured rotation program; on a daily basis you will be exposed to a variety of these areas, including many of our specialist groups. A full list of our specialist groups can be found on our website.

 

Adelaide

Positions available: 3-5

Applications: 21 March - 11 April 2016

Offers made: 30 May 2016

Clerkship Dates: 

Summer 1: November - December 2016 (4 weeks)

Summer 2: January - February 2017 (4 weeks)

Flexible clerkship dates available? Yes, this is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Application method: cvMail

Information required for application: CV, cover letter, academic transcript

Contact: Wilma Lewis, Professional Development Advisor

E:  wilma.lewis@jws.com.au

T: (02) 8247 9630

 

Brisbane

Positions available: 2-3

Applications: 1 March - 21 March 2016

Offers made: 9 May 2016

Offers accepted/declined: TBA

Clerkship Dates: 

Summer 1: November - December 2016 (4 weeks)

Summer 2: January - February 2017 (4 weeks)

Application method: cvMail

Information required for application: CV, cover letter, academic transcript

Contact: Wilma Lewis, Professional Development Advisor

E:  wilma.lewis@jws.com.au

T: (02) 8247 9630

 

Melbourne

Positions available: 2-3

Applications: 11 July - 14 August 2016

Offers made: 13 October 2016

Offers accepted/declined: within 24 hours of offer being made

Clerkship Dates: 

Summer 1: November - December 2016 (4 weeks)

Summer 2: 18 January - 12 February 2017 (4 weeks)

Application method: cvMail

Information required for application: CV, cover letter, academic transcript

Contact: Wilma Lewis, Professional Development Advisor

E:  wilma.lewis@jws.com.au

T: (02) 8247 9630

 

Perth

Positions available: 3-5

Applications: 18 July - 5 August 2016

Offers made: 21 September 2016

Offers accepted/declined: offers remain open for two hours

Clerkship Dates: 

Summer 1: November - December 2016 (4 weeks)

Summer 2: January - February 2017 (4 weeks)

Application method: cvMail

Information required for application: CV, cover letter, academic transcript

Contact: Wilma Lewis, Professional Development Advisor

E:  wilma.lewis@jws.com.au

T: (02) 8247 9630

 

Sydney

Positions available: 4-6

Applications: 15 June - 17 July 2016

Offers made: 23 September 2016

Offers accepted/declined: TBA

Clerkship Dates: November 2016 - February 2017 (with a 4 week break over Christmas)

Application method: cvMail

Information required for application: CV, cover letter, academic transcript

Contact: Wilma Lewis, Professional Development Advisor

E:  wilma.lewis@jws.com.au

T: (02) 8247 9630

 

Connect:

Website:  http://www.jws.com.au/en/graduate-lawyer-careers

 

Compared with most other law firms we have a relatively flat organisational structure with no fixed work groups or departments, enabling our lawyers to diversify their early experience by working across all practice areas with lawyers from across each of the firm’s offices, and the absence of individual and
group billing and time recording budgets means that young lawyers can focus on producing excellent work, developing their skills and working collaboratively without undue pressure.

Many aspects of our firm make it a great place for developing lawyers to shine: a consistent flow of high quality work, close mentoring relationships with partners, a focus on teamwork, collaboration and communication, as well as the absence of individual and departmental time recording budgets. 

 

Andrew Pearce, Sydney

At Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS), you will be exposed to high-profile, interesting and challenging legal work, while making new friends in a tight-knit and supportive environment. JWS is truly a positive culture driven firm which encourages further learning and provides the resources and experiences to build on your own interests.

I joined JWS as a Summer Clerk in December 2013 and started as an Associate in August 2014. The exposure to a broad range of quality work coupled with mentoring from some of Australia’s best lawyers provided the perfect platform for the transition from university student to junior practitioner. The training I received throughout the clerkship also set me up for the remainder of my studies. This training included attendance at a variety of professional development sessions, advanced LexisNexis courses as well as working with senior and junior practitioners who spend considerable time explaining what you probably should know from your time at university. While there will be no shortage of support, you will be given ownership of the tasks you are allocated and will be expected to contribute in a positive way. It is this “team” culture that makes JWS such a great place to work.

A summer clerkship at JWS is also not all about work, there are numerous opportunities to socialise and get to know
people. Whether it be Friday night drinks or an inter-firm sports competition, I had a much better understanding of what it was like to practise as a lawyer after each event I attended.

A clerkship with JWS is an obvious first preference for anybody taking part in the 2015/16 clerkship program. 

 

Sara Gaertner, Adelaide

I completed a four week clerkship at JWS in November/December 2013. The first thing that struck me when I began my clerkship was how committed JWS is to setting its clerks up for success and ensuring that the experience is as rewarding as possible. I went through a comprehensive induction process which provided training on all aspects of practice including office and document management, memo writing, time recording and general tips from junior and senior lawyers. This training provided a great base for the wide range of work I received throughout my clerkship.

The low leverage model utilised by JWS meant that there were plenty of opportunities for me to work closely with a variety of senior practitioners on complex and challenging matters from the very first week of my clerkship. I also enjoyed the fact that I was not constrained to one particular area of practice based on a team allocation. This gave me the freedom to work with many different teams at JWS, both in the Adelaide office and in the other offices around Australia. Although I had previous experiences in commercial practice, these unique features of JWS meant that my four week clerkship was extremely valuable for my professional development and greatly assisted my transition from law student to practitioner. 

 

Katherine Lishman, Melbourne

My clerkship with JWS allowed me to experience working in a national team dedicated to providing commercial solutions to its clients. I was mentored by senior lawyers who gave me challenging and interesting work that allowed me to take the skills and knowledge from two years of the Melbourne JD and put them into practice.

JWS encourages its clerks and junior lawyers to build a breadth of knowledge across a variety of practice areas. Rather than being allocated to one specialist group, over four weeks I worked in Dispute Resolution, Regulatory, Corporate, Competition and Energy & Resources. While being physically based in the Melbourne office, I also did tasks for Sydney and Adelaide, learning firsthand how JWS and its clients operate nationally.

Looking back at my time as a summer clerk, it really was a snapshot of what it would be like to begin my career at JWS. As an Associate I continue to benefit from working in an environment where the Partner to Associate ratio is 1:1, and where every member of staff takes the time to explain, provide feedback and facilitate your learning. In 2012 I was welcomed into a supportive team, and it has been an enjoyable and smooth journey from summer clerk, casual clerk, Graduate and now Associate. 

 

Greg Travers, Brisbane

A four week clerkship at JWS is unique from the typical commercial firm experience. Rather than spending your time confined to just one practice group, you will work across groups and with a variety of senior practitioners. During my clerkship, I gained exposure to matters emanating from Energy & Resources, Corporate, Competition, Regulatory and Dispute Resolution. Additionally, I worked collaboratively with the Perth office given the broad geographic nature of a particular client’s activities.

In your first few days as a clerk, you will partake in a comprehensive induction programme to introduce you to the firm, its people, and its processes. As someone who had never worked in a law firm, these sessions were invaluable in easing my transition. They also demonstrated JWS’ commitment to ensuring that my four week experience would be as fruitful as possible.

The work I was involved in was both challenging and interesting. While there is always support in place, JWS gives you plenty of ‘rope’ to take charge of your work and see it through to completion. During my clerkship, the tasks I was assigned included analysing and reporting on the effects of certain amending legislation, drafting a shareholder’s agreement following a review of a client’s existing arrangements, reviewing a share sale agreement, conducting both legal and non-legal research, and drafting a memorandum outlining a client’s legislative obligations. At each step along the way, there was an ‘open door’ policy whenever I needed guidance from the partners, as well as ample constructive feedback.

Following the completion of my clerkship, JWS offered me a graduate position for 2016 which I readily accepted. With a higher ratio of senior practitioners to junior lawyers than other commercial firms, JWS provides superior opportunities to learn and work closely alongside some of Australia’s most talented lawyers. 

 

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