as graduates you’re ready to take the
first step in your legal career.
no doubt you have a lot of questions.

 

will i get hands on experience?

will i get to try different areas of law?

will i get exposure to clients?

will i have a work life balance?

 

our answer is yes and a whole lot more!

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meet our people

our graduate
program

We want our graduates to become strong, commercially minded lawyers. That means working closely with clients to understand the challenges they face, identifying opportunities for them and adding value to their businesses. One day you might be in a client’s factory or head office. Another you could be in court or front and centre at a mediation.

Our year-long graduate program will see you rotate every three months through a range of law practice areas. We want to give you the opportunity to see what you enjoy and where you would like to focus your career long term. This is your year so make the most of it!

We don’t expect you to know it all. In fact, your professional development is a key priority for us. You will be able to take part in our Macpherson Kelley Business School, as well as Business Bootcamps which feature practical scenarios and real world case studies. You’ll also receive mentoring and regular feedback from our senior lawyers.

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tips and tricks for applying

day in the life at mk

  • law graduate

    jereome keating

    5.30 am

    My alarm goes off and after contemplating hitting snooze for the second time, I jump up and into the shower. I put the radio on and listen to the news and finance update. A few weeks ago at our business boot camp, our managing principal – after listening to the news that morning – was firing questions at all the trainees regarding business and trade conditions. When prompted on the Australian dollar, I fired back ‘0.739!’ as quickly as he had churned it out. There is a big commercial focus over ‘black letter lawyering’ at this firm, and its genuinely refreshing.

    I meet some friends for our weekly Thursday run. Nice to see a few more faces this week than the last, now that the weather is a little warmer.

    8.00 am

    I arrive at the office, grab my second breakfast out of the fridge and log in. I always start my day by responding to overnight emails. I have a few emails from principals and clients alike – one in particular from a large manufacturing client regarding a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal that all of a sudden isn’t looking so good now that we have our Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) searches back. I email the client trying to tee up a time to speak over the phone this morning and seek guidance from my principal.

    8.45 am

    Next on the agenda is the M&A team meeting. Whilst rotating through our broader Commercial team, which has seen me work on a lot of intellectual property matters, ASIC & Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) compliance and terms of trade, predominantly my matters have been with our M&A team.

    Out of this meeting I’m asked to jump into three more matters, all of which are sales of business and sound really interesting, so I am excited to be involved and mentored further by the principal.

    11.00 am

    I have a conference call with company directors and CFO’s of an Australian Pty Ltd and its American parent. The call relates to advice I was asked to draft early last week. I received great feedback about the advice I had prepared, so I went into the meeting feeling confident. The advice centered on ASIC reporting obligations of small proprietary companies controlled by a foreign company (like that of our client).

    12.30 pm

    I get back to my desk and I have a missed call from the same large manufacturing client regarding the PPSR and ASIC search from this morning. After running through the searches with the client, they ask what they should do. I’m reluctant to shoot from the hip without discussing this with the principal first. After talking it over, the principal and I decide to call the client back together. It is this level of mentoring that I think has helped me really adapt and develop my technical and interpersonal skills as a graduate.

    1.30 pm

    My mentor in the Commercial team messages me and says he and some of last year’s graduates are going down to grab Vietnamese for lunch if I wanted to come. I take him up on the offer and we sit out on the cafe having our chilli pork noodle special with extra rice paper rolls. After lunch we spend around ten minutes playing table tennis and as I’m down 19–4 I decide that I actually need to get back and do some work.

    2.30 pm

    As I’m walking back to my desk, I’m running through my to-do list in my head, noting what I’m going to tick off straight away. I have a number of advice files for our IP team that involve potential trademark infringements, which I said I could send on by the end of the week. As I go back to my computer to finish these off, our office managing principal (who handles most of our M&A work) grabs me and says, ‘Grab your laptop. We’ve got a 2.40 pm with John Blackwell Accountants.’ Client contact has got to be one of my favourite aspects of the job. I’m taking as many notes on the conversation as I can, as I know it’s going to be me writing the first draft.

    3.45 pm

    As I get back to my desk I pop a ‘do not disturb’ message on my jabber (our internal messaging and phone platform), knowing that I need to finish these two advice pieces by COB.

    4.45 pm

    As I’m sending the two pieces of advice off to our IP principal, my direct M&A principal asks if I can quickly put together a share transfer for a company that our Litigation team successfully concluded proceedings on today. Around five minutes after I send it on for review, I am copied into the email sending it on to the client with no changes. Again it’s great to feel backed.

    6.00 pm

    Just as I was jumping back into a letter of demand I had been working on, my M&A principal says, ‘It’s 6.00 pm. I hope you’re packing up soon?’ In following the orders of my principal, I update my to-do list and pack up.

    6.30 pm

    I get home and it’s still pretty warm, so my partner and I decide to take Ted for a walk down to the beach and take dinner with us. We are genuinely lucky to live where we do and I’m pretty happy to work only 30 minutes from home at our Dandenong office. I’m down the beach by 7.00 pm, where perhaps in another life I might have been doing the mad dash from platform one to platform six, to make the sardine-filled express train home.

  • commercial lawyer - recently admitted

    charlotte olsen

    4.45 am

    I am not always an earlier riser, but I am one of those crazy people who has recently decided to try and get back into competitive swimming! My alarm goes off at 4.45 am and I splash into the pool at 5.00 am.

    6.45 am

    After 4km of what I would call fun (others would say staring at a black line for an hour and a half is NO ONE’S idea of fun, but I digress…) I head home, have a quick shower, eat some breakfast, feed my pooch and drive to my local train station. My commute takes about 50-60 minutes door to door, so I always make sure I have my headphones with me to listen to music or watch comedy videos – Jack Whitehall is a personal fav (if you haven’t heard of him, check him out and thank me later).

    8.30 am

    My work morning starts by quickly putting my lunch in the fridge, saying hello to my team before chucking my glasses on and checking my emails. This particular morning, I speak to one of the Principals in my team about finalising statutory declarations required before our meeting with our client this afternoon in a large trade mark opposition case, before preparing for Court.

    8.50 am

    I head off to the Supreme Court of New South Wales to brief Counsel at a direction’s hearing in relation to an ongoing shareholders dispute that I have been working on with one of the Principals in my team for some months now. Helpfully, an evidence timetable is agreed upon by all parties outside Court, and it is simply a matter of handing up consent orders.

    10.00 am

    Every Monday morning, our commercial team meets at 10.00 am to discuss what matters everyone is working on that week and to manage work flow. It is a great way to keep up to date with the new and exciting projects the team is helping our clients with, as well as identify and allocate work accordingly. It’s also a space where we analyse the latest law updates which may be of relevance or have application to our clients. (Did you hear about the ACCC’s commitment to investigate advertising technology and potential anti-competitive behaviour of digital platforms? Interesting stuff hey! #nerdlife)

    10.30 am

    By mid-morning, myself and a few of my co-workers require a caffeine hit, so we head out to grab a coffee from our favourite local café. This coffee catch up (which has become a daily ritual) is a great way to get to know the team better, see how each other is tracking and generally just enjoy each other’s company before continuing on with our day!

    11.00 am

    Late last week, one of the Principals in my team asked me to review a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and two supply agreements that a franchisor client has been negotiating. In relation to the NDA, our client has requested that we focus on ensuring that their proprietary rights are adequately defined and protected, while a detailed review of the indemnity and liability clauses in the supply agreements is required. I complete a solid two hours of work and send my suggested amendments to the agreements to the Principal for discussion after lunch.

    1.00 pm

    It’s social club meeting time! MK Sydney has a social club that is in charge of organising monthly drinks, a mid year party, end of year party as well as other exciting events such as Melbourne Cup celebrations. Today, the crew is off to inspect potential venue options for our mid-year and end of year parties (with a bite of sushi on the way to fuel our important expedition).

    2.00 pm

    Once back at the office, I grab my laptop and head into the Principal’s office to discuss my amendments to our franchisor client’s NDA and supply agreements. We place a phone call through to our client and commence going through the suggested amendments with them.

    3.30 pm

    Now back at my desk, I pull up the statutory declaration and supporting evidence that I have been preparing in support of a trade mark opposition matter and make final amendments to the statutory declaration. I finalise the large exhibit which consists of multiple pages of website screenshots, pamphlets and promotional content in relation to our client’s industry. These documents will be relied upon to establish our client’s grounds of opposition.

    5.00 pm

    Our client arrives to discuss the draft statutory declaration and supporting documentation. We discuss further amendments and collating additional evidence in support. Finally, we finish off the meeting by discussing the evidence timetable and the matter generally, as well as the possibility that the applicant may respond to our evidence by filing their own declaration. The client arranges a teleconference for next week to discuss the next draft, which I make a note of in my diary.

    6.00 pm

    After posting my time for the day and logging off, I walk up to the train station, hop on the train and head back home to have dinner with my family. By the time I walk in the door, it’s about 7.30 pm.

    7.30 pm

    No night is ever complete without spending some time with my pooch and catching up on the next episode of Suits (yes, I am running very much behind #teamdarvey). By the time I have watched an episode (or two) and had dinner with my family, it’s about 9.30 pm/10.00 pm and I am ready to go to bed and do it all again tomorrow!

graduate stories

hear about belinda sigismundi’s journey from grad to principal lawyer

we provide
you with

an extensive induction and on-boarding program

mentoring and coaching, including a buddy to help transition you into your new role

regular feedback

exposure to clients via meetings, mediation and events

opportunities to build your career

fun activities – social, sporting and community focused events

a down to earth and flexible workplace culture

faqs

  • am I a good fit for macpherson kelley?

    When you consider how different each and every one of our people is, it’s not an easy question to answer but for everything that’s different about our people, there are a few traits you will find in all of them.
    They are commercial, energetic, ambitious, entrepreneurial and confident. They talk straight, are pragmatic and get involved. Getting involved is important at our firm, there are no ringside seats available. It’s these things that make each one of us a good fit for Macpherson Kelley.

  • does the graduate program vary from state to state?

    Ever so slightly, though our graduate program is truly national.

    Victoria
    The Victorian Graduate Program is a 12 month rotation across a range of practice areas exposing you to a variety of different law experiences. In 2020 we will have graduates based in both our Dandenong and Melbourne offices. Our Victorian graduates complete Supervised Legal Training, allowing for practical on-the-job training.

    New South Wales
    2020 will see our first intake of graduates to our Sydney office. Much the same as Victoria and Queensland, our New South Wales based graduates will complete 4 rotations over a 12 month period and will be enrolled in the College of Law PLT course.

    Queensland
    Aligning with the other states and completing a 12 month program in line with the QLS guidelines, our Brisbane graduates will experience the full suite of legal practice areas we offer.

  • what do you look for in graduate applications?

    We are interested in who you are and the individual strengths you can bring to Macpherson Kelley. We do not look to fill a particular mould.

    We recruit employees from a diverse range of backgrounds who we think exemplify our core values: talk straight, play as a team and better each day.

  • what will make my application stand out?

    When reviewing applications, we focus on:

    • a desire to pursue a career in commercial law and demonstrated commercial awareness
    • strong communication and interpersonal skills
    • a balanced life – we want to see what interests you outside of law
    • solid academic results
    • a proven ability to work effectively in a team
  • what should my application include?

    To apply you will be required to answer a few screening questions and upload the below documents:

    • a brief cover letter, outlining your interests and suitability for a position at Macpherson Kelley
    • a current CV, outlining work experience, extra-curricular activities, academic and non-academic achievements
    • a current academic transcript
    • if you were referred to the graduate program by someone already at the firm, please include their details in your application
  • any other application tips?

    • tell us why you are interested in working with us and what attracted you to Macpherson Kelley
    • show us you’ve done research on the firm
    • summarise your key skills, interests, extra-curricular activities and work experience
    • always check your application carefully for formatting, spelling and grammatical errors
    • make sure you get your application in on time—allow time for any technical problems
  • Any advice for video interviews/ assessment centre/interviews?

    Just be yourself and relax. We want you to meet our people and find out more about us! That way, you make a decision on whether we are the right firm for you.

    Be ready and willing to try anything! Think of our values and how you could display them during this process.

    How to prepare for your interview:

    • be across recent news about the firm, clients, competitors and areas in which we work
    • practice for the interview with friends or family
    • read through your initial application before your interview to refresh your memory
    • be punctual
    • be honest and try to relax
    • make eye contact with the interviewers; try not to fidget
    • emphasise your strengths and potential, not your shortcomings
    • prepare some questions you really want to know the answers to

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