Clayton Utz

General firm information

Firm description and prominent practice areas

Clayton Utz is one of Australia’s leading law firms, with a reputation for standing out – and for being outstanding. With 177 partners and over 1,200 employees across six offices, we continue to build on our reputation for confident, innovative and incisive legal advice.

Our major areas of practice are Banking & Financial Services, Commercial Litigation, Competition, Corporate, M&A, Capital Markets, Environment & Planning, Insurance, IP & Technology, Major Projects & Construction, Public Sector, Real Estate, Restructuring & Insolvency, Tax, Workplace Relations, Employment & Safety and Pro Bono.

What values are important to Clayton Utz?

At Clayton Utz, our culture is based on Trust, Respect and Co-operation – the fundamental relationship values which we all rely on in our day-to-day lives and relationships with family, friends and, importantly, with colleagues. And we Stay True to them.

Together with our foundation value of Highest Ethical Standards, these behavioural values and expectations form our Firm Charter, the platform from which we can all work towards achieving our mission – to be The Firm of Choice.

What distinguishes Clayton Utz from other firms?

People. It always starts with people. At Clayton Utz, we’ve built a team of down-to-earth, collaborative lawyers who know that at the heart of exceptional client service is knowing what your client needs. We offer the sharpest legal minds. The clearest advice that cuts through the complexity, so our clients can concentrate on the things that really matter. And an unshakeable sense of what’s possible.

This offers our graduates the opportunities to work on cutting-edge, complex transactions and litigation with lawyers who are recognised as leaders in their fields. We also provide first-class training and development to support our lawyers to be the best they can be. As one of the world’s top 10 pro bono firms*, graduate will also have the chance to contribute to our pro bono practice and help make a difference to the individuals and organisations it supports.

* Clayton Utz was named among the ten leading pro bono firms in the world in the inaugural Who’s Who Legal Global Pro Bono Survey. The survey recognises firms that are leading the way in their pro bono contributions, levels of participation and efforts to institutionalise pro bono work.

What does Clayton Utz look for in employees?

Clayton Utz employs people with a wide range of backgrounds, skills, interests and competencies. We look for people who can contribute new ideas and who take a creative approach to solving problems.

We look for people who are:

  • focused on results and can drive a task or project through to completion;
  • flexible, and can stay effective while adjusting to a changing work environment;
  • excited by learning, and actively seek new ideas and different perspectives;
  • adept at building relationships with clients and peers to achieve goals;
  • natural leaders who can provide guidance, feedback and direction to others.

Work/life balance

Clayton Utz offers a vibrant and supportive work environment. We recognise the need for our people to stay true to themselves by maintaining balance in their lives. That’s why we have a range of flexible work options and health and wellbeing initiatives, as well as social and sporting activities and community volunteering opportunities.

Professional development

Clayton Utz has a strong focus on professional development for all employees so we all can keep our specialist knowledge and skills up to date. This is offered through continuing legal education, professional development training programs, coaching and on-the-job training.

Our national training program, Learning@Clayton Utz – Building Excellence, offers a range of professional and personal development opportunities to support our people in reaching their full potential.

We encourage our employees to learn and develop through:

  • intensive orientation programs at the beginning of the clerkship period and graduate program;
  • on-the-job guidance and support from peers and senior lawyers;
  • regular Continuing Legal Education sessions led by specialists sharing their knowledge and experience;
  • tuition assistance for further study; and
  • external courses and seminars relevant to your professional and personal development.

Pro bono and social responsibility

Clayton Utz is a leader of Australian law firms in pro bono practice and social responsibility programs.

Since we established our Pro Bono practice in 1997, our lawyers have completed over half a million hours of pro bono legal work.

The Clayton Utz Foundation provides financial support to charities where our partners and employees are already giving pro bono or volunteering support through a Clayton Utz program or in their own time. Since its establishment, the Foundation has made over $7.3 million in grants.

An example of some Pro Bono work

Imagine being a taxi driver in Australia, one of the most expensive countries in the world. You drive your taxi 12 hours a day, six days a week, just to make ends meet.

To some, taxi drivers may appear to be in a stable job. The reality is that in many instances they have few legal rights, earn very little money for a job with constant threats of danger, and have almost no bargaining power in the workplace. Statistics indicate they are alarmingly overworked for little benefit, and many have no awareness of their rights and entitlements, or of their options for seeking independent advice.

For one taxi driver in Perth, things could have taken a real turn for the worse, if it had not been for the aid of CU.

Our client Mr D had been driving taxis for 20 years, but terminated his agreement with the taxi company because of safety concerns. The taxi company accepted the termination, but claimed that Mr D’s contract meant that if he terminated it early he was required to pay $5,000 for “the reasonable costs of concessions” (including the supply and installation of a hail light, meter, decals and other equipment).

Our client had already returned the taxi company’s equipment in perfect condition upon terminating the contract. However, the taxi company issued minor case claim proceedings in the Magistrates Court to recover the $5,000.

Mr D supports a wife and three children on an annual income of about $20,000. Needless to say, he did not have $5,000 to spare.

A week prior to the trial starting, the matter was referred to CU by Justice Connect, the gateway organisation to pro bono legal services for those in need. CU assisted Mr D by writing to the taxi company on his behalf. They raised a number of issues with the claim and advised him on the procedure to be followed in the Magistrates Court.

Within a month of CU agreeing to assist Mr D, the taxi company decided to drop its claim.

It may have been a small win for CU, but it made a world of difference for Mr D and his family.

Clerkship program information

Program overview

Graduate Program

It’s not just about wearing a suit

No matter how good your law degree, there’s always a gap between theory and practice, and finishing university can be daunting. How do you make the jump to working in a commercial law firm?

That’s where we come in.

Once you’ve completed your studies, our national Graduate Program gives you the perfect foundation for your legal career. Our 2.5 week orientation program is designed to ensure that you’ll hit the ground running. It consists of PLT+, local training and a national orientation week in Sydney.

Our rotation program means you’ll discover different areas and find the right fit. From day one you’ll be working on complex and sophisticated legal issues, and with our innovative approach to learning & development, you’ll get the support you need to become the best you can be.

With our Graduate Program you’ll get…

  • three rotations of six months in our national practice groups;
  • mentoring from some of the best lawyers in the country;
  • a buddy who’ll give you the inside information;
  • meaningful performance feedback so you know you’re on the right track;
  • continuing legal education programs and professional development support so you can become the lawyer you want to be;
  • the chance to participate in our Community Connect and Pro Bono programs and really give back; and
  • social and sporting activities, because we know it’s not all work and no play.

We hire most of our Graduates from our Clerkship Programs. Occasionally, additional opportunities may arise.

Clerkship Program

If you’re a law student in your penultimate year, our Clerkship Programs will expose you to the fast pace of a full-service commercial law firm and show you the law in action. You’ll be working under the guidance of some of the sharpest legal minds in Australia, on challenging, complex and high-profile transactions and matters. You’ll be mentored by partners and lawyers who are leaders in their fields, in a firm where individuality is embraced and innovation actively encouraged.

Our Clerkship Programs are our future pipeline for the Graduate Program. They are designed to give you a feel for what it’s like to be a Graduate and they are a great place to start your career.

What stands out in an application?

When screening applications we take into account an applicant’s résumé and cover letter, strong academic results, extracurricular activities, university involvement, work experience – legal or non-legal – team work and leadership, attention to detail, and enthusiasm and motivation for a career in commercial law.

What’s the application process?

Clayton Utz undertakes a two-round interview process combined with two networking events.

If you are selected for a first-round interview, you’ll be invited to our Information Evening. There, you’ll meet a buddy who will work with you throughout the process and answer any questions you may have, and you’ll usually meet your first-round interviewers too – a Partner and member of the People and Development team.

If you’re successful, you’ll then be invited to a second-round interview with a different Partner who’ll be joined by a Special Counsel or Senior Associate, and also to a cocktail party.

All candidates will be notified of the outcome of their application within four weeks of the closing date. Shortlisted candidates will progress to a formal interview.

What qualities does Clayton Utz look for in a clerk?

The most important ingredient in our success is our people.

We’re looking for clerks who are personable, practical, commercially-savvy, as well as flexible. Our lawyers undertake complex and innovative legal work, so it’s important that they are intelligent and motivated individuals who aren’t afraid of a challenge. We’ll look at whether they’ve had a broad range of experiences, such as part-time employment, voluntary work, legal experience (voluntary or otherwise), or sporting, cultural or community pursuits. They need to show they have behavioural skills such as time management, initiative, goal-setting and achievement, teamwork, an understanding of client service and self-motivation.

Most importantly, we are looking for clerks who we’d enjoy working alongside. We want clerks who are going to be a good cultural fit and who embody the firm’s values, every day, in all that they do.

What type of work can a clerk expect to undertake?

Over the course of the program, you’ll join legal teams and work on actual matters for our clients across a wide range of legal areas, under the supervision of a Partner or Senior Associate, and with the support of the team. You’ll have an opportunity to discover the office environment and culture at Clayton Utz first-hand, and to extend yourself and expand your knowledge.

What other opportunities and experiences does Clayton Utz offer its clerks?

Clayton Utz prides itself on exceptional training, and our seasonal clerks receive extensive research training and practical work experience. And because of our proud tradition of pro bono work and community involvement, seasonal clerks will have every opportunity to get involved in Pro Bono work and Community Connect initiatives.

We have secondment programs with various leading law firms around the world that see Clayton Utz lawyers living and working in London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and India. Our Japanese exchange program with leading Japanese law firms and trading houses involves extended secondments both to and from Japan.

Does Clayton Utz intend to offer clerkships to students outside their penultimate year?

We prefer applicants to be in their penultimate year (4th year), but we may consider students in their final year.

What advice would you give someone applying for a position at Clayton Utz?

  • Invest some time in preparing your application and doing some research on Clayton Utz: our business, our position in the market, our clients, our community involvement, and our people.
  • Talk to Clayton Utz summer clerks and employees to find out about the firm first-hand.
  • If you’re offered an interview, think about what you’ve learnt, and what you would like to learn from us in the interview, and prepare some questions.
  • Practise answering standard and behavioural interview questions with family and friends. Always provide supporting examples of previous situations and explain the outcomes.
How to
Please visit and go to our career opportunities page.