Corrs Chambers Westgarth is Australia’s leading independent Australian law firm. We’re known for delivering legal excellence, exceptional client service and outstanding results.
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Corrs Chambers Westgarth is Australia’s leading independent Australian law firm. We’re known for delivering legal excellence, exceptional client service and outstanding results.
Through our long-term relationships with leading law firms across the world, we advise on the most significant global matters and connect with the best lawyers internationally to provide our clients with the right team for every engagement.
At Corrs, you’ll enjoy the benefits of working alongside a high-performing team with a shared commitment to our culture of excellence, collaboration, commitment and respect.
For almost two centuries, we’ve been advising our clients on their most complex challenges. We’re the firm of choice for many of the world’s most significant organisations – from large corporations to governments, banks and financial sponsors.
Corrs lawyers are known for their strategic approach with clients. We don’t just focus on legal advice, we provide our clients with strategic guidance to help them mitigate risks and achieve their business goals.
Our lawyers work together across practice groups to deliver exceptional results and support you in building your future, wherever you want to take it.
Our success is based on the success of our people. We encourage individuals to play to their strengths. And we bring our diverse and talented lawyers together to create top-performing teams.
The combination of these factors creates a firm that celebrates its independence, is open to new ideas, has the courage to think and act differently from the rest of the market, and thrives on new challenges and opportunities.
Graduate Development Program
Our graduate development program is your first step towards a successful career. As part of our 18-month program, you will have access to:
- on-the-job training as you work directly with partners and senior lawyers;
- structured learning;
- mentoring; and
- regular feedback.
During this time, you’ll complete three six-month rotations through a variety of our practice areas and you’ll also be involved in pro bono opportunities.
The program begins with our Graduate Academy – a highlight for our graduates every year. We bring all our graduates together for a multi-day learning experience, giving you the chance to meet with your peers, learn and have fun. Then it’s on to your Practical Legal Training (PLT) studies and your local orientation before you dive into the program.
The majority of our graduates join us after experiencing a seasonal clerkship program. Our clerkships give you the opportunity to connect with partners and lawyers across the firm, learn what a ‘day-in-the-life’ at Corrs is like, and experience the type of work we do and the clients we partner with.
The Corrs seasonal clerkship program gives you the opportunity to work alongside some of Australia’s leading lawyers on high-profile work for major Australian and international clients.
You’ll be exposed to a broad range of interesting matters. You’ll also have the chance to complete a broad range of tasks, such as conducting research, reviewing and presenting documents, attending client meetings, court hearings, mediations and settlements, as well as shadowing partners and lawyers in client meetings and business development activities.
International Opportunities (Work and Study)
We invest in international experiences that help our lawyers grow their skills, cultural understanding and relationships worldwide.
Our International Study Scholarship supports the continuing professional development of exceptional legal staff. The Scholarship provides financial support for the completion of further study at Oxford, Cambridge or a US equivalent (full-time on campus).
Over the last seven years, we’ve sent 44 secondees to 14 countries worldwide.
We have sent our lawyers on secondment to some of the world’s leading firms in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore, China, Spain, France, India, Germany, Brazil, Indonesia and Hong Kong, including:
[Amsterdam – De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek; San Paolo – Carey, Dusseldorf – Gleiss Lutz; Frankfurt – Hengeler Mueller; Hong Kong – Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Jakarta – Soemadipradja & Taher; London – Slaughter and May, Macfarlanes, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and CMS; Madrid – Uría Menéndez; Milan – BonelliErede; Mumbai – AZB & Partners; New York – Cravath Swaine & Moore and Skadden; Paris – Bredin Prat; Singapore – Allen & Gledhill; Tokyo – Nishimura & Asahi.]
Meet Billie Parkinson and learn how her graduate experience helped her career.
Meet Samuel Murray and learn how his graduate experience helped his career.
Lawyer at Corrs Chambers Westgarth
It’s a new day! My alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed and proceed to go through my daily work prep. As I do so I make a mental note of the items to cover off for the day ahead. After changing into business wear I drive to the station, park my car and wait for my usual train to the city. I have just enough time to buy breakfast right next to the station (a delicious banh-mi) before my train arrives.
I walk into work, greet some fellow graduates (‘grads’) on the way up the elevator and say hi to my team members at our team ‘pod’, asking them about their weekends. Corrs is an open plan office, which is great for people starting their legal careers like myself as you can more easily watch, listen and learn from other lawyers. But don’t worry, ‘quiet rooms’ are available if anybody chooses to use them!
As I set up, one of the lawyers in my pod asks me to join him and another lawyer for coffee (“For sure!”). I ask him to give me another five minutes while I get set up.
Two other lawyers and I make our way up to the Terrace, an in-house café at Corrs. This is a shared space for all Corrs employees, but it is also an area that Corrs employees take clients to as well. We discuss our plans for the day – I tell them I have a relatively busy one ahead so this coffee is much needed!
After attending to some emails, my team members and I attend a bi-weekly ‘Catch-up Meeting’ where we debrief on work we are involved in, the timeline for certain projects and whether we need assistance with anything. I appreciate these meetings a lot because it is an opportunity to learn more about what the team is up to – it’s also a good time to flag whether you need help or want to be involved with anything interesting mentioned in the meeting.
Back at my desk, I prepare the documents for a negotiation session I will be attending with my supervising partner in the afternoon. For the past few months, I have been assisting with drafting and bringing together legal documents that facilitate a construction project. Now that the documents have been prepared on behalf of the client and circulated to the counterparty for review, it is necessary to attend meetings with the counterparty to negotiate aspects of those documents. Ideally, a consensus will be met where both parties are willing to execute a document, allowing for the construction to begin.
It’s not always about the law! One of the great things that I have been involved in while working at Corrs has been [email protected], our firm’s LGBTI+ network. [email protected] aims to support the LGBTI+ community and their allies at Corrs and to enhance the firm’s engagement with the LGBTI+ community. Each office has local working groups who coordinate local activities in that office while the National Committee coordinates initiatives across all offices.
Since being at Corrs, I have had the privilege of being the working group co-ordinator in the Sydney office. Today I have a National Committee meeting scheduled.
These meetings are a great way to break up the day, and a fantastic way to be involved in a cause I am passionate about.
Back to negotiations preparation! I meet with my partner after preparing all the documents, and we discuss our to-do items for today. After lunch, we have a meeting with our client to run through how we intend to respond to some of the comments the counterparty has with respect to the documents.
Time for lunch - I decide to go upstairs to the inhouse café again as some of my fellow graduates have told me they would be having lunch up there. It’s great to start the graduate program with fellow grads as you can support one another and learn about the other interesting work that they’ve been involved in.
After lunch, I go with my supervising partner upstairs to meet our clients. We shake hands and go inside a meeting room to discuss the negotiation. I take down notes, making sure that anything discussed was consistent with what my partner and I understood before the meeting.
We are informed by the receptionist that the counterparty has arrived and the negotiation begins. As a junior lawyer, my main role in this negotiation is mainly to take notes and to display the relevant parts of the document on screen. There is a lot of skill and practice required to be an effective negotiator so it’s interesting to see how the lawyers for both parties raise their positions in a negotiation, and how a decision (if any) is met. The clients of each party (who may or may not be lawyers within the business) equally contribute to the negotiation.
The negotiation ends for the day. I meet with my supervising partner back at our desks and we briefly discuss the action items arising from the negotiation.
I go back to my desk, check-in to see how my pod is going and am offered a KitKat from my legal assistant. I respond to some emails that require my attention and begin to review and summarise the notes that I took down during the negotiation, taking some additional notes for myself to clarify issues I may need to go back to later. After making the notes more succinct and understandable, I circulate these back to the client and my supervising partner.
After tying up some other loose ends, I pack up my bag and leave for the day.
I am back at home winding down, cooking some pasta while half-watching SBS Food on TV. If I finish dinner early enough maybe I’ll finally be able to push myself to practice guitar (at least half an hour a day my teacher tells me!). Or I might open and start to read the book chosen by the Corrs Book Club, which has been sitting on my bookshelf the past month…
Alas, the call of social media, mindless YouTube browsing and a spontaneous call from a friend derails earlier plans. It’s now bedtime – always good to get some good rest to be refreshed and ready for the next day!
Lawyer at Corrs Chambers Westgarth
As a non-morning person / fairly late riser, I wake up at 7.30 am to start my workday.
My morning routine involves getting ready for work, packing my snacks and lunch and hoping I was smart enough to iron my clothes the night before so I can save myself some time.
Luckily, I only live a ten-minute walk away from my local train station, so I can leave the house at 8:05 am and be in the city by
Even in the colder months, I prioritise walking to and from the train station so I can guarantee some movement and outdoors time in my day.
While I am on the train I check my calendar and read any emails that have come through the night before, so I can start planning the day ahead.
I arrive at 567 Collins Street and update my to-do list from the night before, in light of any new instructions or tasks.
In the TMT team, we have a weekly stand up every Tuesday.
Everyone in the team provides an update on the top three tasks keeping them busy and any business development work they are involved in.
It provides a great opportunity to find out what others are working on, work the team is pursuing and where there might be opportunities to help out!
I assist one of our Senior Associates review a number of IT contracts for Services and Software a client is proposing to enter into.
When we review these contracts it is important to think about the key risks to our client and any terms that are inconsistent with market standard or our expectations of a comparable contract.
When you are a Graduate at Corrs, each Practice Group organises a number of internal Training Sessions.
Today I attend an introduction into the TMT Practice Group. We find out about different clients the group works with and the types of work we focus on.
The TMT Practice Group at Corrs is very varied and works with a number of ‘traditional’ technology companies, as well as major retailers, organisations in the health and medical professions and corporates generally who utilise and rely on technology and who are captured by key pieces of legislation such as the Privacy Act.
We also reviewed an IT Master Supply Agreement and discussed the importance and relevance of different clauses.
I continue reviewing the IT Contracts from this morning and start preparing our advice to the client.
It is important for our advice to be clear and concise, so I separate each key risk into an individual heading and dot point out our concerns with the contracts as well as the amendments we would expect and require.
I love eating my lunch outside and luckily we have a wide range of outdoor seating options, which mean I can not only get some Vitamin D but I can eat my own lunch too (and avoid spending excessive money on lunch every day).
Today I eat lunch with a few of my fellow grads. One of the best parts of being in a grad group is the community of support you build. We always check in on how everyone is going, if there is anything we can help with but also just discuss things like reality TV!
As a graduate in Corrs’ Melbourne office I am involved in the firm’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic. We help clients who are facing homelessness and are otherwise unable to obtain legal assistance and support.
Today we have a call with our client to ascertain further facts about their matter and to discuss our strategy for negotiations with their landlord. I work with a fellow grad on this matter and we check in with our Senior Lawyer to confirm our approach and discuss next steps on a regular basis.
The TMT team provides Privacy advice to a wide range of clients. Today I was tasked with researching the OAIC’s conciliation process.
I review the OAIC’s guidelines and industry commentary. I also discuss the query with my team to gain their perspectives and any background they have from their experiences. To finish off the task I draft a brief summary of my findings to provide background to the Senior Lawyers on the matter.
At the end of each day I:
- finalise all of my time entries (it is the best way to make sure I don’t fall behind and to ensure all of my time is reflected);
- make a to-do list of tasks I need to work through the next day on the basis of priority; and
- check in with the other lawyers in the team to see if there is anything else they need help with!
Tonight I catch up with two of my friends from Law School for dinner. While we have all started at different firms, in different areas, it is great to touch base and see what everyone is up to (and all being in the city we have so many great restaurant options too!).
We provide opportunities for professional and personal growth for both legal and business services staff.
We take our work seriously but we also recognise the importance of looking after ourselves and having fun.
We encourage staff to be socially active and participate in social and sporting events as well as learning and development activities.
Some of our activities include mixed netball, pilates and yoga, touch football, cricket day, Friday night drinks, family days, trivia nights, End of Financial Year party and Christmas Party. Corrs also provides flexible work arrangements, paid study leave, salary sacrificing and opportunities to give back to the community.
Corrs recognises the importance of health and wellbeing and is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace through a variety of programs and policies. Our wellbeing program provides a range of initiatives to assist people in maintaining good overall health. Importantly, we also recognise the role a person’s manager plays in their wellbeing and we place emphasis on effective ‘everyday leadership’ and have processes in place to monitor a person’s welfare and workload.
Corrs’ success relies upon attracting, retaining and providing development opportunities to talented people with diverse ideas, backgrounds and experiences. We strongly believe that diversity in all its forms should be embraced and celebrated and know that if it is, our people, our clients, our firm and the industry at large will benefit.
We want everyone at Corrs to feel connected, valued and supported, so that every individual can maximise their potential and contribute to the success of our firm and clients. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is woven through all aspects of the firm – from our recruitment, wellbeing and people development strategies, through to our initiatives with clients.
Corrs has been recognised as a Diversity Council Australia Inclusive Employer 2019-2020 for demonstrating its active commitment to diversity and inclusion, and Corrs CEO Gavin MacLaren is a member of the Leadership Council for Cultural Diversity, an initiative of the Australian Human Rights Commission. In addition, the firm has signed a cultural diversity commitment with members of the Managing Partners Diversity Initiative to improve cultural diversity in leadership.
Corrs has a strong and ongoing commitment to LGBTIQ+ inclusion amongst the firm’s people, clients and the broader community.
The firm’s [email protected] network aims to increase and support the inclusion of our LGBTIQ+ people and enhance our broader engagement with the LGBTIQ+ community. Membership of the network is open to all partners and staff, regardless of whether they are a member of the LGBTIQ+ community or allies.
The firm offers LGBTIQ+ awareness and ally training, undertakes pro bono advice and support for many LGBTIQ+ affiliated organisations, and has a Gender Transitioning Policy, reflecting its support for the transgender community.
Corrs is a member of Australia’s leading LGBTIQ+ employer organisation, Pride in Diversity, and a Gold Sponsor of Midsumma – Victoria’s premier LGBTIQ+ arts and cultural festival. It is also the first Australian law firm to become a member of Out Leadership, a coalition of global companies working together to drive LGBTIQ+ equality.
Corrs continues to be recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), and is committed to gender equality in the workplace, driving more diverse ideas and thinking, higher productivity and enhanced outcomes for clients.
Key policies and programs for achieving this include market-leading parental leave entitlements for all carers regardless of gender, such as payment of superannuation contributions during paid and unpaid parental leave and support during the transition to and from parental leave. Corrs offers senior female lawyers executive coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities; regularly provides school holiday care programs for working parents; and undertakes analysis and actions to address equity in pay, professional development opportunities and promotion.
Corrs CEO Gavin MacLaren is a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador and has also committed to the Panel Pledge – pledging to increase the visibility and contribution of women leaders in public and professional forums.
Corrs supports meaningful reconciliation with the indigenous peoples of Australia, and has formalised this commitment through our 2018-2020 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Corrs’ RAP aims to increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to participate in legal education and careers, while also developing our engagement with the wider Indigenous community. Corrs continues to push for progress on Indigenous inclusion and will launch its third RAP in 2021.
Corrs was one of 18 law firms to declare support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2019, recognising it as a historic mandate to create a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood and a next step towards reconciliation. We are members of Supply Nation, support the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program, and provide extensive pro bono legal work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities.
We’ve established flexibility as standard business practice and an option for all our people, including partners.
Our flexible work policy empowers individuals to fulfil their work and life responsibilities in a way that best suits them. Our continued focus on promoting formal and informal flexible work options has resulted in different types of work practices across the firm – from job sharing, to part-time work, to extended leave options.
From local schools to global organisations, we have a long and proud history of helping those in need.
As a graduate lawyer, you'll have the opportunity to contribute to pro bono matters. We perform around 20,000 hours of pro bono and volunteer work each year, helping those who need it most.
Corrs specifically provides pro bono legal services for disadvantaged individuals who might not otherwise have access to legal representation.
We are the principal legal partner for the United Nations Refugee Agency in Australia. Other organisations we work with and support as part of our pro bono and community program include Hagar Australia, Justice Connect, The Salvation Army, The Big Issue, Very Special Kids, Oxfam and more.
In Melbourne, our work with Justice Connect sees graduates helping people facing disadvantage who are ineligible for legal aid and cannot afford a lawyer. Our Melbourne office runs a Homeless Law Clinic at VACRO and our Workplace Relations Team provides assistance through the WestJustice Employment Law Service and the Fair Work Commission Workplace Advice Service.
In Sydney, our work with Justice Connect and the Homeless Persons Legal Clinics we run in Newtown and Bondi Beach sees graduates helping people facing disadvantage who are ineligible for legal aid and cannot afford a lawyer.
In Brisbane, Corrs provides pro bono legal advice to a wide range of charitable and not for profit organisations. In association with LawRight, Corrs runs the Refugee Civil Law Clinic at Multicultural Australia, which provides free legal advice and assistance to refugees, humanitarian entrants, asylum seekers and temporary protection visa holders. We also participate in LawRight’s Self Representation Service, providing free advice and assistance to self-represented parties in the civil jurisdictions of the Queensland Supreme and District Courts, and the Brisbane registry of the Federal Court. Corrs also provides a secondee to LawRight.
In Perth, Corrs provides legal representation and support services through our work with the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA; the Employment Law Centre, an independent, not for profit community legal centre specialising in employment law; and the Street Law Centre, a free outreach legal service for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in WA. For each of these, Corrs provides a secondee one day a week. The Perth office also supports Law Access by providing legal advice and administrative secondees sourced from our legal assistants.