K&L Gates Graduate Programs & Internships

K&L Gates is a global commercial law firm operating at the intersection of globalisation, innovation, and regulation to deliver legal solutions for clients facing an increasingly complex global marketplace.

We have approximately 2000 lawyers across five continents. Within Australia, we have lawyers located in 4 offices: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The firm practices law on an integrated basis and has one of the largest integrated network of offices of any global law fir…

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About us

K&L Gates is a global commercial law firm operating at the intersection of globalisation, innovation, and regulation to deliver legal solutions for clients facing an increasingly complex global marketplace.

We have approximately 2000 lawyers across five continents. Within Australia, we have lawyers located in 4 offices: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The firm practices law on an integrated basis and has one of the largest integrated network of offices of any global law firm.  The firm has 45 offices located on five continents: Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Doha, Dubai, Fort Worth, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles,  Melbourne, Miami, Milan, Munich, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris,  Perth, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington and Wilmington.

With a presence in Australia's leading financial and commercial centres, K&L Gates represents leading global corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organisations and individuals.

We are leading legal advisors relating to industries critical to the economies of both the developed and developing worlds – technology, manufacturing, energy, transportation, telecommunications, financial services, and life sciences, among others.

With the extraordinary inbound investment into Australia from Asia, especially from China, and 4 of Australia's 5 largest trading partners – China, Japan, Korea, and India – located in the region, the firm has the resources on the ground to handle the most sophisticated legal requirements. Over each of the last five years our revenues exceeded $1 Billion.

At K&L Gates, we have 9 key practice areas:

  • Corporate & Transactional
  • Energy, Infrastructure and Resources
  • Finance
  • Financial Services
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labour, Employment and Workplace Safety
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Policy & Regulatory
  • Real Estate

Watch how you can really grow your career at K&L Gates

Your graduate program

Our graduate program runs for 12 months and is designed to give you the technical expertise and commercial context to succeed. Throughout the year you will complete three practice group rotations. You will have the ongoing support of a buddy, supervisor and mentor. Partners and senior lawyers will support and guide you through each rotation and support your career development. Your buddy, a junior lawyer, will help you transition into your new role.

Your professional development program runs weekly. It combines Practical Legal Training (delivered in-house by the College of Law) with sessions presented by partners, lawyers, external presenters and our professional development team.

Our program delivers skill development in 2 key areas – fundamental legal abilities and professional legal skills which incorporate:

  • legal technical skills (analysis and judgment);
  • client service (client and business knowledge, networking); and
  • personal effectiveness (communication, work ethic, motivation and maturity).

Why choose us?

Choosing a career at K&L Gates is choosing to be a part of a progressive and innovative law firm that continues to grow year on year. We work with market leaders across many industries in a range of exciting areas of commercial law.

We offer you the experience of more than 2,000 lawyers in fully-integrated offices across five continents. We have a one-company, one-team mentality, constantly seeking ways to add value to our clients and your career objectives.

We look to recruit talented people, then provide the opportunities and support for them to achieve their best. Join us and you will join a team of passionate professionals dedicated to providing exceptional client service.

Quality of work and clients

We attract high quality work, which provides you with the opportunity to work with some of the largest companies and market leaders. Our mix of clients and specialist practice areas gives our people career opportunities across the full spectrum of commercial law.

Opportunities to learn while developing your career

We are dedicated to helping you achieve your best. From day one, you will be professionally challenged in a collegial, team based environment where every person's effort matters.

Regardless of whether you are commencing or advancing your career, you will enjoy exposure to high quality work. You can also rest assured that the firm will support your development through opportunities like on the job training, a comprehensive professional development program, further education support and secondment opportunities. We view your development as an investment in the firm's future success. At K&L Gates, you will be coached by talented leaders and lawyers who genuinely care about your professional development and well-being.

A unique culture

We offer a wide range of social, sporting and networking activities you can choose to be involved in. Our commitment to corporate social responsibility and pro bono work also allows you to give back to the wider community. 

As a firm, we are committed to assisting women advance their careers, ensuring they have every opportunity that could and should be afforded to them. Since 2012 we have been awarded an EOWA "Employer of Choice for Women"/WGEA "Employer of Choice for Gender Equality" citation, which requires meeting stringent criteria to qualify for this prestigious award.

We do work hard, it comes with the nature of the industry, but we genuinely strive to strike a balance.

Life at K&L Gates


Our values, people, places and practices, underpin our culture. We operate in a collegial atmosphere where you will feel valued and your contribution recognised and rewarded. Informality and approachability are key aspects of our culture and teamwork is actively fostered.

You will have the opportunity to be involved in many activities offered by the firm. We provide forums for input and involvement to encourage networking and knowledge sharing for the development of our people.

Our sports program, social club activities, firm events and celebrations are a great way to build internal networks and become involved in the K&L Gates community.

We keep our people informed and in the know about firm opportunities and successes, allowing everyone to actively participate in our firm.


We know our people contribute to our success, so we make sure we take good care of them. Here are a few ways we support our people:

  • Corporate discount arrangements made with well-known product and service providers.
  • Employee Assistance Program – a confidential external professional counselling service.
  • Flexible work arrangements – including part time, job share, flexible hours, working from home, career break    and purchased annual leave.
  • Parental leave –14 weeks paid leave for primary carers. In addition to paid leave, we offer additional programs and support for our working parents.
  • Further education support.
  • Salary continuance insurance.
  • Salary packaging options.
  • A wellbeing program designed to help you keep fit and healthy.
  • Sports initiatives to enable you to join in a variety of corporate events from fun runs to team events.

Giving Back

Making a difference in our community is important to us and we provide you with a variety of opportunities to get involved.

  • Global Day of Service – The goal of our annual Global Day of Service Program is to help foster and strengthen connections across the firm’s global platform and promote, recognise, and celebrate our commitment to community service around the world. Each year a different theme is selected, and in 2017 the theme was "Small Acts Transform the World. We had our partners and staff from each of the firm’s offices worldwide volunteering with more than 70 community organisations and charities.
  • Workplace and people – Our Make a Difference program allows you to donate your time or money to our charity partners throughout the year.
  • Pro bono – our relationships with a number of not-for-profit organisations means you can get involved in pro bono work.

Want to know more about what it's like to work at K&L Gates? Let us show you!

What do we look for?

We believe in hiring individuals who will become a part of our collaborative, committed and diverse team, so it is important to us that you can demonstrate this in an interview. You should provide us with an understanding of our firm and why you want to be a part of it.

Solid academic results are important but to be a successful lawyer you need to demonstrate talent and skill in a variety of areas. You need to be able to demonstrate in your application commerciality, logic and attention to detail, as well as an enthusiasm for delivering exceptional service. More specifically, to be successful at K&L Gates you will have:

  • Leadership experience: You’re a self-starter committed to personal and professional development. And you’ve demonstrated initiative, tenacity and potential.
  • Curiosity: You’re a strategic thinker who solves problems creatively.
  • Maturity: You possess sound judgment and have excellent people skills. You’re confident and professional.
  • Passion: You must be dynamic, enthusiastic and excited about our firm.
  • First class communication skills: You possess the ability to speak and write clearly and intelligently.
  • Attributes of a team player: You’re approachable, adaptable to a variety of situations and enjoy participating in group activities. You’re a good listener, and you’re always willing to share thoughts and ideas.

We want to see that you are able to demonstrate all of this, but most importantly, we want you to be yourself!

Our hiring process

Campus Visits & Careers Fairs

You may have the opportunity to meet members of the K&L Gates team on campus or at careers fairs. This is a great opportunity to find out more about the firm and our clerkship program.

Your Application

Eligibility is determined by the relevant state regulations/guidelines. Your application should include a detailed cover letter, official academic transcript and a complete online application. Successful applicants for interview will be notified by telephone or email. If you are not successful you will be notified via cvMail.

Your Interviews

You will participate in two rounds of interviews with a combination of Partners/Senior Associates and HR team members.


Successful candidates will be made offers verbally in accordance with relevant state regulations/guidelines. You will also receive a letter of offer in the mail.

Click here for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Q Can I submit my application outside of the application dates?

A We are unable to accept applications outside of the official dates as stipulated by the relevant state regulations/guidelines.

Can I post/email/fax my summer clerkship application?

A All applications must be submitted online via cvMail.

I am an international student, am I still eligible to apply?

A Due to immigration regulations, we will be unable to provide visa sponsorship to Graduates. Therefore, we are no longer able to accept applications from students that would not have the right to work in Australia as a Graduate.

I am in my final year or recent graduate, am I still eligible to apply?

A Whilst our summer clerkship program is aimed at penultimate year students. we do accept applications from final year students and recent graduates. If you did not apply for a summer clerkship during your penultimate year we would want to understand your reasons behind this decision.

I am in my third year, am I still eligible to apply?

A Whilst our summer clerkship program is aimed at penultimate year students, we appreciate that students take up a number of opportunities during their university career and may not be available during the summer of their penultimate year. If you are in your third year please specify why you are applying for a summer clerkship prior to your penultimate year.

I don’t have my most recent transcript, can I still apply?

A We understand that not all universities release their results prior to summer clerkship applications closing. You are able to submit your application without your most recent academic transcript. However, we will be unable to fully assess your application without your academic transcript, so do require one as soon as possible.

I don’t have any paralegal/legal experience, can I still apply?

A Prior legal experience is not a requirement for our clerkship program. Your application should focus on what you have learned and skills and knowledge you have acquired through the other experiences you have gained, whether that be through other employment, volunteering or life in general and how this will apply to your legal career.

Who should I address my cover letter to?

A Melbourne – Mark Enright
   Perth – Sophie Birdsall
   Sydney – Gemma Oldman

Where can I find information about the clerkship program in Brisbane?

A We do not currently run a clerkship program in our Brisbane office, we directly recruit graduates into our Brisbane office.

How many clerks do you take?

A Our clerkship intake is based upon business needs.

I have been invited to an interview. Who will I be interviewing with?

A You will participate in two rounds of interviews with a combination of Partners/Senior Associates and HR team members.

Can I do a part time/shorter clerkship?

A Please let us know early in the process if you need to do a part time/shorter clerkship due to other commitments. Any amendment to the clerkship timetable will be on a case by case basis.

Will I receive feedback during the clerkship?

A On the job feedback is provided throughout the clerkship and a performance review meeting with your supervisor and HR occurs at the end of each rotation to provide constructive feedback and to assist in your learning and development.

Do you have any open days?

A We do not have any open days. We take part in a number of university events in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney where you have the opportunity to meet us.

Do you have winter clerkships?

A Our Melbourne office offers a winter clerkship as well as a summer clerkship. We only run summer clerkship programs in our Perth and Sydney offices.

Do you have a separate graduate recruitment program?

A We directly recruit graduates into our Brisbane office.  Please refer to the Graduates section of our website for key dates. Our graduates for our Melbourne, Perth and Sydney offices are usually recruited from our previous seasonal clerks. However, from time to time opportunities might arise.

When do we hire?

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