Applications for Summer Clerks - open midday 7 March 2024

We're looking for outstanding summer clerks in their penultimate year of study to work on top commercial dispute and public law work for some of New Zealand's leading businesses over the 2024 - 2025 summer.

Wilson Harle is recognised as a leading New Zealand dispute resolution practice by multiple international directories, as well as being awarded Litigation and Dispute Resolution Firm of the Year at the NZ Law Awards in successive recent years. Our speciality is commercial litigation which we practice across many areas of law and commerce so your work with us will be varied and interesting. For example, you could be working on defamation cases, public and regulatory law, maritime law, competition law, contract disputes, negligence and complex criminal cases.

At Wilson Harle, you’ll be working directly alongside the partners who have appeared as counsel in the High Court and Court of Appeal, as well as the Supreme Court of New Zealand and the Privy Council.

We’re passionate about our work and about developing New Zealand’s next top litigation lawyers. Our lawyers are exposed to a wide variety of challenging legal work, enabling them to learn quickly. Enjoy one-on-one mentoring and training in a collegial and collaborative environment.

We are looking for people who exhibit the following characteristics which we think will enable them to develop into excellent litigators:

  • a desire to build a successful career in litigation practice
  • enthusiasm for working collaboratively
  • strong intellect and intellectual curiosity
  • willingness to learn, including about yourself
  • integrity, courage and resilience
  • confidence to express ideas and ability to communicate them clearly and convincingly
  • capacity and desire to form quality and lasting relationships

To apply please forward (preferably as one PDF document) a covering letter, CV and academic transcript preferably to:

[email protected] 

Applications open midday 7 March 2024 and close 9am Tuesday 2 April 2024.

N.B.  Only applications from students currently in their penultimate (2nd to last) year of study will be considered for summer clerk positions. Our summer clerks are immediately immersed in legal work and we believe students require as much time as possible at law school to enable them to manage and enjoy the real work experience in our firm.

Testimonials from our Summer Clerks:

Felicity Lewis 2023 -2024 summer clerk,

"I had an excellent experience summer clerking at Wilson Harle. Everybody was warm and welcoming, and as a smaller firm, I got to know everyone over the summer. Junior solicitors all the way up to the partners were generous with their time, encouraging questions and curiosity. 

From the first week, I felt integrated into both the social fabric of the firm and my work responsibilities. Wilson Harle was intentional about giving a broad range of tasks, with a good balance of support and freedom to find the answer on my own. The work itself was stimulating and I learnt a great deal every day. I particularly enjoyed seeing the tangible results of some work I contributed to, by attending a High Court hearing.

The experience far exceeded my expectations and left me excited about my future in the legal profession".

George Easton 2021 - 2022 summer clerk,

"I’d describe Wilson Harle as being one big team, as there aren’t individual teams per se. Matters are usually dealt with in smaller groups led by a partner.  This structure is great because it means there’s a variety of different matters to work on at any one time, and there’s opportunities to work with all of the team. Everyone is aware and caught up with what everyone is working on. 

I really enjoy the diverse nature of work that lands on your desk. The breadth of issues that we deal with is quite surprising, and I can be working on a number of areas of law throughout any given day. Some of these areas are ones in which I have no previous knowledge, so I’ve had a few crash courses – this means I have learnt an immense amount and gained a lot of practical experience.

Also, I love the collegial atmosphere. Everybody has been really friendly and supportive from day one, and keen to involve the clerks in what is happening in the firm. Due to Wilson Harle’s size, the clerks are fully integrated into ‘firm life’ and get to know everyone well.

I think that Wilson Harle’s point of difference is the trust and confidence which is placed in the summer clerks. Starting work here is a bit like jumping into the deep end. It’s a great challenge, but there’s no shortage of support. I think this demonstrates the belief the firm has in our abilities. It has definitely made me feel like a valued member of the team, and I’m really grateful to have my summer clerking experience at Wilson Harle."

Hazel, Summer Clerk during 2019 – 2020 summer

"Wilson Harle specialises in commercial litigation. Unlike larger firms, we do not have numerous separate teams. The main perk of litigation is the diverse range of disputes that will come across your desk. It’s not unusual to work on a contract claim in the morning and a trusts dispute by the evening! I found this to be incredibly rewarding because I was able to work in a range of different areas of law over the course of my summer, without necessarily having to limit myself to the “Employment Team” or the “Resource Management Team”. We all work as one big team and you get assigned tasks depending on the cases that require immediate attention.

My main concern about a summer clerkship was that I would not get exposed to any “real” work. However, Wilson Harle invested a lot of time and energy into ensuring my summer clerkship was building my skillset. My legal research skills have developed rapidly and I have had the opportunity to research matters that needed to be addressed urgently. It gave me a sense of empowerment to know my research could potentially end up in a letter of advice to a client the very next day! Further, I have really enjoyed the smaller, tight knit environment at Wilson Harle. There is no feeling of being “just-another-summer-clerk”! Everyone at the office makes a valuable contribution everyday and I have found this to be the most rewarding part of my clerkship.

Unlike larger firms, there is no sense of strict hierarchy at Wilson Harle. We all work collaboratively and from day one, you are expected to work alongside the partners. This is a challenging but rewarding experience. You get the opportunity to work with most of the partners during your short clerkship and this is an accurate reflection of how the firm operates generally. As a summer clerk you won’t be restricted to a handful of solicitors and one partner, you get to learn from everyone and the instant feedback and support you receive sets Wilson Harle miles apart from other firms."

Jugjeet, Summer Clerk during 2019 – 2020 summer

"My summer at Wilson Harle surpassed all my (high) expectations. The people were wonderful, the work was varied, complex and high profile, and the culture within the firm was supportive, progressive and operates under a “one team” philosophy. From my first day I was entrusted to research challenging legal points. Every time I was given a new task, the supervising partner or solicitor would take the time to explain the ins and outs of the matter to me. After finishing researching a point of law, they would be genuinely interested in my professional opinion. Aside from the interesting work, there were many fun social events throughout the summer.

Wilson Harle’s recruitment process is rigorous and highly selective. Rather than being one of 20, Wilson Harle recruits only one or two summer clerks. This meant I was conducting real legal work from the first day and was included in all aspects of the firm. This is exemplified by the fact that on my second day I was invited to go with the firm to the New Zealand Law Awards. There, I was able to see Wilson Harle win, for the fifth year in a row, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Specialist Firm of the Year. It was at that moment that I knew I was not going to be treated as “just another summer clerk”, rather I was a valued member of the firm."