Hayden Rayen
DLA Piper

Abigail Simpson

Corporate Law Clerk, DLA Piper

“What I love about working at DLA Piper is the full package – it is the legal work, the learning, the pro-bono work, the diversity and inclusion programmes and the people. “

What kind of work have you been involved with at DLA Piper?

I started as a summer clerk in 2021 and rotated through the Employment and Corporate team. I have since returned as a law clerk in mid-2022. I am now in a team that specialises in commercial contracts, construction, and competition matters but we also work within the wider Corporate team and contribute to M&A and corporate governance work. Despite the few months between my summer and law clerkship, when I re-joined, the team was still working on some of the same projects, and it was great to see them at a new stage.

DLA Piper has a large pro-bono focus, and everyone is encouraged to do regular pro-bono legal work for a variety of charities. I contribute to our work for the Refugee and Immigration Legal Advice Service who we help with applications to Immigration New Zealand for refugee family reunification.

What do you enjoy about working at DLA Piper?

I enjoy working for a firm that prioritises and shows an active commitment to diversity and inclusion programmes and community initiatives. The authenticity of this commitment is reflected in the great people who work here. As a member of DLA Piper’s LGBTTQIA+ committee, I recently helped review our policies and renew our Rainbow Tick accreditation. Education is a key part of the diversity and inclusion program with training on topics such as active allyship and breaking the bias, education on mental wellbeing or language classes for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. Another aspect of our diversity and inclusion programmes is celebrating occasions, such as Chinese New Year, Matariki and Diwali. We have also hosted a Pride Week quiz night, a MOVE-ember competition and the corporate challenge 5k run.
Alongside pro-bono work, we regularly fundraise for charities, a recent highlight of which was bidding on which partner would jump in Canteen’s Skydive for Charity.

What has been the most challenging part of working at DLA Piper?

For me, the most challenging thing was that it was my first time working in an office. Whether I was sending emails or doing legal work, everything was new. I found that DLA Piper really sets you up to succeed – everyone is assigned a buddy when they start, there are formal mentorship programmes and our open plan office makes it much less intimidating to ask for help.

What sets DLA Piper apart from other firms?

I think DLA Piper is unique in the way it balances being a global and local firm. We work closely with everyone in our Wellington and Auckland offices but also have colleagues in the global DLA Piper offices that are only an email away. We’re constantly working for both local and global clients, which really heightens the calibre and variety of work we do.

What are the social opportunities like at DLA Piper?

The social culture at DLA Piper is fantastic, particularly amongst juniors, so we don’t just go into the office to sit at our desks and work. Social opportunities usually involve sharing kai, whether we are popping out for a team coffee, chatting in the kitchen, or devouring the Friday morning tea. After shying away from the social summer touch league, I joined the winter social netball team. It quickly became the highlight of my week, especially when we came second in the league! I think the quality of social opportunities reflects the effort that DLA Piper puts into recruitment, community initiatives and facilitating events.

What has surprised you about working at DLA Piper?

I have been surprised by the scope of collaboration, with juniors often working directly with partners. I have learnt so much from their experience and the partners are always happy to stop to explain any tricky aspect of the task. I think this really shows that DLA Piper prioritises inclusion and learning opportunities for juniors.  

What has been your favourite experience at DLA Piper so far?

I have struggled to think of a single, particular experience that stands out and I think that is because what I love about working at DLA Piper is the full package – it is the legal work, the learning, the pro-bono work, the diversity and inclusion programmes and the people and social opportunities. It is far too hard to pick one!

What would your advice to students be who are wishing to apply to DLA Piper?

Focus on what makes you an individual. What makes DLA Piper a great place to work is that individuality is celebrated – the firm recognisee’s that the team succeeds when we harness each of our different backgrounds, personalities, and ways of thinking.

DLA Piper

“If you want to become a global lawyer you’ve come to the right place.”

About DLA Piper

DLA Piper is a global business law firm located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning us to help clients with their legal needs around the world.

We strive to be the leading global business law firm by delivering quality and value to our clients and contributing to the communities we operate in.  DLA Piper is a global powerhouse, consistently ranked in the top five most powerful law firm brands in the world. As the first global business law firm in New Zealand, we offer clients a unique competitive edge on local and international stages. 

Our clients range from some of the world’s most renowned global brands to the most influential businesses in New Zealand that are defining the future. 

One of our key differentiators is the ability to apply international thinking and experience to the work we do for all our clients, wherever they do business. Across every major sector and specialist practice, the firm provides pragmatic, commercially astute advice.

Webb Henderson is a genuinely close team, where successes are celebrated, challenges are supported, learning, feedback and growth is constant, people are well rewarded and every individual makes a meaningful difference to the culture and direction of the firm.

Working at the firm

We are a values driven business, and everything we do is connected with our People, our Clients and our Communities, we live by these values:  

  • Be Supportive – we care about others, value diversity and act thoughtfully
  • Be Collaborative – we give, we share and we join in
  • Be Bold – we stand tall and challenge ourselves to think big
  • Be Exceptional – we exceed standards and expectations 

Diversity and inclusion underpins how we live our values and everything we do. We believe that everyone has a voice, and that everyone’s voice counts. We are committed to providing an inclusive working environment and culture across our firm where everyone can bring their authentic self to work. We welcome the unique contribution that each person brings to our firm which is why over a third of our people are active in one of our five D&I committees. Our people own our D&I journey.  

Our commitment to pro bono is unparalleled and engrained in our culture. Our approach to pro bono is consistent with our vision to be “truly local, truly global” and we have a strong pro bono practice that is appropriate to the local circumstances and cultures in which we work. We work with individuals and organisations that could not otherwise afford counsel, providing advice across a wide range of specialisms and geographies.   

DLA Piper strives to also be a leader in environmental sustainability. We undertake initiatives to reduce our own operational environmental impact and we believe that our greatest contribution to a sustainable environment is the advice and support we provide to our clients – both in managing their own environmental impacts and assessing and responding to climate – related risks and opportunities. 

Opportunities for Students

The whole legal industry is changing. The old establishment is gone, and there’s a new establishment in town. It’s an exciting and dynamic future, which we at DLA Piper are leading.  

It’s a new business world, with new client needs. Clients want more than legal advice; they want strategic business advisers that cross borders and geographies. They want global insights with local savvy. And so do we.  DLA Piper is a firm built for this rapidly globalising world, and we’re looking for people to join us on this mission. We’re looking for people who see the world differently, who listen to clients, and who solve their problems, not just give advice. Being well read is good, but being able to read the room is great. We’re looking for people to help make business better for our clients.  

We offer a handful of sought-after summer clerk and law clerk openings in New Zealand. This means you will experience a first-class journey, with full participation in real work. Partners and senior lawyers will support you with genuine help and encouragement. Applications are open to students in their penultimate or final year at university.  

You will be truly contributing to the team and wider teams you become involved with. We have opportunities in our Summer and Law Clerkships, to rotate through two teams in different practices. Our Summer Clerkship generally starts in November, whereas Law Clerks start in late January through to February. At the end of the Summer Clerkship, there is potential for a permanent placement with the Firm. 

We do not look for any specific subjects when recruiting, but seek commercially minded students, who have gained a broad platform of understanding from their studies.   

For more information visit: https://www.dlapiper.com/nzgrads.

Environmental, Social and Governance

For some years, the firm has been focused on mitigating its impact on the environment and proactively supporting a variety of socially responsible initiatives. Examples include:

  • Becoming a Toitū Carbon Zero Certified Organisation in 2019;
  • Being signatories to the NZLS Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy and extending the policy to apply to the engagement of all lawyers (as opposed to barristers only) which the firm regularly does as a specialist, rather than full service firm;
  • The firm’s lawyers supporting a mentoring programme for University of Auckland law students with limited exposure to the legal industry;
  • Actively participating in the TupuToa internship programme for Maori and Pacific law students;
    Volunteering for Eat My Lunch, Ronald McDonald House, and for Variety – the Children’s Charity projects;
  • Supporting a number of charitable appeals and events each year (Love Grace Handbag appeal, Te Wiki o te Reo Maori etc); and
  • Undertaking a range of pro-bono legal engagements, where the firm’s experience and expertise can make a real difference.

Location: Auckland, Wellington

Areas of Expertise: Global business law firm providing full services in corporate, employment, finance, intellectual property, technology, international trade, regulatory, government affairs, litigation, arbitration, investigations, projects, infrastructure, real estate, restructuring and tax. DLA Piper are sector experts in financial services, government, hospitality and leisure, insurance, life sciences, media, sport, entertainment, real estate, retail, and technology.

Contact: Holly Allison, Senior HR Advisor, holly.allison@dlapiper.com

Real Estate Solicitor

Sundaresh Thangavelu