Callum Hurley

Summer Clerk, Dentons Kensington Swan

My favourite experience so far has been attending client meetings with a partner and solicitor within my first month at the firm.” 

What kind of work have you been involved with at Dentons Kensington Swan? 

During my time at Dentons Kensington Swan I have worked as part of the Financial Markets team. The main thrust of my work pertained to a new legislative regime for financial advisers and assisting our team to advise our clients as to their obligations under the Act. 

The breadth of work I was able to be involved with is a highlight for me. I was able to work and support colleagues in areas like FinTech, Managed Investment Scheme regulation and Insurance Law. For any new graduate who wants to be exposed to a wide range of work, I would highly recommend a career in Financial Markets. 

What do you enjoy most about working at Dentons Kensington Swan?

For me, the exposure to genuine work and facetime with those operating at the highest levels of the legal profession was the best part of my experience at Dentons Kensington Swan. Coming in as a summer clerk there is a perception that new hires are there just to learn and a fear that one will not meaningfully contribute. My experience at Dentons Kensington Swan was the opposite of this perception. 

As a summer clerk I was offered as much real work as I had capacity for from all levels of my team. This meant working closely with solicitors, associates and often partners. Having exposure to top tier legal professionals conducting their work makes your learning curve increase exponentially in my opinion. 

What has been the most challenging part of working at Dentons Kensington Swan?    

The biggest challenge for me at Dentons Kensington Swan was to leave my preconceived notions at the door. Coming into a summer clerkship I had the idea that I would be expected to be working late and a corporate firm was a place that offered great learning with little fun. 

My experience was nothing of the sort. For me the urge to stay late and skip lunches in the first week or two of work was unnecessary. The environment at Dentons Kensington Swan truly encourages work/life balance making it a far less intimidating place to work than one may expect. 

What sets Dentons Kensington Swan apart from other firms? 

The support and access to training at Dentons Kensington Swan set it apart for me. The first week at the firm was marked by training in key concepts and firm systems. Moving forward, every piece of work was a learning experience with members of my team taking the time to review everything I was able to contribute to.  

The lessons learned in each review session has allowed my confidence in my work to skyrocket. Coming in as a summer clerk all you can hope for is to make new connections and become a better legal professional by learning. I can honestly say this has been my experience at Dentons Kensington Swan. 

What are the social opportunities like at Dentons Kensington Swan? 

Dentons Kensington Swan provides many great social activities which make it easy for new staff to connect with their peers. For those interested, social sports teams during both the winter and summer months are encouraged and are a great way to get to know your colleagues in a relaxed environment. The firm also offers biweekly ‘Friday Fives’ where staff can catch up and connect with all those spread across the firm’s working groups. Such activities serve to bolster the already social and welcoming environment at Dentons Kensington Swan. 

What has surprised you about working at Dentons Kensington Swan? 

The thing that surprised me most was my interactions with the firm’s partners. Within my first month at Dentons Kensington Swan I was able to attend client meetings with a partner. This trust from the partners at Dentons Kensington Swan makes the work we do so tangible and rewarding as it brings reality to the work. 

The partners in the Financial Markets team gave up their time to teach the summer clerks how to improve their legal skills in a non-confronting and supportive way. I think it is easy to have the perception of partners at commercial firms as so high above summer clerks that they will be too busy to see you. At all levels of my team from partners to new solicitors, everyone in the firm has positively contributed to my personal and professional growth and development. 

What has been your favourite experience at Dentons Kensington Swan? 

My favourite experience so far has been attending client meetings with a partner and solicitor within my first month at the firm. Being able to see how team members engage with clients in a professional yet assertive manner is truly impressive. Watching one of my partners navigate exchanges with clients in order to best serve a shared goal was extremely satisfying. This experience blew my expectations out of the water and provided a goal of where I would one day like my legal acumen to reach.  

What would your advise to students be who are wishing to apply to Dentons Kensington Swan? 

Don’t be intimidated. The entire process of applying, interviewing and eventually working at Dentons Kensington Swan is not nearly as scary as you might think. Dentons Kensington Swan is a firm that truly cares about who you are as a person and not just what you can do academically. Your interviews aren’t a test of your favourite cases or if you can remember that one contract lecture from two years ago. At this point in your legal journey, you have developed the base toolset to grow into a great professional. Being yourself goes a long way and Dentons Kensington Swan is a place to learn and grow should you choose to work here. 

You will gain from the exceptional opportunities to work with our quality lawyers who advise and represent clients both nationally and globally in all areas of commercial law”

About the firm

Dentons Kensington Swan, has the largest global reach of any law firm in New Zealand. We are a premier commercial law firm that is growing our talent and expertise. Our specialist industry knowledge benefits clients across key industry sectors, and we work at the forefront of these core areas of practice. Within these core areas, we have specialist teams of experts who are market leaders advising clients on highly complex legal challenges within their industry sector.

Working at the firm

Dentons Kensington Swan is committed to challenging the status quo and to delivering innovative solutions to our clients. We are confident about the future. We are ambitious for our clients and our people, including you. We want you to help us design and deliver tailored services, humanise the law and provide an unbeatable client experience.

You will gain from the exceptional opportunities to work with our quality lawyers who advise and represent clients both nationally and globally in all areas of commercial law. Our deep level of engagement with clients continues to attract work that not only requires excellent legal minds but an intimate understanding of clients’ needs.

Dentons Kensington Swan represents leading private and public sector organisations in New Zealand and internationally. The firm has an extensive pro bono programme and undertakes work for organisations such as Kiwis for Kiwi, the Auckland Theatre Company, and the Arts Foundation.

The firm encourages a good work/life balance by offering regular social and sporting events, a wellness programme, and flexible working arrangements. Dentons Kensington Swan’s international connections can be helpful in supporting the ambitions of a student who wishes to one-day travel or work offshore. Being part of the Dentons network provides our people with access to the extensive experience and talent of Dentons lawyers across the globe.

Opportunities for Students

Dentons Kensington Swan takes summer clerks from November through to February each year. Applications remain open all year, but we do have a focused recruitment drive in March, with interviews in April and May.

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Liam Johannesson