Megan Leijh

Summer Clerk, Bell Gully

“Being able to witness how the Partners and solicitors engaged with clients made me appreciate the skills of the people at the firm. I also felt incredibly involved and valued in the process despite me being a Summer clerk.” 

What kind of work have you been involved in at your firm? 

At Bell Gully I rotated through three teams. They were Corporate, Media IP Litigation and Competition (Antitrust) law. In each rotation I worked under solicitors, senior solicitor and partners. The work was predominantly research based and the team at Bell Gully wanted to make sure I was given a range of tasks so I could better understand each team and what sets them all part. I also went along to various client meetings.

What do you enjoy most about working at Bell Gully?   

I enjoyed seeing the senior lawyers at Bell Gully work fluidly in their fast-paced environment. I was impressed by their ability to explain complex legal issues and structures to people with all levels of understanding and experience. It was very humbling to accompany the senior lawyers to meetings and see them shift their skill set and discuss their work at a more personal level to their clients who they have built strong relationships with. Seeing them operate different settings really solidified in my mind that I am working with some of the brightest legal minds in the country.

What has been the most challenging part of working at Bell Gully?    

The greatest challenge I faced was having to change from a Uni schedule where I have complete control over my day, to a working environment. However, within a couple weeks I soon adapted, and it made me realise how productive I can be with my day.

What sets Bell Gully apart from other firms? 

Bell Gully is a firm that makes you feel comfortable yet challenged at the same time. I felt like I could approach everyone at the firm and they would always make time for me. Bell Gully is also people focussed. There is a strong focus on building relationships and every team I rotated through encouraged me to strive for excellence.

What are the social opportunities like at Bell Gully? 

There were many excellent social opportunities at Bell Gully. The firm themselves organised great social opportunities and the clerk group were also committed to making the most of the summer. I had the opportunity to attend a number of Christmas functions with the various teams I rotated through. Most Friday nights also consisted of some activity organised by the Summer clerks which were always enjoyable. 

What has surprised you about working at Bell Gully? 

There are no legal robots at Bell Gully. Everyone is very unique and in my experience Bell Gully do a great job at selecting people with a range of different interests and hobbies. It makes for a great office environment and a collegial working style.

What has been your favourite experience at Bell Gully so far? 

Attending client meetings was my favourite experience at Bell Gully. Being able to witness how the Partners and solicitors engaged with clients made me appreciate the skills of the people at the firm. I also felt incredibly involved and valued in the process despite me being a Summer clerk.

What would your advice to students be who are wishing to apply to Bell Gully? 

Be yourself. You will only be doing yourself a disservice if you try to put on a façade to anyone at Bell Gully. All things going well, you will be working with these people every day and in that case they will figure out your character soon enough. Everyone at the firm has a value to contribute to the team, and all contributions are embraced and celebrated. Good luck!

“We constantly invest in our culture and create an environment where our people feel comfortable and can give their best. The firm implements work-life policies to provide greater flexibility and to assist staff to achieve balance and manage their responsibilities at home and at work.” 

About the firm

Bell Gully work with many leading New Zealand and international companies, including Air New Zealand, AMP, ANZ, ASB, Auckland Transport, Contact Energy, Crown Infrastructure Partners, Danone, First Sentier Investors, Fletcher Building, Frucor Beverages, Genesis Energy, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, PwC, SkyCity, Stride Property, Waikato-Tainui, Vodafone and Xero.

We pride ourselves on having an inclusive and supportive environment for young lawyers. Over recent years, the firm has been recognised for its commitment to our people. This includes:

  • ​Being voted among the top 30 New Zealand graduate employers​ in GradNewZealand’s 2020 student survey.
  • Obtaining and sustaining the Rainbow Tick, for demonstration of our strong commitment to ensuring inclusion and support of the LGBT community. Proudly received in 2016 and maintained to date.
  • Winning “Employer of Choice” at the 2019 New Zealand Law Awards.
  • Receiving an award at the 2019 NZ UN Women’s Empowerment Principles White Camellia Awards for our work to promote education, training and professional development opportunities for women. Bell Gully also received White Camellia awards in 2014 and 2015

Working at the firm

Bell Gully is committed to the development of its people. Each year the firm offers a range of learning and development programmes which cover leadership, management, communication skills and the very latest legal developments.

Bell Gully has a formal pro bono and community programme, with an annual budget of NZ$1 million for pro bono work. We partner with a wide range of valuable organisations including community law centres, Auckland/Wellington city missions, KidsCan, Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, and Safer Homes in New Zealand Every Day (SHINE). Our lawyers have the opportunity to work alongside some of these organisations as a part of this programme.

Our culture defines us and remains a core part of the firm’s identity. We constantly invest in our culture and create an environment where our people feel comfortable and can give their best. The firm implements work-life policies to provide greater flexibility and to assist staff to achieve balance and manage their responsibilities at home and at work. We have a ‘dress for your day’ clothing policy which allows staff to manage their own professional dress code based on their schedule.

The firm also provides a Wellness Programme which includes seminars on health and wellness, regular events organised by our sports and social committees and our annual Wellbeing Week. We also provide subsidised healthcare insurance and a fitness subsidy to our staff.

We host many events throughout the year that allow staff to get to know their colleagues and develop stronger connections. These range from team lunches, through to the mid- year ball, the annual family Christmas party and end of year Christmas function.

Opportunities for Students

The Bell Gully Summer Clerk Programme is run each summer from mid-November through to mid-February at both Bell Gully’s Auckland and Wellington offices. Students can apply to summer clerk at the end of their third of fourth year. The programme provides students with:

  • the opportunity to work in three of Bell Gully’s legal departments, matched with one of our partners or senior associates in each, with real work for real clients,
  • support from your buddies, your teams and HR throughout the programme, as well as regular formal feedback to help you get the most of your summer,
  • work with our pro bono clients through the programme’s Community Days,
  • access to Bell Gully’s learning resources and inclusion in the Bell Gully Leadership programme,
  • the opportunity to work with amazing people and forge friendships that will last through your career.

Location: Auckland, Wellington
Areas of Specialisation: Full service law firm consistently recognised as a leading New Zealand legal adviser in a number of independent international legal directories. Bell Gully has market-leading expertise in a wide array of areas including corporate, commercial, litigation, financial services, tax, real estate and projects.
Staff: 45 partners and 170+ other legal staff
Contact: Lisa Green (HR Advisor), lisa.green@bellgully.com (AKL)

Corporate Lawyer

Ravi Maharaj