“I’ve been blown away by the depth of exposure and the amount of opportunities to learn and develop my skillset while here at DC. Pairing this invaluable experience with an amazing culture and work/life balance; I can honestly say that I really enjoy working here, and it has been the perfect start to my legal career. ”
Where do you work now?
I work in the commercial team at Duncan Cotterill’s Auckland Office.
What career steps have you taken to get to this point?
I started my working life when I was 16 at the Pak n save Deli. Once I reached university I moved up to filling shelves at Kmart while also working as a swimming coach, which provided me with a wealth of time management and ‘soft skills’. In the middle of my degree I was the lead tutor of a large tutoring agency, and in the last two years of my degree I was a paralegal at a growing litigation firm, Wotton Kearney. I studied law and commerce, majoring in finance.
What kind of work have you been involved with at Duncan Cotterill?
I have been extremely fortunate to be given the opportunity in my graduate year to rotate through three large teams in the Auckland office. I initially thought litigation was for me, but after having thoroughly enjoyed commercial, I realized where my passion truly lied. I also found employment to be a really amazing experience and it’s something I hope to return to in the future.
Since being in the commercial team, I have been involved in a number of small to large corporate transactions. I’ve also been exposed to some interesting I.P. in the medical field, as well as having the option to dip my toes into property/transaction work, private client estates and trusts. I’ve also been fortunate to maintain connections across the firm and pick up some work from the commercial litigation team by assisting with liquidation proceedings.
What do you enjoy about working at Duncan Cotterill?
I really enjoy the culture at DC, everyone is eager to help you learn and support you while you settle into your groove. I’ve never felt like I didn’t have a lifeline if I needed one, and I’ve found a great balance between being pushed out of my comfort zone but also being supported whenever I needed assistance. The partners are extremely supporting and understanding of what it’s like to be a grad and the learning curve that is expected with being a newcomer. The work is also extremely variable and I get a great taste of all aspects of commercial law.
What has been the most challenging part of working at Duncan Cotterill?
The most challenging part probably comes from the variety of work you’re exposed to, which although keeps things interesting, it can be difficult to keep up with everything you need to know. I stretched myself very thin at one stage, picking up some liquidation work which had some very acute deadlines, but with the support of the team I managed to get everything accomplished, which was a huge achievement!
What is unique about working at Duncan Cotterill?
DC prides itself on its culture, and given the depth of personalities from all the different teams, not to mention all the different offices, you get to enjoy an amazing depth of connections. New faces pop in and out the office throughout the year and all the social events have been a blast so far! The variety of exposure is also hard to match, given the size of our full-service firm.
What is the social life like at Duncan Cotterill?
As a member of the social club at DC, I can say that there are plenty of opportunities for anyone at DC to get involved in extracurricular activities, whether its painting, tennis, pottery, a night out, mid and end of year parties, there really is so much to do here at DC. Also, coffee-catch ups are encouraged for juniors and their buddies, which is always a great way to maintain a social life in the firm. The work life balance is pretty amazing!
Did anything surprise you while working at Duncan Cotterill?
I was surprised by the supportiveness of all my seniors, I’ve never experienced a lack of patience or understanding and I’ve always been treated with the utmost trust and respect. What has been most beneficial to my development is the countless pieces of feedback I have received. I usually receive feedback before I’ve even thought to ask for it, such is the supportive team atmosphere here at DC.
What has been your favourite experience at Duncan Cotterill?
My favorite experiences are the moments where I really stepped out of my comfort zone. Apart from accomplishing some big tasks under time pressure, my favorite experience so far has probably been hosting the social awards at the end of year Xmas party! It was very nerve-wracking to present and crack jokes in front of the entire firm, but it’s an experience that leaves a smile on my face.
What is your advice to other students who would like to work with Duncan Cotterill ?
You really need to be your genuine self in the interview process. Relax, smile and just have a conversation. Be ready to explain what makes you who you are, what you’re passionate about and what values are. You should also read up on DC and what we’ve been up to, what we do and what we’re about, because it’s great when you can demonstrate that you’re actually interested in working here, not just any law firm. In terms of getting an interview, I recommend getting as much depth in your CV as possible and demonstrate your passions and interests generally, strong academics are always a trump, but if you are really involved in pro-bono community work, you have (particularly legal) work experience and anything else to point to that you’re well rounded, it all really helps getting your foot in the door.
About the firm
Duncan Cotterill has grown to become one of the leading law firms in New Zealand. We have achieved this because as a firm we are very clear about where we are heading and what we want to achieve. We have a strong set of values, and we are totally committed to working alongside our clients to help them achieve their goals.
Like you, we take opportunities when they arise. It’s this enterprising attitude that’s led us to set up and grow offices in five distinct markets. It’s helped us to build an energetic, diverse and collegial partnership. And it’s what’s attracted enterprising people and organisations to work with us … time after time.
Working at the company
Duncan Cotterill is a full service law firm with offices in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Queenstown. We employ 300+ people, and have 49 partners nationwide. It is our enterprising attitude that has led us to set up and grow offices in four distinct markets. It’s also helped us build an energetic, diverse and collegial partnership. It is what has attracted innovative people and organisations to work with us.
As a summer clerk or graduate, you’ll gain insight into what it’s like working for a forward-thinking law firm by working alongside our lawyers and partners from day one. We will expose you to a variety of challenging work and our diverse clients from the beginning. You will also contribute to pro bono work that draws on the firm’s knowledge and expertise to benefit charities, people, local communities, and organisations that align with our core values. We relish the enthusiasm and fresh viewpoints that summer clerks and graduates bring to our firm’s culture. We are large enough to offer our graduates a diverse range of work across different specialties but nimble enough to give them exposure to partners, senior lawyers, and clients. We offer support for your professional study (at graduate level) and ongoing training and development in an inclusive and supportive work environment.
We live and breathe our values at Duncan Cotterill; He Tangata, Enterprising, Excellence and Authenticity. We value your career. We’ll welcome your fresh ideas, include you as part of our client team from day one, and celebrate your success along the way.
Opportunities for students
We offer a number of summer clerk and graduate opportunities each year across our 5 offices reaching from Auckland to Queenstown. Our summer clerk programme runs from November to February, and our graduates join the firm in March.
We invest a lot of time in making sure our graduates and summer clerks have a rewarding experience and are given the tools they need to become excellent lawyers. Therefore, we are very proud of our achievement and being listed as winners of the Law category for the Grad New Zealand Top 100 Graduate Employers list for 2021 and 2022.
What to expect as a summer clerk or graduate:
- Regular partner interaction and feedback
- Challenging and interesting work opportunities, including early interaction with clients
- Multiple levels of support from peers, colleagues, partners and other professionals
- Training and development
- Buddy and mentor programme
- Great professional support networks
- Competitive remuneration
- Great culture
- Pro bono and community involvement opportunities
Location: Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Queenstown
Areas of Expertise: Duncan Cotterill has grown to become one of the leading law firms in New Zealand, servicing all areas of law.
Staff: 49 partners, 306 employees
Contact: Kat Malloch, firstname.lastname@example.org
Insurance litigation matters.