Graduate Program

Graduate Program

Engaging today’s law students to create tomorrow’s leaders

Cornwalls recognises the important role the graduate program has to offer our firm. The Graduate program has been the entry point for many of our current partners, and it provides law graduates with a real experience: an opportunity to grow into a great lawyer, working alongside some of the best lawyers in town.

Our trainees will acquire real skills demanded from the very best lawyers. As a graduate, you will spend time in several different areas of practice, gaining valuable experience in client service, file management, time management, drafting and problem solving.

When a law graduate joins the firm, they will:


Be part of the culture

Immerse themselves into law firm life, be part of a great culture.


Receive Structured Induction

Undertake Cornwalls structured induction program.


Participate in training

Be encouraged to actively participate in relevant training sessions.


Supportive work environment

Through a supportive and inclusive work environment, the graduate will be allocated a buddy and mentor to guide them through their time at the firm.


Participate in social events

Be encouraged to engage in firm wide organised social events, allowing them to have fun.


Participate in rotations

Gaining experience in different practice areas helps law graduates make an informed decision about which area they want to practice in.

What we look for

We look for well-rounded graduates with:

  • varied life experiences, including previous work experience (legal and/or non-legal) as well as outside interests
  • a personable, engaging and driven approach
  • a strong and consistent academics record, and an involvement in extra-curricular activities
  • excellent communications skills, including language and interpersonal skills
  • a creative mind and a passion for technology and innovative
  • an understanding of the changing legal landscape.

Seasonal clerkship program (Melbourne only)

Each year in Melbourne, we offer a seasonal clerkship program that coincides with the summer university semester break. Our seasonal clerkship program gives law students the opportunity to experience life at Cornwalls.

Our program includes :

  • A four week placement
  • A structured induction program
  • Exposure to real work on real files – this may include drafting correspondence and documents, observing lawyers in meetings, conferences, mediations or at court, and undertaking research tasks.
  • An extensive support network, including an allocated mentor and buddy for guidance and support
  • Participation in practice group training sessions, practical workshops and law graduate development sessions
  • An opportunity to build your networks through meeting various partners and lawyers

After completing your clerkship with the firm, you will have the opportunity to express interest in being considered for a graduate role within the firm.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a clerk at Cornwalls. I clerked through the Project Services and Tax Team. I completed a range of diverse tasks including researching various aspects of Limited Partnerships and Australian Venture Capital Fund of Funds, filling out various forms for the filing and lodging of a caveat, obtaining mortgagee’s consent, and liaising with the ATO. Overall, what stood out to me most about Cornwalls was the people. Everyone was so kind, accommodating and always willing to have a chat about any questions that I had. I learned a lot, and have made friendships for life throughout my time at the firm!

Kristin P, 2022

My Cornwalls clerkship was an invaluable opportunity to gain insight into the legal profession. I truly enjoyed every part of my experience with the firm; the ability to rotate through two practice groups, the positive learning and guidance from the varied work and senior lawyers, and the people-focused culture. Above all, the emphasis on team morale and camaraderie shone through and led to many genuine connections with people at Cornwalls. There were so many highlights during the clerkship that I greatly appreciate, and I definitely would recommend applying to Cornwalls for a worthwhile and complete clerkship experience.

Francesco B, 2022

Within the first half an hour of my time spent at Cornwalls, I experienced the welcoming and supportive nature of the firm. I rotated in the Corporate team and then in the Banking & Finance team, for two weeks each. In both teams, I was given challenging and interesting work and learned a lot. I was trusted with real legal work, which I valued, and this enabled me to learn by applying my studies to significant practical scenarios such as complex company restructures and million dollar loans.  I was appreciative of the wide variety of work I was able to undertake as it exposed me to many different areas of the law.

During the clerkship, I was supported by practice group leaders and my buddy, who helped when I had questions or assist with tasks that I had never completed before. Cornwalls invests in its people by recognising them as assets. It has fostered an extremely strong culture, which is why it is such a fun, friendly and respectful environment to work in. Plus, the new office is one of a kind!

Louisa S, 2022

Seasonal clerkship key dates

Seasonal Clerkships opportunities for our Melbourne office will open soon. The program will run from 18 November 2024 to 20 December 2024.

New applications for clerkships will be accepted as follows:

Applications open – Monday 1 July 2024

Applications close – Sunday 11 August 2024

Offers made – Wednesday 16 October 2024

Applicants are required to submit a covering letter, CV and academic transcript to

For further information, contact Talent & Culture at

Further enquiries can be directed to the relevant office below.



Legal Traineeship Tips

Hot tips for trainees by trainees

  • Employ a positive, ‘can do’ attitude: be open to learning, challenging yourself and being of assistance to your team and the firm – regardless of whether you have completed the requested task before. If you try your best and ask considered questions, everyone is always willing to help and guide you. After all, we are trainees for a reason!
  • Be autonomous: being able to take instruction and work on matters and tasks in a self-sufficient way allows you to grow and learn exponentially; and gives you the courage needed to harness leadership on your own tasks – even as a trainee lawyer.
  • Be innovative: lawyers like to see you think! Don’t just follow instructions you are given blindly: think laterally. Ask the who, what, when, where and why questions!
  • Willing to work in a team: this ensures growth in being able to communicate effectively to people with different thought patterns to you, to learn from others who are more experienced, and offers an opportunity to showcase what you as a trainee are learning.
  • Forward thinking: key elements to being a lateral-thinking and business-minded lawyer are: thinking about the next step regarding your task; how you can positively influence the firm; and being conscious of the ever-changing legal and commercial field.
  • Learn from your mistakes: accept that mistakes/errors will be made, but ensure that you make time to learn from them and grow from constructive feedback.
  • Be proactive: seek out feedback and if you do not understand a task, employ research and analytical skills before asking lawyers!
  • Organise your inbox: a general yet effective tip to ensure that when someone asks for an email or work you have done, you can efficiently navigate all tasks and correspondence! Saves time and shows that you are organised and reliable!
  • Get to know your colleagues: getting to know colleagues on a more personal level, as well as a professional level. After all, we spend so many hours together that it’s nice to have conversations centred outside work!
  • Zen time: ensuring that your weekends are fun (of course), but more importantly, giving yourself downtime to ensure that you are refreshed for the week to come. There was a reason why everyone used to tell us to enjoy the short lecture hours during university!
  • Take your note pad EVERYWHERE: you don’t know whether a coffee introduction will turn into an opportunity to jot down some great tips and experiences; and you don’t know who you will bump into around the office. Chances are, though, they have a wealth of knowledge and will not hesitate to share with it you.
  • Get involved: attend as many training, networking and social events at work to develop and familiarise yourself with the workplace, colleagues, and core values and practices of the firm.
  • Smile: a smile and ‘hello’ goes a long way. Although we are the new kids on the block, being respectful and well mannered has allowed us to start conversations with lawyers and staff from different practice groups and different floors.
  • Ask questions! Be a sponge and take it all in