Summer Law Clerks Reflect on Their Experience
McCaw Lewis Summer Law Clerks Danielle Robinson and Jana Stokes recently got to reflect on their time with us for the Waikato University Law Students’ Association Clerkship Report. Danielle and Jana started with the firm in November 2021. Here's what they had to say:
The slogan “Good People. Great Lawyers” really does say it all. McCaw Lewis boasts over 100 years in the Waikato. As a commercial firm, it offers a comprehensive range of legal services. Over the summer we were fortunate enough to have a place in the firm. As summer clerks we were placed in the overall “CPA – Commercial, Asset Planning and Property” team.
The clerkship could be summed up as a process of learning and discerning. You are not expected to know things. What matters is your willingness to learn and improve. Our senior lawyers struck a good balance between hand-holding and throwing us in the deep end. We were often sat down and given the context and purpose of the work we were about to do – purely for our own learning. We were challenged to think analytically and research when we were unsure – encouraging personal development, problem-solving and legal research skills. Everyone says it. We will say it. You learn more in a 3 months summer clerkship than your entire time at Law School.
In terms of work, we would often be tasked with drafting documents – for example, Wills, Trust documents and various kinds of letters. We did work for various types of clients – individuals, estates, companies and Trusts. Research questions popped up that required investigation. Client meetings required a note taker or signature witness. Work also flowed through from other teams; we could be found beavering away at a case summary for the Dispute Resolution team. Whether it was calling the Councils or summarising a new Supreme Court case there was always something new to learn.
While staff are assigned to specific teams, you can clearly see that McCaw is one big team – everyone helping one another out. With an open plan office and friendly people you could rock on up to any member of staff. With very little hierarchical barriers, Directors were approachable. Almost always, they would be willing to answer a question or talk something through – on many occasions going above and beyond.
For two people that love food we were not complaining about the delicious food that just seemed to keep on coming. We have certainly had to up our gym sessions in order to combat the delicious pastries, fruit, savouries, scones and the famous cinnamon scrolls we have devoured over the summer.
McCaw has a meaningful and obvious people-focused culture. We have walked away from this summer having had a blast and having made some great friends. While being a great lawyer is important, McCaw really shows you that being a good person is as, if not more, important.
We have been continually impressed with the work ethic and standard of work from both Danielle and Jana. Thank you both for all your work this summer.
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