Careers in Private Sector

Find information on employment opportunities with large, mid-sized and boutique law firms.

There are many different types of law firms that offer a variety of opportunities to work with different clients and markets.

Large national and international firms tend to focus on corporate clients, while mid-sized and boutique firms offer specialised practice in a number of areas such as plaintiff law, niche family and criminal law firms and general practice.

Private practice can incorporate many areas including corporations law, commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, tax, banking and finance, property law, and many others.

Working at a large law firm

Large firms are able to offer a range of specialised services which allows the opportunity to work with larger clients and markets. They often cater to larger clients who are leaders in their respective industries.

These firms are typically organised under partners, who jointly own the firms, and associates who are employees in the practice without any ownership of the practice. Associates often replace the existing partners. Graduates who enter these firms can expect to remain associates for around 5 to 10 years before being offered a partnership.

Working at a smaller firm or boutique law firm

Boutique and smaller law firms typically specialise in a niche area or operate at a smaller scale than large firms. These firms can often provide graduates with greater opportunities for direct contact with senior partners given the smaller environment and a diverse range of work.


Students interested in private practice can apply for clerkship and traineeship positions. These roles tend to be predominantly based in commercial law firms, although some non-commercial firms do offer clerkships. For information about the process, and for a copy of the guidelines, visit the Law Institute of Victoria Traineeship and Seasonal Clerkship page. Some firms also offer first-year programs, so if this is a career path you are exploring, keep an eye out for these opportunities.