Litigation Graduate Program Overview
Aptum’s graduate program is a one-year program based in our Melbourne office, commencing Wednesday 14 February.
It's all litigation, no rotations
Aptum is a specialist commercial and tax disputes resolution firm. Litigation is all we do. We’re looking for people who are interested in litigation as a career. And we want to teach you everything there is to know about it.
So instead of rotations, we give you exposure to our entire practice. You will work across both commercial and tax disputes, in a range of different teams, learning from some of the industry’s leading litigation practitioners.
Be involved in complex disputes
Aptum works on large scale, complex commercial and tax disputes, originating both in Australia and overseas, operating primarily in the Federal and Supreme Courts.
Here are some examples of matters we worked on in 2022:
- Acted for Vincenzo Tesoriero, accused of involvement in an alleged conspiracy with Bill Papas and Forum Finance which saw more than 100 allegedly fraudulent transactions extract over $340 million from Media: ‘Westpac claims Bill Papas and Vincenzo Tesoriero planned Forum Finance fraud’ (The Australian)
- Advising Asian Gas Partners on the freezing of payments due to be made to foreign entities relating to a gas project in Papua New Guinea that is the subject of a US-based dispute. Media: ‘Santos freeze bid as PNG LNG scandal returns’ (The Australian)
- Advising taxpayers on the defence of recovery action by the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation for director penalty liabilities of AUD $10.5M arising from a fraudulent GST scheme.
In your first year, you will…
As a graduate you can expect to be meaningfully involved in any piece of litigation we are engaged in.
Aptum has a dedicated team of project managers who execute the administrative tasks associated with litigation, providing space for lawyers to perform substantive legal work.
In Aptum’s graduate program, you can expect to be afforded opportunities in litigation like no other graduate at your level.
You will develop competence and confidence as a litigator because of the quality of work that you will be doing.
Here are some of the things you may expect to do throughout your first year:
- Drafting affidavits
- Assisting with drafting pleadings
- Assisting with drafting defences
- Organising and attending client conferences
- Reviewing client documents and providing initial advice
- Obtaining FOI documents from the ATO in order to advise clients on their potential defences
- Attending hearings in the Supreme Court, Federal Court and AAT
- Drafting briefs to counsel
- Working with counsel on collating and analysing evidence
- Conducting strategic legal research on niche points of law
- Having the opportunity to take a lead execution role on smaller matters, being the main contact for clients in such matters
- Working closely with our directors
Mentorship from industry-leading litigators
At Aptum, you will be mentored by some of the most recognised litigators in the industry. Not just occupy the same office space.
Mentorship is a crucial part of our graduate program, and we recognise the significant value this can have at the beginning of your career and beyond.
Our Managing Director, Nigel Evans, spent 11 years at the Victorian Bar before founding Aptum. Nigel is listed as a Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Lawyer by Doyles Guide and has been named as a Finalist for Litigation Partner of the Year at the 2023 & 2021 Partner of the Year Awards.
Our Practice Lead (Tax Disputes), Tuan Van Le, has been the Executive Director of the ATO’s litigation department and a Judicial Registrar of the Federal Court of Australia. Tuan has been included in the 2023 & 2024 editions of The Best Lawyers in Australia for the practice areas of Tax Law & Litigation, and has been selected by Who’s Who Legal’s independent research with clients and peers for recognition in Corporate Tax.
You will work closely with our directors and practice leads, though your mentorship will extend more broadly across the team. We ensure you are involved in a variety of project teams with different people to learn from.
Professional development a priority, not a checkbox
We don’t expect you to be up and running straight away. Litigation is challenging and we acknowledge and recognise the need for ongoing learning, especially in an early-career setting.
Your induction at Aptum won’t just be a day or a week. We will train you all year. Your Practical Legal Training (PLT) will be fully supported by Aptum.
One way we facilitate ongoing learning is by designing the project teams for each new matter based on the professional development needs of individuals. We want you to experience a range of matters across different industries and areas of law.
Our entire team participates in weekly, internal Learning & Development sessions where we cover a breadth of topics. Some of these sessions involve developing your legal skills, whereas others will focus on non-legal skills to support your overall growth as a professional.
Diversity and inclusion
Aptum was founded by Nigel and Marita Evans, who share the belief that a diverse team enriches perspectives, creativity and problem-solving abilities, and creates a more welcoming space to work.
Our executive team is 40% female, 60% male. Our broader team is 53% female, 47% male. We continue to strive for diversity across our team and in positions of leadership.
We recognise that diversity is not only reflected by gender, and we value and respect differences in backgrounds, experiences and preferences.
In our graduate program, we do not prioritise applicants from particular universities.
At Aptum, we understand the challenges of working in the legal field – the intellectual and emotional demands can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve gone above and beyond to create a Wellbeing Program that genuinely supports you.
Developed in collaboration with a seasoned practitioner boasting over two decades of experience in health and wellbeing, our program is designed to ensure you don’t just survive, but thrive.
Aptum partners with a wellbeing consultant with expertise in Chinese medicine, breathwork coaching, meditation, and yoga – bringing a unique blend of practices to support our entire team’s wellbeing.
As part of our commitment to supporting staff, Aptum also has an Employee Assistance Program partnership with Relationship Matters.
Relationship Matters enables employees to access free and confidential counselling services to help deal with issues that are impacting on you at work – regardless of whether those issues originate at work or in your personal life.
Prioritise your wellbeing with Aptum and experience a truly supportive work environment. Because at Aptum, your wellbeing is our priority.
A work environment unlike traditional firms
At Aptum we believe in creating an environment that allows lawyers to do their best work. We work hard to create an environment and set of practices that reduces workplace anxiety, gives everyone a voice, and fosters a community of connected people.
That means we don’t measure performance based on time and we don’t expect people to be constantly available.
We want to create an environment that is sustainable for lawyers. We have a flat structure where everyone can connect and ask for help. We give our lawyers the permission to be autonomous (but not at the expense of appropriate support). We encourage you to get into states of flow with uninterrupted periods of deep, focused work. And we want you to have a work life balance.
We recognise that these things help you be a better professional.
"I get the sense that the work I'm working on is far more substantive, far more involved, than what my peers are doing elsewhere."
– Josh Baravelli, Associate
“[Aptum] is the only workplace that I’ve been in that truly values autonomy. There’s no one looking over your shoulder, no one micromanaging you, you are 100% trusted for your work.”
– Yan Liu, Law Graduate
How to apply
To apply, please provide your CV, academic transcript and a one-page summary or short (one-minute) video with some topline information about yourself by following the link below.
For any questions about our Graduate Program or the recruitment process, please contact Marita Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for the 2024 Graduate Program close on COB Friday 10 November. We encourage early submissions as we will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis.
Note for Recruitment Agencies:
Aptum does not accept unsolicited agency resumes. Please do not forward resumes to any of the email addresses available on our website. Aptum will not accept liability for any fees related to unsolicited resumes. Should you wish to present a candidate please contact our office directly.