Why Clifford Chance?
You’ll join a leader in the field: Our firm reaches across five continents, where we have more top-ranked global practices than any other law firm. We are a single, fully integrated, international partnership who collaborate across borders, languages and legal systems.
We have a record of accomplishment stretching back over 200 years, and we are trusted by governments and the world’s pre-eminent organisations to advise on their most sensitive legal and business-critical issues. Our pioneering approach and insight means that time and time again, clients choose to come to us for our expertise.
As a trainee, it means you’ll get access to a truly global perspective, unmatched resources and get to work on the biggest deals with the most high-profile clients.
You’ll be part of a progressive environment: We are always looking forwards to the future, and seek to continually innovate and improve for ourselves, our people and our clients. Success and progress is built by having and appreciating a truly diverse range of perspectives.
We are committed to targets in gender balance, and have a number of support structures in place to promote ethnic diversity and social mobility. Our equality and inclusivity initiatives are award-winning, and in 2017, Stonewall ranked us fourth in the UK on its Workplace Equality Index.
By empowering our people, we empower ourselves. In choosing Clifford Chance, you’ll be guaranteed a supportive environment where you’ll be free to express yourself and feel part of our team.
You’ll be supported by great people: We believe in the power of teams over individuals. All of our most successful outcomes are drawn not from individuals, but from bringing together the right mix of knowledge and expertise.
Nobody works alone at Clifford Chance. Our teams are collaborative, which allows us to deliver a seamless, integrated service to our clients. Many of the challenges we work on are spread across several practice areas, meaning we combine skills from across our firm to succeed.
To be part of Clifford Chance is to be part of a global, yet close-knit community. Our down-to-earth and approachable attitude is a core part of our culture, and just as true for our people as it is for our clients.
You’ll enjoy the highest quality training: With our depth of resources and global reach, you can expect to receive some of the best and most comprehensive training in the legal sector. From the moment you start, you will have a dedicated supervisor and extensive support.
You’ll have access to the award-winning Clifford Chance Academy, our pioneering resource of innovative learning tools that will support you throughout your career, as well as courses taught by respected experts.
Our in-depth training, system of mentoring, and support for our trainees’ career aspirations all come together to explain why so many of our trainees stay and build their long-term careers with us.
You’ll be invested in as part of our future: To be at the forefront of the legal profession requires foresight, a desire to share ideas and a willingness to have a voice on issues of importance. We have the confidence to challenge existing thinking and to push boundaries.
We’re looking not only to deliver for our clients today, but for the decades to come. To do that, we build our practices and knowledge bases in the financial centres of the future.
Most of all, we hire and invest in the best talent to become part of our firm. Our trainees are our future, and we do everything in our power to ensure there’s no better home for the best talent than with us.
A day in the life of...
Oliver Carroll second-seat trainee
Departments to date: Litigation, TPE (incentives)
University:Oxford, St Anne's College
8.00am: I get up early to go to Clifford Chance's gym and swim a few lengths in the pool.
9.20am: I grab a quick breakfast from the in-house restaurant, and pick up a coffee from the deli.
9.30am: I get to my desk and check my emails to see what has come in overnight and what needs to be actioned today. I then check in with my supervisor and other members of my team. I look on our alerter for any regulatory developments that might affect a banking client. If there was anything they needed to know urgently I would write up a summary to send over.
10.00am: I attend the department's weekly knowledge meeting and give a presentation on recent case law developments. I also type up notes to distribute later.
11.00am: I draft changes to a trust deed for one of our clients, which I spent most of yesterday researching points of law for.
12.30pm: I meet some friends in Jubilee Park and grab some lunch from one of the many places around Canary Wharf.
1.15pm: I sit down with my supervisor to be briefed on a new share scheme that a mining company is due to launch worldwide. We need to contact 20 jurisdictions to get advice on legal issues, and I will be collecting the advice and turning it into a presentable form for the client. We are reaching out to some of our international offices, so I send out emails to colleagues in Hong Kong, Australia and Dubai to get the ball rolling and try to catch them before they finish work!
3.30pm: I review advice that has come in from external counsel in Monaco, and make a call to clarify some points on how our client can implement their restructuring and stay within local legal requirements.
4.00pm: I look at an investment agreement for a corporate deal to see what has changed since it was last circulated by our corporate team. I advise the trustee on the content of the changes and any issues they should be aware of.
5.30pm: I complete final changes to the trust deed I was working on earlier and send this off to our client before they finish for the day.
6.00pm: I head off to volunteer at a free legal advice centre for the evening. Clifford Chance supports a number of free legal advice projects in London, and I am able to give advice on debt, benefits and consumer rights issues to clients who cannot afford to pay for advice. I hold interviews with them and write up letters of advice afterwards.
8.00pm: I head home and answer some email queries on my work phone in the cab, and file emails. When I get in, I log in to submit my timesheets for the day.
Why did you choose this firm over any others?
For me it was the culture. Clifford Chance struck me as having one of the most diverse workforces of the global elite firms in London. The atmosphere is also friendly and supportive. When they say it’s an open-door firm, they mean it. During my training, I felt supported every step of the way. Things like this count for a lot. It means you’re willing to work that extra hour.
Best thing about the firm?
There’s a lot to be said for the people you work with at Clifford Chance. They’re experts in their fields and phenomenal people to boot. However, the best thing is probably the fact that as a trainee you get to work on innovative market-leading work day in and day out. No two projects are the same. For people like me who like to get stuck into something new on a regular basis, that has to be the most rewarding aspect about Clifford Chance.
Worst thing about the firm? The hours can be incredibly challenging, but it is in no small way made up for by the people who are working alongside you.
Acting for an intervening party in a pro bono case in the Supreme Court. We got an amazing result and it was amazing to play a big part in the preparation of the case.
When I had to miss a department party for a piece of urgent work that had come in. The nature of working in our sectors means that, try as you might, sometimes you have to sacrifice a few hours of your personal life for the job. It’s the nature of the beast.
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
About the firm
Address:10 Upper Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5JJ
Telephone: 020 7006 4005
Senior partner: Malcolm Sweeting
Managing partner: Matthew Layton
Total partners: 567
Other fee-earners: 6,025
Total trainees: 200
Other offices: Worldwide
Who we are: Clifford Chance is one of the world's pre-eminent global law firms. We offer expert advice to clients on all aspects of commercial law.
What we do: Finance, corporate, capital markets, real estate, litigation and dispute resolution and risk management, and tax, pensions and employment.
What we are looking for: Intellectual. Ambitious. Curious. Resilient. Commercially interested.
What you'll do:Two-year training contract with four six-month rotations. Three of the four seats must be in our core areas of finance, corporate and capital markets.
Perks: Benefits include free gym membership, pension scheme, on-site healthcare, private healthcare scheme, season ticket loan, cycle-to-work scheme, dental plan and more.
At Clifford Chance, we’re committed to creating a diverse workforce. We understand that it brings fresh perspectives and helps us serve our clients better. But above all, we want to ensure that our employees feel comfortable and confident in their ethnicity, sexuality, disability, gender and social background.
This isn’t just an aspiration to us; it’s something we actively work towards every day. In 2016, Clifford Chance won HR in Law’s Excellence in Equality and Inclusion award. This year, we were recognised by Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) as one of the top LGBT UK employers in 2017, ranking 4th out of 415.
We proudly attribute these awards to a number of our initiatives, one being the firm’s strong networks such as the LGBT+ and Allies Network, Arcus and our BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity) Committee. They provide an inclusive and integrated environment where our employees can be inspired, supported and encouraged.
Arcus runs numerous events to bring people together and raise awareness. Events include ‘Carnival at Clifford Chance’, which, amongst other events, help our employees learn more about subjects like intersectional identities and cultural awareness.
As well as our strong networks, we understand the importance of promoting diversity within recruitment. There are a number of targets we’re striving towards. For example, we want at least 30% of our partners to be women. This target has been key to driving important changes within career development, mentoring and training.
To help with our recruitment targets, we sponsor and partner with several different organisations. Our partnership with Rare Recruitment continues to add to Clifford Chance’s ethnically diverse culture. By being the first law firm to partner with National Student Pride in 2012, we have successfully increased our recruitment of those who identify as LGBT+.
We have long standing relationships with both Blind in Business and Open, an organisation that works with employers to raise awareness around disability. Each helped us make adjustments to our Graduate Recruitment and Development Teams, ensuring we’re on hand to help applicants and trainees in a tailored and sensitive manner.
Because we believe in providing opportunities based on merit, we’ve changed the way we recruit trainees. Our introduction of CV blind interviews and broader capture of socioeconomic background information means that social background is never a barrier to a successful career at Clifford Chance.
Thanks to our powerful internal networks, work with third party organisations and positive attitude, we’re making real progress here at Clifford Chance. With our strong record of inclusion behind us, diversity will continue to be a priority in every decision we make.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: up to 80
First year: £44,800
Second year: £50,500
Turnover in 2016: £1,386m (+3% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £1,229,000m (+10%)
Apply to: Online
When to Apply:
Training Contract: From 25 September 2017 to 3 January 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 3 January 2018.
Springboard Programme: By 3 January 2018.