So what is Springboard?
At its core, it’s a scheme aimed at first-year students (or second years on a four-year degree) that allows them to spend five days with Clifford Chance and gain an insider’s view of what the firm is like.
So far, so expected, you might think. Several law firms now operate schemes for first-year students (although typically these only take the form of ‘Insight’ programmes lasting one or two days).
What makes Springboard unique is what it might lead to. Perform well on the scheme and you could find yourself being offered a training contract in a matter of weeks – before your summer holidays are even over.
To put that into perspective, that’s a full year before most students even start applying for their training contracts. Hence the name Springboard – the scheme effectively allows you to ‘spring ahead’
of the competition.
Sense of security
The benefit of securing a training contract so early becomes readily apparent when talking to students. Ffion Williams, a law student at Edinburgh University, gained a training contract through Springboard in 2016. ‘I know that I am set until 2022, when I will finish the training contract,’ she says. ‘This means I can now relax and concentrate on my studies. I have always enjoyed having structure and a plan, so it’s very reassuring to know that my future is secured.’
Indeed, Clifford Chance goes out of its way to welcome in the intake from Springboard. Secure a training contract and you’ll be matched up with a trainee buddy to ensure you’re connected with the firm throughout the rest of your time at university.
Springboard: At a glance
- Five days’ paid work experience
- Takes place June/July
- Open to law and non-law students
- Includes trip to Paris office
- Best performers offered training contract
Not just for law students
You might be tempted to think Springboard would only be available for law students. However, that’s not the case: students from any degree can apply. In fact, over a third of Springboard participants in 2016 came from a non-law background.
One thing is certain: whatever your degree, you shouldn’t expect the scheme to be an easy route into Clifford Chance. The recruitment team is keen to stress that the firm only hires the best and that the selection process is rigorous.
Content rich and immersive
Springboard is exceptional in other ways too. The scheme is paid and one of the most content-rich programmes of its kind. There are practice area talks, socials with everyone from trainees to partners, a visit to the firm’s Paris office, work-shadowing opportunities in departments and careers workshops.
Put simply, it has been designed to be an intensive work experience – one that immerses you in the world of Clifford Chance and gives you a real insight into what life at a top law firm is like.
What to expect
During the five-day scheme you’ll experience an intensive schedule of classroom-based activity, a day spent shadowing Clifford Chance lawyers in a practice area, and a trip to the firm’s office in Paris so you can see its global network in practice.
The content will include presentations on the firm’s practice areas, case studies, and seminars to develop your legal knowledge and commercial awareness. There will be various networking opportunities where you will meet representatives from all levels within the firm. You’ll receive a £350 per week salary too. After the scheme, the best candidates will be invited to apply for a place on a bespoke Springboard training contract assessment day in August.
If you’re successful in securing an offer of a training contract, you will be paired with a trainee buddy to maintain contact with the firm throughout the rest of your time at university. You won’t have to accept the offer immediately. Those who secure an offer of a place have until 15 September in their final year of study to formally accept their place.
First-year students (and students from other years) can get a valuable insight into Clifford Chance through one of the firm’s open days. These offer the chance to meet with Clifford Chance trainees, lawyers, partners, and the graduate recruitment team who will go through tips around how to make the best application.
The firm will hold several open days at its Canary Wharf offices from October 2017 to January 2018. There are 45 places available at each and contributions towards travel expenses are included.
Applications open on 25 September 2017. For more information and to apply, visit https://careers.cliffordchance.com/london/what-we-offer/work-experience/first-year-springboard.html.
‘I asked trainees what challenges the firm would face in the next five years. Their answers gave me lots to think about. Likewise, partners gave us detailed overviews of the firm’s main practice areas and gave us a real insight into clients and transactions.’ (Hephzibah Adeosun – law student, Cambridge University).
‘At one point, a partner took us aside and told us to ask him absolutely anything. Some people asked him how much he earned, others asked about work-life balance and so on. All of our questions were answered – and everyone was open. I found the practice area insight talks – where different teams would give us talks and then network with us afterwards – particularly useful. The visit to Paris was also fascinating and fun.’ (Adam Hunter – law student, Bristol University).
Clifford Chance LLP
Clifford Chance is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms. With a global reach and thousands of lawyers working from dozens of offices around the world, the firm offers expert advice to clients on all aspects of commercial law.
The firm works with multinationals, governments and regulatory bodies across five continents. Many of its deals are newsworthy. Often they demand the kind of knowledge that only international, cross-practice teams can provide.