Clifford Chance IGNITE: a law tech training contract

Clifford Chance IGNITE: a law tech training contract

First came a Tech Academy, an online portal through which employees can access support, guidance and development tools that focus on technology. Then a partnership with Lexoo, a law tech company, was launched for future trainees with an interest in, and aptitude for, technology. Now, those with a dual interest in law and technology have hit the jackpot with Clifford Chance’s (CC) law tech training contract, IGNITE.

That’s right, having to decide between a career in technology or law is now a thing of the past, because with IGNITE, trainees complete the necessary training required to qualify as a solicitor, whilst also gaining expertise in technology, related products and their application in the legal industry. This puts the trainees (and the firm) in a great position to deal with the technological changes and advances that continue to revolutionize the industry.

What will it be like?
On the whole, IGNITE will mirror the structure of a traditional training contract – four seats, all six months in duration, culminating in an offer to join one of CC’s six practice areas. The key difference however, is that trainees on the IGNITE programme will have time away from fee-earning tasks (in one or two seats) to devote to developing their knowledge of technology and how it applies to legal practice and client matters. They will work with the firm’s Best Delivery team members, tech advisors and other staff on live projects. They’ll also get to interact with clients to provide solutions to the challenges they face. ‘IGNITE trainees will play a pivotal role in increasing the value we add to our clients. They will use tech solutions to improve our provision of legal services in ways I can’t yet imagine’ said Laura Yeates, Head of Graduate Talent.

Why’s it been created?
Clifford Chance’s law tech training contract is the first of its kind in the industry and forms part of the firm’s long-term strategy to become the global law firm of choice. The training programme was created to address the increasing need for lawyers to be well equipped to deal with the tech-related issues faced by clients and, in addition, be in a position to provide suggestions on how workplace practices can be improved with digital innovations. Michael Bates, the firm’s regional managing partner, explained further that: ‘We know we must continually challenge ourselves to guide our clients through game-changing opportunities and risks, both now and into the future. Law tech is changing the face of our industry and we want to be at the forefront of that change. We’re committed to driving a culture that embraces digital thinking across each of our practice areas and we hope that these trainees will go to make significant change in their practice areas upon qualifying’.

Who is it for?
As far as who the ideal candidate for IGNITE is, there really is no set list of characteristics that CC is looking for. The firm is open to applications from individuals from a variety of degree disciplines and experiences. All that is a definite (and reasonable!) requirement is an interest in law and technology. You can be a computer science student or a graduate of biochemical engineering, be studying for a PhD in physics or be a non-law student/graduate that’s developed an app or learnt how to code on weekends. So long as you’ve got a genuine interest in law tech and believe you have skills that could be of benefit to the firm, the IGNITE training contract is open to you.

What else should I know?
In line with the firm’s tech-related offerings, CC has organised an open day specifically for STEM students. INTERFACE will be a day-long event on 29 November designed to give attendees an idea of what Clifford Chance is doing in the broader sphere of STEM-related activity, and naturally, there will be a focus on technology as part of that. Yeates urges those interested in applying for IGNITE to attend the INTERFACE open day prior to submitting their application, ‘that way they have really researched [how Clifford Chance is engaging with technology], and have gained the information and support that they probably need to make a great application’. For those unable to attend INTERFACE, CC will be at various campus events running sessions on law tech and discussing the various opportunities available to STEM students at the firm.

How do I apply?
To apply to attend INTERFACE and/or for the IGNITE training contact, click here.

Click here to view the IGNITE video.