Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Clyde & Co

The Lex 100 verdict on Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co has ‘market-leading insurance and shipping practices’ and an ‘excellent reputation for contentious work’. The ‘ambitious’ international firm ‘has demonstrated years of strong growth’ which impressed trainees no end. Recruits really enjoy ‘working on exciting matters which are frequently in the news’. For some respondents, the ‘positive culture’ of Clyde & Co became apparent on the Lex 100 Winner-worthy vacation scheme. Four more gongs have been awarded for living up to expectations, approachability of supervisors, confidence of being kept on and work/life balance. Elaborating on the latter, one trainee commented ‘we are routinely encouraged to log off and enjoy our evening’. Praise abounded for the ‘very helpful and supportive colleagues’ who make clear that ‘they appreciate the work we do’. One gripe is the pay, which some trainees consider to be lower than similar international City firms. Whilst a good work/life balance and clear career trajectory make up for this in part, ‘given the high-profile image Clyde likes to convey, the salary could be higher’. The IT systems and the ‘responsiveness of IT support during the pandemic’ were also criticised, although respondents were reassured that this is now being improved. ‘Taking an attendance note on a call with eight insurers where I had no idea who was talking when’, ‘spending hours on billing tasks’ and ‘a full day of complex electronic bundling’ were trainees’ worst moments. Thankfully, ‘working on a large case which was in the headlines because it went to the Supreme Court’ and ‘undertaking research which was reiterated in a client meeting’ made trainees feel on top of the world. For a ‘dispute-oriented firm’ where ‘everyone is willing to give up their time to help others’, consider Clyde & Co.

The firm: Clyde & Co is a leading, sector-focused global law firm with 440 partners, 1,800 lawyers, 2,500 legal professionals and over 4,000 staff in over 50 offices and associated offices worldwide. The firm specialises in the sectors that move, build and power our connected world and the insurance that underpins it, namely: transport, infrastructure, energy, trade and commodities, and insurance.

With a strong focus on developed and emerging markets, the firm has achieved compound average annual revenue growth of 15% over the last ten years, making it one of the fastest growing law firms in the world with ambitious plans for further growth. This can be seen through the addition of five new offices this year in Munich, Vancouver, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas. Against a backdrop of continued volatility in its core sectors, these results demonstrate the resilience of the business and its balance across sectors and geographies.

The clients: Chubb; AXA XL; Willis; Deloitte; AkzoNobel; ED&F Man; QBE; Liberty Specialty Markets; Aviva; Zurich.

The deals: Advised private equity firm Adenia Partners on its 100% acquisition of Africa Biosystems Limited (ABL), a leading distributor of life sciences and clinical diagnostics equipment in East Africa; successfully advised and represented Credit Suisse in a significant case before the DIFC Court of Appeal.

A day in the life of... Kahema Mungili, trainee, Clyde & Co

Kahema Mungili, Clyde & Co

Departments to date: Property and cyber liability (first seat), Projects and construction (current seat), Energy, marine and natural resources (third seat)

University: University of Surrey

Degree: Law with International Politics, 2(1)

6.00am: I get my day started early by having breakfast and working out in the gym before I start work. This works out quite well for me if any work or social commitments unexpectedly pop up in the evening.

9.00am: I’ll normally make it back to my desk by 9.00am if I’m working from home, whereas if I’m going into the office I’ll usually cut my gym time to ensure I start by 9.30am. The first thing I do is check my notepad to see my to-do list prepared the night before. I’ll then check my emails to see if I received anything so that I can reorganise, update and tackle my to-do list.

9.30am: Today, the projects team has a weekly catch-up. These catch-ups are useful, especially during the start of my seat as they made me feel part of the team. The call is very relaxed and normally involves everyone giving an insight into what they’ve been up to inside and outside work. On today’s call, I mostly spent time talking about the trainee yoga and HiiT classes I’ve been attending as well as my preferred locations for house-hunting.

10.00am: I get started on a drafting exercise for a private finance initiative scheme. The project requires that various documents be drafted on behalf of our client in the education sector. The task involves researching Companies House, reviewing the existing project documents from the scheme, and inputting new information into the board minutes, directors’ certificates, operating contract and guarantee letters. PFI schemes often involve several documents so my job also involves keeping a tracker document up to date to highlight the status of each document and the signatories to it.

12.00pm: I send an email to the associate with the draft documents and various comments so that she can understand how I approached the drafting exercise. I then move on to a research task for one of our contractor clients. The client would like to know more information about various environment agencies and whether their project will be affected by any regulatory action. I also draft a summary of my findings so that this can be inserted in the advice note to the client.

1.00pm: I attend our ACED network’s monthly meeting where we discuss D&I initiatives that we should undertake for the coming months and share our feedback and ideas.

2.00pm: I have some lunch which I prepare at the start of the week as part of my meal prep; this normally allows me to have some extra time during lunch if I’m working from home (as I don’t spend most of it cooking) to either go for a walk, catch up on personal emails or catch up with some colleagues over MS Teams.

2.45pm: I receive an email from an associate asking if I’m able to assist with a trial bundle exercise. The task involves searching, downloading and preparing trial bundles for court. The trial involves a large commercial dispute relating to an EPC contract. As a result, there are a large volume of documents that were disclosed by all parties, so this task requires all the trainees to assist, particularly because trial starts within the next couple of weeks.

5.45pm: I send the draft trial bundles over to the associate with all the documents I have located; my email also contains various observations and queries which require clarification from the associate.

6.00pm: I take some time to update my trainee diary with some of the tasks that I have carried out over the last few weeks. Filling this out is part of a trainee’s SRA obligations and it’s also a great way to keep track of work for appraisals and eventually qualification. Once this is done, I check all my time recording has been posted and log off.

About the firm

Senior partner: Carolena Gordon

Other offices: Over 50 offices and associated offices globally across six continents.

Who we are: Clyde & Co is a leading, sector-focused global law firm with 440 partners and 4,000 staff in over 50 offices and associated offices worldwide. The firm specialises in the sectors that move, build and power our connected world and the insurance that underpins it, namely: transport, infrastructure, energy, trade and commodities, and insurance. With a strong focus on developed and emerging markets, the firm has been one of the fastest growing law firms in the world with ambitious plans for further growth. We view diversity and inclusion as critical to the international nature of our business and have created a working environment where people from different backgrounds can flourish. We run a number of vacation schemes in our London and Manchester offices each year, during which students join us for two weeks and learn about the firm and how the law is applied to our core sectors. We also run Bright Futures – a nine-month programme aimed at first-year law and second-year non-law students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds – and insight days during which students join us for a day in the office to gain insight into the culture and work of the firm.

What we’re looking for: The firm is looking for candidates with strong commercial acumen, with a practical approach to problem-solving and who are able to demonstrate a real interest in the firm.

What you’ll do: Our training programme allows you to develop personally and professionally to reach your full potential. You will be given responsibility from day one with early access to high-quality work across a variety of sectors and practice areas. You will be supported on your journey by expert lawyers, with close supervision throughout.

With access to a comprehensive training curriculum our programme provides: an in-depth understanding of our business with a three-week Early Careers Induction; flexible and tailored seat allocation process; international and client secondment opportunities available; complete up to three contentious seats as part of your training; support networks including mentoring, resilience workshops and trainee ambassador programme.

Perks: Private medical insurance (including dental insurance and health checks); pension scheme; gym subsidy; cycle to work scheme; holiday purchase; season ticket loan.

Sponsorship: GDL: £8,000 grant (London), £7,000 grant (Manchester) + fee sponsorship. LPC: £8,000 grant (London) £7,000 grant (Manchester) + fee sponsorship.

Diversity and inclusion

The firm wishes to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce that is fully representative of the communities and rich cultures in which we live and work. This requires us to promote and share an inclusive culture for all our employees, where everyone feels respected and has the opportunity to contribute to the success of the business. We have a range of internal D&I networks including:

  • GECCO – Gender Equality at Clyde & Co
  • ACED – Achieving Ethnic and Cultural Diversity
  • Wellness & Disability
  • Pryde – our LGBT+ network

To learn more about our networks, the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and our policies, please go to our dedicated D&I page: