September 27, 2023
Want an up-close and personal view of what a law career could look like? Clifford Chance’s award-winning SPARK programme delivers it. More than that, SPARK is a unique opportunity to secure a Training Contract early on in your university career. 

Clifford Chance’s SPARK Programme

The big news this year is that SPARK has been developed from a one-week internship into a two-year programme that offers a far deeper insight into our work and the chance to develop your legal knowledge, commercial awareness, and core business skills much further.

With both in-person and virtual content, the programme is fast-paced, dynamic and full of opportunities to meet representatives from the firm and to learn about our business. You’ll benefit from an unparalleled introduction to the high-performance world of commercial law, experiencing a blend of classroom-based learning, dedicated skill development, time spent shadowing our lawyers and more. 

Remember too, that SPARK can lead you straight to a Training Contract with Clifford Chance. At the end of the programme, the very best candidates are invited to apply for a place on a bespoke SPARK Training Contract assessment day. 

Jamie Frost (he/him), who’s just graduated  with a degree in Classics from Durham University, has recently completed the SPARK programme. We asked him why he applied for it and what he got out of the programme. 

Why did you choose Clifford Chance?

I was impressed by its global reach and the wide range of secondment opportunities the Firm offers. Then there was its track record of advising market-leading clients, its strength across practice areas, particularly Finance, and the Firm’s collaborative and inclusive culture.

What attracted you to the SPARK programme?

The opportunity to learn more about the Firm through interactive workshops and pitch exercises really appealed to me, as well as the chance to do some shadowing in one of the Firm’s practice areas. This felt like a good mix, and meant I could apply what I’d learnt from the workshops to the work I’d do in the practice area. Overall, I felt the programme would give me a holistic insight into life at Clifford Chance and enable me to meet a range of people from different practice areas


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Did SPARK live up to your expectations?

Definitely! I particularly enjoyed the sheer variety of work I was exposed to during my time sitting in the Capital Markets practice, along with the opportunity it gave me the chance to apply what I’d learnt from workshops earlier on during SPARK. 

Did anything surprise you?

While it may seem daunting to be working at an international commercial Law firm, it was re-assuring to see how down to earth and welcoming people were. I got on really well with my supervisor, and I appreciated how much time he took to explain different concepts to me despite his busy schedule. 

What was the best part of your week at the Firm?

For me, it had to be the chance to get involved in a pro bono client call with the Blue Marine Foundation. The call was about the research agreement they have with the University of Exeter to investigate seascape carbon. After the call, I produced a memo for the team summarising the key points discussed and highlighting any areas of concern going forward. It felt really rewarding to contribute to the project and get positive feedback.

Were you offered the chance to apply for a SPARK Training Contract assessment day? If so, how did it go?

Yes, after the programme I was invited to an interview for a Training Contract. My interviewer immediately made me feel relaxed and it was a great opportunity to demonstrate what I’d learnt from my time on the SPARK programme and use this knowledge to answer commercially-focused questions. Following the interview, I was offered a training contract. 

I’m really looking forward to working with motivated colleagues on highly engaging work that calls for innovative solutions, all within a genuinely inclusive and diverse environment.  

Any tips or advice for other undergraduates thinking of applying?

Be yourself in the application process. Show the Firm what you enjoy doing outside of studying as they are trying to understand you as a person. 

Interested in learning more? Visit Clifford Chance’s website for more information on the SPARK programme and how to apply.


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