Hear from some of Clifford Chance's top trainees about their experiences.Training Contract Guide
Trainee and NQ Solicitor Advice:
Kingsley Duru, Trainee Solicitor Studied Law at the University of Leeds
Clifford Chance is a top tier law firm, working across a huge number of jurisdictions and practice areas. I pursued a career in law due to my broader interest in business, and I knew that training at Clifford Chance would allow me exposure to the some of the best strategic and business minds, both through the lawyers I would be learning from and through the calibre of clients the firm attracts. Such training would allow for the best possible start to my career as a lawyer.
During my second year at university, I attended an event on campus, which Clifford Chance was hosting.
The opportunity to work with and learn from market leaders, both within the legal industry and clients within their respective industries.
I was delighted to be part of the Private Equity team that advised on the sale of Creed to Kering. This was particularly special on two fronts. Firstly, I was fortunate to have been part of the deal development from its kick-off to its signing. The deal team was fantastic, allowing me to take on responsibility very early on. Secondly, the transaction captured significant mainstream attention, appearing in the FT, Reuters and various other news agencies. I’m proud that I can refer to that deal as my first signing as a Trainee!
I am involved in the REACH Network – currently assisting with the planning of our Black History Month event in October. Separately, I am helping with the African Counsel Forum, whereby our London Office will welcome over 70 local counsels we engage and work with across our Clifford Chance network.
Working at Clifford Chance provides a rare opportunity to receive some of the best training, from market leading lawyers, working on a broad range of interesting projects for huge industry clients, without compromising on the type of culture which supports a long-term and sustainable career. I genuinely enjoy my job at Clifford Chance, and it is the combination of everything above that makes that possible.
While curiosity, tenacity, attention to detail and a strong work ethic are all important qualities in junior lawyers, I have found that open-mindedness and confidence have been the traits that have allowed me to truly maximise the experience of my Training Contract. I would advise future lawyers to learn to be unafraid to ask questions, put their hands up for work, and initiate and actively engage in conversations that interest them.
Jonas Black, Trainee Solicitor Studied Law at the University of Oxford
I wanted to train at a market-leading firm that gave me the chance to be the best lawyer I can be, while still having a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. After completing a vacation scheme here, I knew Clifford Chance was a perfect fit.
Having the opportunity to learn from some of the smartest people I have met. It really is a great place to train and work on market-leading deals, and it’s true that no two days are the same.
The most exciting deal I’ve worked on so far was the takeover of a leading multinational company listed on the FTSE 250 index of the London Stock Exchange. I had the opportunity to work closely with various professionals including investment bankers to guide our client through their takeover. It was exciting to be able to work on such an interesting transaction and read about it in newspapers once the deal became public.
Every day is a learning day. While we have formal training for each new seat, I have learned an immense amount from the exposure I have had to client matters.
People at Clifford Chance are welcoming and supportive. While the partners and senior lawyers are market leaders in their field, they are down to earth and approachable, which makes the office a friendly, relaxed place to work.
The most important qualities are attention to detail and a desire to always be challenged. A career in law often involves big sacrifices, but if you enjoy what you do and want to learn then a Training Contract is perfect for you.
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Offir Ben-Arzi, Newly Qualified Solicitor Studied Law at the University of Warwick
I chose Clifford Chance because of the amazing people and culture. Being able to work with people who are experts in their fields but also extremely down to earth and approachable. You really feel like everyone is there to support you no matter what level of seniority. Another reason I chose Clifford Chance is for the variety of work and locations. Having a Training Contract at such a big firm has been amazing, I was able to have a seat in band one departments from finance to real estate, which is something you don’t get in a lot of firms, especially US firms where there isn’t such a breadth of work. Also, the international opportunities and being able to work in the different offices, again, with experts in the field really drew me to Clifford Chance.
I have enjoyed working on extremely interesting transactions which are dynamic and exciting as well as working in and being a part of supportive and collaborative teams.
It’s hard to pick the best when each project is a whole new experience. But I really enjoyed the sovereign work that I was a part of during my first seat. That was very exciting!
I’ve received continuous training throughout my Training Contract. At the start of every seat, I have received training to introduce me to that area, and since then each department has had some sort of further training – at least weekly – which has been invaluable as it keeps everyone updated on the latest legal positions, as well as refreshers on the trainings received at the beginning of each seat.
Clifford Chance is such a great place to work due to the high-quality work received and the amazing people you work with and meet. I truly have enjoyed training and working at Clifford Chance.
Communication skills and resilience are key. Whatever else you bring to the role, you’ll certainly need those.
Arez Hassan, Trainee Solicitor Studied History at the University of North Carolina and International Relations at King’s College London
As someone who has always wanted teamwork, stimulating work, and a global outlook to be part of their future career, Clifford Chance seemed to be the natural choice. Having now worked at the firm for a little over a year, I can confirm my gut instinct was correct and my time at Clifford Chance has been everything I wanted it to be and more!
My journey to 10 Upper Bank Street was definitely a little unusual. While Clifford Chance was very well known to me during my time in university, my first practical exposure to the Firm was during my time working a fin-tech start-up where they actually happened to be representing the other side! It was an incredible experience and made resolve to one day join the firm on a full-time basis. Luckily it didn’t take too long and I was accepted for a Training Contract the next year!
The thing I like most about my job is the relationships you build with the Firm’s clients. Being a lawyer is a client-facing role and I’ve come to appreciate the role played by the Firm’s lawyers in helping grow these relationships and assisting clients achieve their goals – and it’s no different for Trainees. In both my seats, I’ve been encouraged to build a rapport with clients and to take an active role in delivering the service they expect of a firm like Clifford Chance. That being said, if someone had told me before joining that I would have the C-suite of a FTSE 100 company calling me, I definitely would not have believed them.
I was involved in the amendment of a securitisation for a multinational energy renewables corporation. What made this interesting was that the deal involved offices in three different continents, and I was encouraged to take a leading role in managing the transaction. From running client calls to producing final draft documents, it was an incredible experience.
Before the start of each seat, I have received a thorough week of training in that specific area, followed-up by further specialised sessions throughout the seat itself. My favourite piece of training was the corporate case study, where, during my time in M&A, we entered into a mock transaction and had to produce a mock Sale and Purchase Agreement before negotiating the key points with the other side.
The way Clifford Chance invests in its people, especially Trainees. Since arriving a year ago, I’ve been amazed, not only by the level of training we receive, but the kind of opportunities the Firm offers its lawyers to ensure they develop in the best way possible. With my next seat being a client secondment to a major private equity firm, I can personally say that the opportunities you get here are unrivalled and really add a sense of adventure to your Training Contract.
Adaptability. Whether you are a Trainee changing seats or a Senior Associate working on a deal that has never been done before, adaptability is central to what makes lawyers successful in the long-term. During my own experiences, I have found that no two days are the same and that you will often consistently be asked to place yourself outside your comfort zone – which is part of the fun!
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