Clifford Chance Training Contract – Everything You Need To Know
London’s Clifford Chance is one of the biggest international law firms. According to a global survey the American Lawyer published, Clifford Chance was ranked as the seventh highest-grossing law firm globally.
With offices spread across five continents, this law firm has approximately 6000 members of staff and 570 partners. Clifford Chance is a “magic circle” firm with an impressive reputation, and no wonder there are so many people who want to work there.
But don’t be fooled! Like in the LNAT test, and Allen & Overy, here the competition is fierce, and the recruitment process is gruelling. Keep reading this article to learn more about Clifford Chance’s training contracts and what opportunities they offer. You’ll also learn how to prepare for the questions in the application process to give yourself the best chance of passing.
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About The Clifford Chance Training Contract
The Clifford Chance law firm offers a lawtech trainee programme called IGNITE and a standard legal training contract.
Clifford Chance had approximately 200 trainees in 2018. For the 2021/2022 year, there will be a maximum of 90 trainee places in London and the Middle East. There are also five IGNITE lawtech trainee positions.
For trainees in London, the starting salary is £46,600, including a binary bonus. For the second year, the salary increases to £52,500.
Any candidates will need to complete at least one approved training course in law before the legal training contract can begin. The Clifford Chance law firm will completely fund both of these courses.
If you’re a candidate that has studied law at university, your training contract will begin with the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which can last seven months.
On the other hand, if you studied a subject other than law at university, your training will begin with the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course. The GDL will last for one year, and you will need to complete the LPC after the GDL.
The Legal Training Contract
Clifford Chance’s legal training contract is a training programme that lasts approximately two years. This programme includes four seats that consist of corporate, finance, and capital markets. There is also an added market.
You will be given in-depth training and support from the Clifford Chance Academy for each seat. You will also get support from the graduate development team, a supervisor, a legal support manager, and even monitoring partners.
With the legal training programme, you could get an opportunity to work overseas by being assigned to work in an overseas office or through an assignment involving a client.
The IGNITE Lawtech Training Contract
The Clifford Chance law firm launched the IGNITE Lawtech Training Contract to further develop the growing relationship between technology and law. The main goal of this training contract has been to learn how technology can solve legal problems.
For this training contract, Clifford Chance is looking for candidates who have a STEM background or are interested in tech-related subjects such as coding.
With the IGNITE Training training contract, you could get the opportunity to become a qualified lawyer and work with professionals in the Clifford Chance Tech Group.
Other Clifford Chance work schemes
The Clifford Chance law firm also offers candidates several other work schemes.
You could apply for the Clifford Chance SPARK programme if you are a first-year university student. This scheme used to be known as the Springboard scheme.
This five-day programme provides a paid placement for university students to get an inside look into a legal career. With this work scheme, students can earn £350 per week, and they could be offered a training contract.
For students in their final year of studying, Clifford Chance offers a two-week Summer Vacation Scheme. With this scheme, students get paid £450, and there’s a chance of being offered a training contract after completing this scheme.
Applying for both schemes is similar to the application process for Clifford Chance’s training contract. However, there are different application deadlines for these schemes.
There are also open days that are hosted by Clifford Chance. These include the INTERFACE, which lasts an entire day. This event is perfect for anyone interested in the IGNITE lawtech training contract.
If you’re a student that wants to apply for a training contract before going to university, you could try applying for the PRIME placement scheme. This scheme introduces what a career as a lawyer will be like. This scheme is aimed at students who have academic potential.
Candidates will need to decide which scheme they want to apply for. They will need to decide between the SPARK programme, Summer Vacation Scheme or one of the training contracts. Applicants need to be sure because they can only complete one application per academic year.
Clifford Chance Contract Recruitment process
For Clifford Chance, the training contract recruitment process consists of three phases that need to be completed. These include the following:
- Completing an online application form
- Passing the Watson Glaser Test
- Assessment Day.
It used to be that the Watson Glaser Test was administered on Assessment Day. Applicants used to be asked to complete an online verbal reasoning test during this process.
Nowadays, applicants must complete the Watson Glaser test and the online application form before Assessment Day. There was also a time that the application process also involved video interviews. However, video interviews aren’t part of the latest application process.
Online Application Form
Before you can complete the online application form, you must complete registration. With the online application form, you will need to complete simple questions about your personal information, academic credentials, and work experience. You will also be asked questions about what you want from your career and achievements.
When you answer these questions, you will need to show your passion and desire and prove that you are motivated to become a commercial solicitor. You will also need to show how much you know about Clifford Chance and its clients.
With the questions about your academic career, you will need to detail your career. You will need to include your scores for each of your modules during all your years of study. You will need to include the scores for modules that don’t count towards your degree.
If you’re asked to provide more information, you’ll have 24 hours to do this. If there are any mitigating circumstances related to your academic record, they will only be considered if there is written proof from the exam board. This proof will also need to be verified by a third party, such as a tutor or a doctor.
When you’re completing the online application form, you’ll need to ensure that you have all the information you need at hand. You’ll only have 24 hours to provide any evidence that’s been requested.
Watson Glaser Test
After completing the online application form, candidates will be asked to complete the Watson Glaser test. There are 40 questions in this test, and candidates will have 30 minutes to complete the test.
These questions aim to assess your ability to evaluate arguments, interpret information, recognise assumptions, draw inferences, your critical thinking skills and make deductions.
Candidates only need to pass this test once to be eligible for the Clifford Chance training contract. If you’ve applied for the training contract before and passed the test, you won’t have to retake the test.
If you fail the Watson Glaser test, your online application won’t be screened, and you won’t be able to go further in your application.
If a candidate has completed the online application form and passed the Watson Glaser Test, the firm will invite them to attend the assessment day at Clifford Chance’s Canary Wharf offices.
During the assessment day, candidates will go through two interviews conducted by Clifford Chance’s partners. These interviews will include:
- A competency-based interview that lasts approximately 45 minutes
- A 45-minute case study presentation with two of Clifford Chance’s partners. Candidates will only have 30 minutes to prepare for this interview.
In some cases, the partners conducting the interview won’t have seen your application form before the interview. It’s important to keep this in mind when answering questions during the interview.
It’s also important to remember that you will need to sell yourself during the interviews and prove why you want to become a commercial solicitor at Clifford Chance. So if the partners haven’t looked at your online application form, you will need to repeat the examples you’ve provided and again emphasize your passion for this work and your strengths.
In the competency-based interview, the partners at Clifford Chance are looking to assess a candidate’s motivation for a career with their law firm, how they work and build relationships and their commercial awareness.
Candidates should thoroughly prepare for this interview. They will need to think about the possible questions they could be asked during the interview.
The questions could include common interview questions and similar questions asked in the online application form. However, these questions might be more technical or specific than the application form.
During the interview, the partners will ask candidates various competency-based questions. They will also be asked questions about the law firm and the industry. These questions could include the following questions:
- What has been your biggest disappointment?
- Have you considered any other careers?
- Why did you choose commercial law?
- What work do lawyers do or carry out?
- Why did you choose this particular university?
- Were there any degree modules where you performed poorly?
- How do interest rates affect the market?
- Have you applied to work at other firms?
- What’s the difference between vacation scheme firms and Clifford Chance?
- What is something you learned from your vacation placements?
- Why do you want to work for Clifford Chance?
- What are some of the negatives about joining Clifford Chance?
- What deals are Clifford Chance working on at the moment?
- What are some unique aspects of the firm’s recent deals?
- Do you prefer working in a team or alone?
- Please provide us with an example of when you were involved in teamwork.
- How do you feel about working long hours?
- Have you ever had to overcome a significant obstacle to achieving a goal?
- What complicated issues have you overcome in your life?
- What role did you have during a specific extra-curricular activity?
Candidates could be asked legal questions about whether a particular legal principle is in a client’s best interest. They could also be asked ethical questions that could, for example, involve balancing their loyalty to the firm and their clients.
As we’ve mentioned above, candidates will be dealing with a short case study for the second interview. The partners will hand them this case study before the interview begins and have 30 minutes to prepare. During this time, they will get time to prepare and make notes.
In some cases, candidates will only get a small amount of information. For example, only one paragraph explains someone has called you because they are thinking of starting a company.
Candidates will also be given questions such as, “How would you advise this person?”
They will be expected to provide commercial advice instead of legal advice.
After preparing, candidates will be expected to present their thoughts to the interviewing partners. The partners will then ask candidates more questions about any potential complications with the answers you’ve provided and your reasoning behind these answers.
One way to help you prepare for this interview is to write down what you know about the case study when you’re given to prepare. You should write down what you know in note form, and you can use these notes in your presentation during the interview.
You should also remember that Clifford Chance is evaluating your commercial knowledge, confidence, intelligence and common sense. The questions during this interview will test your ability to draw logical conclusions and explain yourself clearly.
How to prepare for the Clifford Chance Training Contract
As with everything in life, preparation is key when applying for the Clifford Chance Training Contract. This section will provide some tips and information on preparing to apply for the Clifford Chance Training Contract.
What Key Skills and Qualifications Is Clifford Chance Looking For?
To be eligible for the Clifford Chance Training contract, you need to at least be in the final year of your law degree. If not a law degree, you need to be in the final year of a non-law degree when applying for the Clifford Chance training contract.
You will also need to prove that you’ve achieved 340 UCAS points at A Level or prove that you have obtained the equivalent. You should also prove that you have already achieved or are on your way to achieving a 2:1.
If you have a non-law degree or background, it’s important to not be discouraged from applying for the Clifford Chance Training Contract. The law firm encourages applicants of any age from various universities. Candidates don’t need to be only from the UK.
Clifford Chance encourages applications from other people who are looking to change their careers and have transferable skills, intellectual skills, and commercial awareness that the firm to achieve success.
Clifford Chance focuses on recruiting those with a strong academic background and exceptional verbal and written communication skills. The law firm will also focus on recruiting candidates who work well in teams and collaborate well with others.
Anyone who wants to become a Clifford Chance trainee should prove that they will be able to handle the tasks they will face as a trainee and that they are hard-working and can fit in with the work culture.
To prepare for this, you should familiarise yourself with the Clifford Chance DNA and their eight values. These values are the following:
- Exceeding clients’ expectations
- Local excellence, global standards
- An ambition for success
- Investing in talent
- An adaptable and approachable team
- Thinking ahead
- Strength through diversity
How to prepare for the application form
In a typical application cycle, Clifford Chance has approximately 3000 applications. The law firm needs to cut down this list from 3000 applicants to only 90 successful candidates during this cycle. It’s important to remember that the person reading your application, so don’t make it easy for them to reject you.
Before you complete the online application form, you should list possible examples of your own experience that you could use, such as any free or volunteer work or work experience you might have that isn’t related to law.
When talking about a particular work experience, you should clearly explain what you gained from that experience, what you learned, and the impact it had on your interest in the kind of work that particular company did.
You should use the online application form as a chance to prove how motivated you are to have a career at a Magic Circle law firm, especially with Clifford Chance.
When you’re completing the online application form, you should think about the economic, social, and political climate worldwide and how this would affect the law firm as a business. You should also research the firm’s strengths, competitors, cultural fit, and strategic vision.
You should also keep in mind the requirements and skills mentioned in the job description. Be sure to include any related buzzwords that have also been used on the recruitment website and in the job description.
When answering the questions in the application form, you should carefully plan your answers and not go over the stipulated word count. It will be helpful to allocate a specific word count for each part of the question to ensure that you’ve fully answered the question.
In your answers, you should show an excellent writing style. You should ensure that you have no spelling and punctuation errors in your answers.
Preparing for the Watson Gleeson Test
Like any other test, you will need to prepare and practice for the Watson Glaser Test. When you’re practising for this test, you need to ensure that you spend more time on areas you struggle. The test will evaluate skills such as the following:
- Being able to choose the relevant information to solve a problem
- Clearly defining a problem
- Being able to recognise stated and unstated assumptions
- Creating and choosing a relevant hypothesis that has promise
- Coming to valid conclusions and judging their validity
There are some practice tests available on the Clifford Chance websites. You should remember that after you’ve completed, the practise test. You will receive a percentage mark for each section of the test. However, the website won’t inform you about which questions you answered incorrectly.
You also won’t be suggested a pass mark. This is because the pass mark will be different and depend on how many candidates complete the test during that application cycle.
The Clifford Chance Training Contract can be a career starter for anyone who wants a career in commercial law. However, this is only if your application is successful.
You need to prepare when you’re applying for the Clifford Chance Training Contract. Just as you would with other important applications, there are a few things that you need to do to prepare. These include:
- Study all the available recruitment material. This will include practise tests, information about the law firm, etc.
- You should research the market position, the client offerings, and the strategic vision of the law firm.
- You should also attend any university events that the law firm might be hosting.
- You can also meet and talk to any current trainees at Clifford Chance for extra information.
When you’re preparing to apply for the Clifford Chance Training Contract, you should consider where your particular skills will be related to the firm’s key principles. You will also need to think about where you can improve to become a better candidate for this training contract.
Clifford Chance sees potential in their trainees to become future partners in the law firm. However, you need to prove that you are worth the investment so prepare well.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.