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Clifford Chance Training Contracts & Interview Questions

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Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

As an overview, Applications will close in the final week of November or first two weeks of December for Training Contracts in two years’ time. Assessment dates are typically the middle two weeks of January.

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Firm Overview

Clifford Chance is a magic circle firm with offices across the globe. It specialises in transactional areas like banking and finance, capital markets, M&A and private equity. It is one of the ten largest law firms in the world as measured by both its number of lawyers and its revenue. It generated around $2.5B revenue in 2019-2020, which was the most of any Magic Circle firm, leading to profits per equity partner of almost £1.7m. Clifford Chance has offices in 23 different countries, with around 3300 lawyers spread across those offices. The firm was founded in 1802. 

Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

Trainees will do four seats each of six months. There are no compulsory placements, although you will have to do a seat in one of three core practice areas – these being finance, corporate and capital markets. The seats are determined using an algorithm, whereby trainees each have 200 points that they use to ‘bid’ on seats. It has been characterised by trainees as a blind auction, with no one knowing quite how much to bid for seats. Secondments abroad are valuable. Seemingly, most trainees do get their first choices.

The firm states that you will get in-depth training in the practice area when you start a seat, which will enable you to feel confident in it and the challenges that it will pose. You will have a dedicated supervisor in each seat and regular meetings with a dedicated Graduate Development Specialist. A quarter of trainees are on secondment at any one time.

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Law Training Contract: Past Interview Format & Questions

The firm outlines its current selection process as ‘One interview, including a written case study element. You will have the option to interview in-person or remotely.’

Example Case Study format from previous students:

A case study which consisted of 30 minutes to prepare a typed email to a partner regarding a financial acquisition. This was followed by ten minutes in which one needed to present the key points from the email to the partner. The student who faced this case study believed that the partner interviewing may have chosen to look through the typed email that they produced or they may have chosen to ignore it. Questions asked on this case study were generally ‘common sense’ and included ‘what would you do if the client wanted the due diligence to be completed in a shorter timescale’ or ‘what would you do if you had conflicting commitments at the same time.’

Other students add that the email you produce is printed off and that they think the partner is not given a copy, and that they must therefore have no knowledge of what you typed.

Questions that were asked in the interview:

What are some of the challenges facing Clifford Chance at the moment?
Why will you make a good lawyer at Clifford Chance?
What do you know about Brexit?
What do you know about GDPR?
What is a leveraged loan? What are some of the issues around a leveraged loan?
What do the lawyers do in [specific department]?
Why are you interested in Law?
What is your educational background?
What has your journey been up to this point? How have you got to today?
Can you tell me about a time when you pushed yourself?
How do you manage your time and how will you manage your time at Clifford Chance?
Have you ever faced particular difficulties whilst working in a team?
Have you ever faced difficulties whilst working as a leader?
Have you ever had to deal with a difficult customer or client at your work?
What do you think that clients look for in a law firm?
How will you personally contribute to Clifford Chance if you secure a contract here?
Why are you interested in Clifford Chance in particular?
Have you applied to other UK Law firms?

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