Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Olivia Ved

  • When: Spring 2016
  • Subject: Law
  • University: University College London

What did you do while on the scheme?

The springboard scheme was a great introduction to the firm. Initially there was a welcome talk from the managing partner and a personal impact session delivered by a comedian. That was a great icebreaker as we learnt how to improve our public speaking, project our voices, and to think about the types of emotions we convey.

Throughout the week we had presentations from various departments which consisted of a partner or senior associate explaining what the department did within the firm as a whole, and on a day-to-day basis. They used high-profile deals to demonstrate the scale of the firm’s work and to give us real-life examples. Every morning we had a networking breakfast with a different department which allowed us to speak to trainees, associates and partners, and ask them further questions about their work. Listening to their personal experiences helped to shape a bigger picture of their practice areas.

We also visited Clifford Chance’s Paris office one day (although the firm now takes students to the Amsterdam office), which gave us the chance to find out more about the firm’s international strategy. At the end of the week we were given a litigation and corporate case study. That meant we could use the information we had learnt about the firm, plus our common sense and practical skills, to work out deals and settlements of a piece of litigation, and to avoid the pitfalls of an M&A deal.

What did you feel that you gained from the placement?

The scheme gave me a much clearer insight into the firm, as well as a better understanding of its culture and how that’s reflected in the firm’s business structure and long-term strategy. Also, it gave me an appreciation for the trainee workload!

Which were the most enjoyable – and most challenging – aspects of the scheme?

I found the case study really enjoyable because I could use and apply all the information I had learnt so far during the scheme. We also had a session with David Adams, who oversees capital markets and finance training at the firm, where he explained very simply and practically what a derivative is. It was valuable to walk away from the scheme with knowledge about the basics of financial instruments that are used every day.

Did the scheme end with a training contract interview or some other kind of further recruitment process?

At the end of the scheme I submitted answers to four reflective questions that focused on my understanding of the firm, and the insider information I had acquired. From that I was invited to a training contract interview.

Is there one key thing that you took away from the experience that you would pass on as advice to others?

I would definitely recommend first years to apply – and to take your time researching the firm and speaking to representatives before submitting your application. You should do your homework before the scheme starts as well. The Clifford Chance website has so much accessible information that provides the answers to basic questions, as well as a platform for more complex topics you might need to address in your training contract interview.

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