University of Kent
It was a very busy week! For the first couple of days there were several presentations on the firm’s different practice areas and we completed classroom-based interactive case studies and workshops in groups. There were further presentations on many aspects of life at Clifford Chance, including the firm’s global strategy, its extensive pro bono work, tech and innovation, and how the firm deals with mental health and resilience. On the third day we undertook two work shadowing placements and I worked in the tax and public M&A departments, which I really enjoyed.
During the last two days of the scheme we went to the Netherlands and met partners in Clifford Chance’s Amsterdam office, and found out about the history of the firm in the city. There was a useful skills session on how to get from your comfort zone to your stretch zone, alongside social and sightseeing events such as a boat tour and dinner. The trip was a great opportunity to ask questions about what it’s like to be at the firm in a more relaxed environment.
Participating in the scheme completely broke the ice and demystified my preconceptions about engaging in high-level work. I now know what it’s like to step into an environment where this work is being done by experts and I know I will feel comfortable and confident on my first day as a trainee. I also got the chance to cultivate an interest in different areas of law I never thought I would go into – something that can be difficult when just reading a textbook.
The trip to Amsterdam was the most enjoyable part of the scheme because I got to know the people who will be my future colleagues. I was relieved to discover there was no dog-eat-dog attitude with members of the scheme and instead we developed a strong team spirit and camaraderie.
I found the work shadowing challenging because I was in my first year and didn’t know a huge amount about topics such as tax law and M&A. I learnt how to adapt to an environment where I didn’t know a lot and was building my knowledge from scratch. It’s important to be bold enough to ask the questions you might think are silly.
If the firm thought you were ready to have a training contract interview, you received an email a few days after the scheme. I was interviewed later in the summer and found out shortly afterwards that I had been offered a training contract. It wasn't like the first assessment day though, the follow up interview was more of a chat around my time on the scheme.
Put your best foot forward and don’t go in with limited expectations. Have an awareness of the world around you and keep that awareness as you go through the week because you never know who you might bump into – partner or client – with whom you might share a similar interest. It’s about connecting with people on a personal level so be yourself.