What attracted you to the recruiting profession? What is recruiting for Clifford Chance like and what are the most challenging aspects of the job?
Prior to joining Clifford Chance I worked at Rare, a diversity company which specialises in graduate recruitment. I was part of the team that launched Rare’s Contextual Recruitment System (CRS), and I worked closely with graduate recruiters across the City. Clifford Chance were the founding partner of the CRS, and so I had a fair amount of interaction with (my now boss) Laura whilst I was at Rare. I then had the opportunity to be seconded to her team, and that’s when I realised how much I enjoyed the role and the team at Clifford Chance.
I’ve been lucky to join a team that I really respect, at an innovative and ambitious firm, and that’s why I’m in this profession! As for the challenges, I think the hardest thing is having to inform candidates that they’ve been unsuccessful in securing a role. It’s an incredibly competitive industry, but I always remind everyone that you learn from every experience.
How is Clifford Chance planning to promote diversity and inclusion progression? Is diversity and inclusion just a ‘tick-box’ exercise for the firm?
There are a number of initiatives in our team that aim to increase diversity. To name just a few:
I also sit on the firm’s internal REACH (Race Equality and Celebrating Heritage) committee where I focus on career development, and ensuring that we create an environment where everyone can thrive.
The final thing I would like to mention is our new global diversity targets. Clifford Chance has further exemplified its commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality of opportunity within the firm with the launch of new and ambitious global and regional targets including gender, LGBT+ and ethnicity inclusion.
So as is (hopefully) evident, diversity, inclusion and equity aren’t just a tick-box exercise for Clifford Chance – we are putting action behind our words.
Clifford Chance have made changes for their new application cycle – can you provide details about these changes. I was confused why Clifford Chance do this and why they are choosing the best candidates who fell into a certain category rather than choosing candidates in a larger pool.
We appreciate that making applications is a timely process that requires a huge amount of energy and commitment from you. We have always tried to be as honest and transparent in our messages to candidates and this year is no exception.
Given that we are recruiting for a 2023 Training Contract, we are prioritising individuals who are in their penultimate year of studying a law degree, or final year of studying a non-law degree, because they will be eligible to commence their training contracts in 2023. This takes into account the time required to do the LPC and, if required, the GDL.
Penultimate year law student: Graduate 2022 – LPC – commence Training contract in 2023
Final year non-law student: Graduate 2021 – GDL – LPC – commence Training Contract in 2023
We are not saying that others cannot apply, nor that they will not be recruited, but we wanted to be honest about their chances so they can pursue other options if they choose to. It’s important to note that the point around competitiveness and the need for honest self-reflection applies to all candidates regardless of their year of study or degree subject.
What type of person and skills is Clifford Chance looking for? What would you say are the most important elements for securing a training contract with the firm?
I was recently quoted saying “We look for candidates with potential – with hunger, drive, creativity, agility of thinking and enthusiasm.” And I’d say that once again! We have world-class training at Clifford Chance, so what we need is candidates who want to be lawyers, who have that agility of thinking, and a good attitude.
In terms of advice for securing a training contract – make sure that when you’re writing applications, you take your time. Think carefully about why you’re applying to that particular firm, how you articulate your work experience and make evident your transferrable skills. The best applications are the ones where we can get a feel for who you are – that’s what makes you stand out. Show us what makes your story unique.
Do students need to know what sector they want to work in when they get to the interview stage?
You don’t have to have already mapped out your training contract – in fact I think everyone should come in with an open mind. However it is good to have areas of interest that you have fully researched.
How can students best prepare for the case study and competency interviews? What are some common mistakes students make in interviews?
Finally, do you have any general advice for aspiring lawyers who are applying for training contracts during this time?