What it’s like to work at Clifford Chance

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Clifford Chance is one of the world's pre-eminent law firms, with significant expertise and experience across five continents. As a leading global firm, Clifford Chance focuses on building the best team, made up of people with a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and perspectives.

We talked to members of Clifford Chance’s Hong Kong office about the firm's culture, development opportunities and perks, and some important advice for job applicants.

Culture

Clifford Chance believes in the power of collaboration, collegiality and teamwork. The firm’s people embody this mentality and work together to achieve shared goals in a friendly and supportive work environment, where staff of all levels are eager to help and mentor others.

For Cecilia Chung, junior associate in the Corporate Funds team, it's the culture at Clifford Chance that makes the firm special. "The people here are all extremely friendly and are working towards the same goal", Cecilia explains. "Everyone's really open to any questions you may have."

These thoughts are echoed by Mark Chan, a Consultant in the Capital Markets group, who says that "the work that we do at Clifford Chance is market leading, innovative...but actually what excites me the most is that I get to work with brilliant people: we're extremely collegiate and collaborative".

Clifford Chance is also spearheading diversity and inclusion in the industry, with multiple programs and networks for employees. Arcus, the firm's global network for its LGBT+ colleagues and their allies, and the Hong Kong Women's Network, which provides support for female employees, are just some of the programs designed to help employees be their most authentic selves.

Partner Matt Fairclough, who is also heavily involved with graduate recruitment, said of Arcus, "Our aim is to foster an inclusive and integrated culture within Clifford Chance that gives our colleagues the opportunity to be open and out about their sexual orientation or gender identity, which will allow everyone to develop to their full potential."

Training, support and development

Clifford Chance has a strong emphasis on training and support, which is particularly important for junior employees. Combined with its culture of collaboration, the firm truly nurtures those who are just beginning their careers. Charlotte Shieh, a trainee lawyer in Capital Markets, reflects positively on her experience at the firm, saying, "As a trainee, you especially relish that sense of collegiate atmosphere and closely-knit network". Learning curves are steep but Charlotte explains that she is "surprised how far the trainees have come since starting at the firm.... we owe this to the training and support we get here, which is one of the reasons I picked Clifford Chance in the first place". For Charlotte, the overwhelming sense of support felt at the firm is incredibly valuable and the firm's distinguishing factor.

Training at Clifford Chance comes in different forms. An important part is on-the-job training and the firm's lawyers benefit from working directly alongside senior partners. As Cecilia explains, "I hear my partner on conference calls and I hear how he delegates work, gives instructions. It's a really good way to learn".

Clifford Chance also provides a wide range of structured training, including online courses, lunch time seminars and external course facilitators, all of which cover both technical and soft skills.

Perks

Clifford Chance emphasises employee wellbeing and has a wellness committee to promote health and work life balance for both lawyers and business services staff, such as yoga classes, physiotherapy consultations and healthier options in the pantry. With subgroups including sports & fitness and arts & music, there are activities for everyone at the firm.

Clifford Chance also provides a wide range of CSR initiatives and pro bono activities for employees to give back to the community. Employees get involved with charity work, such as packing and delivering food for underprivileged communities and hosting fundraisers for organisations like Heep Hong Society and Child Welfare Scheme. The firm also supports local social enterprise Palletable, which provides sandwiches served by individuals with autism, by welcoming it to the office every month.

Interview tips

As one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, hiring managers at Clifford Chance see a lot of candidates. However, both Mark and Cecilia have the same advice for job applicants: be yourself.

Cecilia's top tip is for applicants to "be yourself and show off all your different capabilities and your interests". For Cecilia, candidates shouldn't just focus on things that supposedly look great on a CV, but instead be genuinely interested in something and demonstrate that passion in the interview.

Mark agrees with Cecilia's sentiment, explaining that "everyone has their individual interests and something intriguing about them.... what we want to see is how you will bring that quality to Clifford Chance".

Do you want to understand more about what it's like to work for Clifford Chance? You can check out their culture, office, interview tips and employee testimonials on Clifford Chance’s Vanna profile, and browse their open job opportunities.

Team Vanna

Vanna's expert writing team

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