Case Studies

There’s no one type of lawyer here at Clifford Chance as we recognise that a variety of viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences within the firm allows us to cultivate the brightest ideas and innovations.

The one thing that unites our lawyers is exceptional talent, and here some members of the Clifford Chance community share their experiences of working for the firm.  


Alastair Livesey

Alastair is a newly qualified associate in Litigation and Dispute Resolution. He joined the firm in March 2014 after graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in Law. During his time at Clifford Chance as a trainee, Alastair sat in Real Estate, Corporate in Moscow, Litigation and Dispute Resolution with a three month secondment to Liberty, and Finance and Capital Markets in Sao Paulo. 

What has been your highlight so far at Clifford Chance?

This is a tough question, as my Clifford Chance experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Qualifying into our disputes team was great, but probably the highlight was the six months I spent in Brazil. The São Paulo office only has a handful of lawyers, so it’s a real contrast to working in the big London teams. The upshot is the trainees who go there are expected to perform. Although sometimes it was a challenge, I finished my six months there a much better lawyer than when I arrived. More generally, Brazil is probably the best place I have ever been. It’s impossibly beautiful; Brazilians are bewitching; and a beer on the beach is only a stone’s throw away. 

What do you like most about working for Clifford Chance?

One of my favourite things about Clifford Chance is the international aspect to the work. I really like people and always wanted to have a career that would let me work with as diverse a population as possible. At Clifford Chance, you get to work with people from all over the world on a daily basis – each brings their own experiences and backgrounds. The work itself (particularly within the dispute resolution team into which I qualified) is also exceptionally varied. Since qualifying I have worked on everything from investor-state arbitration to a personal injury claim involving complex interpretation of EU contract regulations. It’s fun knowing you will have a few surprises when you get to work.

 What advice would you give to an incoming trainee?

I would advise new trainees to arrive with enthusiasm and an open mind. Something I have noticed when talking to applicants is how readily they can form views of departments, sectors or even entire firms. Firms like Clifford Chance are necessarily diverse and something wonderful about training here is the unique experience you can have. Don’t discard an idea or ambition because someone once told you it was hard work or a waste of time. Be a sponge: learn as much as possible from the exceptional lawyers around you and make sure to ask lots of questions from the outset. Not only will you be a finer lawyer, you will make better informed decisions about your own career.

Describe Clifford Chance in three words:
Diverse, Exacting, Gratifying.

Describe Clifford Chance in three words:
Educational, Enjoyable, Rewarding.

Fadeia Hossian

Fadeia is a fourth seat trainee in Regulatory Finance. Fadeia joined the firm in February 2015 after graduating from the University of Greenwich with a degree in Law. During her time at Clifford Chance Fadeia has sat in Structured Debt, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, and General Banking.  

Why did you choose Clifford Chance?

Clifford Chance specialises in the areas that I most wanted to get exposure to during my training contract. Whilst I was looking for a training contract, Clifford Chance was granted an Excellence Award by the Law Society for its diversity and inclusion policy which also helped me to realise that I wanted to work and climb my career ladder at the firm.

I am a native Arabic speaker and I'm glad that during my training contract I have been able to get involved in some deals in which my language and background would add value!

What has been your most enjoyable moment at Clifford Chance?

Attending a bowling event with the Capital Markets Team! During my seat with the department, we were invited to attend an external bowling event to play with partners, associates, trainees and secretaries. It was a great opportunity to socialise with colleagues outside the office and play bowling together. 

What advice would you give to an incoming trainee?

Consider every single minute as an opportunity and make the most of it. Think about the structure of your training contract carefully at the outset, find out what you like and where you can be most productive and try to build on this. Network with your colleagues and benefit from the wealth of experience and advice which they are happy to share. CC has great pro bono initiatives; take part in them; this will help you to meet new colleagues and will equip you with skills that will enable you to undertake billable tasks more efficiently and successfully. 

 

Daniel Steele

Daniel is a newly qualified associate in Real Estate. Daniel joined the firm in August 2014 after graduating from the University of York with a degree in Economics and Finance. During his time at Clifford Chance Daniel completed seats in Real Estate, Corporate Private Funds, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, and Regulatory Finance.

What has been your highlight so far at Clifford Chance?

Coming from New Zealand, being a fan of rugby is more or less a given. It was to my indescribable delight that Clifford Chance was the official law firm for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and, as part of my seat in litigation, I was able to work on the tournament. I assisted the tournament's rights protection team and the work allowed me to attend 7 different matches looking out for any breaches of licenses at the stadiums (as well as actually watching the games). It was a great job and the fact that New Zealand won just made it that much better!

What do you like most about working for CC?

The mentality towards work. In all of my departments they stressed that there was no facetime culture. It's the nature of being a lawyer that there are ups and downs but it all tends to balance out. You get your work done, ask if anyone needs assistance so you can help out where it is needed and you stay late if you have to but ultimately there's no reason to hang around doing nothing. People are really understanding and acknowledge that we all have a life outside the office at the end of the day. 

What advice would you give to an incoming trainee?

Come in with an open mind. No one really knows what to expect, what seats they want to do or what kind of work they will be doing. The whole 2 years is a learning experience and if you get involved and make the most of it you can really get a lot out of your training contract. Having an open mind also allows you to experience different seats that you might not have thought you'd enjoy but could ultimately end up being where you qualify, which can actually happen quite often. There is no set path here – just be enthusiastic, work hard and see what happens. 

Describe Clifford Chance in three words:
Challenging, Fun, Interesting.

Describe Clifford Chance in three words:
Empowering, Stimulating, Unexpected.

Hyo Jeong Kwon

Hyo Jeong Kwon (HJ) is a third seat trainee completing a General Banking and Project Finance seat in Paris. HJ joined the firm in August 2015 after graduating from Berkeley USA with a degree in Legal Sciences and Political Science. During her time at Clifford Chance HJ has sat in a double Litigation and Dispute Resolution seat and is due to complete her fourth seat in March 2017. 

How does your experience at Clifford Chance compare to your expectations?

I have a previous background as an auditor. Although I had expected the soft skills arising out of my corporate experiences to be quite transferable, I certainly had not expected my finance background to assist in my daily tasks. For example, being part of the litigation team meant that I could work on quantum aspects of a case with our forensic accountants team. I truly believe this is owed to the grand scale of projects that Clifford Chance gets involved in. Large and complex clients require sophisticated services from us, which means that I have the opportunity to fully utilise my skills – even in my capacity as an ACA. Having the right language skills at the right time and place will also take you far.

What do you like most about working for Clifford Chance?

At a professional services firm such as Clifford Chance, the firm's true assets are its people. The team's brainpower, dedication to client service, and aspiration for growth differentiate Clifford Chance as the global market leader. And I am lucky to say that I have the privilege of working with the finest talents in the industry on a daily basis. In addition to witnessing great leadership on our case, I have been fortunate to have a series of supervisors who were truly vested in my development as well as my well-being. The level of commitment to each other in the team have motivated me to do well these past  months and I applaud Clifford Chance for harbouring such an environment within the firm.

What advice would you give to an incoming trainee?

For many trainees, the training contract will be their first experience as a full-time working professional. I realise this can introduce an element of reservation or even fear but this should not scare them. Incoming trainees should tell themselves that they have been selected because the Firm has seen the attributes they require in their future lawyers. They should take pride in this and commence their career with enthusiasm and confidence. They are not expected to know everything from day one and supervisors at Clifford Chance have excellent coaching skills. Trainees will have a great seat if they can bring enthusiasm, affable personality, and willingness to work hard.