Vacation schemes and work experience

What makes Clifford Chance's Global Virtual Internships so great?

4 Sept 2023, 10:51

Find out more about Clifford Chance’s innovative online internships that have a track record of leading to a training contract.

Image supplied by Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s Global Virtual Internships have earned their reputation as some of the best internships for students interested in the legal sector. Since they first launched, over 125,000 people have registered. And it’s not hard to see why. They’re free to sign up for, suitable for everyone from first-year students to recent graduates – and can be completed online from anywhere in the world at your own pace. With a total of 8 internships and counting, made up of over 30 tasks and 60 hours’ worth of content, there’s bound to be an internship for you. It’s not always been easy for everyone to secure legal work experience, but the Global Virtual Internships have changed that.

They are effective, too. Not only at exposing you to the work of an international law firm, but also at elevating your skills, helping you to articulate your interest in the legal sector and improving your chances of securing a training contract – hopefully at Clifford Chance. The proof is in the stats: students who have completed one of the Global Virtual Internships are 3.4 times more likely to secure a training contract with the firm.

You can count on Clifford Chance to ensure that the Global Virtual Internships stay at the cutting edge of the legal profession, too. This year, you can try the new Risk and Resilience Global Virtual Internship. This one-of-a-kind internship is the first ever client collaboration, in partnership with Swiss Re.

Want to know more about the Global Virtual Internships? Joshua Azubuike and Cameron Zhang – two previous participants– share their experiences below. Joshua completed the Antitrust Global Virtual Internship in September 2022. You aren’t limited to just one, either. Cameron first completed the Climate Change Global Virtual Internship in April 2021, before moving on to SABRE in December 2022.

Gain insights into real legal challenges

For both Cameron and Joshua, the opportunity to tackle unique and engaging tasks that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to is one of the best parts of the Global Virtual Internships (which they call GVIs for short). After all, each opportunity is created by experts from across Clifford Chance’s global network.

‘I enjoyed the rare chance to practically apply law to real-world scenarios,’ says Joshua. ‘In my case, this involved analysing and applying UK and EU rules on unfair trade to the activities of a hypothetical company. I also did some research into crisis cartels.’

Cameron adds: ‘The Climate Change GVI involved an independent research task on pending US climate and reviewing the terms for an emissions reduction agreement, while the SABRE GVI encompassed tasks such as legal considerations of data centre financing and structuring student loans as a securitised product.’

Complete trainee-level tasks

The tasks you complete on the GVIs have been designed especially to mirror typical tasks that a trainee solicitor will be given. The intention is to give you real insights into the work. That way, you’ll open your eyes to what a solicitor actually does and you’ll know if it’s the career for you.

‘I came away with a greater appreciation and deeper, practical understanding of the kind of work I would be doing day to day as a trainee,’ says Cameron. ‘I also gained more insight into the work of corporate law and the importance of client engagement at every stage. The work can often feel abstract before you actually do the job, but the GVIs really break it down and help to clarify how lawyers collaborate with each other and add value to clients and the firm.’

Joshua agrees: ‘Completing one of the GVIs helped me to dispel some of my uncertainties around what a trainee solicitor does. I had always known that a trainee’s work involves research, for example, but it was great to gain hands-on experience. Similar to how trainees work in practice, I received instructions from a client in a hypothetical acquisition and was tasked with providing advice on what merger control rules apply to the deal. I also came up with questions to ask the client to enable me to fill in any gaps in the information I had to hand.’

He adds: ‘For another task, I did some research into crisis cartels and then wrote a letter to an MP, arguing that they should be legalised. I’d always been taught that cartels were bad as they lead to a worse deal for consumers but the GVI gave me a different perspective and taught me that there are circumstances where cartels can be formed for the benefit of the market.’

Elevate your legal skills set

As with any internship, the GVIs are also going to help you develop important skills, which will come in handy during both the recruitment process for a training contract and in your future career.

‘I think the most important thing I learned was how to extract the key, most relevant pieces of information and apply them to the facts at hand, says Joshua. ‘This a really useful skill to have as it’s important to be able to identify the hotspots and know what could impact a client the most. It’s a skill that will definitely help you in the training contract assessment centre.’

Get to know Clifford Chance

If you think you might be interested in Clifford Chance, the GVIs are certainly going to help you get acquainted with the firm. The knowledge you gain will help you in a number of ways – whether that’s giving you an edge in your application and interview or simply understanding what areas of the firm you’re most interested in working in.

They are also a useful starting point for anyone interested in a career in law. The skills and knowledge you gain will be transferable to other law firms and even entirely different career paths. And, at the end of your GVI, you’ll earn a personalised completion certificate to share with prospective employers and your professional network.

‘I learned a lot about Clifford Chance, its expertise in global financial markets and its various sub practice areas, such as dept capital markets and investment funds and management,’ says Cameron. ‘I also learned more about the people at Clifford Chance and gained a more practical understanding of the firm’s work and strategy, which is at the core of what makes it unique

Become more than acquaintances

Ultimately, with a firm as big as Clifford Chance, the GVIs can be a stepping stone to other opportunities and the beginning of something a lot bigger for your career.

Of course, there’s the obvious potential of securing a training contract at the firm, which both Cameron and Joshua have gone on to do. However, Clifford Chance is renowned for the range of opportunities it offers to students. Alongside the chance to progress to a vacation scheme or training contract, you might be surprised to learn about the other opportunities that Clifford Chance can provide, making it really easy for you to stay in touch.

‘After completing my GVI, I applied to become a brand ambassador with the firm,’ says Joshua. ‘It was an invaluable experience and really confirmed that Clifford Chance was where I wanted to start my career.’

Meanwhile, one of the ways that Cameron has stayed in touch is attending the firm’s ACCEPT conference – a one-day event for LGBTQ+ students. ‘As a queer person of colour, it was especially heartening to see the firm place such a high value on DE&I efforts, especially for underrepresented ethnic minority groups in the LGBTQ+ community,’ he says.

Ready to start one of the Global Virtual Internships? Head to Clifford Chance’s employer hub to view current opportunities.

You can also find out even more about Clifford Chance’s Global Virtual Internships on its careers website .

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