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Clifford Chance

Employee profile

Hakan Ustabas

Trainee Solicitor

I first found out about Clifford Chance during my A-Levels and was lucky enough to attend the PRIME scheme. This was the first time I had any experience in a commercial law firm and I learned a lot during my week at CC. I loved the work experience and the people I spoke to at the firm which really set my sights on working at CC in the future.

Throughout university I attended various networking events and internships at CC, and was always left with a very positive impression of the people who worked there. People were always very friendly and keen to help you learn, which felt like the perfect environment to be a junior lawyer.

I also did a lot of research on the type of work CC does, which is another reason I chose to work here. I have had an interest in commercial law for a long time, and in particular finance (which CC excels in). I had previous experience in the banking department of another firm and I really enjoyed the work, and so I also wanted to work in CC because they are the market leader in this type of law.

As a trainee you are often responsible for the general management of the transaction which is great as you get a lot of client contact. Your role will be to keep on top of which documents need further negotiation or to be signed, and follow up directly with your client and other law firms to move the transaction forward. This is great because you have the opportunity to take a lead role on the transaction and really make a difference by pushing it forward.

In any deal there are a variety of different documents. As a trainee you will often draft some of the smaller agreements yourself, which is a great way to learn about the mechanics of the deal. You might also assist the associate with the drafting of some of the more complicated documents, which again means you can learn how the documents work and how we might negotiate certain points.

A key part of working in commercial law is communicating with your client to find out what is important to them in the deal. As a trainee you will attend calls with the client to discuss the transaction which gives you an excellent opportunity to listen to the client's needs and discuss how CC might help them achieve their objectives.

Each department in CC provides its own set of training sessions to help trainees understand (1) the general area of law, and (2) how to get started with typical trainee activities. These are a good introduction to what is expected of you when you start in each department.

However, the most valuable training is actually in working on live transactions. Work often seems challenging because there is a lot to learn, but your team members are always available to answer questions and help you understand the task. People at CC are always very willing to spend time explaining work which is an incredible way to learn.

One of the highlights of my training contract has also been on one of my most challenging deals. We were advising a bank which was lending to a large financial company which was about to buy another large financial company.

The deadline was fairly tight on this deal which meant there was a lot of pressure and a lot of client contact in a short period of time. It also involved coordinating across various jurisdictions as all companies involved were multinational and headquartered in various locations.

The work culminated in a late-night finish as the buying company was making last-minute decisions about the deal. As these instructions were given, I made a final amendment to the main contract and then sent the signed agreement to all the parties, and the deal was concluded. The next day the deal had a full page in the Financial Times which was very exciting. It was incredibly rewarding to see the hard work we put in recognised in the national press.

What I most enjoy about the job is that I feel that even at a junior level I can have an input which really does help my team and the client. It feels very rewarding to be able to have an impact on large and interesting transactions which is recognised by your firm and also by the financial press.

One of the biggest challenges about this job is you can get very busy at times. This can mean a lot of people want work from you at the same time, and you can work quite late on some nights. However, people also understand that there are other people in the team you are working for so when you communicate this they are understanding and may ask someone else for help or shuffle deadlines around. Working late is always difficult but you're always doing it with your team who are there to help and give you support, which means you can get through it.

The main reason I like working for CC is the people. I've made great friends at CC and I feel valued and supported by my team. CC has a supportive environment which means you can work and learn while enjoying the company of the people you