Tyra Ali Nteg
As a centre of excellence footballer, and cochair of Kick It Out’s youth ambassador group I had begun to keep up with legal sports-related matters and my curiosity concerning the interaction between law and business grew from there. My journey with Clifford Chance began upon my commencement of the Rare Foundations; Law programme during sixth form. Rare’s programme in partnership with Clifford Chance gave me an initial insight into the firm, the tone of which was positively set by our warm and welcoming graduate recruitment team (led by Laura Yeates). Initially, I felt underqualified considering that I had not yet started university, and was not aware of how my choice in institution might aid or prohibit me from accessing a firm like Clifford Chance. However, the firm swiftly put my concerns to rest in how they valued every inquisitive question in an equal and forthcoming manner. Clifford chance pursue talent from early on and if you grab hold of opportunities provided the firm will go above and beyond in their investment in you.
On this open day I was introduced to authentic commercial-centred case studies which enabled me to gage the firms’ clientele and more accurately guide my research into the actions//processes which take place in transactional deals. In addition, I came away with an awareness of types of debt (capital) such as bonds. I was fortunate enough to be invited back to the firm on subsequent occasions and on this basis, I applied for the SPARK Scheme and completed this in the summer of 2018.
During SPARK, I experienced the glitz and glamour of life as a Clifford Chance lawyer which encompassed murder-mystery themed social nights, networking events/drinks providing accessibility to all tiers of the firm and an all-inclusive trip to our Amsterdam offices - featuring a generous bar tab on each occasion. I can definitely say that this award-winning scheme revealed that the perks of being a city lawyer ring true. I gained further confirmation that Clifford Chance was the firm for me when I shadowed two associates in the areas of Tax and Corporate M&A (public). Positive interactions with future colleagues assured me that I am capable of rising to the challenge of working alongside experts in fields of my choosing and eventually becoming an influential legal mind that lawyers of the future could learn from. I am proud to say that I am well on my way, since securing a training contract at the end of SPARK. This scheme solidified my motivations for commercial law at Clifford chance and since then graduate recruitment have kept in contact giving me the opportunity to share my experiences through a number of publications and also, as a panellist on the first of our virtual recruitment events; ‘Accelerate’(part of the ‘Together We Are’ series).
Since securing my training contract, I have had to overcome the psychological challenge of imposter syndrome which is common and yet complex in that we experience it for different reasons. Being an ethnic minority in a traditionally white, male-dominated legal profession formed a mental glass ceiling which I was able to break through thanks to the authentic relationships formed during SPARK. Being able to connect with some similar experiences with fellow SPARK alumni and future trainees in addition to lawyers who work within the firm has been extremely affirming for me and being assured of all that Clifford Chance is doing to embrace inclusivity and diversity encourages me to be part of fostering this culture for fellow aspiring African and Caribbean women lawyers. I am super keen to begin my LPC and get engrossed in the type of work I’ll be involved in at the firm. Watch this space.