I managed to secure my training contract in first year through Clifford Chance’s award-winning SPARK Scheme and let me be the one to testify that the scheme deserves all the awards! It was a one-week immersive experience which helped me understand the role of a commercial lawyer and understand the business of the firm in a way which I had not before. We heard from lawyers in different practice areas, got an insight into a typical working day through shadowing, and the trip to Brussels wasn’t too bad either…!
Above all, the SPARK scheme demonstrated to me that Clifford Chance really cares about its trainees and helping us be the best we can be holistically. This has proved to be true since then, as the firm has provided so many amazing opportunities for us future trainees. In the Summer of 2020, I took part in their brand-new LIFT internship programme, which allows Future Trainees to intern at various companies to develop their skills and understanding of a working environment. The paid placement lasted 4 weeks and I had the pleasure of joining a small media start up called Crafty Counsel. I enjoyed the role so much and fit in with the company so well that I ended up staying on for 3 months! I developed so much during the role, both in soft skills like maturity and rapport-building, and hard skills like chairing meetings and drafting reports.
All in all, my experience with Clifford Chance has been great so far, and it wouldn’t be right for me to finish without noting the best thig about the firm; the people. It sounds so cliché, but everyone I have met along my journey with them has been so lovely (and normal)! From the great people working in grad rec who have honestly become friends, to the lawyers I shadowed on SPARK who were so willing to answer all my questions – big and small - despite their busy schedules, to all those who I actually did the SPARK scheme with, I’m very much looking forward to feeling at home at work.
I have always felt like I could be myself at CC, rather than having to fit into a corporate culture that was alien to me. I am authentically Wanipa; a black woman from the North, who enjoys going out, going to church, and reading black literature... and who also happens to be a Future Trainee at Clifford Chance. People are at the front of their minds, and that really shines through.