Clifford Chance ‘motivational postcards’ offend firm’s lawyers (and everyone else)

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By Alex Aldridge on

Suggestion that solicitors at magic circle giant are a “select group that is superior” to others goes down badly.


A pair of motivational postcards distributed to Clifford Chance’s London associates have prompted a backlash in the blogosphere.

Headed ‘Elite’ and ‘Pride’, each of the postcards contains a quote seemingly designed to inspire. US legal blog Above the Law managed to get its hands on a photo of the former, which we have re-produced below.

The ‘Pride’ postcard remains elusive. If you have one, do send us a photo anonymously to

The clunky attempt to boost morale by indicting that Clifford Chance employees are a “select group that is superior to…the rest of society” has left lawyers at the firm embarrassed. An anonymous associate at the firm told Above the Law:

“Some are stunned by the self-involved nature of the message and wonder why the law firm thinks it is better than the rest of society.”

Another added:

“…people feel that it is not appropriate for the firm to be sending a message to its employees that they are a ‘select group that is superior’ to all others.”

News of the motivational postcards comes after Clifford Chance increased its trainee and associate salaries on Friday. First year trainee starting salaries rose from £39,000 to £40,500, while the second year rate went from £44,000 to £45,500. Newly-qualified (NQ) pay increased from £63,500 to £67,500. Meanwhile, one-year post-qualification experience (PQE) wages went from £69,500 to £72,500, second-year PQE from £78,200 to £84,000 and third year PQE from £87,000 to £93,500. The rises mean the firm now pays more than magic circle rivals Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Slaughter and May, and about the same as Freshfields.

Could this be what spurred the postcard hubris?