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Clifford Chance lawyers prepare to swap their suits for hoodies that are colour-coded by rank

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No, it’s not 1 April yet — this is legit

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Clifford Chance is arranging for a new colour-coded hoodie design to be rolled out to its lawyers after a fashion student wowed the firm with her designs.

Kingston University masters student Marjade Roniet finished first place in the magic circle giant’s ‘More than a hoodie’ competition on Friday, which saw young designers invited to submit drawings of hooded tops to be worn by the firm’s lawyers of the future.

But so impressed were the Clifford Chance big wigs that, in what the firm terms “an unforeseen but very exciting development”, it has been decided to use Roniet’s design to create a new line of merchandise that will be available “firm-wide”.

Roniet’s entry (pictured above and below) focuses on wannabe solicitors. Playing to the legal profession’s love of hierarchy it clads them in different colours according to the stage they are at “in order to foster a community spirit”.

Those on Clifford Chance’s first year springboard scheme wear grey, vac schemers wear blue and — in a move that may be frowned upon by diversity experts — Intelligent Aid (AKA ‘CV Blind’) scheme participants are also separately marked out, wearing burgundy. Meanwhile, if you’re lucky enough to bag a training contract with the firm then you’re awarded the illusive black hoodie — presumably to emphasise your legal ninja credentials.

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Legal Cheek wonders if a similar colour system will apply to qualified lawyers, with partners perhaps wearing a regal purple shade, associates a dynamic racing green and trainees a high-vis luminous yellow so that they can be immediately clocked for urgent photocopying duties.

However, when we contacted Clifford Chance yesterday a spokesperson declined to provide any additional details to those which have been outlined on the firm’s Facebook page.

What we do know is that Roniet’s design comes in two styles. The “Diffusion” option will no doubt raise a few eyebrows among the more conservative types at Clifford Chance, with its trendy diagonal zip and roll-neck combination arguably more Star Trek than star lawyer. Fortunately, “Off The Shelf” provides a more traditional alternative.

A total of nine designs were showcased during the original ‘More than a hoodie’ fashion show, which took place at Clifford Chance’s Canary Wharf headquarters earlier this month, kicking off the competition. Votes taken on the day alongside an additional Facebook poll resulted in Roniet’s hoodie being designated as the winner on Friday.

In second place was a hipster-esque design (pictured below) by Nikki Diep. The designer, who studies at London’s University of the Arts, describes it as “modern silhouettes with a twist of high-end design details.” Or for the less fashion conscious of you out there, Diep has used cubes to spell the firm’s initials. Still, it’s quite stylish.

The firm will also turn Diep’s work into a real-life creation, with versions to be distributed to future Clifford Chance trainees and vacation scheme students next year.

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The other six designs can be viewed on Clifford Chance’s Facebook page.