Exeter Uni students boss this year’s Clifford Chance ‘CV Blind’ competition

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By Alex Aldridge on

Exclusive: Students from Russell Group institution net 20% of vac scheme places awarded through scheme, but overall winner is from LSE

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Students from Exeter University have bagged four out of the 20 vac scheme places awarded by Clifford Chance as part of its 2015 ‘Intelligent Aid’ competition — in which applicants’ educational backgrounds are not disclosed during the assessment process.

However, the overall winner of the competition — dubbed ‘CV Blind’ — was from LSE. Alongside scooping a vac scheme, LSE third year Farah Rohaizat (pictured below, centre) gets £5,000 to help her through uni after being identified as the standout performer.

The other victors were a mixture of law and non-law students from Cambridge, Exeter, Kent, Oxford, Oxford Brookes, SOAS, Southampton, Sussex, East Anglia, Warwick and BPP.


The students emerged from a field of over a hundred applicants who submitted 500 word essays on this year’s topic, the Rule of Law. Those hopefuls were then whittled down to a group of 40 candidates who were invited to a two-day assessment centre at the magic circle giant’s Canary Wharf headquarters earlier this month.

The 20 who emerged victorious were judged purely on their performance on the day, with none of the assessors knowing their grades or where they went to university. But from this point on they will be treated like any other wannabe, with their CVs considered as they complete their summer vac schemes and undertake interviews with the firms’ partners to determine whether they’ll be offered training contracts.

Last year’s Intelligent Aid competition also saw a strong showing from Exeter, with three students among the winning 20, including the overall winner, Jessica Bryant, who went on to secure a training contract at Clifford Chance to commence in 2016.

Bryant, who bagged a first in her philosophy and politics degree, would in all likelihood have got herself a training contract via the traditional route. But the competition — which has been running since 2011 — has worked for underdogs too, with, for example, Bath Spa graduate David Boyd shaking things up when he came through it to secure a TC in 2012.