Charlie Hebdo rant trainee qualifies as a solicitor and is retained by Clifford Chance

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By Alex Aldridge on

Exclusive: Magic circle firm stands by its man


Clifford Chance has decided to hang on to a trainee solicitor who caused national outrage last year when he took to YouTube to point the finger at the West for the Charlie Hebdo atrocities in Paris.

Aysh Chaudhry has qualified into the firm’s London capital markets team, where he will practise as a junior solicitor earning £85,000.

The refusal of the magic circle giant to sack Chaudhry at the time of his January 2015 diatribe drew mixed responses, with some praising the firm for its loyalty and others questioning its judgement.

Since then, Clifford Chance is understood to have shelved plans to send Chaudhry on secondment to Singapore amid speculation that the move may cause problems with the country’s legal profession regulators and damage client relationships.

With insiders at the firm believed to be split on what to do with the SOAS graduate, there has been much speculation about what would happen at the end of his training contract. This break point is a convenient time to get rid of problem characters.

But Clifford Chance seems to be of the view that Chaudhry’s YouTube rant was youthful indiscretion and that the rookie has learnt from it. By all accounts he is a talented junior lawyer with a bright future. It’s also worth noting that, unlike many corporate solicitors, he took no gap year and joined the firm straight out of law school, and so was just 22 when he got into bother last year.

Clifford Chance declined to comment.