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Clifford Chance increases GDL maintenance grant to £10,000

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Exclusive: First magic circle firm to award five-figure sum

Magic circle player Clifford Chance is offering its London trainees-to-be £10,000 in financial support during their Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), Legal Cheek can reveal.

The new and improved sum equates to an uplift of 25%, up £2,000 on the previous maintenance grant of £8,000. The increase will apply to this year’s batch of offer holders and is effective from autumn 2019. This means the Canary Wharf-headquartered outfit now matches the £10,000 maintenance grant it awards its Legal Practice Course (LPC) students.

Clifford Chance’s newest recruits complete the GDL — the year-long conversion course non-law grads must complete to become a lawyer — at BPP University Law School’s Holborn branch. The firm — which offers around 95 training contracts each year — also fully funds GDL course fees.

Michael Bates, regional managing partner at Clifford Chance, said:

“Our people are key in helping us to achieve our vision: to become the global law firm of choice. To attract and retain the best talent, we have to invest in and support our people in every way possible. We nurture our people and support them from the very beginning of their career and throughout their journey to success. This year, for example, 67% of our new partners are home grown talent. The success of our people is the firm’s best return on investments.”

So how does Clifford Chance’s revised GDL sum stack against its magic circle rivals’? Legal Cheek’s Firms Most List shows Clifford Chance is the first of the five to award a five-figure sum. Allen & Overy confirmed to Legal Cheek that it awards its future trainees £9,000 in financial support during the GDL, while their counterparts at Linklaters and Slaughter and May receive £8,000, respectively. Freshfields awards its rookies £7,250.

News of the maintenance uplift follows similar money moves made by a number of law firms. Turning to our Firms Most List again, US-headquartered firms Dechert, Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis each offer £10,000 in financial support to their London-based lot, while Sidley Austin tops the market with its £11,000 offering. As things stand, Macfarlanes is the only other UK-headquartered firm to award its new joiners £10,000 having confirmed a 43% increase last month. It remains to be seen whether the rest of the magic circlers follow suit…

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