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COVID-19: Clifford Chance summer vacation scheme goes virtual

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New online offering to feature networking sessions, cooking and yoga classes too

Magic circler Clifford Chance has today announced its 2020 summer vacation scheme will go ahead, virtually, in response to the virus pandemic.

CC’s summer vac scheme was originally scheduled to run for two weeks from 29 June until 10 July 2020 at its Canary Wharf, London headquarters. The virtual version will now comprise three days of classroom-based online learning, running from 1-3 July 2020.

During these days the interns will take part in corporate and litigation, dispute resolution and risk management case studies. There will be “daily challenges” to enable students to complete work based on typical trainee tasks and real-life deals.

CC will use InsideSherpa to run the virtual summer vacation scheme. Use of the digital education platform in this way is understood to be an industry first.

In addition to training, and in keeping with the tradition of scheduling a number of socials during its scheme, the firm said there will be online networking sessions, with breakout rooms for virtual cooking and yoga classes. These sessions were designed based on the incoming summer schemers’ preferences when they were surveyed earlier this year.

The scheme will include an optional, two-day work shadowing placement in December this year. The firm will consider individuals for training contracts once this has been completed. Participants will receive the usual £450, paid in two instalments, in July and December, the firm confirmed.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Aishling Morris, graduate recruitment specialist at Clifford Chance, said the decision to move the summer scheme online stemmed from the remote working policies brought by the government in recent weeks, and her team thinking ahead about how to curb the impact of the coronavirus on its student schemes.

Virtual student event: Understanding how a global law firm works – with White & Case on Thursday 23 April

“We realised that if we’re going to run the summer vacation scheme to the quality that we want then it has got to be done virtually. Even if we found ourselves back in the office a month before the scheme was due to start that wouldn’t give us enough time to plan it to the quality that we want,” she told us, adding:

“We’re excited to launch our classroom-based learning scheme. We’re hoping it will be an informative, engaging and upskilling experience. It will provide us with opportunities for personalisation: for example, we won’t be constrained by a lack of room, and can host as many sessions as we want. It also allows us to tailor sessions according to what the interns want to learn about, which is what we’d normally offer but can now do so on a more expansive scale.”

This comes as a number of spring vacation schemes are postponed in view of the virus pandemic. News of CC’s virtual vac scheme will come as a relief to students concerned about the status of their summer schemes.

Morris is hoping other law firms follow CC’s lead: “It’s a tough time for students with universities moving teaching and exams online. We should be moving in this direction as well — just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t continue to engage and interact with students.”

Virtual student event: Understanding how a global law firm works – with White & Case on Thursday 23 April

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