Clifford Chance increases financial support for incoming trainees

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LPC and SQE cohorts provided £12.5k maintenance grants

Clifford Chance is offering its future trainees £12,500 in financial support during the Legal Practice Course and Solicitors Qualifying Exam.

Up until recently the magic circle firm provided £10,000 in maintenance to its LPC students. It has increased this sum by 25% to £12,500, matching the grant to be offered to SQE trainees.

Legal Cheek understands the rise applies to its current LPC cohort, who will be provided the top-up payment in May.

CC’s current crop of trainees study at law school BPP, before the firm switches to rival ULaw for the LPC in July this year and the SQE in 2023.

The Canary-Wharf based firm is one of the largest training contract providers in the City, with an annual intake of around 95 trainees.

The 2022 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Every few years, against the backdrop of rising inflation and living costs, the elite law firms in London increase the amount they provide in maintenance to future trainees. Whilst costs will vary depending on student lifestyles, a university guide recently estimated that the maximum amount needed for a course lasting nine months or more in London is £12,006.

Fellow magic circle firm Linklaters already offers future trainees £12,500 in maintenance, our Firms Most List shows, whilst US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell tops the table with £12,850.

The rest of the magic circle, Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Slaughter and May, as well as a number of other major players in the City, offer £10,000 to support trainees through their studies. Though we understand that some TC holders are considering emailing their respective graduate recruitment teams to match CC and Links on the £12,500 figure.

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Cute but according to Legal Cheek’s Most List, Shoosmiths offers a 14k LPC grant!



Isn’t that just for the LPC fees though? No maintenance grant from Shoos.


CC Future Trainee

Just to say this a result of an email that the CC cohort sent to HR in January, which the firm followed up with a financial survey.

This wasn’t unprompted and required significant lobbying.


CC Former Trainee

We used to ask them for more money all the time on the LPC in 2011 (when we got £5,000 iirc), but they told us where to go. There was a financial crisis happening.

This wasn’t some political masterstroke by the second coming of Robert Moses, it’s purely a function of the wider pay war. Steady on.



Wait till you join and get given pool cleaning duties as a reward.



Wait what?


Future Trainee

I’m a future trainee at an American law firm and was thinking about asking the firm to increase their maintenance grand during the GDL (currently less than 8K). I wonder if you have any tips/advice on writing an email to request an increase? I would also appreciate it if you could share how you secured support from your peers because I’m scared of being the only one asking…



Dear Grad Rec

Cancel me




Future Trainee

Dear “Idiot”,

I was going to ignore your dismissive comment because I’m not particularly eager to waste my time in immature anonymous internet discussions.

Considering your rude comment at 1 am, I assume you have not secured a training contract and are not a legal professional. I say this because those of us who are future trainees, trainees or legal professionals would (hopefully) not display such behaviour online and are very likely to have more important things to do other than being rude in blogs during the early morning.

However, I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt and clarify some facts that might be unclear to you. Different from what you might think, not everyone who secures a training contract has a trust fund or can rely on family support (shocking, right?). For those of us who have been working since day one during university and are told by HR that we should not work during the GDL/LPC, having to rely on less than 8K to pay rent, food and clothes in London can be quite a challenge.

Some of us also do not have access to loans or student finance to help with the living costs (shocking again, I know!). Finally, because we need to secure top grades during the GDL/LPC, securing full-time work to afford life in London might be a challenge that can impact our ability to concentrate on our studies and perform our best. In summary, for people that can only rely on the firm’s maintenance grant, having less than 8K is a challenge. Seeing that firms like CC are increasing their grant made me wonder if that would also be possible in other firms.

You are also probably unaware that there is some scope for negotiations and discussion of personal circumstances when offered a Training Contract. Gladly, HR professionals do not behave like you and therefore, asking for an increase in maintenance grant would not be a reason for being cancelled. This would remove barriers for future trainees from a low socio-economic background and could be an opportunity for the firm to enhance its diversity and inclusion initiative.

I really hope this clarifies some points, and I hope that when you become a professional, you can think about those who are different from you and do not have access to the same opportunities. If you know what is it like to survive with the bare minimum, you would understand that asking for an increase in maintenance grant in a context where other firms are doing the same is not an idiot act nor a reason for being cancelled.


Slaughters FT

I understand that the person who sent the CC email included references to inflation since the date when the grant was last set and rising energy prices as justification for the request.


If are confident enough to ask, how are you ever going to be a good lawyer?

Just do it



Hopefully this sets a precedent among the rest of the magic circle…



Slaughters and FBD have already matched the increase in the past week or so – all the MC except A&O by my count now. I expect everyone will soon follow across the board …



You know what to do, daddy Freshfields


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