The Legal Cheek View
We won’t bore you with the news the Clifford Chance’s profits rose 10% last year – meaning its top partners are earning a whopping £1.23 million (for the updated 2017 figure see below). Nor will we dwell on the good score for training which the firm received in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. Because, let’s face it, when it comes to Clifford Chance what everything wants to know about is the swimming pool.
Yes, the magic circle giant’s London headquarters has its own bathing facilities where trainees can famously wash away their troubles while gazing into the Canary Wharf night. And boy do they need it, because Clifford Chance riches come at a price. The firm is among the poorest performers for work/life balance, with the hours notoriously long during busy spells. One insider summarises it like this:
“Sometimes I leave at 6 and it's an absolute dream. Other times I leave at 10 and after weeks of finishing at 1, 10 feels like a dream.”
But in fairness to the powers that be at CC, they generally get this, and as part of the Faustian pact offered to youngsters provide not just pool perks but one of Legal Cheek’s favourite freebies: steak at your desk.
Granted, the prime cuts only arrive if you are working late, buy hey ho, you are on £85,000 as a newly qualified associate at one of the most highly regarded firms in the world. And for veggies there are deluxe cheeseboards and fruit platters.
But it’s not all steaks and no play at Clifford Chance: reports have reached us of junior lawyers popping out during quiet spells for Thursday drinks in Canary Wharf’s bars and then nipping back to the office to grab a free cab on the firm while claiming they have been working late. Meanwhile, the fish and chips served in the in-house canteen on Friday is apparently “the best hangover cure in the world!” When deals are flowing, we recommend combining it with a double espresso from the firm’s in-house Strabucks.
Senior members of the firm are said to regularly tack along on nights out, especially for the karaoke – “Most partners can rap better than you”, one rookie tells us.
When the work hard-play hard hedonism of London gets too much, there are happily plenty of international secondment opportunities where trainees can go to recollect themselves. Popular locations include Paris, Singapore and Dubai. Some lucky kids even get to do two overseas placements, we understand. Now that’s something worth chewing on.