Your Career at Clifford Chance US LLP
1. Your Professional Development
Our training opportunities for associates are among the best in the world. Clifford Chance Academy – our global training function –is now in its second decade of operation. Recognized as one of the premier career development groups in the legal industry, the Academy has delivered more than 1500* courses for approximately 20,000* participants in the last five years alone.
The role of the Academy is to support and enhance the development of all of our people and to support the business in achieving its strategic priorities. To do so effectively, we are constantly innovating to ensure our courses are adapting to the environment in which Clifford Chance lawyers and staff operate.
The increasingly competitive legal market has accentuated the need for high levels of commercial and business acumen and people skills. It has also demanded greater technical prowess from Clifford Chance lawyers, who frequently advise on matters that are not only domestic, but multijurisdictional. These skills are an important focus of the Academy Development Centre – a program that helps senior associates develop non-legal skills and, if they wish, plan their progress towards becoming a partner.
The Academy courses have been aligned to support the international focus that is frequently part of Clifford Chance's work. This allow lawyers from across our firm to network and learn together. Technology has played a role in ensuring that training is accessible to everyone by enabling courses to be built and run in one location, but be replicated elsewhere. The introduction of Mediasite technology means training can be filmed in London or Frankfurt, for example, and then accessed by lawyers and Business Services staff all over the world; e-learning courses are available in any location at any time and Live Meeting means attendees can participate in a course from overseas.
In a global environment, understanding how to work well with teams in different cultures is crucial. To , develop an appreciation and respect for these differences, the Academy introduced a Cultural Awareness e-learning course in 2009 that has been extremely well received.
But this is just one of many existing courses and new offerings. The Academy's new autumn semester begins in September with a full range of training for both lawyers and Business Services staff at all levels.
Of special note, Clifford Chance was the first law firm to run a residential skills development centre in 1993. We were also the first firm to introduce a formal assessment center for new partners in 1996.
(* Academy curriculum figures quoted here do not include e-learning and practice area-based training, or training organized locally by Clifford Chance's 34 offices. For example, in our DC and New York offices, we offer associates additional training opportunities ranging from media training and managing your reputation in the digital age, to the basics of law firm financials.)
2. The Difference
The way we treat clients and each other is something we're very proud of. Pleasant, polite and friendly is the style here.
We support and, importantly, have the utmost respect for each other. We admire the intellect consistently demonstrated by others on the team. We celebrate individuality and invite all of our people to express themselves openly. In fact, we hold quarterly meetings for all associates and our regional managing partner holds informal monthly roundtable lunches with associates to invite candid two-way discussion.
We embrace diversity and realize that building a diverse team is a key factor in our success as a global enterprise. We set a high value on different points of view and know that different beliefs, experiences and backgrounds create the kind of rich mix that leads to better answers and original ideas. We work in teams and place great value on listening to the ideas of every team member. Even our most successful senior partners know their work improves with input from the group. This is one reason why our partners mix regularly with associates, seeking their ideas, and sharing opinions, thoughts and experiences with them. Our senior associates also work closely with younger lawyers to help them develop and to ensure they can make the maximum contribution to every project.
In essence, we invite members of our team to decide who they want to be and to feel free to make the right things happen to achieve those goals.
Our US litigation practice consists of teams based in both New York and Washington, D.C., with four former federal prosecutors as part of the practice. We advise clients on a wide range of matters in the areas of: cross-border investigatory work, commercial and financial services litigation, white collar and enforcement, regulatory and compliance and antitrust.
We represent banking and corporate clients in complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts throughout the country, specializing in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters.
We also have a highly-respected regulatory and compliance practice with leading lawyers who are regularly advising the world’s largest companies on the full spectrum of regulatory compliance matters.
Our white collar and enforcement practice has substantial experience in representing companies and individuals in criminal and civil government investigations and conducting internal investigations for multinational corporations involving allegations of corruption, money laundering, fraud, and trade and national security-related issues.
Our antitrust practice represents clients in connection with enforcement proceedings by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, cartel investigations and private civil litigation matters.
Our clients include a wide array of American and international banks and investment banks, corporations and insurance companies. Recent, illustrative engagements include:
- representing a European financial institution in a securities class action and related fraud actions arising from the collapse of a major customer.
- representing a leading global financial institution in connection with numerous class actions and regulatory investigations alleging manipulation of LIBOR.
- representing a global financial institution in the defense of a privacy class action arising out of the loss of the personal data of thousands of customers.
- representing a top global investment bank in connection with its auction rate securities business in investigations by the SEC, the New York Attorney General, and various state regulators.
- representing a global aircraft manufacturer in litigation over $227 million in pre-delivery payments on cancelled orders.
- representing a European manufacturing company in an investigation regarding criminal theft of trade secrets.
- representing a Fortune 50 company in parallel criminal and matters involving $250 million in fraud and False Claims Act claims.
- representing leading international financial institutions in multiple US Grand Jury investigations into potential violations of US economic sanctions and money laundering, fraud and conspiracy statutes.
- advising multiple international financial institutions in connection with efforts by plaintiffs holding a default judgment against the Government of Iran to recover alleged Iranian assets held outside the US by such institutions.
- advising a multinational company in connection with an investigation into suspicious payments made in connection with real estate investments in Italy.
- representing an investment bank in a cross-border money laundering investigation by multiple securities regulators.
Our transactional work involves supporting large multinational businesses in their day-to-day dealings. This work covers a wide spectrum of US and cross-border matters relating to capital markets and complex financial products, banking, project finance, financial restructuring and insolvency, M&A, private equity, real estate, tax and ERISA.
In 2012, our Americas M&A practice continued its climb in this market, ranking No. 12 in the Mergermarket tables based on transaction value.
Recent, illustrative examples of our transactional work include:
- representing Empire State Realty Trust Inc., the owner of the Empire State Building, on its filing with the SEC toward becoming a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
- advising Kraft Foods International on its US$19 billion takeover of Cadbury, one of the first major cross-border takeovers by a US acquirer since the onset of the financial crisis.
- advising TAM S.A. on its merger with Lan Chile to form LATAM Airlines Group S.A., the second largest airline in the world by market value when the deal was completed.
- advising FLY Leasing in its acquisition of a US$1.4 billion portfolio of 49 Boeing and Airbus aircrafts from Global Aviation Asset Management, an Australian company.
- advising AEI on its US$4.8 billion sale of certain Latin American energy assets, in which AEI sold approximately 9 businesses and other assorted assets to 11 different buyers, including the sale of Elektro to Spain's Iberdrola for US$2.4 billion.
- advising Shell International Petroleum Company Ltd. in its US$12 billion joint venture with Cosan to form Raízen, among the five largest companies in Brazil.
- advising Hearst Corporation in its exclusive negotiations with French publishing group Lagardère, for the EUR 651 million purchase by Hearst of Lagardère's international magazines unit (including brands such as Elle, Car & Driver, and Woman's Day).
- advising E Group, a major Mexican real estate investor, and Fibra Uno, the first Mexican FIBRA, in a US$250 million Mexican public offering and private placement in the U.S. This was the first ever IPO of a real estate investment trust (REIT) structured in accordance with Mexican law.
- advising AllianceBernstein in establishing a Public Private Investment Fund (PPIF) that grew to be US$4-5 billion in size.
- serving as programmatic counsel in connection with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), a risk-sharing partnership between the DOE and qualified finance organizations for loan guarantees relating to certain renewable energy generation projects. We have represented the DOE in more than 15 renewable energy transactions in the U.S. in the last 18 months.
5. The commitment: Pro Bono and Community Service
Clifford Chance's overarching vision is to become both the leader of the emerging elite group of international law firms and to be regarded as one of the world's leading professional services organizations. But to achieve these twin ambitions means tackling a third: to be the law firm whose corporate responsibility (CR) activities are most closely aligned with the way it does business.
This is not just about doing the right thing, though that is important to us, too.
The advantages this brings are clear. We will be able to attract and retain the best people. We will all develop as individuals through expanding our horizons beyond our commercial role. We will foster even closer and more trusting relationships with our clients – especially when we undertake joint CR activities. And we can make a real difference to the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves.
Our CR strategy is underpinned by our Principles and has three main strands – people, community and the environment.
Our people strategy looks inwardly at our responsibilities to our employees, particularly with regard to the critical themes of development and diversity.
Our community strategy embraces not only our charitable and volunteering initiatives but also our pro bono activity. Three themes lie at its heart – increasing access to justice, access to finance and access to education. The Clifford Chance Foundation also supports these three areas.
Our environment strategy recognizes the impact our business has on the environment, as well as ensures we stand up to the scrutiny of our clients, whom we often advise on such matters.
Some of our more recent community activities include:
- Supporting a legal fellowship at My Sisters' Place, a New York-area domestic violence organization with whom we have partnered on a variety of initiatives.
- Structuring and driving diversity initiatives in partnership with NYU and Columbia Law Schools.
- We are known as strong supports of the arts in our communities. One example is our recent exhibition by Studio in a School, the leading visual arts organization in New York City, which brings comprehensive visual arts programming to children and youth.