Unique programs and initiatives
The Firm is committed to furthering our associates' professional development and providing them with the best opportunity to develop their skills as lawyers. Based on associate feedback, in 2015, the Firm amended the way transactional work assignments are allocated in the Americas Region – creating the Clifford Chance Transactional Pool (the "Pool"). Under this system, first-year law clerks/associates enter the Pool for their first 2.5 years during which they are given exposure to assignments in Banking & Finance, Capital Markets, Corporate and Real Estate. The enhanced system preserves the best aspects of the previous rotation system – exposure to many different kinds of work and to partners and associates across all transactional practice areas – without the rigidity of six-month rotations.
The Pool is coordinated by a dedicated assignment manager. Not only is she responsible for allocating assignments to transactional associates and balancing overall workloads to keep everyone busy, but she also gets to know each colleague's professional interests and, as those interests are refined over time, makes sure that their work assignments align with their long-term career objectives.
Best Delivery is the marriage of our substantive expertise with the smartest tools and resources to deliver an outstanding client experience and improve outcomes for our clients. The cross-functional Best Delivery team, located in both of our US offices, consists of specialized professionals in Continuous Improvement, Legal Project Management and Legal Technology. The team supports lawyers in the delivery of legal services by creating efficiencies and ensuring the process is tailored to each client. Matters are streamlined through process-improvement strategies, cutting-edge technology and expert legal project management resources. The cross-functional design is a differentiator for Clifford Chance in the US and provides a first-in-market advantage consistent with our focus on growth and innovation.
Clifford Chance commits to the highest standards of what we call "Responsible Business," and we are privileged to drive positive social change from a position of industry leadership across the globe. From the way we hire and develop people to the work we do and the partners we work with – these standards are embedded within our culture of teamwork and putting clients first. We are very proud of the fact that Clifford Chance is one of the most diverse firms in the world.
This isn't just a question of ethics and culture; diversity is also a business imperative. We act for the world’s leading businesses on their most important and challenging matters, which tend to be complex, multifaceted and, very often, international. Delivering the best legal and business solutions relies on our ability to assemble dynamic and cohesive teams on the basis of identifying the best person for each role.
(Note: The preceding paragraphs are excerpted from an interview with Diversity leader Zarrar Sehgal published by The Legal 500. The full interview and our Firm's diversity profile are available here.)
Led by partner Zarrar Sehgal, our Diversity Committee manages the Firm's diversity and inclusion efforts. The committee is comprised of five subcommittees that work alongside Firm management to ensure support for the advancement of every lawyer. They are: (1) the Asian and Pacific Islanders Subcommittee; (2) the Black and Latino Subcommittee; (3) Veterans and Affiliates, known as CliffVets; (4) the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Subcommittee, known as Arcus; and (5) the Women's Subcommittee. These subcommittees focus on the recruitment, retention and development of diverse professionals, and help the Firm increase awareness of the issues affecting their respective groups and communities.
Selected Diversity Programs
Mansfield Rule: In 2018, Clifford Chance achieved Mansfield Certification, a year after agreeing to be a pioneering US firm for the Mansfield Rule. To be certified in Mansfield 2.0, a law firm must, among other things, consider a minimum of 30 percent women, LGBT+ and minority lawyers for significant leadership roles. Our press release is available here.
Global Arcus (LGBT) Allies: In 2015, our LGBT employees network, Arcus, launched a Firmwide LGBT allies initiative with a kick-off program in London, which highlighted the importance of allies in fostering LGBT inclusion and acceptance. The Firm's Global Managing Partner, Global Chief Operating Officer and several clients were involved. Since then, the program has been expanded to Clifford Chance offices around the world and across our wider diversity committee to include all diversity groups.
Selected Diversity Events
Arcus Global Pride Art Exhibitions: Arcus Global hosts its annual art event every June in connection with Gay Pride month, and 2018 marked the eleventh year that offices across our global network, including Amsterdam, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Perth, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington DC, celebrated Gay Pride. The New York and Washington, DC exhibitions, "Marks of Resistance," included artwork by local and international LGBT+ artists with a wide range of creative practices, and emphasized presence and visibility as forms of political resistance. The exhibitions are opened each year with a reception welcoming the artists, clients and law school students, as well as Clifford Chance employees and business partners.
Advice to My Younger Self: Reflections of Successful Women Lawyers: In 2017, Clifford Chance partnered with The Legal 500 to develop a book that profiles 20 women lawyers from across our Firm providing Advice to My Younger Self ("ATMYS"). The book delivers helpful insights for career advancement and personal growth from successful women partners and associates and from senior business leaders who are alumnae of the Firm. This bespoke work has been viewed online and in print by thousands of people all over the world, ranging from in-house counsel to law school students to our Firm's own associates.
Their Voices: Insights from Today's Rising Lawyers: As a follow up to Advice to My Younger Self: Reflections of Successful Women Lawyers, We released a second book featuring profiles of junior lawyers currently in our first through fourth-year classes. Through these stories, we provide a similar career-development resource as with ATMYS, only told from a diverse perspective of lawyers at the start of their legal careers with Clifford Chance. We look forward to sharing these insights from the future leaders of our profession.
Educational Seminars/Pro Bono Training
My Sisters' Place: My Sisters' Place is a non-profit organization based in Westchester County that provides services to survivors of domestic abuse and also focuses on advocacy and community education. Clifford Chance funds a full-time legal Fellow who, in addition to providing direct client services, provides pro bono training and supervision to lawyers at the Firm. The agency recently led a presentation on "Healthy Relationships" and is planning a new program entitled "Beyond Pink & Blue: Exploring Gender, Domestic Violence and the Next Generation."
The Vera Institute of Justice: The Clifford Chance Foundation has partnered with this non-profit organization to support a one-year Fellow working on Vera's Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education Project. The Fellowship is open to students in their third year of law school. The Fellow's placement is part of a comprehensive relationship between Clifford Chance and Vera, encompassing work from the General Counsel's office, as well as from Vera projects.
Immigration Equality: This non-profit organization presented at the Firm on "LGBT Rights at Homeland and Worldwide." The discussion covered progress made toward decriminalization and legalization, the anti-LGBT pushback in certain other parts of the world, the promotion of LGBT rights worldwide and issues related to the LGBT refugee population. The presentation was followed by a pro bono training on related asylum cases.
Human Rights Watch: Experts from Human Rights Watch recently held a discussion outlining their work bringing perpetrators of grave international crimes to justice, promoting human rights in Europe and Central Asia and protecting the rights of LGBT people around the world. Human Rights Watch is a global pro bono client of the Firm and recently received a significant donation to support its project to develop and disseminate a better understanding of universal jurisdiction under which grave international crimes may be prosecuted, both outside the jurisdiction in which they were committed and by governments whose citizens were not affected by the crimes.
Programs, firm cultural aspects or practices that set CC apart
Please see general statement and diversity section, above, for comments on culture. Programs and practices are covered in other sections.
Selected work highlights
- Our cross-practice REIT team advises on major deals, such as the $1 billion IPO of ESRT, which includes the Empire State Building.
- The project finance team routinely places at the top of the Latin America league tables for both volume and value and has advised on some of the most important and innovative deals in the region, including the $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal.
- The Firm's Investigations team has significantly expanded over the past few years. Partner Chris Morvillo was honored as Am Law's Litigator of the Week for a precedent-setting FCPA investigation, and the team was named the 2017 US Export Controls “Law Firm of the Year” for advising Chinese telecom company ZTE during a multi-year, multi-agency investigation.
- The Firm advised on Kraft’s $19.5 billion acquisition of Cadbury and on the bankruptcies of both the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.