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Clifford Chance Spark Interview 2019


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  • Feb 17, 2018
    From anonymous

    There were two parts to the assessment centre: a senior associate interview (competency) and a partner interview (based on the case study).

    Since Clifford Chance conducts CV-blind interviews, the first question in the senior associate interview would be “tell me about yourself”. My advice would be to give a brief skeleton of your CV, e.g. your leadership positions, work experience etc. After that, they will proceed to ask you competency-based questions. Some of the questions I was asked during the senior associate interview:
    • A time when I pushed myself
    • How I manage time
    • Difficulties faced whilst working as a team
    • Difficulties faced whilst being a leader
    • A time I had to deal with a difficult client/customer
    • What do clients look in a law firm
    • How can I contribute to the firm
    • Why law
    • Why Clifford Chance
    The interviewer also asked whether there are any other points I wanted to mentioned that were not covered in her questions, so I mentioned that whilst I have explained “why law”, I wanted to elaborate specifically on “why commercial law”, as I had prepared different answers for both questions. One advice I would give is to always structure your question with “firstly, secondly, thirdly…”.

    Then, we were brought into a computer room, where we were presented with a case study and we were instructed to type our findings in the form of an email. Be sure to structure your email and write professionally. I wrote mine in bullet points, accompanied with full sentences.

    Then, we were to bring the printed copy of our email to the next interview, which was conducted by a partner. The partner asked me to summarise the case study (this is where attention to detail comes in, so make sure you remember the key points of the scenario) and present to her my findings. She then asked specific follow-up questions on what I had written in my answer. They deliberately ask really hard questions on purpose! But just be cool and make educated guesses on some of the commercial questions if you don’t know the answer.

    The things that they are looking for:

    Competency interview
    1. Leadership and collaborative skills: This is about whether you are able to provide convincing examples of situations where you had to manage a team, motivate and inspire individuals, work collaboratively with different team members and taking responsibility.
    2. “Client focus”: This is essentially about your ability to identify the client’s needs and to build long-lasting rapport with your client. Times where you have had to hold difficult conversations or deal with difficult customers are examples of this.
    3. Understanding the commercial environment and Clifford Chance: This examines whether you can identify the “economics of a law firm” (i.e. how a law firm interacts with the political, economic, technological and social environments). You should have an understanding of terminology and jargon commonly used in the commercial world, and also show interest in recent trends.
    4. Understanding the work that lawyers do: This test whether you have general enthusiasm in becoming a lawyer. Examples of legal and non-legal work experiences should be raised here. You should also have an understanding of the common practice areas.
    Case study
    1. Written communication: Your case study report should be well structured and have little to no grammatical and spelling errors. I find that writing your report in bullet-points and in full sentences work.
    2. Verbal communication: This examines whether you are able to hold up under pressure, whether you are able to support your stance despite being brutally questioned and whether you have confidence in verbalizing your thoughts. Also, body language is a plus point.
    3. “Client focus”: Similar to above. Think about any potential “conflicts” or “benefits” that might affect your client, and the legal and commercial consequences of some of the actions taken in the case study.
    4. Understanding the commercial environment and Clifford Chance: Similar to above. Also, do try to link any real-life knowledge of the firm to the case study, e.g. if it the case study is similar to any real deals that the firm has been involved with. It also sees whether your answer is thought through from a business perspective.
    5. Innovation and business delivery: This sees whether you can think of creative solutions to aid your client. For example, consider any possibilities of price reduction or indemnities.

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