Clifford Chance Vacation Scheme Interview 2020


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  • Feb 17, 2018
    Thanks to this anonymous candidate who shared this detailed insight. Tough questions here! If anything, this reflects the importance of staying up to date with topical news stories and reading around a topic (particularly here with Thomas Cook and CVA related questions).

    Clifford Chance Vacation Scheme Interview 2020

    Competency Interview (45 min)
    • Tell me about yourself?
      • Tangent about Competitive Food eating
    • Why CC?
      • [Follow up] How does that differentiate CC from other firms like A&O?
    • Issues facing CC’s clients? How are they positioned to counter these?
      • I said cyber security (my answer wasn’t all that focussed, more suited for the question of what will affect the firm most)
      • [Follow up] Any other issues?
      • I said AI and legal tech – shit answer
      • Maybe looming recession would have been a better
    • What other firms have you applied to and what have you felt going through the application process?
    • How do you deal under pressure?
    • Dealing with difficulty and what did you do to solve it?
    • Project you’ve worked towards and the steps you took
    Case Study Interview (1 hour 15 min prep time, 45 min interview)

    Case Study Bundle: About the liquidation of Thomas Cook. A few FT articles (Analysis article from the FT) and BBC news articles. Some more in-depth reports about AI biases and their consequences / in-direct consequences. [Redacted]

    Case Brief:
    • Partner and you working on a case
    • [Redacted] is an online holiday provider, providing cheaper holiday bundles
    • Client is looking to acquire Thomas Cook’s retail portfolio
    • Partner had suggestions for the client and potential actions for the acquisition
      • 1) Using CVA’s to let go of leases on retail stores. Only retaining stores in key locations to reduce costs.
      • 3) Happy Retail to operate in Europe under the name Thomas Cook
      • 4) Using influencers on social media to appeal to a younger audience
      • 5) Using AI facial recognition in their stores
    • Task 1: (a) What you understood about the downfall of Thomas Cook from the bundle? (b) To go in depth / raise issues with any action that partner was supposing and suggest any other alternatives to achieve the same aim?
    • Task 2: Board member emailing in asking what is algorithmic bias? And if we were to implement it into these AI systems in our shops what issues will we need to consider? (It pointed towards a specific article in the bundle)
    Questions (45 min Q&A):

    Partner and associate had a set list of questions covering a few topics that they read off and asked you. No presentation like previous years
    • What went wrong with Thomas Cook? Why did it fail?
    • Similar company that wants to acquire them. Why? Are there differences between the two companies?
    • Drew upon the similarities and differences between the companies and how that affected them / their goals?
    • Do you know about the Chinese conglomerate Fosun’s bailout package?
    • Why didn’t the government bailout Thomas Cook?
    • Can you think of a similar company in the news this week that is undergoing something similar? (was referring to Flybe)
    • Why is Flybe getting a bail out? Whereas Thomas Cook did not
    • What are CVAs?
    • Got told what they are. Their use. In the Company Act
    Thomas Cook would have contracts with hundreds of landlords to use their retail space. But because the company is going bankrupt, they cut a deal (75% vote) to decrease their rent payment and make a plan to repay less.
    • Fall of the high street: using CVAs
    • What are Credit Default Swaps and how are they used?
    • Issues surrounding AI technology in stores?
    Where I failed?

    · Commercial Awareness: knowing the basics of big headline stories, and what would interest lawyers e.g. how Thomas Cook failed and the legal / commercial implications on an acquisition of it

    · Knowing the clients business

    o Every issue you raise and solution you give, must be through the client’s eyes.

    · Tactical communication

    o ANYTHING you say, be prepared to talk about it more

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