Lateral Look: Clifford Chance

The magic of BigLaw can be found in cozier dimensions at Brit-born Clifford Chance, which offers big responsibility in small teams for ambitious associates.

Clifford Chance played a leading role in bringing Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to market, by advising Pfizer on the IP, corporate, tax and capital markets-related work on the deal. Clifford Chance, or CC to its friends, may not yet have the profile it deserves in the US, but as this deal suggests, CC is a powerhouse that works on matters of global scale and significance. It’s one of the five prestigious ‘magic circle’ firms in the UK (a label akin to the ‘white shoe firm’ tag of yesteryear in the US) and has 32 offices in total around the world. It also has a colossal 269 ranked departments in Chambers Global (119 of which are celebrated in the very top tier of Chambers rankings). On US soil, where CC has offices in New York and DC, it’s the firm’s projects and aviation finance work that gets top billing in Chambers USA. Its other notable practices in the US include capital markets, insurance, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and corporate/M&A (especially in New York). 

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you choose Clifford Chance?

It is truly an international firm and has expert professionals.”

“Global prestige, international opportunities, incredible culture.”

"Strength of Latin America practice."


Strategic recruitment focuses 2022

Global financial markets careers

The view from the firm: The combination of our finance and capital markets practices is an incredibly strong market proposition. Our aim is to be seen by banks, financial investor and corporate enterprise clients as the world's leading integrated finance and capital market​ practice. Focus areas include sustainable finance, projects & infrastructure, asset finance, financial services regulatory and big bank M&A. 

Global financial markets clients: Citibank, Waterfall Asset Management, Goldman Sachs, Société Générale

Recent highlight: Clifford Chance advised Total Terminals International (a marine terminal and stevedore operator on the US West Coast) in connection with a $275 million loan.

Corporate careers

The view from the firm: Our corporate practice is focused on a balanced portfolio of market-leading clients across financial investors, corporate enterprises and banks who view us as their trusted advisor across multiple products and jurisdictions. Key growth areas include antitrust, FIs, corporate enterprises and tech & IP.

Corporate clients: Ardian, Capital Dynamics, CVC Capital Partners, Pfizer

Recent highlight: Acted for private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its $4 billion public to private bid for UDG Healthcare.

Litigation careers

The view from the firm: In L&DR, we advise on a wide range of areas, including but not limited to; commercial and financial services litigation, white collar and enforcement, regulatory and compliance, and antitrust. Our practice includes former prosecutors and regulators and can draw on subject matter experts throughout our US transactional and regulatory practice. Our lawyers are focused on helping our clients minimize the risk of litigation, and we advise our clients on how to comply with their legal and regulatory obligations. 

Litigation clients: Bank of Montreal, Santander, Capital Dynamics, Mike Lynch (founder of Autonomy)

Recent highlight: Defended ICBC Standard Bank in class action litigation relating to the alleged manipulation of platinum and palladium benchmarks in London.

Tax, pensions and employment careers

The view from the firm: The TPE team provides seamlessly integrated tax, pensions​, employment and incentives​​ advice to help clients move transactions forward, regularly advising on US and international taxation, covering corporate and commercial transactions, equity and debt offerings, real estate and private equity funds and investments, financing and securitization transactions, tax-efficient structured transactions, insurance taxation, charitable organizations and the resolution of tax disputes. Our employee benefits and executive compensation lawyers regularly advise domestic and multinational companies on critical employment matters in M&A transactions, including the treatment of equity compensation, negotiating employment agreements and pension plan terminations. Our ERISA team advises on all aspects of Title I of ERISA, including fiduciary issues in connection with the investment of employee benefit plan assets as well as the fiduciary responsibility requirements that pension plan investment committees must comply with. 

Tax, pensions and employment clients: Siemens, Kenkel, Almanac Realty Investors, Stockbridge Capital Group

Recent highlight: The firm advised private equity firm Ardian on the tax aspects of the acquisition by its investee company, The Dedalus Group, of DXC Technology's healthcare software provider business.

Technology and ESG careers

The view from the firm: Our tech group of more than 600 lawyers takes a different approach to helping clients solve tech challenges. Tech is in our DNA - we deliver holistic strategic legal advice to guide businesses through the complex business challenges presented by tech and digital disruption - our focus extends across antitrust, M&A & investments, IP, litigation, tax, pensions & employment, cyber, Fintech, Proptech, Healthtech and more. We advise clients the world over on sustainable business transition and transformation, offering global coverage and technical excellence in the major aspects of ESG. The climate emergency, imperative social issues, and increased importance of effective governance require advice and support from the forefront of ESG developments, as part of achieving the Just Transition. We focus on climate change, energy transition, sustainable finance, business & human rights, inclusion & diversity, and stakeholder governance, regulatory & trade, and corporate governance & directors obligations.


International opportunities and secondments

Common secondment destinations: Hong Kong, London, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore

The view from the firm: Clifford Chance has 34 offices in 23 countries and a dedicated global mobility team to handle short and long term international transfers and secondments, to both US and primarily non-US practice groups. These secondment opportunities are well supported within the network, offering our associates a unique career opportunity to expand their exposure to international markets.

Our associates have opportunities for client secondments with leading international financial institutions and corporations all around the world. The secondments last anywhere from three months to a year. We see these opportunities as critical to continuing professional development and relationship building.


Career development & the path to partnership



2.4 : 1


partners made
in the US in 2020

associate : partner gearing

of junior associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children strongly agreed the firm’s name adds value to
their resume
agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: The development of our associates is critical to our success: associates participate in practice-specific training as well as a global business skills curriculum focused on business development, client relationships and people-management. Each associate is also paired with a Career Development Mentor (CDM) who, in addition to providing general guidance, is responsible for expanding their mentee's network of contacts. These pairings are reviewed annually, with frequent check ins scheduled to ensure the associate is progressing. In addition to our formal mentoring program, many of our attorneys also participate in reverse mentoring where a senior leader of the firm is paired with a junior colleague from a different background bringing a different perspective of their firm experience as a result.


Hours & compensation


11 57
average number of vacation days associates took in one year average number of hours associates worked in one week








agreed they had a good work-life balance

said the benefits package makes the workload worthwhile

strongly agreed the bonus allocation fair and transparent



1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
8th year: $365,000


The view from the firm: The firm understands the importance of balancing success in the workplace with life outside the office and has implemented a flexible work arrangement where lawyers are able to work remotely for up to two days each week. In addition to an annual health fair, the firm also hosts monthly lunch seminars dedicated to issues surrounding mental and physical health, and partners with Corporate Counseling Associates (CCA) which, among other services, provides 24/7 virtual counseling from a dedicated team of coaches. Compensation is lockstep and associate bonuses are based upon a number of factors including performance, pro bono hours, and overall firm contributions. 


Is Clifford Chance the right firm for you?





said they’d chosen the right firm

were happy in their current role

felt comfortable being themselves

The view from the firm: We're looking for talented individuals with strong interpersonal skills, sound judgment, an entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the needs of our everchanging global clients. We take a holistic approach to our hiring and the Americas region (which consists of New York, NY, Washington, DC, and São Paulo, Brazil) is one of the Firm's global strategic priorities. Within the region, our focus is on talented individuals looking to work on market-leading mandates across Global Financial Markets, Corporate/Transactional, L&DR, Projects & Infrastructure, Tax, Pensions & Employment, Technology, and ESG.

What stands out about the firm's culture?

A strong understanding of who associates are and how they are feeling. The firm does an excellent job treating associates as people and not just workers.”

Associates taking time out of their busy schedule to get to know each other, to thoroughly explain/ask questions regarding transactions, and support each other.”


Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing






reported strong performance in inclusivity training

said the firm strives to promote and retain diverse lawyers

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse


The view from the firm: In 2021, Clifford Chance achieved Mansfield re-certification 4.0, four years after agreeing to be a pioneering US firm for the Mansfield Rule. To be Mansfield certified, a law firm must show that it has affirmatively considered women lawyers and attorneys of color in connection with hiring and promoting at the highest levels. The firm has also committed to global and regional gender, ethnicity and LGBT+ targets. In the Americas these targets include increasing the proportion of ethnically diverse partners to 15% and increasing the proportion of female partners by 35% by 2025. 


Pro bono




strongly agreed the firm
is committed to pro bono    

    found the pro bono
work interesting


The view from the firm: Our pro bono practice, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is focused on widening access to justice, finance, education and a healthy environment. We achieve more by working alongside NGOs who share these aims, to enhance the capacity of outstanding organizations who make improvements in areas integral to the ability of people to lead secure, sustainable and fulfilling lives. Associates are actively encouraged to bring potential projects to the firm for consideration: we work hard to ensure that what we do makes a difference. 


Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: The sustainability of our business relies on our ability to inspire trust/earn the confidence of our stakeholders. Our commitment to the UN GlobalCompact and UN Sustainable Development Goals help shape our approach. ESG is embedded in our strategy. Our track record includes advising on renewables and shaping ground-breaking approaches towards a sustainable world – we've helped EasyJet to be the first major airline to offset carbon emissions from fuel; delivered the record-breaking renewable asset project financing of the world's largest offshore windfarm; the first blue bond and green sovereign sukuk; and advised an energy major on its pioneering, sustainability-linked revolving credit facility. 



See opportunities at the firm here>>

Recruitment contact: Haylin Low, lateral recruitment manager