China Co-Managing Partner and M&A lawyer Terence Foo reflects on his 20+ years in law as part of Clifford Chance. His motivators? Working with the best clients on the best deals, the people he works with, and the firm's culture.
All law firms are not the same
Our continued investment in our team to help them reach their full potential is a key part of our global strategy aimed at developing talent and driving continuous innovation for our clients. We want to be at the forefront of the emerging elite group of international law firms.
If we’re to achieve that, we need outstanding lawyers at every level of the firm who can deliver excellent service through every client interaction. We have a vested interest in helping you fulfil your potential.
Training to be a lawyer
The two-year training and graduate programmes turn gifted beginners into professionals, with the aim of equipping you with the breadth of experience you need to emerge as a confident business adviser. Our training and graduate programmes are divided into four, six-month seats (rotations) that place you in different parts of our business. You will work in teams with different colleagues and clients, acquiring exposure to the challenges they face and the ways in which we help them. While seat availability is subject to the needs of the business, we endeavour to allocate you seats which reflect your personal career ambitions. Our extensive international network and the global nature of our business mean that it is both possible and beneficial for you to take one of your seats in one of our overseas offices.
Secondments are an opportunity for you to acquire new skills and experience, develop your language skills and gain a valuable international perspective in a new business and cultural environment.
Throughout the training contract or graduate programme, you will be closely supported, both informally and through formal mentoring and training, with advice and guidance from the graduate team and a supervisor in each seat.
The seat process is akin to an apprenticeship. You will work closely alongside your supervisor and he or she sees what you do, gives you advice, checks your work and then gradually gives you more complex things to do as your skills and confidence grow. It’s a great way to learn because you receive continuous feedback in a safe and collegiate environment from the start.
The Road Ahead
Our people are vital to the firm. We succeed when our people thrive.
A great deal will be expected from you when you join Clifford Chance. We want people who are driven to excel, who set very high standards for themselves, and who aspire to reach the highest levels within our firm. In return for your energy and commitment, you can expect the level of exposure and investment in your career development that is only offered by a handful of professional services firms. From your first day with Clifford Chance, you will experience an environment that is both lively and welcoming. You'll be a part of a compact and supportive team, providing advice or working on matters that are critical to the client's business.
Being part of it
An open door policy only works if you practice what you preach - and Clifford Chance really does.
To be successful with us you have to be ambitious, confident and trust your own abilities. It's also important to ask for help when you need it. You will always be supported in every single task that you undertake. You can approach a fellow trainee, graduate or senior associate, counsel or partner with any issues that you may have.
It's a high-pressure and fast-moving environment, but that brings with it great benefits; we're a very dynamic place to work, so you'll never be bored. At times, you may feel like you are being pushed, in a good way to be intellectually challenged, and it will show you that your training is being taken seriously.
There's a strong sense of community, with a variety of social activities, but it starts with the fact that people enjoy working here and enjoy spending time together. We're very active in the wider community, through pro-bono, community work and charitable giving. We feel a sense of responsibility to use our skills and expertise.
Our work in the community gives our people exposure to activities that are very different from their day jobs. Whether you're mentoring children in local schools, or providing free legal advice to a charity or NGO, it broadens your vision and adds to your skills. You can find out more about our approach to being a Responsible Business here.
Clifford Chance Academy
The Academy provides integrated training and continuous professional education to support you throughout your career. The Academy delivers technical and business skills training to everyone in the firm, in person and online; and, for the Asia Pacific region, this is centred around our 'training hub' in Singapore. We emphasise continuous professional development at every stage of your career, so training is available to all – trainees, graduates, lawyers, partners and business service teams alike.
The training and mentoring you receive will ensure that you are up-to-date with legal developments in the areas where you work and also that you develop business skills such as time management, communication and client relationship skills.
As your career develops, you will be linked to a career development partner who will provide you with support and guidance on how to progress. Your continued technical training will ensure that you can quickly become an expert in your field and you will attend courses with lawyers from other jurisdictions to learn from your colleagues and share best practice.
You’ll also develop your financial, commercial and general business skills with a structured programme of courses that will help you take on more responsibilities in our business as you become more experienced. Many of these courses have e-learning support allowing you to learn in a flexible way.
Our global Tech Academy is a technology focused element of the firm's central learning and development function, the Clifford Chance Academy. The Tech Academy provides our people with online training and resources and a global programme of face-to-face workshops, ensuring we remain on top of the latest technology trends and issues our clients are facing.
To understand more about Clifford Chance's tech related work visit our Talking Tech site.Visit talking tech