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LIFT...changing the landscape of internships, shaping the lawyers of the future.

One of the ways we invest in our future lawyers is through our award-winning LIFT programme, the first internship programme of its kind.

We have partnered with a select number of organisations and core Clifford Chance business teams to offer paid summer internships to our future trainees, with the sole aim of supporting your professional development.

In the time between accepting your offer and starting your Training Contract, you'll have the opportunity to develop useful non-legal skills such as marketing, product management and business operations, which will help you excel as a trainee.

We recognise that being a good lawyer takes more than knowing the law – it's about understanding our industry, how businesses are run, and how best to service clients – and the best way to develop this understanding is through hands-on work experience.

Designed to create more business-minded, creative and agile trainees by providing work experience placements prior to starting the Training Contract, this is the future of work experience.

This is another way in which we prepare you to be able to hit the ground running when you start with us.

Hear from our LIFT interns

We asked a few of our future trainees to share with us their experiences of our award-winning internship programme, LIFT. Filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, seven participants were asked to capture their own footage using different media. Watch this video to find out more about what this groundbreaking initiative has to offer.

Kiran's LIFT experience

Future Trainee, February 2023 intake – University of Bristol, Law (he/him)

"I completed my LIFT internship in the Corporate Client and Market Development (CMD) team. The team supports the Corporate practice in London on a range of client-facing activities, with a particular focus on business development. The client-facing element of commercial law is what drew me to the profession – and to a market leader like Clifford Chance. I was keen to see a different perspective of the firm’s activity in this area, and felt that experiencing the business development side of the firm would provide useful insight for when I start working here as a trainee."

"As a summer intern, I was able to support several members of the team with a variety of tasks. This included:

  • Contributing to materials that will be used when pitching to prospective clients.
  • Working (with appropriate supervision) on a briefing/update piece that was being sent out from the team to a FTSE 250 client.
  • Completing a research piece for a senior professional in the Corporate CMD team, looking at current trends in sustainability/ESG practices among corporates.
  • Other smaller miscellaneous tasks to support my supervisor and other team members, such as small research tasks, contributing data to pitch template materials from press releases and working on other documents for the team.

A particular highlight was being given responsibility to produce the first version of a document on the Corporate practice’s experience and capabilities, as well as what differentiates Clifford Chance as a leading global law firm. The piece was requested by a senior partner in the practice and will be used to present the Corporate/M&A group to clients.

The greatest insight I took away from the experience is the importance, in a client-focused services business such as Clifford Chance, of continuously building and developing client relationships. As a result, I came away with a much better understanding of how this enables the firm to remain a leader, on a global scale, in an increasingly competitive industry. This will all ensure that I have a better understanding of meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations beyond the purely legal elements of trainee work.

Interning with the Corporate CMD team was a great insight into the client-facing elements of the firm which are crucial to its continuing success, and into functions which students are not often exposed to. The experience will naturally help during my time with Clifford Chance because the things which help the firm’s business development will now be front of mind during my training and when working on live matters."

Lily's LIFT experience

Trainee – University of Durham, Combined Honours in Social Sciences (she/her)

"I applied for the role of Project Co-ordinator at Spark21, as my passion for diversity is aligned with their mission. Throughout university I was the Corporate Relations Officer for both Empower Her Voice Durham and The 93% Club Durham, organising events with inspirational female speakers, discussing the role of women in business and law, and securing corporate sponsorship for under-represented students at Durham University."

"During my internship with Spark21, I was responsible for setting up a variety of initiatives, as well as working alongside and supporting my supervisor with existing projects.

Examples of these include taking responsibility for expanding the Inspirational Women in Law Awards categories, as well as setting up both a Student Ambassador Programme and the Legal Gen Z project; a project that will interview 16-25 year olds to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their legal careers and aspirations.

Further, I expanded the charity’s social media presence. I firstly achieved this through a LinkedIn and Instagram giveaway, and secondly by creating and circulating promotional materials for the charity’s book launch of ‘In Her Words’, through technology such as MailChimp and across social media platforms.

I also observed how to successfully secure corporate sponsorship for new projects, before researching and compiling longlists of inspirational women to be involved in such projects.

Building professional relationships with the Spark21 team has been the most valuable part of my LIFT internship. Gaining first-hand exposure of how working within a supportive team yields a collaborative work environment, which translates to more efficient outcomes, has been fantastic. 

Such exposure will be a valuable contribution to my Training Contract, developing my ability to solve problems creatively, put clients first, and build lasting professional relationships. Particularly, learning to build rapports with clients in order to identify their needs, and provide efficient solutions to meet those needs."

"Lily was a fantastic team member. She was proactive and extremely helpful, frequently reaching out to ask how she could support me in my role, whilst still taking ownership of her own tasks. Having assisted me in a wide range of matters, she intuitively realised which of the regular tasks she could take over and actively offered to complete these, such as the daily social media posts across our various platforms. She was always receptive to constructive criticism and advice and sought feedback"  SPARK21

Eleanor's LIFT experience

Future Trainee, February 2023 intake – University of Warwick, Politics and International Relations (she/her)

"I undertook my LIFT internship with Peppo Tutors – a social enterprise that pays students to provide free tutoring to disadvantaged children. I applied for this LIFT because Peppo’s mission and ethos really resonated with me. Educational inequality in the UK is ever increasing and the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded this. I knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to make a tangible difference and working for Peppo has allowed me to help tackle this inequality."

"I’m incredibly lucky to have been given a huge range of tasks and responsibility during my LIFT internship. I’ve done everything from interviewing and onboarding potential tutors and drafting tutors’ contracts to going to meetings with Peppo’s business consultant, accountants, and a film editor.

The internship has really exposed me to all elements of the business. I’ve learnt how the organisation operates at the highest level, and how and why crucial business decisions are made.

Gaining this deep understanding has been invaluable as it has taught me to consider decisions and issues from a client’s perspective, and to think outside the box, skills that will be vital during my Training Contract.

Having this client exposure has not only increased my confidence in engaging and communicating with people from a whole host of backgrounds, but it has also driven home to me the importance of relationship building.

I’ve also gained a large range of transferrable skills during my LIFT internship, most notably project management, legal drafting and research skills. These will evidently be highly applicable during my Training Contract, allowing me to hit the ground running, with the self-confidence that I can perform the role successfully."

"Eleanor has fantastic technology skills. She identified that we could streamline our processes by converting standard communications into templates. Eleanor therefore prepared the template document and ensured that we could cut and paste templates straight into e-mails. This is going to be a very helpful resource going forward. Eleanor is very keen to join Clifford Chance and I am so excited for her. I have supervised many trainees over the years and I have absolutely no doubt that she will make a first rate trainee and lawyer. She is organised, intelligent, committed and a real pleasure to work with." Peppo Tutors

Max's LIFT experience

Trainee – University of Oxford, Law (he/him)

"As part of the 2022 IGNITE Trainee cohort, I applied to Neota Logic through the LIFT programme because I wanted to develop my technical skills and gain an insight into the legal tech market and the specific issues and challenges start-ups like Neota were solving."

"The best part of working as an intern at a start-up like Neota is that your role is never restricted to doing just one thing. Instead, during my time, I gained exposure to multiple areas of the business.

I worked with the marketing team on the development of Neota's online Community, I worked with the sales team on developing demos to pitch to prospective clients and I worked with the developers on the development of Neota’s products.

These experiences, along with the relationships I formed, taught me a lot, not just about legal tech, but also about law firms and the legal profession as a whole. From a legal tech perspective, Neota’s no-code platform was the perfect entry point to develop my technical abilities and apply them to build solutions of value to law firms looking to improve their service delivery processes.

Being given the opportunity to see law firms from an angle of a legal tech start-up allowed me to learn more about the challenges facing legal services and where the future of the legal industry is going.

My experience at Neota has taught me how to cultivate and apply a creative and innovative mindset in a risk-averse legal industry.

The internship has given me invaluable insight into how our clients work, what their needs are and the true nature of the relationship between law firm and client. The experience has contributed immensely to my professional development.

During my Training Contract, I plan on using what I’ve learnt not only to help optimise Clifford Chance’s use of legal technology, but also to provide added value to our clients."

On Demand – Together We Are...LIFT

Watch our Together We Are...LIFT presentation via our On Demand page. This session provides an insight into our groundbreaking LIFT internship programme, with past alumni sharing their experiences.


Most Innovative People Initiative at People in Law Awards 2022

We're proud that our Learning Internships for Future Trainees (LIFT) programme won 'Most innovative People Initiative' at the People in Law Awards 2022 for the second year. We were given recognition for our groundbreaking programme's strategic significance and reach, involving partnering with clients.