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Alastair Livesey

Lawyer, Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Year Joined: 2014
University of Oxford
Degree: Law

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I joined the firm in February 2014 after graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in Law.

During my time as a trainee at Clifford Chance, I sat in Real Estate and Corporate in Moscow, Litigation & Dispute Resolution with a three-month secondment to the global industrial and metals group Liberty House, and Finance and Capital Markets in São Paulo.

One of my favourite things about Clifford Chance is the international aspect to the work. I really like people and always wanted to have a career that would let me work with as diverse a population as possible. 

At Clifford Chance, you get to work with people from all over the world on a daily basis – each brings their own experiences and backgrounds. The work itself (particularly within the Dispute Resolution team into which I qualified) is also exceptionally varied.

Since qualifying, I have worked on everything from investor-state arbitration to a personal injury claim involving a complex interpretation of EU contract regulations. It's fun knowing you will have a few surprises when you get to work.

The highlight of my career so far

This is tough, as my Clifford Chance experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Qualifying into our Disputes team was great, but the highlight was the six months I spent in Brazil. The São Paulo office only has a handful of lawyers, so it's a real contrast to working in the big London teams. The upshot is the trainees who go there are expected to perform. Though it was a challenge, I finished my six months there a much better lawyer than when I arrived. More generally, Brazil is probably the best place I have ever been. It's impossibly beautiful; Brazilians are bewitching; and a beer on the beach is only a stone's throw away.

My advice

I would advise new trainees to arrive with enthusiasm and an open mind. Something I have noticed when talking to applicants is how readily they can form views of departments, sectors or even entire firms. Firms like Clifford Chance are necessarily diverse and something wonderful about training here is the unique experience you can have.


Don't discard an idea or ambition because someone once told you it was hard work or a waste of time. Be a sponge: learn as much as possible from the exceptional lawyers around you and make sure to ask lots of questions from the outset. Not only will you be a finer lawyer, you will make better informed decisions about your own career.