Where focused
minds meet

London

Oliver Carroll

Trainee Solicitor

Year joined: 2016
University:
Oxford
Degree: Law

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I am a Trainee Solicitor working in our Public Policy group, and will be qualifying into Litigation and Dispute Resolution in September 2018. Before joining the firm in 2016 I attended an open day and completed a vacation scheme, working in both the London and Amsterdam offices.

What I enjoyed most about the vacation scheme was having the opportunity to get to know people who are now my colleagues and forging relationships early on was exceptionally valuable. My highlight was probably sitting with the Litigation team in London, where I worked on a pro-bono death row appeal which I later learned was successful – proof that no two days are the same in this job.

I was attracted to the firm because it is a truly global operation, but you don't feel like a small cog in a big machine. The firm's collegiality and collaborative approach isn't just a cliché slogan; working for six weeks across two offices on my summer vacation scheme made me realise that despite my initial scepticism, this is the job for me.

There are often days when you genuinely don't know what is going to land on your desk. I'm someone who enjoys variety and having to adapt to new ideas and challenges; to combine this with practising law makes working at Clifford Chance a rewarding career.
 

International opportunities

I spent my third seat in the Antitrust team in Paris. As well as living a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower, and living in one of the most beautiful cities on earth, it was incredibly valuable for my training as a lawyer. I worked extensively in French and improved my language skill to a high standard, and was able to work on some fascinating disputes and investigations for French clients. Going on secondment really makes you realise the value of our global operations, and it is amazing to personally experience it a natural part of your day job.

The work

As a trainee in our Public Policy practice, I have been able to work on a number of cutting edge and highly topical matters for some of our biggest clients. Our expertise on Brexit led to me helping to prepare one of our Partners to give evidence to the House of Commons, and accompany her to the hearing. This was fascinating experience that doesn't come round every day!

The people 

All the people at Clifford Chance were incredibly welcoming and happy to talk about their work and offer advice. I was surprised how "flat" and non-hierarchical the firm is, and having completed my training contact, I can confirm that this is not just for show. People by-and-large genuinely care about how you're doing and how they can help.

My advice

The most important thing, is to understand your own aspirations why you are choosing the job. Commercial law is not for everyone, but it does offer some unparalleled opportunities. If you know why you want to do it, you should build your experiences around those aims and you will be a natural fit. Be critical, questioning, and prepared for work that is unglamorous for a lot of the time, but exhilarating at its best.

What makes Clifford Chance different?

Cliford Chance is very much a global firm. I work on a daily basis with Partners, Associates and Clients from around the globe, and you quickly build up a global network. Our breadth of practice also means that you are able to find your niche – having been able to focus on disputes and advice-heavy work throughout my training contract, I have certainly found mine. Finally, Clifford Chance is a diverse place to work – putting aside from racial diversity, gender representation or background, there is a real diversity of thought and willingness to think outside the box, and new ideas are welcomed by people up and down the firm. This makes Clifford Chance a truly refreshing place to be and to work.

The most rewarding experience I've had so far

In my first seat I was heavily involved in a pro-bono intervention in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Howard League for Penal Reform. The appeal was successful, and Baroness Hale quoted extensively from our submissions and evidence which I had helped to compile. I saw the case through from start to finish, and was able to attend oral arguments in the Supreme Court. To have seen my work actually change the law of the land was incredible.

What I like most about my job

I have always loved problem solving and tackling a seemingly impossible issue. To be able to do this day in, day out, with amazing colleagues and on some of the most high-profile clients and significant work makes the hard work worth it. I came to Clifford Chance to get the best legal training I could. I learn new things every day and by doing fascinating work. As a lawyer, there are few better ways I can think of spending your working day.