Where bright
minds meet

London Graduates

Not just a work placement.
It's time to ACCESS your future.

Clifford Chance is proud to be a founding member of PRIME. Through PRIME, we are committed to ensuring that more people who want to enter the world of law have an equal chance to do so, regardless of their background.

For many years, obtaining work experience in the legal sector depended largely on who you know, rather than what you know. PRIME members have made a commitment to change this by providing fair access to work experience.

Our response to this is our bespoke, award-winning, two-year development programme for year 12 or equivalent students – Clifford Chance ACCESS.

This pioneering programme consists of twelve different components, each focused around specific core areas of your personal and professional development, culminating in the opportunity to secure a place on our ACCESS SPARK programme and ultimately a Training Contract.

Clifford Chance ACCESS

Hear more from Tiana and Megan about the content of ACCESS and the importance of this widening access initiative.


Your journey with Clifford Chance will start with an in-person launch event to celebrate your place on the programme.

At this event, we will explain what to expect over the next two years and talk through the journey to becoming a lawyer at Clifford Chance with former ACCESS students, trainees and the Early Talent Acquisition Team. You are welcome to bring along a teacher, parent or guardian to this event.

ACCESS Development

A four-day, virtual work experience placement offering an introduction to Clifford Chance and the legal sector. We’ll unpack and explain Clifford Chance’s key practice areas and look at different types of legal careers, from barristers to in-house lawyers.

You will also begin to develop the core business skills critical to professional success, whatever your final career choice.  

This will be held virtually, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere. 

ACCESS Mentors

You will have access to a dedicated mentor as well as support and training on how to make the most out of a mentoring relationship.

Your mentor will be on hand to provide invaluable advice throughout the two years and will be a Clifford Chance lawyer, trainee, or future trainee.

ACCESS Experience

ACCESS Experience offers you the opportunity to develop your insight and skills during a unique five day programme delivered by the Social Mobility Business Partnership.

During this award-winning programme, you’ll spend time with five different companies in sectors ranging from retail to media and sport. You'll also take part in immersive workshops that focus on how law, finance and other core business areas interact in that sector.

ACCESS Tutoring

All ACCESS students can have one-to-one tutoring, delivered by tutors with specialist knowledge in the subject(s) of your choice. 

Designed to fit in with your schedule and learning style, your lessons will take place online, via the or Peppo platform, at a time and place that suits you.

Once you’ve chosen the subject you’d like to focus on, we’ll match you with a tutor with experience in that subject who will be able to provide you with relevant and targeted support. 


With ACCESS Action, you have the chance to make an impact on your community right now by working with Tender, a charity working to end domestic abuse, sexual violence, and sexual harassment. After attending a workshop focused on creating healthy relationships as you transition to university, you can become a youth ambassador for Tender, where you’ll be supported to help your peers. You’ll also master a diverse range of mentoring skills, increase your confidence, and become part of a movement that is working to change attitudes to respect and safety.


This will provide you with an insight into what it means to be a board member. You'll learn about the different types of boards and their responsibilities.

Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to join the ACCESS Advisory Board to help inform our future ACCESS strategy and development. You'll also be well equipped to go on to find a Youth board member or a Young Trustee's position contributing to your professional growth.

ACCESS Coaching

You have the potential to be a lawyer – and we can help you to realise that potential. You'll receive executive coaching – including small group discussions on current affairs, application hints and tips via webinars, application advice and one-to-one interview coaching – delivered by Rare Recruitment, the UK’s leaders in diversity graduate recruitment.


This aspect of the programme has been designed to support you during your transition from school to university.

There will be group sessions from various experts and university admission teams to help guide you through how to approach UCAS, including useful advice on how to put together your personal statement.

You will also receive informative sessions from our future trainees who are currently at university, on how to prepare for university, study tips, budgeting and more.

ACCESS Network

Following ACCESS – whatever career you enter – you’ll continue to be part of this powerful, exclusive community. 

Each year of the programme, we’ll invite you to an in-person ACCESS networking event. As well as strengthening your network, you’ll have the chance to meet Clifford Chance alumni from your chosen university.

ACCESS Recruiter

1:1 sessions with a member of the Early Talent Acquisition Team will include career development coaching sessions. In addition, you will have access to group skills sessions to help prepare you for the steps that lie ahead.

This will also provide an opportunity for you to stay connected with us and request any additional advice or support if needed. 

Application process

As with all our opportunities, you need to complete an online application form. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a link to complete the Watson Glaser test.

Remember to use our practice Watson Glaser Test and try to prepare yourself as best you can. Good Luck!

Applications open: 04 September 2023
Applications close: 18 April 2024
Video interviews: 28-31 May 2024
ACCESS Launch event: 24 July 2024
ACCESS Development: 29 July-1 Aug 2024



In order to apply to Clifford Chance ACCESS, you must meet the following qualifying criteria:

1. You are in Year 12 (England and Wales), S5 (Scotland) or Lower Sixth (Northern Ireland)
Unfortunately if you do not meet this criteria then you are not eligible for the ACCESS programme.

You must also meet at least TWO of the following criteria (please tick all that are applicable to you);

1. You are attending, and have attended from age 11, a state-funded, non fee-paying school/college

2. You grew up in a household where no parent or guardian attended university.

3. You are currently in receipt of, or have previously received, free school meals, Pupil Premium, Education Maintenance Allowance and/or a 16 to 19 Bursary

4. You are attending a school or college with;

  • A below average A-level or Higher point score; and/or
  • low rate of progression to higher education


5. You have been, or are currently, in local authority care (for a period of three months or longer)
6. You are, or have been, a full-time or part-time carer
7. You came to the UK as a refugee or an asylum seeker.
8. At age 14, the occupation of the main household earner (parent/guardian) is considered to be in the lower socioeconomic group which is namely;

  • technical and craft occupations such as: motor mechanic, plumber, printer, electrician, gardener, train driver
  • routine, semi-routine manual and service occupations such as: postal worker, machine operative, security guard, caretaker, farm worker, catering assistant, sales assistant, HGV driver, cleaner, porter, packer, labourer, waiter or waitress, bar staff
  • long-term unemployed (claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance or earlier unemployment benefit for more than a year)

Note: young people who meet the local authority care criterion do not need to meet any other criterion.

Ready, Set, Law

You might never have considered becoming a commercial lawyer before, or you might have thought about it but not really known where to start. This is where Ready, Set, Law comes in. Crafted by our lawyers, this internship will introduce you to a range of topical legal issues and give you the opportunity to complete trainee-type tasks that will allow you to put your learning into practice and experience first-hand what the role of a lawyer involves. You will come away feeling knowledgeable about what a career in law could look like and equipped with the confidence to take the next steps, should you decide this is the right path for you. Ready, Set, Law and has been designed for 16-18 year olds but is perfect for those taking their first steps to research the world of commercial law.

Find out more

Katie Adamson

"I really benefited from the connections. By being around other like-minded individuals, I was able to build a network of friends and future colleagues whom I could lean on throughout my journey to getting a training contract and beyond."


"The programme was well-designed to allow you to succeed, encouraging the development of a broad range of skills like confidence, networking and communicating which people can often be might anxious or have less experience with beforehand. Perhaps the biggest challenge was a lack of industry knowledge when doing tasks such as reading through an M&A deal. 

At the time this seemed quite alien to me. However, the sessions provide essential guidance and instructions to equip you to develop those skills in your own time going forward."

Joe Hing

"Clifford Chance was everything that I imagined it to be and more. It seemed to effortlessly combine the world of corporate law with a personal and down to earth feel. The mere fact that a partner was willing to spend time out of their extremely busy schedule to speak to a group of A-Level students said it all: the firm cared about improving access to the profession."

"The fact that I was able to attend ACCESS made it feel like a future career at a firm like Clifford Chance was within reach.

Overall, the impact of ACCESS was immense. It played a pivotal role in reframing my outlook of the legal profession as a career that I could not only pursue, but one where it was possible for me to work at a firm that was on the cutting edge of legal developments. For me, the impact it had was immeasurable.


I really benefited from the connections. By being around other like-minded individuals, I was able to build a network of friends and future colleagues whom I could lean on throughout my journey to getting a training contract and beyond."