Dr Sunny Kapoor
I always wanted to be a "scientist" when I was young. I didn't really understand exactly what a "scientist" was, but it seems to me now to have been an expression of how keen I was to understand where "laws" come from and how they work. I discovered that law was the perfect fit for me when I was writing a school assignment about various reform bills which had recently been passed by the German government.
During my postgraduate degree, I did a placement at a major law firm which introduced me to litigation and I knew straight away that it was the specialism which gave me the most opportunity to apply the things I had learnt at university. My traineeship was spent in the Litigation & Arbitration practice at Clifford Chance where I still work.
Litigation and arbitration work requires you not only to represent your client in court, but above all to be the key strategist in complex legal disputes sometimes involving a range of legal specialisms across multiple jurisdictions. No two disputes are ever the same and every one involves a new set of facts and circumstances. This means that the legal issues which arise are always different or combine in different ways. In each case, you have to identify the relevant commercial issues, provide a legal assessment and come up with a tailored strategy.
Then comes the potential range of legal issues involved, often meaning that the advisory team needs to include experts from several practice areas and from offices several different countries. I recently had a case spanning multiple jurisdictions (Germany, France and Belgium) where I was the lead coordinator with the firm's Paris and Brussels offices. It was interesting to see the different approaches taken to the same set of issues and how this can sometimes lead to somewhat "unexpected" outcomes.
Another exciting aspect about our practice is that we get to work on both litigation and arbitration cases. While litigation proceedings held before public courts are the bread and butter of any litigator, arbitration proceedings play a particularly important role at major law firms. They not only include different aspects to standard civil proceedings, such as the cross-examination of witnesses known from US and UK law, they also provide valuable legal experience for arbitrators. I recently benefitted from this myself when I acted as sole arbitrator in a cross-border dispute.
REACH CE In addition to the chance to work on exciting client matters, Clifford Chance also offers a wide range of opportunities for professional and personal development. I have been an associate representative since 2019, a role which helps facilitate communication between associates and management, and have also had the opportunity to get involved in REACH CE. REACH CE stands for "Racial Equality And Cultural Heritage Continental Europe" and forms part of Clifford Chance's overall Diversity & Inclusion strategy. It aims to support people from ethnic and social minorities and is based on the pillars of "Visibility, Attraction, Retention".
This means increasing the profile of REACH CE outside the firm, enhancing the firm's attractiveness to talent from ethnic and social minorities and ensuring that those individuals then choose to stay with Clifford Chance. The steering committee, comprising members from a number of the firm's European offices, meets to discuss the underlying strategy for REACH CE and I then work with the rest of the German executive committee to implement those ideas. One of the executive committee's own ideas was to ensure that promotional materials and career websites reflect the diversity of Clifford Chance, with my own profile sometimes being included.