How we hire

Preparation is key. We want to provide you with the support and guidance you need to convey your best self to us. 

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Identifying talent

We have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to breaking down barriers to the legal profession, and over the last decade we have remained committed to ensuring that our processes are as fair and unbiased as possible. In that time, we have made significant changes to our selection and attraction methods to ensure that we are able to access and identify exceptional talent in all its forms.

In 2013, we were one of the first firms to introduce CV blind interviewing. In 2015, we took things a step further and worked with RARE recruitment to become founding partner of the contextual recruitment system, allowing us to fairly benchmark candidates and further break down barriers to the profession. In 2017, we made the bold decision to remove minimum academic requirements for our roles. We are confident that the changes we have made allow us access to a much broader pool of talent, whilst allowing everyone to showcase their authentic journeys and experiences through the process.

Our application and hiring statistics

We've decided to share an annual review of our application and hiring data. We want to demystify our application process. We think that access to information can be a significant barrier to applying, and by making this data publicly available, we hope you can make a more informed choice about your career.

Online application form

The application process shouldn't be taken lightly. It's your chance to demonstrate what you can bring to Clifford Chance.

It's important to present how unique you are as a candidate, so make sure to prepare by thinking about what makes you stand out. Put thought into your answers. Our application process is rigorous: and with good reason. We've designed it to be as fair as possible without compromising on standards.

The application form is your chance to shine, so think about how you can differentiate yourself from the thousands of other applicants.

We're looking for people who are genuinely interested and motivated by a career in commercial law. We receive a lot of strong applications, so it is essential that your passion and personality come through. A few important things to note below:

  • Pay attention to detail. This is a key skill for a lawyer, and we'll reject applications that are unclear or contain numerous spelling and grammatical errors. Double-check your answers for errors and clarity.

  • For your work experience and your answer to the single question that your interviewers will see, include only the strongest and clearest examples to illustrate your points and make every word count.

  • We require full details of your degree, including module scores for all years of study, even if they don't count towards your overall degree classification.

We encourage you to include the details of any mitigating circumstances related to your academic record and/or work experience. If they have been approved by your exam board or relevant body, please include details of this. We may ask we may ask you to provide supporting documentation from your exam board, University or a third party such as your doctor or tutor. Please attach this to your application if you already have it at the time of submitting.

After submitting your application, you will be sent a Watson Glaser test. The Early Talent Acquisition Team review every application that passes the Watson Glaser test, so please take your time to prepare for this element of the process.

We do not operate on a rolling recruitment basis, so you'll only be notified of the outcome of your application and if you are progressing to the video interview stage after the deadline. Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make any further amendments to your submission. We will only review your original application.

We're very proud to be the first firm to adopt contextual recruitment within our selection process, putting grades and achievements in the context of the social and educational background they were achieved in.

You'll be informed of whether you are invited to interview by 21 December 2023, for those applying for a Training Contract, and by 27 February 2024 for those applying to SPARK.

Please note, you cannot apply for both SPARK and the Training Contract.

Before you apply

Our application process is very competitive, so before you make a start ask yourself whether you have really done everything you can to prepare for this opportunity. In this video Chloe and Toby discuss our recommendations on the steps you should take before committing to an application.

Our application process

Our application and assessment process is designed to help us identify the very best talent. Here Toby and Zoe run through what is required from you with some helpful advice on what to think about in preparation.

Watson Glaser test

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When you have submitted your application, you will be sent the Watson Glaser test within two working days. The only exception is if it doesn't appear you are eligible for the programme you've applied to.

The questions will focus on your ability to draw inferences, recognise assumptions, make deductions, interpret information and evaluate arguments. These are essential to legal thinking and it's important that you hone your skills as this is the first step of the assessment process. 

The test lasts 30 minutes and involves 40 questions that assess your critical thinking.

The skills it measures include:

  • Defining a problem
  • Selecting relevant information to solve a problem
  • Recognising stated and unstated assumptions
  • Formulating and selecting relevant and promising hypotheses
  • Drawing valid conclusions and judging the validity of inferences

If you have successfully completed the test before for a previous application, you will not be asked to complete it again if you are submitting a new application. Please note that we do not take the specific test score into account, provided that you have passed it, therefore there is no benefit in doing the test again if you have previously passed it.

You will have five days to complete the test and there will be no flexibility around this. Please factor this in when deciding to submit your application, as you will have to complete your test within these time frames. If you need additional time or any adjustments, please factor this in and submit your application prior to the deadline.

If you apply for a Training Contract in the week leading up to the deadline, or on the deadline, you will have fewer days to complete the Watson Glaser test. You will be sent the test within 48 hours of submitting your application and will be given until 23.59pm on Sunday, 26 November 2023 to complete the test

If you are applying for SPARK in the week leading up to the deadline, or on the deadline, you will have until 23.59pm on Sunday 11th February 2024 to complete the test.

Practice tests

Before you take the Watson Glaser test, it's a good idea to practise as much as you can so you are familiar with the format and the type of thinking involved. You can click below to practise as many times as you need. Your practice attempts do not form part of the assessment and Clifford Chance will not see the results. As well as the practice test, there are lots of other online resources that you may wish to use. Some of them are free, but some require payment. Click here for additional resources.

Try a test

Assessment Day

Our assessment centre will take place in-person, with an option to interview virtually in some circumstances e.g., if you have a long way to travel.

The assessment centre will consist of a combined case study and competency-based interview with a Partner and a Senior Associate. This will include discussions around the case study, commercial questions, and competency-based questions. You'll also complete a written task and a group exercise.

Pre-Assessment Day support

Once you have secured your place on one of our assessment days, you will have access to a wealth of additional support and guidance to help you best prepare. Individuals will be invited to a Pre-assessment day webinar with the Early Talent Acquisition Team and Future Trainees who have previously been successful in the interview process. This will provide you with the information and guidance you need to approach the day with confidence and belief in yourself. 

If you are interviewing virtually due to exceptional circumstances, we will provide you with bespoke virtual interview tools and tips to guide you through the process seamlessly. 

What happens next?

We always endeavour to let you know the outcome as quickly as possible, but only after all our interviews for the opportunity you have applied for are complete. We will let you know when you can expect to hear back at your assessment day.

If successful at securing a Training Contract offer, you'll receive our comprehensive offer pack, which includes your offer letter and all the information you'll need to help you make your decision. You'll also be invited to an offer celebration event with the Early Talent team, your peers, and many of our interviewers.

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Keeping in touch

We are committed to helping you build meaningful relationships with us from the start. That is why we offer an extensive suite of opportunities designed to assist you with your personal and professional integration into the firm. This begins with our two-year buddy programme, where you are assigned your own trainee buddy from the moment you are made your offer. They are there to offer you support, guidance and advice right the way through until you start at the firm. They will be a new trainee, so you will be in touch with them throughout their Training Contract, enabling you to gain invaluable insight into their journey


We'll invest heavily in your professional growth in a number of ways, including invitations to thought leadership events, affinity network celebrations, and, of course, through LIFT, our award-winning Learning Internships for Future Trainees programme, which will prepare you for your Training Contract in a way like no other.

We will also invite you to take part in a broad and varied range of events to help you cultivate your social network at the firm ahead of commencing your Training Contract, so you can really start to feel embedded in-to our culture.

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