Our people

Natsuko Sugihara


I was born in Japan but spent time in the Netherlands and UK growing up. After studying law at Cambridge University, I got to know Clifford Chance and applied for a London training contract.

During my training I rotated through Banking, Litigation & Dispute Resolution – where I also completed a short pro bono secondment at Law4all, and following a secondment to the Tokyo Corporate team, I finished my training back in London, joining the Telecoms, Media and Technology (TMT) team. Throughout the two years, I had a wide range of experience which was very important for my future career. 


I eventually qualified into Corporate (Private Equity) and after two years, moved to the Tokyo office, initially on a secondment. The Tokyo office is like a big family – we are all very close and work on wide-ranging and interesting deals. On a personal level, I was very determined to become a partner as well as a mother. These things tend to come at the same time in our lives. The firm was very clear that me taking maternity leave would not in any way affect my path to partner. I had my first child just before making partner. 

This really demonstrated our values in action and the profound level of support the firm offers. This is one of the reasons I am very involved in ACCELERATE, a group that promotes gender parity within the firm. 

My advice 

Don’t be afraid to set personal goals as well as professional goals, and discuss with your mentors in achieving them, as the support you will get from the firm, across multiple offices, is immense.

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