Our people

Rob Coughlan


"The work at Clifford Chance is fast-paced, complex and rewarding. This is set in a supportive, collaborative and high-performing environment where you have a real opportunity to make a difference, build something and contribute directly to the firm's strategy."

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My role in the firm is to lead the firm's Programme Management Office (PMO) which supports the delivery of the firm’s strategy by governing, controlling and providing project and programme insight to the firm's IT investment initiatives. The PMO sits within the Global Programme Group which manages all systems-based changes that support and enable the firm's strategy; the group's expertise is also extended, when required, to deliver business-based change. 

I joined Clifford Chance in 2013 as a service transition manager within IT service management before moving to the Global Programme Group in 2016. 

Before joining the firm I worked for 10 years at an IT consultancy firm, starting as a project administrator and moving up through the various project management levels. 

The recruitment process 

I was impressed with the recruitment process when joining Clifford Chance. I applied directly to the firm and held all communications with one person. This made for good and clear communication as my application progressed through the various stages. I had an initial telephone interview which was followed by two face-to-face interviews. During this process I had regular contact with HR and received prompt feedback. 

As an interviewee I was impressed with the London building and the warm welcome I received. Upon contract offer and acceptance, the process moved swiftly with an informative briefing pack received highlighting the salient information ahead of my start date. 

The people 

The thing that stood out for me about my new colleagues at Clifford Chance was their drive towards quality and their pride in the work delivered. From my first meetings through to today it is clear to see the desire to get things done and with the best interests of the firm at the front of colleagues' minds. The consensus-driven nature of law firms often means there are multiple courses of action which leads to debate. These debates can slow the pace, but the intentions of those involved is to find the right path for the firm. 

The work 

I am responsible for creating a high-performing Programme Management Office. The Global Programme Group has visibility across its portfolios of work and strong sets of management information to help decision-making. This work, since starting in 2016, is now starting to pay dividends as the foundations and standards are in place which has allowed me to start the work to assess and enhance the PMO processes. 

This work is allowing me to bring my interest in lean management principles and project subject-matter knowledge together with the aim of driving up quality and reducing inefficiencies for our delivery team, ultimately aiming for swift, efficient, high quality delivery. Exciting times! 

The work at Clifford Chance is fast-paced, complex and rewarding. These words best describe my experience of work here. This is set in a supportive, collaborative and high-performing environment where you have a real opportunity to make a difference, build something and contribute directly to the firm's strategy. If you are someone who responds well to owning and delivering initiatives, then you are likely to find that this is the right environment for you. 

What continues to attract me to the firm 

Clifford Chance was known to me as a client through my previous company (although I did not work directly with the firm) and through my people network, where Clifford Chance was spoken of fondly in terms of the challenging and rewarding work. When I saw the opportunity, I didn’t hesitate to apply. 

I am still at Clifford Chance because I enjoy the challenging, complex and multi-faceted nature of my role. The role demands I run at a fast pace but I find this is always in a supportive environment with many people ready to welcome collaboration and lend their expertise. I can trace my contribution directly to the delivery of the firm's strategy. This helps give purpose and meaning to my work and that of my department. In my experience, Clifford Chance operates a meritocracy where strong contribution is recognised in many ways including the quality and breadth of facilities in the London offices. 

What I enjoy most about my job 

Firstly, it's the pride we have in working at Clifford Chance and the pride we have in the work delivered in support of our legal services. This pride manifests from my colleagues' achievements, my own achievements and that of the wider firm. I enjoy working alongside similarly motivated people which supports and aids collaboration, and helps to deliver quality. Secondly, and linked to the first, I enjoy the opportunities for team working and collaboration; this allows me to see others' expertise and gain additional perspectives. 

My most rewarding experience so far 

My most rewarding experience at Clifford Chance to date has been working with my peers in the GPG management group adjusting the strategy, direction and reputation of the department. We were constructively challenged to review our functional responsibilities and assess how effective they were in delivering against the firm's objectives. This provided the opportunity to look at how we could do things differently and drive new quality and ways of working into our delivery practices. With the freedom to undertake this assessment and make changes, I had the perfect prospect to work independently and also in collaboration with my department and the wider business professionals teams. We are two years into this work and the feedback received suggests we are being successful. 

My advice 

My advice to someone considering a career at Clifford Chance would be to build and utilise relationships. In my experience the staff at the firm are willing to work together to get things done but everyone always has a full plate, so it is essential that you are able to build strong relationships and use them to get things done! When pressed further I talk about the skills required to navigate the culture and working practices of a firm led by a partnership. This calls for good stakeholder and communication skills and the ability to present information in a way to help move debate and challenge forwards.

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