Clifford Chance Training Contract Interview Questions

Clifford Chance Training Contract Interview Questions

Updated March 1, 2022

Written by the WikiJob Team

The application process for Clifford Chance is as follows:

  • Online application
  • Online Verbal reasoning test
  • Assessment day

See also the Clifford Chance company profile and read more about the application process and interview questions at Clifford Chance.


Clifford Chance receives about 2,000 applications annually for training contract positions, so this is potentially the most vital stage in the selection process. Your application needs to show not only your academic excellence but also your suitability to the firm. Research Clifford Chance and its values before beginning your application, and keep in mind that they are looking for individuals with the following key competencies:

  • Business awareness
  • Problem solving with commercial insight
  • Communication
  • Leading and managing
  • Relationship building and networking

Clifford Chance requires applicants to be on track for a 2:1 degree, and have at least 340 UCAS points at A-level or equivalent.

Verbal Reasoning Test

If your application passes the initial screening, you will be invited to take an online verbal reasoning test. The test will be SHL style, and you will have 19 minutes to complete it. If you are successful, your application will then undergo a more thorough screening, after which you may move on the the assessment centre.

Assessment Centre

The assessment centre for Clifford Chance is held at their offices in Canary Wharf, and consists of four main sections, after a short introductory presentation:

  • Meet and greet / Formal company presentation
  • Paper-based verbal reasoning test
  • Watson Glaser online test
  • Competency Interview
  • Case study/ interview

Meet and Greet/Presentation

When you arrive you will meet other candidates and be introduced to some of the staff who will be conducting the assessment day. There is a brief presentation about the firm, with an opportunity to ask questions at the end.

Tip: It's a good idea to ask something sharp and intelligent at this early stage, so that staff notice early on that you are alert and switched on from the beginning.

Verbal Reasoning Test

Similar to the test you took online, you will write another verbal reasoning test on paper to confirm your results. First you will be given a set of practice questions and will then have to wait until every candidate has completed these and got them right. Subsequently, you will be given the test proper, which is comprised of 35 questions which must be completed within 35 minutes. You will need to rush to complete all the questions as time is of the essence - you will be under intense pressure. Not everyone will finish the test, but you should certainly aim to do so.

The format of the test is a written passage followed by descriptive questions, not the usual "yes", "no" or "not enough information" that you may be used to. Some questions ask you to fill in two answer bubbles, rather than just one.

Watson Glaser test

The Watson Glaser is an online critical reasoning test, designed to determine whether you are capable of drawing inferences, recognize assumptions, and evaluate arguments within a given text.

It will assess your logic and problem-solving skills, which you will need to be a successful lawyer. You will have to answer 40 questions within 30 minutes, thus there is significant time pressure. Though the test is online, you will complete it in-house at the assessment day.

Competency Interview

After lunch, the day is split. Some candidates have their interviews immediately, followed by an office tour. For others, this will be the other way round.

You will be interviewed by two lawyers from Clifford Chance, most probably one partner and one associate. The interview will last for about 45 minutes. You will be asked to talk about your CV and explain your choice of A-Level subjects and degree, as well as your motivation for joining Clifford Chance.

The interviewers will interject with questions from time to time. The style of interview will be highly dependant on the specific interviewers you are given on the day. Some candidates find the interview very relaxed and laid back; others have been grilled.

Other Clifford Chance interview questions may include:

  • What other firms have you applied to?
  • What do you think started the credit crunch?
  • What is your biggest disappointment?
  • What other careers have you considered?
  • Do you enjoy working in a group/alone?
  • How do you feel about long working hours?
  • Why did you choose your university?
  • Why did you perform poorly in one of your degree modules?
  • Have you ever had to overcome a significant barrier to achieve an objective?
  • Why commercial law?
  • Why Clifford Chance?
  • What do you see as the bad points of joining Clifford Chance?
  • What do lawyers do/ what work do they carry out?
  • What did you learn from your vacation placements?
  • What's the difference between your vacation scheme firms and Clifford Chance?
  • Do you follow the business press? / What's caught your eye recently?
  • What deals are Clifford Chance currently working on?
  • What was your role in a particular extra-curricular activity?
  • What complex issues did you overcome?
  • What was your aim?
  • Give an example of teamwork.

Be yourself, be natural and answer honestly. Give complete answers and be prepared to justify life/academic choices if asked about "why this/that".

You may also be asked a few commercial awareness questions, or discuss a current issue. It is a good idea to keep up with the Financial Times and other current publications, in order to be able to give your views on a key issues that are likely to come up.

At the end of the interview, you may be given the change to ask your own questions. Some good questions for candidates to ask would be:

  • To what extent is the work the London office deals with international in character?
  • Clifford Chance is the largest law firm in the world with offices in 20 countries. What opportunities are there for secondments for lawyers?
  • I am a candidate who wants responsibility from day one. Clifford Chance is such a large firm I am worried about becoming a small cog in a large wheel. What responsibilities are given to graduate hires?

Case Study Interview

A brief case study will be given to you about 15 minutes before your interview and you will get some time to write notes. You may only receive a very short piece of information, such as a single paragraph explaining that someone has called you with a view to setting up their own business. Your question may be something like, "What advice would you give to this person?" The advice you are expected to give is generally of a commercial nature, and not a legal one. You will present your thoughts to your interviewers, during an interview that will also last about 15 minutes. They will ask you further questions about your reasoning and potential complications to your answers.

Tip: Write down everything you know related to your question in the short amount of time provided. Try to write in note form, you will then be able to use this when you deliver it as a presentation later on in your interview.

Clifford Chance are looking for some level of commercial awareness, confidence, common sense and intelligence from candidates. As many candidates do not come from a Law background, no specific knowledge of the law should be necessary to do well. Interviewers will ask questions that test whether you can draw logical conclusions, and if you are able to explain yourself clearly, both of which are requisite skills for all good lawyers.

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