Clifford Chance Assessment Day

Clifford Chance

Having recently been invited to and taken part in a Clifford Chance assessment day, I thought I’d write up my experiences for you guys!

Assessment day Format:

  • Interview,
  • Group Exercise,
  • Lunch with trainees
  • Verbal Reasoning Test
  • Office tour

The whole process took about 4hr30 including a tour of the office and an informal light lunch with some trainees.

This took approximately 45 minutes with a Partner and an Associate, both asked questions throughout.

The interview mainly covered:

  1. Educational background, e.g:
  • Why did you choose your course?
  • Why did you choose your university?
  • How did the work differ from your A levels to your degree modules?

Although they didn’t ask me outright, from some of their questions they also seemed to want me to explain why my weak marks were weak. I think honesty is probably the best policy, give reasons (e.g. got involved with too many extra-curricular activities in 1 st year, getting work-life balance wrong) not excuses.

  1. Motivation for law/business, understanding of what lawyers do commercial awareness, etc, e.g.:
  • Why Clifford Chance?
  • What do you see as the bad points of joining Clifford Chance?
  • Why law?
  • What do lawyers do/ what work do they carry out? (Had to be more specific than just saying “solving clients’ problems” e.g. due diligence, arranging loans, solving disputes, tax issues, IP issues etc.)
  • 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?

I mentioned M&S (relevant at the time), and they then asked a few more challenging questions building on my answer each time e.g. what do you think M&S should do? Should Philip Green try another takeover bid?

  1. Extra-curricular activities/ positions of responsibility where they were clearly looking for me to evidence several key skills such as commitment, teamwork, communication ([[competency based questions|competency questions]] etc:
  • What did you do?
  • How did you develop a project?
  • What complex issues did you overcome?
  • What was your aim?
  • Give an example of teamwork.

During the interview they gave me a mini case study (about A4 side) to read and make notes on in about 2 minutes (they were fairly relaxed about time, waited for me to start when I was ready). It was fairly basic, involved a manufacturing company that made motors for kitchen appliances. The company was having problems with its manufacturing processes and was listed on the stock exchange. I had to discuss the implications of these problems on the business e.g. affect on share price, whether to tell shareholders, relationship with its buyers and suppliers etc. They let me talk until I basically ran out of steam then they asked me a few questions to encourage me to discuss the relevant issues I had missed.

‘’‘Group Exercise’’’
5 people split into 2 teams. 15 minutes to read a 15 page case study involving a company considering its options for expansion. One team had to argue for one strategy and the other team had to argue for another strategy. We had 15 minutes to discuss and prioritise the key issues and formulate an argument then we were put back together as a group of 5 to argue our cases and reach a decision.

Key points:

  • Prioritise issues
  • Be active; don’t need to lead but need to be a contributor.
  • Stand up for yourself/ your points, but don’t be argumentative. Know when to compromise or back down.
  • Listen to/ encourage other people to speak
  • Be polite and friendly to everyone
  • Remember, you’re working as a team
  • Some surprise info was given to us halfway through the exercise; I think here it was important not to panic and to show an ability to adapt.
  • Keep an eye on the time
  • Reach a conclusion! (One strategy was clearly better than the other.)

For both the interview and the exercise, my body language was commented on in my feedback so make sure it’s positive!

‘’‘Verbal Reasoning Test’’’

  • 35 questions in 35 minutes.
  • Remember to wear a watch!
  • Massive time pressure (several people in the group didn’t finish).
  • Not negatively marked

The sample test that is sent to you upon invitation to interview is representative of the difficulty of the test. I found I had just about enough time to read each passage twice, typically there were 3-4 questions to answer per passage of writing.

I would say you can’t prepare for this part of the assessment other than doing as many practice tests as you can, e.g. [[verbal reasoning|verbal reasoning test]] and [[numerical reasoning|numerical reasoning test]].


Wow, cheers for all the info! I have an assessment day with CC fairly soon so that helped put my mind at ease a little - though I havent been sent anything since my email invitation to the interview :S

Thanks again - thats really helpful!


Good luck Jenni! …Please let us know how your interview goes!


Will do! And if I have any extra useful info that I can add onto the first post I will do :slight_smile:

Thanks for the luck, I’ll probably need it :wink:


I attended an Assessment Day for a TC about 3 weeks ago, and whilst your description is basically correct, my experience differed slightly. Firstly, the order was different. For me, it was:

  1. Verbal reasoning (exactly the same as your description)

  2. Group exercise - this was slightly nuanced to your description. We were put through 3 “stages”. In the first stage, everyone was put into a small group of either 2 or 3 people, and sent to a room with an associate. Like you mentioned, both/all 3 of you were then given around a 15 page document, which contained information both for and against a propostion: in my case, it we were told that we needed to argue in favour of cutting a specific route of a certain airline. After being initially told this, we were given 15 minutes to read the document independently, and without discussion. After the 15 minutes were up “Stage 2” began. Stage 2 simply involved another 15 minutes in the same room with the same 1/2 other people, but now we were told to discuss the document and formulate an argument for our position. After these 15 minutes were up, “stage 3” began. My group (just me and one other guy) was moved into another room where a group of 3 people was waiting. They had been preparing an argument contrary to our proposition (i.e. they had the same document as us, but had to argue againt cutting the route). The two associates sitting in on the discussion then pretty much gave us free reign for 15 minutes - so it was up to us to put our argument forward, and the other team to rebut it. Our ultimate goal was not to win outright, but to “reach an agreement”. Note that also, around 10 minutes into the discussion, the associates dropped a piece of paper onto the table which was meant to be “breaking news”, i.e. an additional piece of information which can alter the course of the discussion

  3. Interview/case study - After lunch, we were all taken into a room and given a short memo which read something like "your friend has come back from travelling and wants to set up a hotel chain called “Sleep-e-z””. Advise him on the relevant legal considerations and issues. Note: it did say legal and not commercial, but I have heard so many times the need to talk about commercial implications that I put both in. You then have 10/15 minutes to write down as much as you can think of on a piece of paper.
    Everyone was then taken to their interviews, which are much the same as the description above. I was then asked to talk about the case study for the final 10 minutes of my interview. For me, it was pretty much an invitation to read out everything I had on the sheet of paper and give my reasons whilst doing so. The interviewers would occasionally ask me about certain things I had written down, but it was nothing gruelling.


Did you get an offer?!