Clifford Chance has taken the unprecedented step of hiring two lawyers from its Indian legal support centre as associates in the LLP.
One will join the Abu Dhabi capital markets team and the other the London banking team. Both will join at the equivalent level of a newly qualified lawyer.
The duo work in the firm’s Delhi Knowledge Centre, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clifford Chance that carries out quasi-paralegal work, including document review, contract drafting, research and due diligence.
Knowledge Centre director Mark Ford said: “They’re very capable lawyers; they’ve impressed us with their work and we wanted to offer them a career development step. They were keen to take on a practising role - it was either that or in all likelihood they would have gone somewhere else.”
Ford emphasised that the offshore centre is totally separate from the firm and was not “a conveyor belt into Clifford Chance - it’s a separate function”.
The firm has operated a captive offshore entity since 2007.
Last week Allen & Overy became the first magic circle firm to outsource litigation work offshore (TheLawyer. com, 18 November).