CC shakes up trainee litigation – but throws in pro bono condition

Clifford Chance has overhauled its solicitors training scheme, making a litigation seat optional for the first time.
From March next year the firm will implement a new scheme allowing trainees to bypass litigation providing they take a week-long course supplied by Nottingham Law School and participate in the firm’s pro bono scheme. The move echoes that of Linklat-ers, revealed by The Lawyer last week.
Trainees who opt out of a litigation seat will be required to volunteer at one of the London law centres the firm is involved with for one evening a week over six months.
The new scheme is a response to long-running problems experienced by the firm’s litigation department in accommodating trainees for a three or six-month seat. London managing partner of litigation, Jeremy Sandelson said: “We had a problem with the number of trainees and the number of spaces in the department.”
“We also recognise that not everyone wants to qualify into litigation,” he added.
Clifford Chance already sends a full complement of volunteer lawyers, including top-level partners such as head of public law Michael Smyth, to law centres in Hackney and Tooting. Sandel-son said the law centres will all properly train and supervise the trainees. “We hope the trainees will continue to help at the law centres for the rest of their careers,” he added.