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The global law firm of Clifford Chance supports the development of a diverse work force. We want to provide clients with counsel who can understand a situation through a variety of different social, political, and economic angles. One of the best ways to encourage a diverse work force is to start with summer associates. To that end, we introduced a program in 2006 to support the development of economically disadvantaged law students. As a first step, Clifford Chance partnered with New York University School of Law and the AnBryce Scholarship Program to endow an AnBryce scholarship at the school. This program, established in 1997, provides full scholarships to outstanding law students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, who are the first in their immediate family to pursue a graduate degree. The AnBryce Program provides full-tuition scholarships and also offers programming and mentoring to assure that the students will feel comfortable working within the highest levels of the legal profession. Clifford Chance’s funding through the AnBryce Program will be applied to endow one student for his or her entire three-year term at NYU. At the end of that term, we endow a second scholar, in perpetuity. WELCOME, SCHOLARS In the wake of that effort, a new initiative to encourage diversity within our summer associate program was born: the Clifford Chance Scholars Program. The program aims to offset advantages that many law students have through their families’ professional and personal connections. Those connections, which Clifford Chance scholars often lack, help provide law students with insight into the study and practice of law. The other advantage of the program is its ability to overcome problems with a summer internship. For first-year law students in particular, economic status has a tremendous impact on a student’s ability to find and accept a summer internship, as most first-year programs are unpaid. Overall, few opportunities for first years exist and those that do are generally either unpaid or attained through a highly competitive process. The Clifford Chance Scholars Program is meant to address this inequity of opportunity. Focusing on outstanding law students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, the Clifford Chance Scholars Program invites first-year law students who meet the broad program guidelines to apply to our summer associate program. Clifford Chance scholars are evaluated on a number of criteria. The program is targeted to law students who are the first in their family, excluding siblings, to pursue a graduate degree. Scholars typically come from households with demonstrated financial hardships. The firm also looks for students who are ranked in the top 50 percent of their college classes and have demonstrated potential for success in the legal profession. Finally, we look for applicants who belong to one or more racial or class groups that are underrepresented in the practice of law. Clifford Chance advertises the summer program to 12 law schools, including Columbia University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, the University of Virginia, Harvard University, and Georgetown University. Above all, Clifford Chance looks for extraordinary individuals who have unique backgrounds and personalities. In order to more fully understand each potential candidate, Clifford Chance asks every applicant to submit a one-page personal statement. Candidates are then invited to the office for a series of one-on-one interviews with Clifford Chance partners and associates from the firm’s hiring and diversity committees. Final decisions are made by the hiring committee after it has reviewed and discussed completed candidate files comprised of the personal submissions, relevant submitted information, and feedback from the interviews. The size of the scholars program varies from summer to summer. The lack of a quota is due in part to the flexibility that Clifford Chance feels is essential to the program. We believe that those students who would truly value and gain the most from the experiences they will have during the summer they are at Clifford Chance should be given an opportunity to participate. In 2006, there were 12 scholars, 10 in the firm’s New York office and two in the D.C. office. This year’s class is composed of six scholars in New York and one in D.C. In addition to its changing size, what makes the scholars program unique is that the participants, who are the only first-year associates in the entire Clifford Chance summer program, are seamlessly interwoven into the Clifford Chance second-year summer associates program. There is no special program for the first years and most of the summer associates are unaware that other members of the summer program have differing law school experiences. As members of the Clifford Chance summer associate class, the scholars benefit from the real-world experience the firm gives all those who participate in the program. Summer associates work closely with the firm’s attorneys on a variety of projects and clients. They are expected to contribute to the firm from client work to pro bono initiatives. The firm’s long-standing commitment to pro bono work is also incorporated into the overall Clifford Chance program. Beyond the personal enrichment that charitable work brings, Clifford Chance structures its scholars program so that summer associates can take advantage of the learning opportunities pro bono work presents. Working on a pro bono matter is an excellent way of getting the first-hand legal experience to which junior attorneys would not normally be exposed at a large firm, since those firms generally concentrate on complex matters for large corporations and institutions. MY SISTER’S PLACE This year, Clifford Chance started a new initiative in which two of our summer associates will have an opportunity to work alongside the Clifford Chance fellow at My Sister’s Place in New York for a week. A nonprofit organization committed to eradicating domestic violence, My Sister’s Place provides safe, confidential shelters, programs, education, and advocacy for battered women and their children. Their goal is to empower women to take control of their lives. During the summer, Clifford Chance scholars will visit one of the shelters and work for a day helping with much-needed structural maintenance, improving the accommodations, and enhancing the surrounding grounds alongside their fellow summer associates. Scholars who return to the firm after the second year will also have an opportunity to experience the Clifford Chance global network. This year we have expanded the number of available opportunities, making it possible for 14 summer associates to spend time abroad in our offices in London; Hong Kong; Milan, Italy; Frankfurt, Germany; and Paris. The positive experiences the first class of scholars had at the firm drew many of them back to Clifford Chance, including Lerin Kol, an AnBryce Scholar at New York University Law School, who was a 2006 Clifford Chance Scholar. After her experience at Clifford Chance last summer, she knew that she wanted to return to the firm. She credits the mentoring relationships she established last summer as a driving force behind her decision. Kol felt that, from her first day at Clifford Chance, she had the firm’s full confidence. “Every partner I was in contact with took the time to answer even the most basic questions I had,” says Kol. “I never felt like they were pushing me out of their offices. In fact, I got the impression that they wanted me to stay and ask more. I felt incredibly valued.” In addition, the lawyers Kol worked with assigned her a number of critical projects during her time at Clifford Chance. At one point, a senior partner sent her to court alone to listen to the proceedings and report directly back to him, a task not usually entrusted to a junior member of the team. Based on her positive experiences, Kol returned to the New York offices in early May for a second summer. She immediately went to the office of the partner who had sent her to court the previous year to let him know that she was back and looking for any work he might have. Kol says she also appreciated Clifford Chance’s flexibility, which allowed her to spend the second half of her summer in South Africa working with an international human rights organization. The Clifford Chance Scholars Program continues to develop and grow. The firm is always looking for ways to improve the program and provide those who participate with a deeper, richer, more global experience. It is a measure of the program’s success that participants, who are targeted for recruitment by many leading firms, choose to return to Clifford Chance to spend another summer at the firm. The firm is committed to the ongoing success of this program and, more broadly, to its diversity initiatives generally.
Karl Roessner is a New York-based partner in the mergers and acquisitions group of Clifford Chance.

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