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Clifford Chance opens up 'Academy' to AZB lawyers

AZB & Partners is sending four associates for training at Clifford Chance's European training centres as the start of a more organised "knowledge transfer" programme between the best friend firms.

Two junior associates from Mumbai, one from Delhi and one from Bangalore are set to travel to London (pictured) this month to take courses at Clifford Chance's training scheme, which is dubbed "Academy" and headquartered in Amsterdam.

Clifford Chance India head Chris Wyman said: "We've opened our training programmes to them [AZB] and they select a number of courses they think are relevant to India and are sending people over.

"It was obviously one of the things they saw as very important to the relationship – knowledge transfer – and we are also finding it useful."

This is not the first case of AZB lawyers taking part in Clifford Chance training sessions abroad as several partners have in the past attended Clifford Chance seminars and workshops.

However, this month marks the beginning of a more formalised programme that will initially see mostly junior associates attend courses to improve their international technical legal skills.

Wyman: "We'll build it over time to be quite a volume. But there is a cost to AZB in flying people out and having them out of the office for quite a few days at a time, so they are focusing on quite high value-add events."

Wyman explained that the weekly video link lectures were therefore also a good option for regular training requirements. "They are often delivered to our people as well for efficiency – but they are actually being picked up by dozens of people here in Bombay, Delhi and also in Bangalore."

Wyman added that there was no strict limit on the number of AZB lawyers who could attend courses in Europe and it would be up to AZB.

He noted that AZB could well start its own "Academy" in India in future, with Clifford Chance lawyers and trainers increasingly stopping by India on the way of Asia trips.

AZB co-founding partner Zia Mody commented: "CC [Clifford Chance] has The Academy for their lawyers which offers courses throughout the year on various topics. We will be sending some of our lawyers from time to time for some of these courses."

Wyman had relocated to Mumbai from London in July to aid integration between the firms. He has returned to India several weeks ago after a stint back in London.

Clifford Chance and AZB have been best friends since January 2009.

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