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Clifford Chance promotes two lawyers from LPO into firm


Clifford Chance has taken the unprecedented step of hiring two lawyers from its Gurgaon-based legal support centre as associates in the main law firm, reported The Lawyer magazine today.

One will join the Abu Dhabi capital markets team, while another will join the London banking team. Both of them come on board at the equivalent level to newly qualified lawyers.

The duo was previously employed in the firm's Gurgaon-based knowledge centre, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clifford Chance that carries out quasi-paralegal work including document review, contract drafting, research and due diligence.

Clifford Chance knowledge centre director Mark Ford told The Lawyer: "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."

However, Ford emphasised to The Lawyer that despite their individual success the Indian offshore centre is totally separate from the firm and should not be seen as "a conveyor belt into Clifford Chance - it's a separate function".

That said, he added: "If we have someone in the knowledge centre who's really talented then we wouldn't rule it out."

Starting salaries for a newly qualified lawyer at Clifford Chance in London are currently £59,000 (Rs 45 lakhs) per year.

The starting salary at Clifford Chance's offshoring centre is understood to be around Rs 5.5 lakhs (£7,700) per annum.

Clifford Chance's annual report of September stated that staff in its Indian knowledge centre had billed 12,000 hours of work in the last financial year, which is rougly the equivalent of the hours billed by seven London associates.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in The Lawyer magazine's print edition today.

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