Clifford Chance triples its intake of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi trainees

Clifford Chance has tripled its intake of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi candidates in two years.

The magic circle firm has witnessed its intake of future trainees from its target black and ethnic minority (BAME) group of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi students and graduates soar after collaborating with diversity recruitment group Rare and radically altering the way in which it recruits future trainees.

The firm decided to focus on three particular ethnicities after realising that they were under-represented when compared to other non-white ethnicities.

Of its 2010/11 training contract offers, 5 per cent were made to students and graduates from a black, Pakistani or Bangladeshi background. In its 2011/12 intake this figure doubled to ten per cent. In 2012/13, it reached 15 per cent of its total training contract offers.

Clifford Chance’s partnership with the legal division of Rare, Articles, prompted its re-evaluation of its graduate recruitment processes. Its graduate recruitment team attended Rare training and have effected two major changes to its application process.

Once a candidate has been selected for partner interview by the firm’s graduate recruitment team, that interview is CV-blind. This amendment allows candidates to present their own narrative and forces them to sell themselves, rather than rely on background experiences to bond with interviewers.

Clifford Chance also removed the group exercise stages of assessments from its application process, after discovering that the assessment was not a reliable indicator of performance at the firm.

Graduate recruitment and development manager Laura Yeates said: “The key principle behind the changes we have made is to look for potential rather than experience.”