The magic circle firm has announced its Tech Academy, a global training programme to facilitate tech training for its employees.
The academy is a technology-focused element of the firm’s learning and development function, and will be taken up by employees on a voluntary basis.
The programme launched last week and has already hosted training sessions in Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore, with sessions in Amsterdam and London this week.
It comprises an online portal and a series of workshops intended to reach all Clifford Chance employees, covering topics including blockchain and cybersecurity. The portal also provides coding training at different levels, webinars, and videos.
Australian innovation consultancy Collective Campus will run the workshops for Clifford Chance, also covering e-commerce, connected vehicles, AI and data privacy.
The announcement comes as other firms revamp their tech training programmes. Fellow magic circle firm Allen & Overy announced its new legal tech graduate scheme at the end of March and Addleshaw Goddard announced its new legal technology path for associates last week.
Clifford Chance Singapore-based finance partner and tech group leader Paul Landless explained to The Lawyer: “Every client is a technology company in some way.”
Clifford Chance Academy director Tim Sherwood told The Lawyer: “We expect a monthly traffic for a couple of thousand people. In our first week we’ve had 2,000 hits from people doing something meaningful inside the portal like watch a video.”
Time for using the academy is expected to come out of annual training hours, but does not mean extra time away from billable hours. The current number of annual hours for training at Clifford Chance is 16 in the London office.
“We’ve blended tech into our core curriculum so this will get signposted on all training coursing from trainees to partners. I’ll be monitoring this to see which departments need more of a nudge to engage,” Sherwood explained.
Sherwood was brought in to Clifford Chance four years ago on a modernisation agenda. Landless spearheaded the Tech Academy, the idea for which came off the back of the launch of the firm’s new tech group in November 2017.
“It’s been four months since the idea became a serious proposition,” Landless explained.
“It’s not for everyone to become a coding expert,” Landless insisted. He added: “An M&A lawyer should look different and smell different and be easier to deal with at Clifford Chance than that at other law firms.”