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Maria Avram: Path to Clifford Chance

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“I didn’t want to limit myself… I considered the fact that if I do law, all the things that I am interested in are going to come into play because it’s not just about knowing the law.” 

Maria has big ambitions of becoming a solicitor as she wants to combine all of her skills and passions into a singular career path. Maria had dabbled with some experience in the legal field ahead of the pandemic, where she was lucky enough to undertake some work with Tudor and Associates in Romania. She wanted to continue gaining experience over the pandemic period, so she began “looking for virtual work experiences.” She had wanted to apply for the Clifford Chance SPARK scheme, open to first-year law students, second-year law students of a four-year course, and penultimate year non-law students.  “I wanted to understand exactly what I’d be preparing for and what my role would be” which is what prompted her search. 

“I saw it mentioned when I was reading about people who had applied for SPARK and Training Contracts at Clifford Chance and they were talking about how doing this virtual internship really helped them.”

Eager to find out more about the Firm and what a career in Business and Human Rights law might entail, Maria took the Business and Human Rights Global Virtual Internship with Forage as she notes “I was considering applying to Clifford Chance at that point for SPARK and I figured it would be something really good to prepare me. Not just to put on my application and CV but also to prepare me for the interview.”

Going through the Clifford Chance modules created in collaboration with Forage, she learned many skills such as “how to write an email properly… something that sounds actually official, I learned how to condense information into what is relevant for the client.” She also notes how it “really helped [her] develop [her] critical thinking.” 

“I wanted to understand exactly what I’d be preparing for and what my role would be. I think doing the virtual internship definitely helped with that a lot because it gave me real life work that I would do if I was working as a solicitor”

The virtual experience programme gave her the chance to get an inside look into the work of a Clifford Chance lawyer, something she dreams of being. It ended up paying off for her when she went to apply for SPARK. “I think the programme gave me more confidence in the application process, especially for the interview, as [being a lawyer was] something that I now understood and felt capable of doing.”

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As everything she learned about law before schooling was through secondhand accounts, Maria felt like she needed a deeper understanding to feel confident as she said, “the virtual experience programme helped  me understand so much more about the legal profession.” With her perseverance and work ethic, Maria ended up landing a place on the Clifford Chance SPARK scheme.

Advice from a Clifford Chance Intern

Maria’s main piece of advice for those who want to achieve the same goal is to “try to get work experience.” She says that “everyone who is applying to Clifford Chance will have fantastic grades from good universities, they will probably have extracurriculars but having work experience really shows that you know what you want and know what to do.”

Maria strongly recommended the Forage programmes to her fellow aspirational lawyers, as she stated “I would definitely recommend it, especially for people like me who don’t have any connections to the legal profession and are very intimidated by the process of joining the legal profession. It helps a lot.”

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