Clifford Chance has launched a global training programme that will provide fee-earners and staff across the firm with a combination of online training and face to face workshops to bring them up to date with the latest technology trends across its various client sectors. While the emphasis of the Tech Academy is not on training staff in order to improve the internal delivery of client services, it is interesting to note that the online training programme includes two levels of coding training – one for those with basic understanding and another for those with intermediate knowledge.

Whereas to date the focus for technology expertise within CC has been the TMT team, a growing recognition that technology pervades all sectors means that the magic circle firm last year created a 400-strong cross-practice Tech Group, with the new academy a continuation of that theme.

As well as the online site, the Tech Academy will host a series of workshops run by Collective Campus, the education and innovation consultancy based in Australia. These are full day training courses to be held throughout the year around the world on a range of topics, from e-commerce and connected vehicles to artificial intelligence, blockchain, data privacy and cybersecurity.

Paul Landless, a finance partner based in Singapore and one of the leaders of the firm’s Tech Group said:  “Our clients’ market environment is undergoing a paradigm shift with technology pervasive across all sectors and deeply affecting our clients’ businesses.  As a firm we want to develop our people fully with a balanced set of both technical and business skills for today and the future, focussed on what our clients need and with a strong grasp of business trends in our clients’ industries. To remain as trusted advisers, our clients expect us to be conversant with not only the key technology themes that are driving their transactions, fundraisings and new digital business models, but also today’s legal and regulatory risks or compliance challenges with managing ever-increasing data across borders or swiftly introducing new technologies alone or with support from other businesses.”

The Tech Academy is the tech focused element of the firm’s central learning and development function, the Clifford Chance Academy.

It is still relatively rare for law firms to teach their lawyers coding. Linklaters is one exception: an early initiative arising from the global innovation committee set up in 2016 was that Linklaters lawyers were given an opportunity to learn to code, with an initial tranche of 34 Linklaters staff from across the firm involved as part of a pilot.