Intelligent Aid

The basis of Intelligent Aid is simple. We ask you to answer a topical question in 600 words. We want you to demonstrate your intelligence, your ability to structure a convincing argument, and your understanding of the practical application of the law.

If you construct an outstanding answer you could be one of the 40 shortlisted finalists who'll be invited to the final at our offices in Canary Wharf, London. Be one of the 20 students who stand out at the final, and you'll win a place on our Vacation Scheme, where you'll do real work, be closely mentored by Clifford Chance lawyers and enjoy full access to our outstanding facilities. Once on the Vacation Scheme, you will be given the opportunity to be interviewed for a Training Contract.

The topic

We've been running this award-winning scheme since 2010 and it gets bigger and better every time. This year, as always, the question is highly topical. We're inviting you to consider the kind of issues that are exercising our minds every day.

This year, it is all about Ethics in business

The importance of culture and ethics has emerged as a key regulatory theme around the globe, as regulators, enforcement authorities and courts seek to promote cultural change in the financial services industry. Other sectors, such as the oil and gas industry, the press and international retail have also come under the spotlight for their business practices. This raises many interesting and complex questions: what do we mean when we talk about 'ethics' in a business context, and what behavioural standards do we expect from businesses? How does cultural change come about? It can be difficult to define the role that regulation and the law should play in this, and how businesses should respond to changing expectations. You could approach the question from a number of different perspectives, whether your interests lie in economics, current affairs, psychology or legal theory. From a business perspective, our clients are very interested in understanding what is expected and how they can ensure compliance in an increasingly complex and changing environment.

Whatever approach you choose to take, this topic is at the heart of much controversy and debate and we are very much looking forward to reading all of your submissions.

The competition question

'An ethical business culture can only be created with strong regulation'. Discuss with reference to one or more industry sectors of your choice.

Entries must be no more than 600 words.

We're looking for excellent quality submissions – preparation and research will be of paramount importance. You can include a bibliography to help demonstrate this. We'll expect originality as well as excellent attention to detail, grammar and punctuation. You'll need to put together well structured arguments and we want your passion and interest in the topic to leap off the page. This is an opportunity for you to impress us with your intellectual capability for a much-coveted place on our Training Contract scheme and there is a £5,000 prize for the overall winner.

You can submit your answer after 01 October 2015 and before the final deadline of 21 February 2016.

If you're one of the top 40 entrants, we'll invite you to the Intelligent Aid final on 13 and 14 April 2016. We'll let you know if you've been successful by 30 March 2016. In the final, you'll join a team of other finalists to tackle a challenging case study. It's a further opportunity for you to impress us with your innovative thinking and persuasive arguments. You'll present your solutions to an expert panel of judges. Overnight accommodation is available if needed.

Find out more

You can find out more about Intelligent Aid by coming to our London event. Check out our calendar to find out when that event will be and how to sign up.

Intelligent Aid

Intelligent Aid is a unique, award-winning essay competition. Answer 600 words on a set question and you could be on a non-traditional path to a career in law. Outstanding candidates will be invited to a two-day final and from this twenty winners will be selected and rewarded with a Vacation Scheme place.

Meet our Intelligent Aid winners

David and Stephanie, previous Intelligent Aid winners, regale their successful Intelligent Aid stories and explore the opportunities this competition has opened up to them. Whilst partner Kate explains the mechanics of the process and the key dates to note.