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Joëlle Hauser (Clifford Chance): Best Delivery and Fintech

Joëlle Hauser, head of the investment funds department at Clifford Chance Luxembourg, says technology is a critical issue for law firms today – and that diversity is emerging as a driver of business growth.

What role do innovation and technology play in the activities of your firm?

Innovation is an integral aspect of our work. Its importance is something that we recognised early, which has resulted in Clifford Chance taking a place at the forefront of the use of technology in the legal sector. As part of our work, we have access to a range of information technology tools that gain time and money, savings that ultimately are to the benefit of our clients. IT is an essential element of our services, alongside deep industry expertise and market intelligence. The firm’s Best Delivery and Innovation strategy is built on the integration of our systems with those of our clients, such as our CC Connect service for due diligence. Another example is a report scanning and analysis system based on the identification of key words.

"Diversity is not just a matter of fairness but of business sense."

What are the benefits to clients of being a ‘Magic Circle’ law firm?

One of the most critical aspects is the depth of our resources and our business and financial stability. For the financial year ending in April, Clifford Chance achieved worldwide revenues of €1.85 billion – up 20% since 2015 – and a profit of €714 million, a 39% increase. Although our roots are in the UK and Europe, the firm is growing particularly rapidly in the Americas and in the Asia-Pacific region. This means the Luxembourg firm and our clients benefit from global programmes in various areas, such as training to achieve best delivery. It also means we can draw on expertise wherever it exists – for example, our Best Delivery and Innovation hub in Singapore – and places us at the cutting edge of new developments critical to clients, such as Fintech. It also means we are able to service global innovators.

What trends are shaping the investment funds industry and the wider business environment today?

One of the most important trends is the new focus in business on environmental issues, corporate social responsibility and improved governance – for example, ESG guidelines that will become an integral element of fund documentation. Alongside this, there is an embrace of diversity that obviously includes gender equality, but also diversity of origins and educational backgrounds. Take women, who represent 53% of recruits but just 15% of partners, with many leaving within five years. We are working on programmes to help them move to the next level, setting a target of 30% of the partnership. Diversity is not just a matter of fairness but of business sense – for example, women are more rememberable in areas such as pitching. Clifford Chance is committed to increasing diversity, for instance signing up to the UN Women's Empowerment Principles to guide corporate action in the pursuit of gender equality. It is no accident that this year no fewer than 10 lawyers from Clifford Chance were recognised as IFLR Women Leaders. 

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