Baran Guccuk, a UEA Law School LLB Graduate, has won this year’s Clifford Chance/CCP Competition Law Excellence Prize. In 2021, Clifford Chance and the Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) launched this prize to promote legal education and excellence in the area of competition law and policy and to reward a particularly meritorious undergraduate competition law student at the University of East Anglia Law School.
As this year’s prize winner, Baran has been awarded a paid two weeks internship placement in the London competition law department of the Clifford Chance London office. Baran is currently undertaking the second part of his work placement within the Clifford Chance antitrust team.
Why did you take part in the Competition Law Excellence Prize competition and how did the selection process work?
I took part in the Competition Law Excellence Prize competition by choosing the UEA undergraduate LLB competition law module. Though all students were opted into the competition, I feel that I had mentally signed up to the competition by embracing the challenge.
The selection process was rigorous. There were two steps: the first was to write an essay worthy of belonging to the top three of this year’s cohort; the second was to partake in an hour-long interview with the Head of the London Antitrust Practice and a senior associate at Clifford Chance, who would end up choosing one interviewee as the prize winner.
Of the five essay questions available, I chose the question regarding the EU’s Digital Markets Act because it is an area of competition law that I feel is particularly relevant and impactful to today’s economy. Two of the module professors marked everyone’s essays and the top three essays were shortlisted.
The interview was as surprising as it was brilliant. Surprising because it felt like a friendly chat, and brilliant because despite feeling so, I learnt so much about competition law and the firm.
How did your internship at Clifford Chance go so far?
So far, my time with Clifford Chance has been wonderful. In my first week of internship, I took part in Clifford Chance’s SPARK programme. As part of this scheme, I attended workshops and socials during which I discovered first-hand the practice areas, culture and client relationships of Clifford Chance and developed my commercial awareness. This was also a great opportunity to meet partners, associates, clients and to network with other participants of the SPARK programme. I also joined Clifford Chance’s Antitrust Team who were more than welcoming. They were not shy to have me ‘get in’ on the work, so from day one, I felt part of the team.
Which tasks did you undertake during your internship?
I work on various fascinating tasks, ranging from note taking, to drafting of client emails and attending meetings. I also carried out legal research and I am currently contributing to the drafting of a ‘Thought Leadership’ essay on the EU’s notification rules for no nexus joint ventures. The internship gives me an opportunity to showcase and further hone my legal and research skills that I developed during my studies at the UEA Law School.
What was the most fascinating experience during your time at Clifford Chance?
To be honest, this is a difficult question to answer. Truly, my whole time there was fascinating – it’s all novel after all, but if I had to choose, I’d say it was when I was (spontaneously) offered by the Head of the London Antitrust Practice to sit in on a call with some of the global antitrust team (being about 20 lawyers). I had just popped into his office to say hello so it was very kind of him to offer, but what made it so fascinating was that I got an insiders view into the daily practice and client relations of a globally active competition law team.
What are your career plans for after the internship?
I have been invited for a training contract interview at Clifford Chance, so of course I plan to practice there, but if it is not meant to be, I shall pursue commercial law in the City. I can say for certain that this prize has helped shape my career plans so I thank everyone, particularly Clifford Chance, the CCP and my professors, who made it possible.
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