Job: Continuous Improvement Portfolio Manager (APAC) by Clifford Chance 

Location: Hong Kong 

Job Overview:

Clifford Chance is the world’s largest fully integrated law firm committed to leadership and innovation in legal service. It is a global market leader in all major areas of legal advice and a major element of its strategy is to attract and retain the best people by developing and nurturingvthe talent that they have.

Clifford Chance is committed to delivering the highest levels of legal service. We recognise that achieving this not only relates to the quality of our advice, but extends to the way in which we deliver our service, which is why our ‘Innovation & Best Delivery’ programme is a criticalvelement of Firm strategy. To support our partners in designing new approaches to matter delivery, we have built cross-functional virtual teams in key centres across the globe, comprising the following capabilities Continuous Improvement, Legal Project Management, Cost Efficient Delivery Centres, Legal Technology, Research & Development and Data Science.

Role will be responsible for:

Implementing the Firm’s ‘Innovation & Best Delivery’ strategy together with other programme team members and leading the Continuous Improvement team in APAC Example of responsibilities include: determining local business transformation priorities; scoping and executing improvement initiatives, managing a large group of stakeholders, implementing effective change management and communications techniques to improve the way legal services are delivered to our clients; ensuring that new ways of working are transferred effectively to other relevant parts of the Firm; and tracking the resulting return on investment.

The success of this role will primarily be measured by: feedback from partners and lawyers; the extent to which the Innovation & Best Delivery programme yields benefits to our clients and the Firm; and the successful roll-out and adoption of new ways of working across the region.

Key Accountabilities:

  • You will be responsible for implementing the Innovation & Best Delivery strategy for Continuous Improvement across all practice groups in APAC. You will take direction from the Regional Programme Director, and you will liaise with local leadership partners, steering committees, General Managers and Regional Business Managers to determine the priorities for the improvement programme.
  • You will build the business case for and subsequently assemble the resources necessary to deliver the Continuous Improvement initiaives. This may include adding additional team members to the programme, or defining and helping to implement the necessary support models. In doing so, you will develop productive and collaborative working relationships with other relevant departments such as General Management, Partnership Finance, Knowledge & Information, Information Technology, Resource Management and Business Development.
  • You will shape a number of prioritised improvement projects, directing and guiding programme team members to deliver them effectively.
  • You will be responsible for the overall transformation plan and as such, you will own and implement change management and communications plans to embed new ways in which legal services are delivered to our clients.
  • You will be expected to track and showcase the resulting return on investment from the programme.
  • You will work with the Business Development function to ensure that the Best Delivery progamme and service offering is communicated appropriately to clients. This might include, for instance, responding to significant pitches or delivering client workshops or demonstrations.
  • The role will require you to work with and influence partners in senior positions.
  • You will ensure that lawyers and partners have the capability, support and communication necessary to adopt new approaches to delivering client services.
  • It is likely that some projects will involve multiple locations, in which case it is likely that some, or all, parts of the project will need to be managed remotely. You will be expected to develop plans to help others across the network to implement solutions from your programme and equally, to implement ideas from other parts of the Firm in your own portfolio.
  • The role has a requirement for some international travel.

Skills & Experience:

Professional Expertise


The role incumbent should possess the following key skills for this role: process improvement (Lean Six Sigma Black Belt or Master Black Belt Certification is highly desirable), business transformation, programme management, change management, consulting skills, creative, strategic, critical and organisational thinking. They should be able to demonstrate a consistent level of skill at an advanced level and a breadth of experience across increasingly complex and large projects.

The role incumbent would preferably be educated to degree level with a bachelors degree or equivalent



The role incumbent is likely to have come from a professional services environment where they have been involved in business transformation/client service improvement projects and programmes.

Prior experience in managing change and transformation programmes is essential.The role incumbent should have managed a number of multi-disciplined, complex and strategically important projects from end-to-end and should have delivered revenue, cost and/or service improvement results relating to the set project objectives.

The role incumbent should have experience of delivering training and mentoring of other people within the organisation.


Analytical Thought and Problem Solving

Problems will most likely be varied in nature and the role incumbent should expect these to occur on a regular basis.The incumbent should anticipate risks and take actions to minimise any disruption to the business.

This role requires the incumbent to take a consultative approach, which will involve a high level of creative thinking when seeking to understand, document and resolve problems, along with the ability to think laterally and innovatively if necessary. The incumbent should be skilled in a number of different techniques to analyse problems and decompose them to their component parts in order to effectively communicate with the team members and, where appropriate, challenge stakeholders to consider alternative angles.

This role incumbent will receive direction and support primarily from the Regional Programme Director as first point of escalation, but advice or assistance may also be sought from their colleagues and a variety of other sources, e.g., legal technologists, , project managers, line managers and functional managers.


Communicating & Influencing

The role incumbent will need to have strong communications skills, providing a range of information and advice in a coherent manner and on a proactive basis. The context may require the role incumbent to establish credibility by demonstrating an understanding of the audience’s needs and the nature of the information being shared. They should influence situations through the provision of information and advice on straightforward as well as more challenging issues, and will collaborate with other decision makers on day-to-day activities.

The role incumbent should communicate effectively with the team through structured meetings and reviews.

The role incumbent will be required to have strong change management skills and awareness, with the ability to be able to understand and effect minimum disruption to the business. This will involve the use of various techniques including communications planning and training.



The role incumbent will be required to set the vision/strategy for their portfolios of projects, whilst demonstrating a strong customer focus through clear recognition and understanding of the clients and their requirements at all times.

The role incumbent is required to have a sound understanding of business analysis and project management best practice, tools and techniques, with past proven experience in this field.

This will involve an element of leading by example and may require some development of team members in order to ensure project success. The role incumbent is likely to work with teams that vary in relation to the complexity, size and scope of the project. These teams will usually comprise of a number of specialists (including, where relevant, lawyers) from different functions.

The role will involve interaction with other teams, across different functions and/or businesses. Interaction with clients and/or others in third party organisations may also be required.

The role incumbent will be required to support people in applying the tools and principles of Continuous Improvement. Those people are likely to come from a range of backgrounds.

Some may be senior in the organisation and/or have significant experience of change management whereas others may be more junior and inexperienced. The role incumbent will need to tailor their coaching style to meet the learning needs of, and best support, each individual.

Organisational/Strategic thinking

The role incumbent’s decisions and actions can impact a number of colleagues and/or internal or external clients with results being known in the short term. The impact affects a number of operational and financial parameters.


Managing Resources

The role incumbent will have line management responsibilities for the Continuous Improvement Project Managers in the APAC region and responsible for sustaining a high performing team. The role incumbent will be responsible for their own work and will provide advice, guidance, training and/or mentoring to others as required. They will also be required to request the use of resources from other departments, offices, vendors and suppliers for part or whole delivery.

The role incumbent may be required to plan, prioritise and allocate expenditure within work/project teams to achieve agreed results within existing budgets. They are likely to have to deal with multiple priorities, which may change and/or conflict from time to time, ensuring that they own and, where it is in their control, others’ time is spent on activities that add the most value.


Making Decisions

The role incumbent makes decisions on matters to do with their own work and that of others in the team such as allocating tasks, scheduling work, etc. Work is generally guided by a range of policies, procedures, and precedents. The role incumbent uses discretion to tailor work practices to achieve the desired results. However, decisions that are likely to impact or change these parameters will have to be agreed with the relevant stakeholders.

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