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15 vacancies
30 trainees
184 partners
1199 staff
Our strategy is to be the number one sector-focused law firm in the world. Working across aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping.

Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to HFW.

More info

Our trainees share our entrepreneurial spirit and are bright and commercial. We look for individuals who are eager to solve problems in new, better and practical ways, and who want to build collaborative relationships. Strong communication skills are a must. In addition, as our training contract is truly international, we look for individuals who have a global perspective and an interest in completing international work. Our trainees come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and we welcome applications from both law and non-law students, and undergraduates and experienced graduates alike.

Applications for training contracts commencing in September 2026 and March 2027 close on 21 July 2024. Apply via our website. The application process consists of the online application, an assessment centre and a final round interview with two partners.

Applications to

Mrs Lucie Rees

Method of application

Online application form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • Partner interview
  • Psychometric testing
  • Written exercise

We are a sector-focused, entrepreneurial law firm. But there’s more to us than that. We have a passion for the sectors we work in – whether we are solving complex issues across construction, aviation and shipping, or providing advice across insurance, commodities and energy. We’re people who like to get things done. It’s this pragmatism, combined with our creative approach, that makes us our clients’ go-to commercial advisers.

And we are, unapologetically, absolute experts in what we advise our clients on. So yes, we’re different. Our clients say “less traditional” – “progressive”, even.

We say we’re specialist lawyers here to add value to our clients.

We offer our trainees an environment where they will be working alongside some of the most respected and talented lawyers in their field. If you are driven, enjoy challenges and are motivated by the idea of completing a training contract in a global environment, then we would like to hear from you.

We typically run a one-week spring vacation scheme and two summer vacation schemes (two weeks in duration). Applications for our 2024 vacation schemes are now closed. 

Vacation scheme participants follow a structured programme of talks and workshops designed to help them to understand more about HFW and our business areas. Our vacation schemes are an integral part of our training contract recruitment process and all vacation scheme participants attend a guaranteed interview for a training contract as part of the vacation scheme. A high percentage of our training contract offers are made to those that attend a vacation scheme at the firm.

Every year we recruit only a small number of trainees – 15 per year split across a September and March intake. This enables us to give every trainee our full attention, and means that your individual contribution makes a difference.

A training contract at HFW consists of four six-month seats – typically three contentious seats and one transactional seat, usually with at least one seat spent outside of London in an international office. Trainees are involved in a combination of workshops, departmental know-how sessions, mentoring by experienced lawyers and on-the-job training. Overall, we aim to provide you with a dynamic, supportive and varied environment in which you are challenged to become the best lawyer you can be.

We have fully transitioned to the SQE. Anyone starting a training contract with us from September 2024 onwards will train and qualify via the SQE route.

If you hold a non-law degree or did not study the law of England and Wales, you will complete a nine-month law conversion course (PGDL) followed by the comprehensive LLM Legal Practice SQE1 and 2, both at our chosen training provider, The University of Law. If you already have a relevant law degree, you will move straight onto the LLM Legal Practice SQE1 and 2 course.

If, prior to joining us, you have already completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) you may still need to complete elements of the LLM Legal Practice SQE1 and 2 course. If this is the case, the elements you will need to complete will be discussed with you at the point of offer.

As part of the LLM Legal Practice SQE1 and 2 course, you will also complete the SQE Plus which covers knowledge areas specific to our firm. These are: advanced dispute resolution, commercial law and international trade, insurance, business law – innovation, technology and legal project management, and business law – professional behaviours and personal effectiveness and law firms and their clients.

PGDL/SQE fees paid and a maintenance grant of £12,000 is available for each year of study once a training contract offer is accepted.

  • Shipping litigation
  • Ship finance
  • Commodities
  • Construction
  • Fraud & insolvency
  • Oil & gas
  • EU/competition
  • Corporate
  • Contentious insurance
  • Non-contentious insurance
  • Aerospace
  • Trade finance
  • Regulatory
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • General Commercial
  • Niche

Practice Areas

Extra info

8 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4BQ
Phone: 020 7264 8000
Email: [email protected]
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 30
Start salary: £46,000
Fees paid for:
  • SQE
Turnover: £200,000,000 (2021)
Profit per partner: £530,000 (2012)
Training programme applications: 846 (2023)
Retention rate: 68% (2023)
Partner diversity:
  • 81.0% male (2023)
  • 19.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 56.0% male (2023)
  • 42.0% female
  • 2.0% N/A
Has client secondments: Yes
Client secondments:
  • Banks
  • Energy companies
  • Insurance companies
Has overseas secondments: Yes
Overseas secondments:
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai
  • Geneva
  • Hong Kong
  • Melbourne
  • Monaco
  • Paris
  • Piraeus
  • Singapore
  • Abu Dhabi
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brussels
  • Dubai
  • Geneva
  • Hong Kong
  • Houston
  • Kuwait
  • London
  • Melbourne
  • Monaco
  • Paris
  • Perth
  • Piraeus
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Riyadh
  • São Paulo
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Sydney
  • LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group)
  • London Legal Support Trust (LLST)
  • Mission to Seafarers
  • Tower Hamlets Law Centre
  • Black Solicitors Network
  • Bright Network
  • Career Ready
  • City Solicitors Horizons
  • InterLaw Diversity Forum
  • Mindful Business Charter
  • Rare Recruitment
  • SEO London
  • Stonewall
  • The Brokerage
  • The Switch