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Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

  • 60 vacancies
  • 109 trainees
  • 502 partners
  • 5362 staff

Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

More info

We only recruit our future trainees from our vacation schemes and all candidates will have the opportunity at the end of their vacation scheme to interview for a training contract. These schemes have been specifically designed to build and test the unique combination of skills and potential required to succeed at Herbert Smith Freehills. It’s really important to us that you have the combination of skills and potential that we’re looking for: it will enable you to become a better lawyer, build stronger connections with our team and hit the ground running when you start your career here.

It’s a two-way process. The scheme gives you the chance to get to know us and see what life for you would be like at Herbert Smith Freehills before you make a decision about your career.

For those who are unable to attend a vacation scheme, please get in touch with Aveer Pnag at [email protected] to discuss your individual circumstances, which we will consider on a case-by-case basis.


Applications to

Aveer Pnag

Method of application

Online application form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • Partner interview

Herbert Smith Freehills – Elevate your ambition  

We’re a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, you don’t just watch from the side lines here, you hit the ground running, make a difference and tackle the important issues.

By combining perspectives and potential from diverse backgrounds, we offer our clients pioneering solutions. With our innovative and inclusive culture, we’re building a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents. Our progressive approach allows us to continually break new ground; whether it’s a complex international dispute or a billion-pound, cross-border deal. Every day, there’ll be new situations, new experiences and new skills to learn and apply. 

Our work is incredibly varied. We provide top-quality tailored legal advice to major corporations, governments and financial institutions as well as various commercial organisations. We operate at the forefront of many exciting sectors and no other firm has more Chambers rankings. Our dispute resolution practice is widely recognised as number one globally and this includes both our leading international arbitration practice and award-winning in-house advocacy unit. We can therefore offer a complete litigation service and a realistic alternative career to the Bar. We also specialise in finance, competition, regulation and trade, intellectual property, real estate and more. As a truly global law firm, we do this by attracting the brightest minds across the world to collaborate on work which has an international impact.

At Herbert Smith Freehills, we recognise and appreciate all the differences that make each of us unique. Our culture of inclusion that fosters these differences is fundamental to our business and the diverse clients and communities we work with. Embracing a diversity of backgrounds and views means we attract and retain the best talent and continue to do the pioneering work that offers our clients the most considered and effective advice.

We provide a number of employee benefits which include: 25 days' annual leave, pension contributions, private medical insurance, life assurance, subsidised gym membership, cycle to work scheme, travel insurance, interest free season ticket loan, access to a mortgage broker and many more.

Elevate your ambition.

It’s never too early to take control of your career. Join us on the Herbert Smith Freehills spring vacation scheme and start today.

Explore our firm for yourself, build your connections and find your vocation, with hands-on training from leading lawyers. You won’t be watching from the side lines here. You’ll hit the ground running, taking on real work for real clients. You’ll work directly with colleagues who are experts in their fields, and happy to share what they know. You’ll get to choose your two seats so your experience is tailored to you. And you’ll have a trainee buddy at every step to support you.

Who are Herbert Smith Freehills?

We’re a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, you don’t just watch from the side lines here, you hit the ground running, make a difference and tackle the important issues.

By combining perspectives and potential from diverse backgrounds, we offer our clients pioneering solutions. With our innovative and inclusive culture, we’re building a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents. Our progressive approach allows us to continually break new ground; whether it’s a complex international dispute or a billion-pound, cross-border deal. You'll get involved in new situations and experiences and discover new skills to learn and apply.

What are the benefits?

Salary: £450 per week

What will I be doing?

Our vacation schemes immerse you in our work, networks and the international world of law. Key features:

You’ll sit with a partner or a senior associate, delivering real work for real clients.

You’ll attend workshops and presentations covering all of our practice areas. You’ll also spend time working on a pro bono research project.

You’ll be invited to various networking events with partners, associates and trainees.

What we look for

Personal leadership

You need to demonstrate an interest in client relationships and how you would go about building on these. You should also be able to show us good active listening skills and persuasive skills to gain support for ideas.

Technical capability

As well as considered reasoning and a desire to learn, using initiative is a key skill for a trainee. Think about how you would seek out new opportunities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role.

Intellectual capability

Academic excellence should be demonstrated through degree classification. While a minimum of a 2.1 is preferred, we take mitigating circumstances into account. There’s space on the application form to include these details and they will be taken into consideration throughout the application process.

Contributions to the team’s success

Communication skills are critical for trainees, think about examples where you’ve been able to bring about positive outcomes by communicating and collaborating with colleagues.

Working styles

You can demonstrate your working style by giving examples of organisational skills and showing that you’re able to cope well under pressure.

Motivation for a career in law at the firm

Think about why you’ve chosen to pursue a career in commercial law, and why Herbert Smith Freehills in particular.

We only recruit our future trainees from our vacation schemes and students are assessed by their supervisors and given an assessed piece of work in each of the two seats. When making our decision, we look at a combination of those things. Our vacation schemes have been specifically designed to build and test the unique combination of skills and potential required to succeed at Herbert Smith Freehills. It’s really important to us that you have the combination of skills and potential that we’re looking for: it will enable you to become a better lawyer, build stronger connections with our team and hit the ground running when you start your career here.

It’s a two-way process. The scheme gives you the chance to get to know us and see what life at Herbert Smith Freehills would be like before you make a decision about your career.

For those who are unable to attend a vacation scheme, please get in touch with Aveer Pnag at [email protected] to discuss your individual circumstances, which we will consider on a case-by-case basis.

Key dates

Spring

Scheme runs: 4 – 14 April 2022

Apply between: 13 September 2021 – 3 December 2021

Assessment centres: January – March 2022 (open to penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates).

Find out more and apply here

Summer

Scheme runs: 13 June – 1 July 2022 and 4 July – 22 July 2022.

Apply between: 13 September – 3 December 2021.

Assessment centres: January – March 2022 (open to penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates).

Find out more and apply here

Winter

Scheme runs: 29 November – 10 December 2021

Apply between: 13 September – 1 October 2021

Assessment centres: October – November 2021 (open to finalists and graduates)

Applications now closed. 

Elevate your ambition. 

Salary: Starting salary £50k, upon qualification up to £107k (including salary and bonus)

Entry criteria: Must complete a HSF vacation scheme

Location: London

Elevate your ambition

We want our trainee associates to develop into the Herbert Smith Freehills partners of the future and we aim to retain as many of our trainee associates as possible on qualification. Our trainee associate programme offers four six-month seats. We are one of the few firms who allow you to select your seat preferences ahead of each rotation, allowing you to tailor your trainee associate programme as your interests develop.

We only recruit our future trainees from our vacation schemes where students are assessed by their supervisors and also given an assessed piece of work by their supervisors in each of the two seats. We look at a combination of those things when making offers on our trainee associate programme.

Who are Herbert Smith Freehills?

Join us and you’ll be involved in high-profile cases, high-impact deals and prestigious client relationships – making a difference and tackling the big issues. You'll get involved in new situations and experiences and discover new skills to learn and apply.

We are a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, we are the place to elevate your ambition.

What are the benefits?

Salary: Starting salary £50k, upon qualification up to £107k (including salary and bonus)

25 days’ annual leave

Cycle to work scheme

Medical, dental, travel and gadget insurance

Subsidised gym membership

Pension contributions from Herbert Smith Freehills

Interest-free season ticket loan

Corporate discounts

Why join?

Diverse

As well as ensuring we recruit from a range of backgrounds, we take a roughly equal split of law and non-law students. This diversity of experience and perspectives allows us to develop creative solutions to our clients’ problems.

Challenging

To ensure our trainee associates are given the best opportunities to develop the skills they need to become a successful lawyer, we have created the trainee associate programme. Through our business skills academy, trainee associates will be equipped with the business knowledge, skills and mindset they need to work on the biggest matters and deals with our clients across the globe.

You’ll undertake over 128 hours of structured learning and development, from interactive workshops to Professional Skills Course training.

A partner will mentor you as you progress through your training contract, and in each seat you’ll share your office with either a senior associate or a partner who's committed to supporting your personal and professional development.

Progressive

If you’re keen to develop client relationship skills and business growth strategies, you can join our entrepreneurial trainee business development committee (TBDC). The TBDC is a trainee-run initiative that empowers trainees to contribute to our business development strategies through networking with clients and building business development skills.

You’ll get the opportunity to submit seat preferences before every rotation, including before your first seat, enabling you to tailor your training contract to your specific interests. You can also discuss your preferences with our dedicated trainee HR team.

Global

Over 84% of our trainees go on either a client or an international secondment. There are also opportunities to qualify into one of our international offices.

What we look for

Personal leadership

Demonstrate an interest in client relationships and how you would go about building on these. You should also be able to demonstrate good active listening skills and persuasive skills to gain support for ideas.

Technical capability

As well as considered reasoning and a desire to learn, using initiative is a key skill for a trainee. Think about how you would seek out new opportunities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role.

Intellectual capability

Academic excellence should be demonstrated through degree classification. Whilst a minimum of a 2.1 is preferred, we take mitigating circumstances into account. There is space on the application form to include these details which are taken into consideration throughout the application process.

Contributions to the team’s success

Communication skills are critical for trainees, think about examples where you have been able to bring about positive outcomes by communicating and collaborating with colleagues.

Working styles

Students can demonstrate this competency by giving examples of organisational skills and showing that they are able to cope well under pressure.

Motivation for a career in law at Herbert Smith Freehills

Think about why you have chosen to pursue a career in commercial law, and why Herbert Smith Freehills in particular.

How do I apply?

We only recruit our future trainee associates from our vacation schemes where students are assessed by their supervisors and also given an assessed piece of work by their supervisors in each of the two seats. We look at a combination of those things when making offers. These schemes have been specifically designed to build and test the unique combination of skills and potential required to succeed at Herbert Smith Freehills. It’s really important to us that you have the combination of skills and potential that we’re looking for: it will enable you to become a better lawyer, build stronger connections with our team and hit the ground running when you start your career here.

It’s a two-way process. The scheme gives you the chance to get to know us and see what life for you would be like at Herbert Smith Freehills before you make a decision about your career.

For those who are unable to attend a vacation scheme, please get in touch with Aveer Pnag ([email protected]) to discuss your individual circumstances, which we will consider on a case-by-case basis.

Find out more and apply here

Roger Leyland Memorial Scholarship

Applications open: 1 October 2021 – 31 January 2022

Roger Leyland was a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills until his death in October 1996 at the young age of 43. He was the first black partner at a leading City firm and chaired The College of Law’s ethnic minority subcommittee. Roger was deeply committed to supporting the development of young lawyers, including sitting as a governor on the Council of the College of Law.

The Roger Leyland Memorial Scholarship was developed by Rare Recruitment and Herbert Smith Freehills to provide financial support and work experience to exceptional black and minority ethnic students. Applicants should be in their first year of a three-year course or second year of a four-year course and must be a Rare candidate in order to apply. Benefits of being a Roger Leyland Memorial Scholar include:

- £9,000 awarded over three years of study

- A mentor at the firm

- A guaranteed interview for the summer vacation scheme (conditional on achieving a 2.1 in your first-year exams)

- Personal study sessions with Rare’s Melissa Andrewes, a former head of students at the University of Law

- Invitations to exclusive firm events

Runners up may be considered for a place on the summer vacation scheme.

Elevate your ambition.

Find out more and apply here

£9,000 pa for GDL maintenace grant outside London.

£10,000 pa for GDL maintenance grant in London.

£10,000 pa for LPC maintenance grant in London.

  • Corporate
  • Dispute resolution
  • Finance
  • Real estate & projects
  • Employment
  • Pensions & incentives
  • Competition/antitrust
  • Tax
  • IP
  • Corporate & Commercial

Practice Areas

Extra info

Exchange House, Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2EG
Phone: 020 7374 8000
Email: [email protected]
Web: careers.herbertsmithfreehills.com/uk/grads/
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 100
Minimum qualification: 2.1, but we take mitigating circumstances into consideration
Start salary: £50,000
Sponsorship: GDL/LPC
Turnover: £1,038,000,000 (2020)
Profit per partner: £1,100,000 (2020)
Training contract applications: 2,975 (2018)
Retention rate: 97% (2020)
Partner diversity:
  • 78.0% male (2019)
  • 22.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 45.9% male (2019)
  • 54.1% female
Has client secondments: Yes
Client secondments:
  • Banks
  • Consultancies
Has overseas secondments: Yes
Overseas secondments:
  • Brussels
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Moscow
  • Paris
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo
  • London
  • A4ID
  • Asylum Support Appeals Project
  • Fair Trials International
  • Refugee Council
  • Reprieve
  • The Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau
  • Whitechapel Mission
  • Aspiring Solicitors
  • Bright Network
  • City Horizons
  • MyPlus Consulting
  • PRIME
  • Rare Recruitment
  • Social Mobility Foundation
  • Stonewall
  • Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership
  • University of Warwick Multicultural Scholars programme