My Resources

Takeovers and mergers. Arbitration and litigation. We’ve got it all. And because we’re one of the world's leading law firms, we also work with some of the biggest international organisations on some of their most ambitious projects.

Thanks to the quality of our international network, we’re able to offer our clients both domestic and cross-border services, which means you get the chance to work in a truly global way. Our work is incredibly varied. We provide top quality tailored legal advice to major corporations, governments and financial institutions as well as different types of commercial organisations. We’re proud to be a full-service firm and we’re proud to be able to do more for our clients.

Herbert Smith Freehills is a place where you won’t just experience everything, you’ll be a part of it. So if you’ve got the drive and ambition to become a brilliant lawyer, we'd like to hear from you.


As a trainee solicitor you will spend one seat in disputes, one in corporate and the other two seats will be spent in our other divisions or departments, or on secondment to one of our international offices or clients. We have 50 international secondments and up to 20 client secondments for trainees each year. You don’t have to choose all your seats at the start of your training contract, allowing flexibility and the opportunity to tailor your training contract to your particular career aspirations.

Our success depends on your skills, knowledge and ideas. That is why we will invest heavily in your development. Through formal training, pro bono opportunities and the chance to work with inspiring people who are leaders in their fields, we will help you grow personally and professionally. You will be part of a working environment that is supportive and open, and allows you to be yourself.

Find out more on our website and join us on social media using the icons below:


Training Contracts

On our two-year training programme, you’ll develop skills across a range of practice areas and get stuck into real work for real clients – giving you the experience you’ll need to make your career with us a success.

The programme itself is extremely varied. Working alongside some of the world’s best lawyers, you’ll rotate through four six month seats in different practice areas and spend valuable time in both corporate and dispute resolution. Over 90% of our trainees go on either a client or international secondment, but you can also choose to experience finance, real estate, or a specialist practice area like employment, pensions and incentives, competition, regulation and trade, tax or intellectual property. Wherever you spend your time, you’ll be doing work of real value and be valued for your contribution.

We view you as the partners of the future, so it goes without saying that your development is incredibly important to us. Unlike many City law firms, we let you have a say in how your training contract is structured, so we regularly give you the opportunity to discuss your seat interests with our HR team. That way, we can make your training contract is perfectly tailored to your particular career aspirations.

You don’t need to study law to be a brilliant lawyer. In fact, we recruit from a whole range of academic backgrounds. The only thing we’re looking for is exceptional people with the desire and ability to become truly brilliant lawyers. And there’s more to that than just a great academic record. There’s fantastic perception skills. There’s confidence. There’s empathy. There’s an international mind set. There’s diligence. And there’s the drive to not only experience everything, but to be a part of it.

Vacation Schemes

Our vacation schemes are a great introduction to life at Herbert Smith Freehills. Not only will you gain first-hand experience working at a leading global law firm, but you’ll get paid while you do it. During your placement, you’ll sit in the same room as a partner or an associate and be given real work for real clients. You’ll be involved in workshops and presentations from the off – giving you an exciting chance to gain a real insight into the depth and breadth of our practice areas. You’ll also work as part of a team on a project related to our pro bono and citizenship work.

On top of that, you’ll be invited to a range of formal and informal social events where you’ll have the opportunity to network with vacation scheme students, partners, associates and trainees. By the end of the scheme, you should have a good idea of whether a career in law is right for you – and whether you could be a part of Herbert Smith Freehills. And because we’re a global firm, we’re able to offer you the opportunity to apply for a placement in one of our other offices – such as Sydney, Shanghai, Brussels and Tokyo – if you secure a spot on our London vacation scheme.

You don’t need to study law to apply for a vacation scheme. In fact, we take on students and graduates from a whole range of academic backgrounds. The only thing we’re looking for is exceptional people with the desire and ability to become truly brilliant lawyers. Applications will open in October and December for the Winter, Spring and Summer schemes.

To apply, you’ll need to complete our online application form and online verbal reasoning test. If we’re impressed, we’ll invite you to an interview at our offices. Find out more on our website:

We host a number of on-campus events at universities in the UK, Ireland and internationally, including firm presentations, workshops, skills sessions and dinners. Please check with your careers service to see if we will be visiting your university and check our website:


Come and meet the Herbert Smith Freehills team, find out about who we are and the work we do. We’ll talk you through what went on behind two of our headline deals and give you a taste of what life would be like as a trainee in an international law firm working with some of the world's biggest and most ambitious organisations.

You'll have the chance to network over some drinks with partners, associates and trainees and to find out about our vacation schemes, training contracts and international opportunities.

Diversity and inclusion is a critical component of the firm's past, present and future and is one of the values which shapes us. In return, a strong diversity and inclusion programme helps us to attract and retain the very best talent, engage with our people, foster innovation and meet the needs of our diverse clients.
A key part of our approach is our employee networks. We have a range of networks, including our Women Lawyers network, Women in Business Services network, Multiculturalism network (which celebrates diverse ethnicity, religion and faith and cultures), LGBT network (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), Family network and Ability network.
The Ability network focuses on making the entire firm more confident in its understanding of disability. We run awareness-raising events, socials and provide networking opportunities – both internally and with our clients. For example, we recently hosted an awareness raising session about autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.
We launched our Excel scholarship with Rare Recruitment in 2013. We were delighted to recruit our first two scholars in February 2014 and have been recruiting two each year since then. The scholarship provides exceptional black and minority ethnic students financial support and a unique access to work experience opportunities at the firm from their first year at university.

We are a founding member of PRIME, a profession-wide initiative committing to provide high quality work experience opportunities to young people from backgrounds under-represented in the legal profession. Ninety students have now attended a work placement at the firm. Our Networked Scholarship Scheme is an innovative five year programme that provides experience, support and guidance to students from comprehensive schools in London. Every year, five new students from year 12 join the programme.

We announced a 30% gender target for the proportion of women in our global partnership earlier this year, making us one of the only global firms to publically commit to international gender targets within a set timeframe, which is as follows:

  • by 1 May 2017, women will comprise 25% of the partnership, and 25% of partner leadership roles;
  • by 1 May 2019, women will comprise 30% of the partnership, and 30% of partner leadership roles.

The objective is to achieve gender balance by widening the talent pool from which partners at the firm are promoted. The targets are an important step in helping to create a level playing field for both men and women who aspire to become partners.

On 26 November 2014, we will host an event aimed at students with a disability with EmployAbility and a number of other City firms. Please register your interest with EmployAbility if you would like to attend.

We will also host an event aimed at students with a disability at our offices in January. Details to be confirmed very soon so watch this space!

We are proud to have been recognised in the following ways in this area:

Justin D'Agostino, Global Head of Practice – Dispute Resolution and founder of the firm's LGBT network listed as one of the Top 50 "OUTstanding in Business Leaders" in the Financial Times (2013)

Julia Pyke ranked in the The Timewise Foundation Power Part Time Top 50 (2013)

Stonewall Top 100 Employers for LGBT, consecutively since 2008. We are currently ranked 30th. Our LGBT Network is also ranked as a Star Performer Network.

The Times Top 50 Where Women Want to Work (2008)

If you require any adjustments to be made to at any stage of the recruitment process you can contact a member of the Graduate Recruitment team. Please login or sign up to become a Great With Disability member to view the relevant contact details.

We encourage you to be open with the graduate recruitment team to the extent that you feel able to do that. Any information you provide will remain confidential. We will discuss with you before sharing any information with interviewing partners or, once you are a trainee, any supervisors or mentors that you have.

The below are the typical examples of reasonable adjustments that we have made in the past. We recognise that different people need different types of reasonable adjustments and we encourage you to speak to us about your individual needs.

Verbal reasoning – paper test at our office, increase in time available

Assessment centre – increase in preparation time, separate room for preparation, exemption from group exercise

If you use particular software to read documents, please let us know. We have experience of accommodating this.

You may like to refer to the following webpage telling you about our assessment process, including the test and the assessment day, here: