Herbert Smith Freehills Herbert Smith Freehills

  • City Law Firms
  • London

Training Contract

  • Places: 60

Firm stats

  • Total employees: 5,362




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.

Trainee Associate Programme

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.

Vacation Schemes

Our vacation schemes sit you with a partner or associate, as you take on real work for real clients. Alongside workshops and presentations, you’ll explore our practice areas, and join a team on a pro bono project. You’ll also network with other vacation scheme students, partners, associates and trainees. At the end of your scheme, you’re guaranteed an interview for a training contract.

Winter Vacation Scheme Application dates: 13 September – 1 October 2021

Scheme dates: 29 November – 10 December 2021

Spring Vacation Scheme Application dates: 13 September – 3 December 2021 Scheme dates: 4 – 14 April 2022

Summer Vacation Scheme Application dates: 13 September – 3 December 2021

Scheme dates: 13 June – 1 July 2022 & 4 – 22 July 2022

Salary & Benefits

    • Salary: £50,000 per annum for first year trainees; £55,000 per annum for second year trainees; and base salary of £105,000 for NQ lawyers
    • 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


  • LGBT Open Day Application dates: 1 September – 26 September 2021
  • IP Open Day Application dates: 13 September - 17 October 2021
  • Disputes Open Day Application dates: 13 September – 17 October 2021
  • Innovation Open Day Application dates: 13 September – 17 October 2021
  • MyPlus Open Day Application dates: 1 September - 26 September 2021
  • Roger Leyland Memorial Application dates: 1 October 2021 – 31 January 2022
  • Campus Ambassadors Application dates: 1 January - 31 January 2022
  • First Year Workshop Application dates: 1 January -  31 January 2022

Application advice

1. Tailor your application: Start by using our website and social media channels to find out what makes us unique and why the firm appeals to you. Make sure you incorporate in your application how working at Herbert Smith Freehills aligns with your interests.

2. Link experience to law: When talking about your experience, explain how the skills you’ve gained are relevant to a career in law and to Herbert Smith Freehills specifically. Consider the way we work and the skills and abilities we look for to deliver high quality services to our clients.

3. Potential is key: We’re not necessarily looking for the finished product. We’d rather know how the transferable skills you’ve gained through your experience, both legal and non-legal, will help you to become a brilliant lawyer here.

4. Get to know us: Meeting us at our on-campus or virtual events is the perfect way to learn about us in an informal setting and it’s an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

5. Be yourself: We recognise and value the differences that make us unique. Having a diversity of perspectives enables us to offer innovative, trustworthy advice. Be yourself throughout the application process and emphasise the qualities that make you stand out.

6. Check for typos: Before you apply, don’t forget to double-check your application for typos. We expect a high level of attention-to-detail.

Recruiting? We can help