Complex cross-border deals. A market-leading disputes division. International secondments. Four seat rotations. If you’re ready to be a part of it all, we’re ready to hear from you.

We look to recruit exceptional people, whatever your background.

If you need any adjustments to be made to enable you to participate fully in the recruitment process, please get in touch with Francesca Evans on [email protected] or +971 4 428 6330 in the Graduate Recruitment team or any other member of the Graduate Recruitment team on [email protected].

Please note: we conduct pre-employment screening prior to the start of your training contract. This will include checks of previous employment, qualifications, references and criminal records.


Before you start the form, do your research about the firm and the role and think about the skills needed for the job and the way in which you could demonstrate them.

  • Look for the specified criteria. This is particularly true for academic requirements. If you don’t meet them, think about whether you should be applying. But if you finished your studies some time ago, your academics may be less relevant than your subsequent work experience
  • You will need to give us a breakdown of all of your A levels (or equivalent), undergraduate module results and any postgraduate results, including from Law School
  • If you did not study in the UK, please input your grades and, if you like, tell us a bit about the grading system in the "further information" section. We receive many applications from all over the world and have familiarity with many overseas qualifications. If we don't know, we can find out from our network
  • When telling us about your extra-curricular activities and work experience, please use a narrative form, rather than a list of bullet points. For each activity or role, give us a few examples of how you were involved and think about why this could be relevant to your application to us
  • We don't have a strict word limit but be concise and sensible about how much you include
  • You do not need to have legal work experience to get an interview for a vacation scheme. You do not strictly need it to apply for a direct training contract either but it will help to show your motivation
  • If you have attended law fairs, open days or met us at an event, feel free to let us know. It helps to show your motivation
  • Don’t list out skills you have – we'll figure that out from the examples!
  • We give candidates the option of applying online or on a paper form. It doesn’t matter which you use, the applications are treated in exactly the same way. If you need a paper form, please contact [email protected]
  • Check your spelling and grammar. Ask someone else to read over your form
  • Keep a copy of your form. If you’re invited to an assessment day, you’ll need a good knowledge of the examples on your form as you may be questioned about them. Also, make a note of any reference number, just in case you have to follow it up later

And finally...

Remember the purpose of the application form is to highlight your breadth of skills and suitability for the position. Make sure you make the most of every part of the form – the narrative section is just as important as your academic record. We are looking for well-rounded individuals.

Interview tips
  • When you meet the interviewer, shake hands firmly and maintain eye contact. Remember his or her name
  • Consider again the tips on body language used in the group exercise
  • Take your time to answer questions. If you are unsure as to what the interviewer is asking of you, ask for clarification
  • When asked to provide examples to demonstrate your capabilities, use the best examples you have, but do not use the same example for every question area
  • Use a balance of academic, work experience and extra-curricular activities in your examples
  • You will be asked why you want to join our firm and why you are interested in commercial law – do your research, be prepared and make it individual to you
  • If you are asked about what you have been following in the news, pick a commercial example you have an opinion on and can engage in discussion about. It may even be something the firm has been involved in
  • Make sure you listen to and answer the question – try not to go off on a tangent
Case study presentation tips
  • There is no need to prepare anything before the day of your case study exercise, beyond continuing to build your commercial knowledge and understanding
  • We use the same case studies for law and non-law students. Interviewers will know what you have studied and will have a different expectation of law students
  • On the day, when starting the exercise, make certain that you pay particular attention to the amount of preparation time
  • Think logically in order to structure the content of the presentation and use information to make a case or advance an argument. Be prepared to justify your responses in conversation with the interviewer once your presentation is complete
  • Speak clearly, audibly and distinctly to the interviewer, using appropriate language (such as technical jargon or terminology) and varying the tone of your voice
  • Again, consider your body language
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, be honest and say so. If appropriate, tell the interviewer how you would go about finding the answer
  • Take your time before answering a question to ensure that the answer you are giving is considered, logical and presented in a concise manner
After the interviews
  • Review how you got on. Think about what you did well and what could be improved
  • Reflect on the questions the assessors asked and the examples you used in response
  • We will let you know the outcome quickly
  • If you are unsuccessful, make sure to ask the team for detailed feedback


Our application process follows the three stages detailed below. Our programmes are open all year round, so read on to learn more about how to apply.

Please note that we review applications and allocate interview spaces on a rolling basis.  


The first step is to complete a simple online form. We’ll need to know about your academics, language skills, work experience and some details about what you do in your spare time.

We do not have a UCAS point (or equivalent) requirement. We do expect people to have or to be on track to get a 2:1 degree, or a comparable qualification.

It’s not all about academia. We also want to know about your extra-curricular activities and interests and work experience. We are looking for well-rounded individuals.

As an international firm with a broad network of offices, we are keen to see applications from individuals with business fluency in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Russian

To qualify for the Dubai training contract, you’ll need to be fluent in written and spoken Arabic.

We take account of mitigating circumstances, where appropriate, when assessing your application form – for example in relation to academic performance.

See our hints and tips for guidance on how to complete the narrative sections of the form.

Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to offer individual feedback on application forms.


The online test comprises of three types of question: situational-judgment, verbal reasoning and personality / behavioural questions. The SJT questions are bespoke to Herbert Smith Freehills and are reflective of the types of scenario trainees can expect to experience if they were to join the firm. The blended nature of the test is designed to enable applicants to demonstrate their problem-solving and verbal reasoning skills, as well as their approach to scenarios relevant to the work at the firm.

The test takes approximately 30 – 35 minutes, although there is no strict time limit so candidates may complete the assessment at their own speed. The completion time is, however, recorded and will be taken into account during scoring.

If you usually receive extra time or adjustments when taking online tests or during exams please email Sairah Hussain at [email protected] so that we can adjust your test time accordingly.

3. Assessment day

Our assessment centre comprises three elements, designed to showcase your potential as a future lawyer.


Engage with a real case study and present your thoughts to a partner.


Think on your feet when presented with a real-life commercial scenario.


Discuss your motivations and show you have the key skills required.