“At Herbert Smith Freehills, we don’t expect our people to be or think the same – diversity and inclusion drive our success and the innovative solutions we deliver to our clients. That’s why fostering an inclusive culture where our people can be themselves, contribute their perspectives and perform roles which are meaningful and aligned to our shared values is a core business priority.” – Justin D’Agostino, CEO

A truly global law firm is built on a diverse culture, reflective of the societies in which we live and work. That’s why inclusivity is key to our success. Here, you’ll be part of a working environment where you’ll be valued for what makes you different and accepted for who you are.

We recognise the power of diversity and inclusion to drive innovation, collaboration and successful business outcomes. It’s why we created four regional People Forums, one each in Asia, Australia, EMEA and the UK/US, to help shape the firm’s priorities and direction. These are groups with innovative, wide-ranging perspectives that reflect the diversity of our business, where all members can contribute openly and honestly, and where hierarchy isn't important.

Leading for Inclusion

Our vision is to be the leading global law firm for diversity and inclusion.

From bold and ambitious targets to drive gender diversity across our leadership and market-leading parental policies in Asia and Australia; to improving ethnic minority representation across our offices and developing a global approach to mental health and wellbeing as well as leadership on LGBT+ advocacy.

Our vision is ambitious and global, but by enabling our people to be their unique selves every day and sharing the responsibility for driving change, we are Leading for Inclusion.


Our diversity networks are at the heart of our firm, helping to connect our people and support our Leading for Inclusion strategy. They are a vibrant part of our inclusive culture, influencing key decisions, educating teams and driving change through innovative events, campaigns and initiatives. Joining our networks provides access to a supportive group of role models and peers committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive profession, and you will have the opportunity to get involved in some exciting projects from day one.

Ability Network

Our Ability Network offers support and guidance to our people with a disability, as well as those caring for someone else.

In a recent global firm audit, one in ten identified as having a disability or long-term health condition. Our aim is to build disability confidence and encourage a better understanding of disability. Through our policies and practices, we look to become an employer of choice for those living with a disability or long-term health condition and remove the barriers to their success.

With the launch of our Global Adjustments Commitment, we are actively improving working conditions for individuals with a disability. We are also an Australian Human Rights Commission IncludeAbility Employer and a Valuable 500 signatory..


The Family Network supports all our people with caring responsibilities, including parents, grandparents, guardians and carers of others.

Through the network we provide awareness and education around some of the common challenges of parents and carers, such as work/life balance, mental health and family life. We also regularly organise expert-led seminars covering various topics such as eldercare and parenting skills, and advocate for more family-inclusive policies and ways of working.

Gender Equality Matters (GEM)

Across our global firm, we have a range of initiatives focused on gender equality, including our 8 Drivers for Gender Equity and the Gender Equality Matters (GEM) Network. We believe that gender diversity is a critical component of our firm’s past, present and future.

Since 2014, the percentage of women partners has increased from 18% to 29%, and we are very proud to have been the first major Australian law firm to appoint a woman partner, where 36% of our partnership is now female Women represent 35% of our partners in Sydney and 50% in our Brisbane office

We are also a platinum sponsor of Diverse Women in Law and we are committed to the Diversity Council’s #IStandForRespect campaign against gendered violence.

IRIS Network (LGBTI)

Our global IRIS (Inclusion, Respecting Identity and Sexuality) Network is one of our longest-standing diversity networks. It connects and engages LGBT+ colleagues and allies across our firm and champions our market-leading commitment to LGBT+ inclusion.

Through IRIS we raise awareness of LGBT+ inclusion and create safe and supportive spaces for everyone to thrive together. We've developed sustainable partnerships with LGBT+ organisations such as Open Doors Australia, and we regularly collaborate with our other diversity networks to further promote inclusion within our firm.

IRIS has also advised on the development of our Global Trans and Non-Binary Guidelines.

As a firm, we have dedicated extensive pro bono hours to decriminalise homosexuality and deliver LGBT+ rights across the world, and we are signatories to the UN Standards of Conduct for LGBTI Inclusion.

Multicultural Network

As a global firm operating across many international jurisdictions, the Multicultural Network is essential to building a culture where we can speak openly about ethnicity, race, cultural diversity and religion/faith.

The network is focussed on our 10 Actions for Change and aims to enhance multicultural representation and diversity of our people at all levels of the business and develop our understanding and cultural intelligence, not only within our firm but across the entire legal sector.

Through the network, we also celebrate religious and cultural festivals and have implemented and supported a number of awareness initiatives including the 10 Actions for Change and Anti-racism training.

Veterans' Network

Our Australian Veterans’ Network recognises and acknowledges the unique nature of military service and the contribution that members of the military and their families have made. Through the network, we actively encourage and facilitate the employment of veterans and reservists and support those employees whose family members are currently serving.

Working in close partnership with our London Military Network, we focus on attracting, recruiting, supporting, connecting and developing veterans and their family members. We recognise the skills, experience and diversity of thought that veterans bring to our firm, and indeed, the wider professional services sector, such as leadership, communication, adaptability, teamwork and problem-solving.

As a firm, we are signatories to the Australian Government’s Veterans’ Employment Commitment, publicly declaring to support greater employment opportunities for veterans and recognise the value that they bring to our business. We’ve also developed a mentoring initiative for military veterans currently studying law.

Rare Contextual Recruitment

We are proud to use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS). The CRS allows us to understand each applicant’s achievements in the context that they have been gained. We understand that not every candidate’s achievements look the same on paper – and we want to recruit the best people, from every background.

When you apply, you will be asked to complete a survey from Rare Recruitment. The survey will ask you to provide academic and personal information. This will help us develop a more complete picture of your background to help us better understand your achievements, as well as any challenges that you may have overcome, beyond what we may see on your CV. We hope that you will share this information with us, but please note that this is entirely optional.

10 Actions for change

Despite many years of valuable work and progress, the tragic killing of George Floyd in May 2020 made us realise that we were not where we wanted to be as a firm, nor where we should be, in our ethnic representation or our progress in dismantling systemic racism.

After consulting across the firm, we established 10 action areas to improve representation, support and experience for our Black, First Nations, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues.

Our aim is to become an anti-racist organisation and we are committed to confronting the deep-seated inequities from which no society or business is exempt.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Regional Executives are responsible for ensuring these new commitments are acted upon across the firm’s offices. Each Action is backed by a plan to reflect local challenges, cultures and legal nuances.

When you apply for a vacation clerkship with us, some of the ways you might see our commitment to ’10 Actions for Change’ is the tracking of cultural diversity data at application through to offer stage; providing unconscious bias and anti-racism training to our interviewers; or through our recruitment of international students.

Find out more

Mental Health and Wellbeing

In October 2019, we launched our first global mental health strategy – Thrive. This strategy continues to drive our activity throughout the firm, with a focus on culture  and access to support to enable optimal mental health for everyone.

Mental Health Champions

Anyone can become a Mental Health Champion, providing an opportunity for people at all levels to support each other and help to drive our mental health strategy. To date, over 380 people across our Australian offices have been trained by a professional psychologist to act as a ‘first port of call’ for colleagues.

The program includes basic training on mental health conditions and aims to normalise everyday conversations on the subject, equipping Champions with the confidence to manage potentially difficult conversations, and effectively direct people to the appropriate resources and support available throughout the firm.

In 2019, it was awarded Best Mental Wellbeing Initiative in a Legal Workplace Award by the Minds Count Foundation.

This is Me series

Our This is Me series features colleagues from across our business talking about mental health and continues our focus on wellbeing. The series features videos from our Australian office and builds on an earlier film created by our Ability Network.

Watch the full This is Me video series

Driving sustainable working practices

Our How We Work guidelines create an explicit link between a high-performance culture, individual wellbeing and more efficient, balanced and sustainable ways of working. They cover a number of areas, including promoting smart meetings, mindful emailing, better conversations and embracing agile and flexible working.

How We Work is a core value for the way we do business at the firm and all of our people are responsible for upholding this culture in the way they work every day.

Read more about our How we Work guidelines  

Read more about our Strategy 


Top Global Employer 2020 (Stonewall)
Ranked 3rd in the UK Social Mobility Index (2021)
Australian Minds Count Award for best workplace mental health initiative (2019)


Our graduate program goes beyond law because we want to provide you with the skills and experiences to succeed in your career – wherever it may take you. Just look at where the careers of our alumni have taken them.

  • Head of Legal, EMEA at Google
  • Founder of wearetriibe.com
  • CEO of Securities and Futures Commission (in Hong Kong) and Chairman of the Board of IOSCO
  • Head of SnapChat Legal, EMEA
  • Australia’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
  • Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner
  • Founder of https://luxuryescapes.com/au
  • State Manager of Football, Policy and Major Projects
  • CEO of Save the Children

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