Herbert Smith Freehills Tokyo is offering internship opportunities to students who are interested in getting first-hand experience working in the Japan office of a leading global law firm.  Internship opportunities are available for both law and non-law students, including post-graduate students.

You will work alongside our partners and associates on tasks and projects for our clients, giving you a chance to gain a real insight into the depth and breadth of our practice areas. This opportunity will allow you to meet partners, associates and trainees from Tokyo as well as from across our global network.

In addition, you may also be involved in workshops and presentations and invited to a range of formal and informal social events.  By the end of your internship, you should have a good idea of whether a career with an international law firm is right for you – and whether you could be a part of Herbert Smith Freehills. 

Note that our Tokyo office operates as a Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho (registered foreign law office), and hence we do not practice Japanese law and do not employ Japanese-qualified lawyers. All our lawyers are qualified in jurisdictions outside Japan, and the focus of our offering is cross-border transactions and disputes for Japanese corporate clients.

In order to be eligible for our Tokyo Internship Scheme, you must:

  • currently be a student or a recent graduate.
  • be fluent in English and have a high level of competency in Japanese.
  • be able to live and work legally in Tokyo (Herbert Smith Freehills will not be able to assist with or sponsor your application for a permit to live and work in Tokyo).
  • have the means to support your own living arrangements and expenses (although paid internships may be available in exceptional circumstances).
  • commit to a minimum of four weeks of internship in order to maximise the benefits of this scheme both for you and for the firm. 

However, if for any reason you require any adjustments in order to be able to participate, please let us know in your application form.

You should be a self-motivated individual with outstanding achievements in academic and extra-curricular activities. You should also be a team player with excellent organisation and communication skills.

You are expected to proactively seek out opportunity to assist our lawyers and business service functions (such as Business Development), as well as set up coffees and lunches to learn about their careers.

You may choose to work in our Corporate Practice Group (which also covers competition and antitrust) or our Dispute Resolution Practice Group (which also covers compliance and investigations) or split your time in both Practice Groups. You should indicate your preference in your application. Each Practice Group will host one intern at any one time. 


Herbert Smith Freehills is a market leader in high value, complex and multi-jurisdictional corporate non-contentious work. Ranked consecutively for five years in Tier 1 by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific rankings since 2018, we have one of the largest international M&A teams in Japan and advise on matters throughout South East Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.  Our Tokyo practice focuses on outbound cross-border M&A transactions for Japanese clients, with a strong sector focus on TMT, energy and natural resources, manufacturing and industrials, and infrastructure.  We also handle a range of competition and antitrust matters.


Herbert Smith Freehills is a world leader in dispute resolution.  We bring international expertise and experience to bear on the resolution of disputes for leading Japanese and international corporations including trading companies and financial institutions. The Tokyo practice specialises in international arbitration, commercial litigation and other forms of ADR, and are trusted advisors on construction and real estate disputes across the world. We also frequently assist our clients with corporate crime and investigation matters.  We have been ranked top tier in Dispute Resolution in Japan by Chambers Asia-Pacific since 2009 and Asia Pacific Legal 500 since 2003 and have been the winner of International Arbitration law Firm of the Year by ALB Japan Law Awards for 11 consecutive years since 2011.


The internship scheme has a minimum duration of four weeks. Timing can be flexible subject to the availability of the successful candidate(s) and Herbert Smith Freehills Tokyo, however, the focus is on the June to August period.


Applications for the internship scheme close on 3 January 2023.

If your initial application is successful, you’ll be interviewed by the partners or associates in our Tokyo office.

We interview on a rolling basis, so please apply early to avoid missing out on an opportunity.


  • Placement in our market-leading Corporate and/or Dispute Resolution Practice Groups for an agreed period (minimum four weeks).
  • Insight into the work of a global international law firm.
  • Diverse, friendly and engaging working environment.
  • Opportunities are unpaid in principle, however, paid internships may be offered in exceptional circumstances.

Your application

Get an understanding of what it takes to make a great first impression and take the first step to a rewarding career with us.