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 Shaunna Morey on [email protected] or +44 20 7466 3138 in the Graduate Recruitment team or any other member of the Graduate Recruitment team on [email protected].

In order to be eligible for our vacation schemes, you must be able to work for a minimum of 35 hours per week during the vacation scheme programme period. However if for any reason you would not be able to work on this basis or require any adjustments in order to be able to participate, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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.


Our application process has three stages.

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

Apply now

Application form

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


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 below 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.

How to apply - assessment day


This test will present you with written information and comprehension questions. It’s designed to measure your ability to evaluate and interpret the written word - something that’s absolutely critical to being a good lawyer.

The verbal reasoning test is timed.

Take the test


If you reach the benchmark on our online verbal reasoning test and impress on your application form, you’ll be invited to meet a number of partners who will assess your suitability for a vacation scheme or training contract.

During the assessment day, you’ll undertake a group activity, an interview with one partner and a technical case study exercise with a different partner. The technical case study will require you to deliver a ten minute presentation at the start. You’ll also have lunch with a partner and go on a tour of the office with a current trainee. So you’ll have the chance to ask “off the record” questions about life at the firm.

Please note: that you may be asked to sit a verification test at our assessment day. This helps us to ensure that the process is fair for all candidates

Completing the form

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 on-line 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.

The assessment day

Preparation before the assessment day

  • Thoroughly review your application. Be comfortable with what you have written and be prepared to answer questions about it
  • Think about the types of questions you may be asked – if you were interviewing, what would you want to know? Make sure that whatever you decide to talk about in the interview, you know your subject well and can talk clearly and intelligently about it
  • Research our firm and think about why you are particularly interested in joining us. Find out what major deals/matters we have been involved in for example
  • Be prepared to talk about why you are particularly interested in a career in commercial law. How have you come to make this decision?
  • Gain as much exposure as possible to our people. You can do this by attending drinks receptions, presentations, workshops or any other events that we run either at your university or in our offices. Your careers service may be able to put you in touch with relevant alumni
  • Attend mock interview sessions at your university
  • Interviews are a two-way process: you should want to find out about us as well. Think about what you would like to know about us.  At the end of the interview, most interviewers will give you a chance to ask questions 
FIRST-YEAR WORKSHOPS (first years of any discipline)


1 – 31 January 2017


23 – 24 March 2017
12 – 13 April  2017


We screen on a rolling basis so we advise you to get your application in as early as possible. 

CAMPUS MANAGERS (first years of any discipline)

1 March 2017 – 21 April 2017

May and June


We screen on a rolling basis so we advise you to get your application in as early as possible. 


Winter scheme APPLICATIONS open (finalists and graduates only)
1 – 31 October 2016

November 2016

Winter scheme
5 – 16 December 2016

Spring scheme APPLICATIONS open (penultimate year students, finalists and graduates)
1 October 2016 – 6 January 2017

January – March 2017

Spring scheme
27 March – 7 April 2017

Summer scheme APPLICATIONS open (penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates)
1 December 2016 – 6 January 2017

January – March 2017

Summer scheme 1
19 June – 7 July 2017

Summer scheme 2
10 July – 28 July 2017


We screen on a rolling basis so we advise you to get your application in as early as possible. 


APPLICATIONS open (finalists and graduates only)
1 October 2016 – 6 January 2017

November 2016 and January – March 2017  

APPLICATIONS open (penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates)
1 June – 31 July  2017

July – August 2017


We screen on a rolling basis so we advise you to get your application in as early as possible. 

Disputes Open Day

Are you interested in learning about our renowned global dispute resolution practice? Would you like to find out what it is like to be a disputes lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills?

If so, we would like to invite you to apply to join our Disputes Open Day at our London offices.

The day will include an introduction to Herbert Smith Freehills’ dispute resolution practice, along with interactive workshops which will illustrate the types of disputes we assist our clients with – from commercial litigation to international arbitration – as one of the world’s leading law firms.

Applications will open 1 December 2016 – 6 January 2017.

Disputes open day date: 23 February 2017