Get an insight into what life at Herbert Smith Freehills is really like from three graduate recruitment partners.
Could you briefly describe your role at Herbert Smith Freehills?
Mark Bardell: I'm a partner in our corporate division. I deal with a mixture of public and private mergers and acquisitions.
Rupert Lewis: I'm a dispute resolution partner specialising in banking litigation. As well as a graduate recruitment partner, of course.
Veronica Roberts: As well as taking care of graduate recruitment, I'm a competition partner, specialising in UK and EU competition law.
What makes Herbert Smith Freehills different to other law firms?
Mark: I'd say the culture of the place. We're very open, very friendly and we give you a lot of freedom to choose your own development path and shape your own career. Our strength in depth across a whole variety of different fields means you can discover what you're passionate about and specialise in it.
Rupert: We rate individuality and diversity extremely highly. We're not looking for clones - we're looking for people with real strength of character and the ambition to achieve.
What excites you about coming to work?
Veronica: That I never quite know what my day is going to be like! Even if I've got an idea of what I want to achieve, by the end of the day I'll have ended up dealing with a new challenge, or even a new case. My area of law is constantly changing and it's really fun when something totally new comes across my desk.
Mark: I love working on big, high-profile transactions. It's very exciting to see the relevance of the work you're doing in the newspapers or on the 10 o'clock news.
It's a great place to fulfil your own ambitions, better yourself and challenge yourself.
What made you choose Herbert Smith Freehills?
Veronica: The interview process was really two-way. The partners were interested in what I could bring to the firm and I was interested in how I could contribute.
Rupert: The people who interviewed me were smart, funny and self-effacing - it was a winning combination.
Why should graduates choose Herbert Smith Freehills?
Mark: You should choose Herbert Smith Freehills for yourself. It's a great place to fulfil your own ambitions, better yourself and challenge yourself. It's somewhere you can be everything you want to be.
Rupert: I've been at the firm for 16 years and, because of the people and the work, I still look forward to coming into the office each and every day. I can't think of a better reason that that.
If you could offer one piece of advice to graduates, what would it be?
Veronica: Make sure you choose the law firm where you feel most comfortable.
Mark: Be responsible for your own decisions. Try things out, see what interests you and decide what you want. Then, take ownership of your future and do what you need to do to get there.
If you had to describe Herbert Smith Freehills in three words, what would they be?
Veronica: Ambitious, international and approachable.
Rupert: Ambitious, global and diverse.
What kind of people do law firms need more of?
Veronica: More people with a genuine passion for the law who really enjoy using their problem solving skills to get the best possible results.
Mark: An even greater variety of people rather than all being of a type and sitting in a particular cookie cutter shape. Only with this variety will we come up with the right answer for different clients in different places.
What do you wish you'd known before you'd started your training contract?
Mark: That I didn't need to know everything on day one. What's important is an understanding of how to research law and find an answer to particular problems.
Veronica: I wish that I'd known how important it was to be yourself. There's not one type here and in fact that's why it works so well.
If you hadn't chosen a career in law, what would you have done with your life?
Veronica: I would've been a violin teacher in the south of France. I used to teach violin as a part-time job at school and I've always loved French.
Mark: I like to think that I would've been a novelist. I like reading and like to think that I could write a creative novel. In reality, however, I probably would have been a management consultant!