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London 2024 Spring Vacation Scheme

Your future. Our support.

Our vacation schemes are not just an opportunity to see the life of a trainee associate, it’s your chance to live it. Join us on the Herbert Smith Freehills summer vacation scheme and get your career started today.

Explore our firm for yourself, build your connections and find your vocation with hands-on training from leading lawyers.

Who are Herbert Smith Freehills?

We’re a leading, full-service, global law firm delivering high-profile work that matters to our clients, on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, you don’t just watch from the sidelines here, you hit the ground running, make a difference and tackle the important issues.

We have a responsibility to do the right thing and raise ambitions: for the firm, for our clients and for you. We invest in your experiences, well-being and development, knowing that the work you do will make a lasting impact on the firm. By combining perspectives and potential from diverse backgrounds, we offer our clients pioneering solutions, and with our innovative and inclusive culture, we’re building a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents. Wherever you are in your career, at Herbert Smith Freehills, your growth is our ambition.

Your Benefits:

  • £500 per week salary
  • Trainee buddy to support you

What you’ll be doing:

Our vacation schemes immerse you in our work, networks and the international world of law, so you can find out whether life at the firm is for you.

You will:

  • Work directly with a partner or senior associate, delivering real work for real clients
  • Attend workshops and presentations covering all practice areas
  • Be invited to various networking events with partners, associates and trainees.

What we look for:

Personal leadership

You must demonstrate an interest in client relationships and building upon these. You should also be able to show us good active listening skills and persuasive skills to gain support for ideas.

Technical capability

As well as considered reasoning and a desire to learn, using initiative is a key skill for a trainee. Think about how you would seek out new opportunities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role.

Intellectual capability

Academic excellence should be demonstrated through degree classification. While a minimum of a 2:1 is preferred, we take mitigating circumstances into account. There’s space on the application form to include these details and they will be taken into consideration throughout the application process.

Contributions to the team’s success

Communication skills are critical for trainees, think about examples where you’ve been able to bring about positive outcomes by communicating and collaborating with colleagues.

Working styles

You can demonstrate competency by giving examples of organisational skills and showing your ability to cope well under pressure.

Motivation for a career in law here

Think about why you’ve chosen to pursue a career in commercial law, and why Herbert Smith Freehills in particular.


Key dates

  • Scheme runs: 8 – 19 April 2024
  • Apply between: 1 September – 1 December 2023
  • Assessment centres:  January – March 2024 (open to penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates)

We only recruit our future trainee associates from our vacation schemes, and to be eligible for the schemes, you must be a graduate or in your penultimate or final year at university. When making our decision, we look at assessments made by supervisors and an assessed piece of work in each of the two seats of your choosing. It’s really important to us that you have the combination of skills and potential that we’re looking for: it will enable you to become a better lawyer, build stronger connections with our team and hit the ground running when you start your career here.

The scheme gives you the chance to get to know us and see what life at Herbert Smith Freehills would be like before you make a decision about your career. So make the most of this opportunity.

For those who are unable to attend a vacation scheme, please get in touch with the graduate recruitment team to discuss your individual circumstances, which we will consider on a case-by-case basis.

DEADLINE 1st December 2023