Following on from my other post I decided to supply some additional information for anyone considering or interviewing at Freshfields for a Training Contract or Vacation Placement in the near future. I’ll start by describing the interview for the Vacation Placement at the firm.
Freshfields, Vacation Placement
You will be greeted in reception by a first or second year trainee who will take you to a room where the two of you will have a short talk about the firm, your experiences and the trainee’s experience of working for the firm. You will then be left alone to do a written exercise.
The written exercise involves arguing the pros and cons of a particular business proposal, and you are required to fill two sides of a sheet of A4.
After this, you will be moved to another room next where you will have 30 mins to read an old FT article about a foreign industry that you aren’t likely to have any prior knowledge about. Remember that you are not expected to have an incredible knowledge of the law - don’t get bogged down in specifics but instead, think about the wider issues raised.
Next, you will be moved to yet another room to meet one partner and one associate. You will now be asked to describe the article briefly and then discuss this with them for approximately 45 minutes. This interview is reasonably casual and both interviewers should be quite friendly although their questions will be challenging and enquiring and will test you and your intelligence. The interview will subsequently switch to your application/CV for about 15 minutes more, and the questions asked here will be more straight-forward. Finally, you will be given a chance to ask questions before your trainee from earlier, or another trainee gives you a guided tour of the Freshfields offices.
Freshfields, Training Contract
The Training Contract interview process at Freshfields is fairly similar to that of the Vacation Placement. After a meet and greet, you will again be taken to a room and given a 45 minute writing exercise. For this, you will need to argue for and against a one-line proposition. I recommend jotting down all your ideas in the first five minutes on one piece of paper, and then writing these things up during the other 40 minutes in proper answer form.
Following this, you will be given 25 minutes to read and assess an article from the FT, or something similar (not business related), and then you’ll be interupted for 45 min of questioning by two lawyers. These lawyers are usually very friendly, although once again, they will test you with difficult questions that may force you to take time to think, before giving your responses! At the end of this section you will have time to ask personal questions, so make sure you do!
After this, you will meet two different lawyers (who may be a partner and associate, two associates, or a similar important combination) for an hour long talk about law, why Freshfields and your CV/education/academic qualifications. There will almost certainly not be any commercial awareness or current events type questions, or competency based questions. Your day will finish, just like the Vacation Placement interview, with a tour of the office.
Overall, almost everyone at the company, and especially the lawyers conducting the one-to-two interviews, will be pleasant, relaxed and highly amicable. You should enjoy the day, although should find the questions pretty taxing… but not impossible!
Hope this helps. Good luck! Feel free to ask more questions if needed…