Freshfields Training Contract/Vacation Placement Interview Process


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… :slight_smile:



…that’s a really good post Tatter, thank you very much! For anyone interested in this, there is also a wiki profile about Training Contracts, interviews and assessment days at Freshfields, here - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer | WikiJob - good luck!



Hi Tatter

I have been invited for FF’s interview. I have been told I will need to do a written exercise based on a business scenario which seems quite different from what you posted here. Do you think that FF has changed their recruitment process or the argument for and against have been used in article analysis?



Have you been invited for an interview for a [[Training Contract]] or a [[Vacation Placement]]? This might be the reason for a difference. Or it may have changed.


its for training contract…so worried. Don’t know what to prepare…have been to a few assessment days always unsuccessful and really wish this can work out!


If you’re getting interviews for firms like Freshfields then you obviously have the credentials to be a top class lawyer …they wouldn’t have invited you if you didn’t. And if you’ve been to several [[assessment day]]s already then you certainly know what you’re doing. Just think of every interview you’ve been to so far as practice for this one - the one your going to get the offer from!

Like all law interviews, you need to research the company, research their clients, find out what they are doing (in terms of expansion, commercial vision, etc) anf familiarise yourself with the key areas the firm focus on - and then figure out why you want to work for a firm that focuses on these areas of the law.

Use this message thread and the Freshfields wiki profile as a guide in your preparation for the AD, but don’t rely on it 100%, although I think it is pretty accurate.

Maybe I can help you figure out what to work on/improve on if you’ve had some previous unsuccessful interviews. Where else have you interviewed at? What was your feedback? Which parts of the interviews/assessment days did you struggle with?

We’ll help you to get a [[training contract|TC]] :slight_smile: … but please give us your interview feedback when you do!


Thanks for encouraging me. I have been to the following interviews/assessment days so far: Eversheds/Herbert Smith/Slaughter and May/Denton Wilde Sapte/CMS Cameron Mckenna/Pinsent Masons/Berwin Leighton Paisner/other smaller firms.

So far, I only had the feedback from Eversheds: I didn’t show enough commitment to Eversheds. I didn’t have any feedback from other firms, they promised to provide but they never did. BLP also promised to give me feedback and I need to call to get it soon.

I found it sometimes hard to do group discussion - i remembered in Pinsents AD, there were about 10 of us and we needed to discuss on five problematic scenario. After that, we needed to do a presentation based on one of those 5 topics. I also found it hard to focus sometimes in a written exercise and came up with constructive ideas.

I felt my performance with BLP was quite good last week but I didn’t get through…I don’t know why and I will call to find out more…


Hey, if all these top firms are inviting you in, you definitely have what it takes to get a TC. Definitely. Are you coming across overly nervous on the day of assessment? It doesn’t really sounds like you are…

…you need to get the feedback on your interviews so far. If you get feedback from 3 or 4 firms and the same thing keeps coming up, then you’ll know what to improve on. If I was you, I’d call them all tomorrow and just ask for feedback. Don’t let them fob you off or tell you they’ll call you back. Tell them its really important to you and your other applications. You can be forceful - it is very important you get this information.

Not showing commitment to [[Eversheds]] doesn’t sound like very useful feedback to me. Had you not prepared properly for the interview/researched the firm, etc?

I can give you some tips on [[group exercise]]s but it sounds like you know what you’re doing. Have you read [[group exercise|this article]]?

Out of interest which firm did you like the most? Could you also tell me… is this wiki profile for [[Berwin Leighton Paisner Training Contract Interview Questions]] still accurate?


Thanks for your reply.

I just called BLP and here is my feedback:

Presentation: excellent context, excellent opening, good eye contact, use relevant examples ie their deals and secondments; but the presentation could be better if I have a strong conclusion as it was a bit rush at the end.

Written exercise: very professional and no spell mistakes or problems at all

Negotiation: this is the part that let me down. I had a very difficult partner to work with. I put forward some very good points and demonstrated my strong commercial awareness and intellegence. However, I talked about some legal points which were not very relevant at the time. Also I needed to be more assertive in the negotiation. I also failed to grab some basic facts.

I think if i have applied early this year rather than last minute in July I would have probably been invited for final round. Many places have been taken in BLP and not many left. They are much more stringent now.

The BLP’s questions on this site are still accurate. Thank you for that. I was also asked to compare my current firm with another international firm where i did a vac scheme. I am currently working as a paralegal. But I think this is only relevant to those who graduated and working at the moment.

For eversheds…hmm, it was my first ever AC and I didn’t know what to prepare. I failed to answer questions like If i am offered two offer, which offer will i accpet? I was struggling as I already answered questions like why eversheds. I had to repeat myself…

I like Herbert Smith and Slaughters most. I don’t like Pinsents and DWS…


Did you call any others?

Sounds like your [[presentation]] was absolutely fine, just apart form the ending. I think you’re right about it being tougher to get in because you applied late… but still, there are TC’s on offer or they wouldn’t be offering interviews at all these firms.

It sounds like two things are letting you down (as far as I can tell from your forum posts anyway!) …your assertiveness during [[group exercise]]s and your preparation. You must research the firm fully and be fully prepared about [[commercial awareness]] issues. …you probably know this though, now that you’ve had all these interviews. I’d really just rinse it for Freshfields. Read everything you can about them, read about all their clients, get really fired up for the interview… turn on the charm too. It sounds like you’re a really good candidate. It’s slightly tough to work out why you aren’t getting hired!

Any tips you can give us on [[Denton Wilde Sapte]], [[Herbert Smith]] and [[Pinsent Masons]] would be really appreciated by the way!