In the top law firms for graduates to work for in 2014/15, Herbert Smith Freehills (or ‘HSF’) is rated number 3. This week we bring you an overview of one of the best commercial law firms, co-headquartered in London and Sydney. Formed in 2012 as a result of an international merger between two outstanding organisations- one in the UK and one in Australia, HSF is rated especially well for the quality of colleagues and the training opportunities offered.

Average salary is between £39,000 – £41,000. Whilst average working hours were from 9am – 8pm, many employees emphasised variety in hours; ‘Working hours will vary, depending on how busy you are. Some days you might be out by 5:30, and others you might work through the night (although the latter are rare).’

The best and worst things about working for Herbert Smith Freehills included; 

‘The people – HSF really is a very friendly firm. They’re also smart, witty and have a fun side. It’s the best of both worlds with some legal heavy weights and great personalities. So far, nothing – but I’m a very new trainee.’

‘Trainees are able to work on some of the largest and most complex deals and pieces of litigation in the City. This makes the work exciting and cutting edge. There are a huge number of international and client secondment opportunities for trainees at Herbert Smith Freehills. The majority of trainees go on at least to secondment. It can be hard for trainees to get much client contact when working as part of a large team on large deals / pieces of litigation. There are opportunities for trainees to get involved with smaller matters which gives them the opportunity to take more responsibility and work with clients.’

‘High profile business exposure. High quality work. Good pay. Hours – although they are less in comparison to similar top city law firms.’

‘People are friendly and amazing to work with. Unpredictability of weekdays – you don’t know if you’re going to be in late. Corporate legal culture means acceding to demanding client requests immediately.’

If you are interested in finding out more about working for Herbert Smith Freehills, take a look through our selection of interview tips– directly from graduates themselves! As one employee put it; ‘Think carefully before you speak. Come across as measured and intelligent. Be as friendly and warm as possible.’

If HSF sounds interesting to you, be sure to have a browse through our law section, where we have plenty of resources to help you get your bearings with other top employers in the field.


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Arina Bhangle is a Trainee Graduate Analyst at Port of London Authority. Read her story here.

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