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Application process

How do I apply?

All applications should be submitted through our application portal. Click ‘apply now’ for all available opportunities.

Do you look at applications on a rolling basis?

No. We review all applications before making our final decisions. Check our deadlines carefully as applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Are there any degree requirements?

We accept all degree disciplines, from any university. Extenuating circumstances are taken into consideration through our screening process.

Do you require minimum A Level grades?

We do not have any minimum A level requirements and we do not assess GCSE grades.

Can I still apply if I have a 2:2 or a drop in grades from A level to degree?

If your academics fall below our criteria and you have extenuating circumstances, include these in the extenuating circumstances box within your application and they will be taken into consideration. You may be asked to produce supporting evidence.

Do I need a 2:1 in every module?

We look for applicants who are on track for or have gained a 2:1 overall at undergraduate level. You do not need to have a 2:1 in every module to apply.

I don’t have any legal work experience – is it worth still applying?

All work experience is relevant and valuable to your application. We ask you to include all of your past work experience in your application, including focus events and workshops at other firms. We do not reject applications for having no legal work experience.

What are the main skills you look for?

We look for many skills including determination, enthusiasm, time management, flexibility, attention to detail, an interest in business, willingness to work as a team, and resilience. When writing your application, make sure you link your experiences to the types of skills we look for. See our website for more information on what skills make a great lawyer.

Can I write about my extracurricular/part-time job?

Yes. We encourage you to include detail about your extracurricular activities and any part time jobs you have had. Including these in your application is a great way to show skills of time management, flexibility, organisation and other competencies we look for.

Should I include open days at other firms?

Yes. We like to see you have a wide breadth of experience in the graduate legal field and beyond so we encourage you to include all of your experiences at other firms and other non-law organisations.

What if I have mitigating circumstances?

Any mitigating circumstances can be explained in the mitigating circumstances box on our application form.

Do you accept applications from candidates who are not eligible to work in the UK and who require sponsorship?

Yes. We accept applications from candidates requiring a work permit and we will sponsor your visa during your training contract and qualification.

I have a disability and need to submit my application form in a different format. How can I do this?

Please email the team at and we will be very happy to discuss this with you.

What costs are covered for open days, workshops and interviews?

When attending events or interviews in the London office we will reimburse expenses for those travelling within England and Wales up to a maximum value of £100. Candidates travelling within Europe, including from Scotland and Ireland, will be reimbursed up to a maximum value of £150 for the cost of public transport. For candidates who require a flight to attend, please contact our team first to discuss your options. We aim to limit the environmental impact of travel and can offer interviews via Skype or from other offices. We cannot reimburse for flights that have not been agreed beforehand. We will be unable to reimburse for taxis or cost of petrol, however, if you have restricted means of travel that limits your accessibility to public transport, please contact the team to discuss your travel arrangements. If you think your expenses are going to exceed this or if you are going to require overnight accommodation due to the distance you will be travelling, please contact the Graduate Recruitment team prior to booking on +44 20 7785 5554. We will cover up to a maximum value of £70 for accommodation. If you are visiting the office please email for an expenses claim form. You will also need to provide copies of your receipts.

Please note that our 2020 winter workshops and events will all be held virtually. We are hoping our 2021 spring scheme and summer vacation scheme can be held in the office, but if not, we will run these virtually as we have in 2020.

Training contract

How do I find out about Freshfields events on campus?

We aim to engage with a wide variety of universities throughout the year and have historically attended law and career fairs and hosted panel presentations. In autumn 2020 we will instead be attending a number of virtual law fairs. This year we will also be holding a series of virtual insight events throughout November which everyone is welcome to attend – you don’t need to be in a certain year of university or studying any particular degree. All are welcome and there is no application process for these events - you just need to sign up via our website. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and twitter for information about upcoming events and how to join:

Facebook – @FreshfieldsGraduates
Twitter – @FreshfieldsGrad
Instagram – @freshfieldsgrads

How many trainees do you take on per year?

We recruit up to 80 trainees per year across two intakes: spring and autumn.

Is it worth applying directly for a training contract?

If you are final year or above (or penultimate year for our summer application window), you are eligible to apply directly for our training contract. There is no advantage in applying for a vacation scheme over a training contract and approximately half our trainee intakes come from direct training contract applicants. You do not need to have completed a vacation scheme in order to secure a training contract.

I am a foreign-qualified solicitor – what is the process for me?

If you have been qualified in your jurisdiction for under four years you would be eligible to apply for our training contract in the usual way. If you have more than four years qualification, you can apply to Freshfields through an open vacancy on our general careers page.

I am currently taking the GDL. Can I apply in the summer window with law students and graduates?

No. You are still considered a non-law applicant until you have completed your GDL in its entirety. Please submit an application in the winter application window. Once you have completed the GDL you are able to apply in the summer window.

How does the eight-seat training contract work?

Our 8 seat training contract is very unique and means our trainees move every three months at the firm. You have the flexibility of requesting where you move to for each seat move which includes staying the same seat you’re already in or moving back to a seat you’ve been in before if you wish to. The core seats during your training contract are Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Finance.

Which departments will I sit in during my training contract?

During your training contract you will have three core seats which are dispute resolution, corporate and finance. You are able to request which sub-teams within these department you wish to sit in and you will move seats every three months. Other departments you can choose throughout your training contract are tax, ACT, people and reward and IP/IT.

What training will I receive?

During your training contract you will receive on-the-job training from your supervisor and from other members of your department team. You will be guided through your training contract by our dedicated trainee development team, as well as having support from trainee intake partners and trainee solicitor partners. The trainee development team will also provide a structured training programme for you, including a two-week induction to the firm when you join.

What are the secondment opportunities as a trainee?

As a trainee, you are able to apply for a six-month secondment as the last two seats of your training contract. Your secondment can either be to one of our network 28 global offices (including New York, Hong Kong and Dubai) or to one of our clients (including the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs or with one of our pro bono clients).

What is the qualification process?

Upon qualification, you will be invited to submit an application for qualification at the firm. There is no interview process and you would be able to apply for as many opportunities as you wish. When applying for qualification you will identify what seats you have enjoyed during your training contract and submit your qualification preferences to the Trainee Development team.

Do you pay fees for GDL and LPC?

If you accept a training contract with us after you have completed either of these courses, we may be able to provide some reimbursement of your tuition fees on a discretionary basis. If you’re offered a training contract with us to start in 2023, and you have not yet completed the LPC, it is our intention that you’ll undertake the SQE.

Is there a limit to the number of times I can apply for a training contract?

The only restriction we have is that you can only apply once per academic year: if you apply for a training contract during the winter application window, you cannot apply again during the summer application window.

I am fluent in English and I am a native speaker of an Asian language. Can I apply for both the London-Asia training contract and the London-based training contract?

No, you should only apply for either the London-Asia training contract or the London-based training contract. This should be determined by where you would like to practice when you qualify. If you undertake our London-based training contract you will train in London with the option of doing a secondment (with one of our other offices around the globe or a client based secondment) with a view to securing an NQ associate role in London. On the London-Asia training contract you will spend your first year in London and your second year in Hong Kong. After the two-year training contract, you will qualify with one of our offices in Asia as an England-and-Wales-qualified solicitor.

Vacation scheme

I am in my second year of a Masters. Can I apply for a vacation scheme?

Unfortunately you would not be eligible. Our vacation scheme are for penultimate-year undergraduates only. You would be eligible to apply directly for our training contract or Graduate Workshop.

I am in my second year of a four-year course and I want to apply for a vacation scheme in my third year. Can I apply for the spring scheme in my second year?

You are not eligible to apply for the spring scheme as this opportunity is for first-year students only. You could apply for the vacation scheme in either your second or third year of your course.

I am on a four year course. What can I apply for and when can I apply for a vacation scheme?

You are eligible to apply for our second year opportunities in your second and third year - you can only make one application per opportunity across the two years. If you apply and are successful for our vacation scheme in your second year but wish to complete this in your third year, you can defer your offer to the following year.

How would I be assessed during the vacation scheme?

Our vacation scheme has three assessment areas. The first is a research task which you will work on with your partner supervisor. The second is the feedback from your associate supervisor, who will assess how you have worked in the team during your three weeks. The third assessment area is your end-of-scheme one-hour interview typically with a partner and an associate at the firm. All of these assessments determine whether you will be offered a training contract at the end of your vacation scheme.

Please note that if we are unable to hold our vacation scheme in the office in 2021, we will still run them virtually, as we have done for 2020. This means the length and content may change but we will make sure to give you the best possible virtual insight into Freshfields. Please note that it may also be necessary to change the way that you are assessed on the vacation scheme although you will still have the opportunity to have a virtual interview if you’d like to be considered for a training contract.


What is the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)?

The SRA is launching the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (‘SQE’) in September 2021 as the new qualification path for aspiring solicitors, eventually replacing the current LPC.

There will be two centralised assessments for students to pass: SQE1 tests functional legal knowledge; and SQE2 assesses written and oral legal skills. The assessments will be set and marked by Kaplan, the assessment organisation appointed by the SRA.

For more information on the SQE, please visit

What are Freshfields’ plans in response to the SRA’s introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)?

Our prospective trainees will start the City Consortium Solicitors Training Programme (CCP) to prepare for the SQE assessments in September 2022 (a year after the introduction of the SQE assessment by the SRA). Trainees joining the firm in the August 2023 intake will be the first SQE cohort. Trainees joining the firm prior to August 2023 will undertake the City Consortium Accelerated LPC Course.

All Freshfields trainees will receive clear and comprehensive guidance through every stage of their training.

Find out more about the City Consortium Accelerated LPC and the City Consortium Solicitor Training Programme.

How long is the City Consortium Solicitors Training Programme (CCP)?

In order to cover the range of content and to adequately prepare students for the SQE examinations, the CCP will be longer than the current Accelerated LPC and will be delivered over 11 months.

These new programmes prepare students both for sitting new external, high-stakes and challenging assessments and to enable them to start work and flourish as a trainee in our leading City practice.

As a Freshfields future trainee on the CCP, we cover all of your course and exam fees and supply you with a maintenance grant to assist with your living costs while you study for the SQE.

What is qualifying work experience “QWE”?

The QWE will replace the current period of recognised training, referred to as the training contract, as the work-based learning element of the route to qualification. Freshfields will continue to retain the two-year period of training as its form of qualifying work experience.

Students who join the firm’s first cohort for the CCP in September 2022 will start their QWE at the firm from August 2023.

Do non-law graduates still need to complete the PGDL?

Although it’s no longer a regulatory requirement by the SRA, Freshfields’ non-law prospective trainees will still be required to study the PGDL (Postgraduate Diploma in Law) at BPP prior to starting on the CCP.