Ideas about successful lawyers being cut-throat or confrontational are for TV dramas. You actually need to be a team player and a people person, able to find compromises.Hannah Walker Gore Senior Associate
Before I joined, I knew Freshfields was a prestigious firm
handling high-profile cases. I expected the lawyers who worked here to be a little intimidating, and for it to be a very formal working environment. In fact, I have found my colleagues friendly, approachable and just really down to earth.
Freshfields doesn’t feel like a competitive environment.
Ideas about successful lawyers, especially in litigation, being cut-throat or confrontational are just for TV dramas. You actually need to be a team player and a people person, able to find compromises.
Pro bono work is important at Freshfields.
I did a secondment at the Tower Hamlets Law Centre in the housing team, where work has a massive immediate impact on people’s lives. When I was sent to Bow County Court to be duty solicitor for the day, I was really thrown in at the deep end, but it was really exciting too! I’ve also volunteered at the High Court advising litigants in person on court procedures and helped with a test case on domestic violence and economic control legislation. I’m now working with the charity Z2K, helping people with disability benefits appeals. In fact I have just appeared in court as an advocate for the first time on a Z2K case and won my first appeal! It was an amazing feeling.
Our eight-seat contract is very different to other firms
and not just numerically: I think there’s less of a sense of luck in where you get to sit. It helps you shape your training contract yourself and helps you make an informed choice on where you want to qualify.
If you are bright and driven, don’t count yourself out
because you think you’re the wrong sort of person for a City firm or you don’t have the right contacts. Freshfields is committed to diversity and open to everyone. You’ll find you have more in common attitudinally than your backgrounds suggest. People might surprise you here.
I’m a trainee supervisor
and I’d advise you not to be afraid to volunteer for things outside of your comfort zone. Have a go and you’ll be surprised what you can do!
Never be afraid to ask questions.
I sometimes see first seat trainees who worry they should know where to start with a task and are afraid to ask for guidance. Everyone here has been a trainee at some point, and asking questions is seen as a good sign of engagement. I always hear from trainees that people here are much more approachable than they expected.
I’m on the committee of our disability-focused Enabled network.
We had great senior engagement and support in the early stages of setting the network up, which shows that the firm is actually doing something about diversity, not just talking about it.
Freshfields in three words?
Dynamic, talented, team-players