For associate John Hand, who moved to London from Yorkshire, training at Freshfields is ‘second to none’.
A law tutor at university told me about Freshfields because he thought it would be a good fit.
Turns out he was right. I’d applied to some of the other magic circle firms, but after attending my interview and doing the vacation scheme, it seemed like the perfect fit. For me, the culture was exactly right and much less corporate than you would expect from similar firms.
I recommend that everybody who joins Freshfields signs up to at least one sports team or social club.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be sporty, it’s a really good way of getting to know people. Very few of my friends from home moved when I came down to London. I’m originally from Yorkshire and went to university in Durham. I joined the football team when I was doing my LPC with Freshfields and by the time I had started my training contract I had a great group of friends alongside my own intake.
The prospect of deciding where to live in London was daunting.
I emailed the trainee development team to ask for recommendations because I had no idea where to look. They were really helpful and gave me a list of some places. In about six months, I had a much better idea of where other people were, what other areas of the city were like and where all the best bars and restaurants were.
Freshfields offers a lot of flexibility.
I start the day at about half past seven when I log in from home and run through my emails while I have breakfast. I head in at about nine, which is great because I’ve already done about an hour-and-a-half of work, got ahead with my day and I miss the rush hour. I often have client calls and meetings to attend, but in the afternoon, I might go for a coffee with someone or head out for lunch. You’re not chained to your desk here and you're a trusted to complete your work within the deadline, which I appreciate.
In terms of starting your career, the training at Freshfields is second to none.
The responsibility that you get is way beyond what some of the other firms give people. When I chat to people in a similar position to me, about a year qualified, it’s exactly the same story – they can’t believe the kind of trust that’s placed in you. By the end of your two years of training, you’re operating at a really high level - with experience in more areas of practice than people at similar stages of their career at other firms.
One of the highlights from my time at Freshfields has been my secondment to Asia.
I had never been to Singapore before the firm sent me. It was an amazing opportunity. I certainly made the most of it. Secondments are great for building up a network. I’m still in touch with the people I met out there. I’m going back to Singapore later this year and part of that will be seeing all of them.
Freshfields has a great sports and social scene.
I love captaining the football team and going on trips abroad with them – to Prague, Budapest, all sorts of places. We also have the corporate summer party and every couple of weeks we go to the pub on a Friday. I’ve also been to various conferences and client events, and we had a junior associate night out recently too, which was a lot of fun.
Freshfields in three words: teamwork, international and friendly.