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From application to qualification

Joshua reveals what he’s experienced so far as a Freshfields trainee

Joshua Payne portrait

About Joshua

I applied to Freshfields because...

Of the work experience I did with the firm in the summer after I left university. Over the two-week placement, I met some really interesting people, got involved with work that was both challenging and meaningful, and got to know what working at the firm might really be like. This positive experience meant Freshfields was the natural choice.

The application process...

Was actually quite enjoyable, including the two interviews. The first one was an informal, more chatty affair covering me and my experiences up to that point. The second one was more of a test of my commercial awareness. I had to read a newspaper article about the rising price of cocoa and was then asked to discuss the trend’s impact on chocolate makers. While discussing, I had to suggest how Freshfields might be able to help a client in that situation.

My day begins with...

A quick visit to the firm’s gym – if I can get up early enough! It’s a great facility and it’s so handy having it just downstairs to use if you have a spare hour during the day. After that, I usually grab a coffee and some breakfast upstairs in 65, the firm’s in-house restaurant. I normally take my breakfast and coffee to my desk, and start work around 9am.

My responsibilities...

Are varied and stimulating. For example, I recently went to a meeting with a client to discuss a contract for an upcoming commercial building development in London. In keeping with Freshfields’ international reputation, I’ve also put together preparatory materials for a mediation we’re doing in Trinidad and Tobago. And I’ve done some research for a pitch to a potential client in Turkmenistan.

The best part of my training contract so far...

Has been the chance to change seats every three months under Freshfields’ eight-seat training contract. I started in the financial institutions disputes group and then moved to the engineering, procurement and construction disputes group. Moving regularly gives you the chance to get a flavour of the different work in each practice group, to see the type of work you most enjoy, and to meet loads of new people from around the firm. Building and maintaining these relationships is a really important and enjoyable part of the training contract.

Being a trainee in London...

Is great fun. When I joined Freshfields, I’d already spent time living and working in the capital, which is very different to my home town of Tunbridge Wells. But doing the LPC and joining the firm with the same group of people made it feel almost like being at university again.

Outside the working day...

I play for Freshfields’ rugby and cricket teams. The firm is very happy to give you time off to play if necessary and is more than willing to contribute towards the costs of setting up the events. It’s not just sport though. A few months after my training contract started, we had a team trip to the Tate Modern, which was a very good evening out.


If I hadn’t joined the legal profession

I’m not sure to be honest! I was working in finance before joining Freshfields, so I imagine something along those lines. But I’m really glad I made the switch to law – I really enjoy how intellectually challenging the job can be, and working at Freshfields gives you the opportunity to work with some of the world’s biggest companies on their most important and high-profile matters.

View of Chrysler building and a Freshfields lawyer laughing in the office
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