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Our eight-seat training contract

Yvonne Barry working in the office

The heart of our offering is the eight-seat training contract, in which you experience up to eight three-month seats over two years.

Our flexible training contract

We divide our business into seven practice groups, which divide further into specialist teams. As a trainee, you must experience at least one seat in corporate, dispute resolution and finance; other seats are available in antitrust, competition and trade; employment, pensions and benefits; real estate; and tax.

You can visit the same practice group more than once. For example, many of our trainees want to try out more than one specialist team or choose to return to a seat they’re interested in qualifying into towards the end of their training contract.

Our package of support

With such a wide range of options, you’ll need help choosing seats and adapting to life in each new team. The support we offer includes:

Training

Throughout your training contract we’ll offer you plenty of guidance. Much of this will be on the job as you work with partners and associates – we operate an open-door policy, so you should always be able to find someone to answer your questions.

When you first arrive there’s a two-week induction. This includes practical skills workshops and advice to help you hit the ground running. After that, we offer legal training on a departmental basis and business skills training in how to work productively, delegate and handle pressure.

The support is great at Freshfields: there’s lots of one-on-one coaching and I had my own partner mentor.
Emilio Salice, Trainee

Mentoring and coaching

Formal training will only take you so far. Sometimes you just need a friendly word of advice from someone who’s been there before.

So we allocate every trainee a trainee intake partner (TIP). They are your personal mentor throughout your two-year training contract. You can catch up with your TIP at any time, and you’ll meet them halfway through your training contract to discuss progress.

There’s also one-to-one coaching available from our trainee development team.

Help choosing seats

Before you arrive at Freshfields, we’ll invite you to a ‘departmental fair’ in our London office to help you choose the first seat you’ll be working in. After that we offer regular drop-in advice sessions on seat moves.

‘On the sixth-month Legal Practice Course (LPC), you meet fellow members of your training intake in a student environment rather than a work environment. It's a nice springboard.’
Michael Braun, Associate

Secondments

As a trainee at Freshfields, you can apply for a secondment at one of our network offices, such as Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai or New York, or with a client or charity. Being a secondee will help you gain more autonomy and responsibility.

The experience you gain

Working as a trainee at Freshfields can be hard work. The hours can be long, especially when a deal is closing or you’re nearing settlement, trial in a dispute.

At the same time, the work is fast-paced, varied and challenging. You’ll get plenty of client exposure and responsibility – invaluable experience as you move forward in your training contract.

International work

We’ll give you the support you need to become an international commercial lawyer. That doesn’t mean you’ll be globetrotting from day one. But you may well help co-ordinate work across borders from London – perhaps taking instructions from Singapore in the morning or talking to counsel in Brazil in the afternoon.

In time, though, there will be plenty of opportunities to travel or even to work abroad.