Herbert Smith Freehills Graduate Programs & Internships

With nearly 5,000 staff, including 2,800 lawyers, Herbert Smith Freehills is one of the largest, fully-integrated law firms in the world and is the leading firm in Asia Pacific.

We advise many of the largest and most ambitious organisations across all major regions of the world. Our reputation for providing outstanding legal expertise is thoroughly dese…

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About Us

With nearly 5,000 staff, including 2,800 lawyers, Herbert Smith Freehills is one of the largest, fully-integrated law firms in the world and is the leading firm in Asia Pacific.

We advise many of the largest and most ambitious organisations across all major regions of the world. Our reputation for providing outstanding legal expertise is thoroughly deserved: we are globally pre-eminent in all forms of dispute resolution and an international leader in corporate and finance. We are one of the world's top-ranked energy and resources firms. We offer our clients a top-tier capability across a single global platform with a distinctive focus on industry sectors and an un-paralleled depth of expertise.

Join us, and you will work with inspiring people, many of whom are leaders in their fields. You will be faced with demanding and intellectually stimulating work that will require more than just technical ability. You will need to have a sense of the bigger picture, the ability to cut to the heart of the matter and a gift for developing exceptional working relationships. With more than 20 offices across the globe in fast-growing markets like China, Indonesia and Russia and established centres like the UK, Europe, the US and Australia, we can offer you the international opportunities that only a leading global practice can provide.

We recognise that the success of our business and our clients relies on the skills, knowledge and ideas of all our people. Our environment is one in which high performance is expected, in return, we will provide you with rewards and opportunities tailored to your personal and professional goals.

Our Vacation Schemes

Our vacation schemes are a great introduction to life at Herbert Smith Freehills. You'll get first-hand experience in a leading global law firm – and we‘ll pay you while you’re with us.

During your placement, you’ll sit in the same room as a partner or an associate and be given real work for real clients. You’ll be involved in workshops and presentations – giving you a chance to gain a real insight into the depth and breadth of our practice areas. You’ll also work as a team on a project related to our pro bono and responsible business work.

On top of that, you’ll be invited to a range of formal and informal social events where you’ll have the opportunity to network with vacation scheme students, partners, associates and trainees. By the end of the scheme, you should have a good idea of whether a career in law is right for you – and whether you could be a part of Herbert Smith Freehills.


Our winter vacation schemes run through January for four weeks.

We welcome applications from Australian/New Zealand law graduates, penultimate year students and finalists.

Applications for the Winter Vacation Scheme will open from 1 March to 1 May each year.


Our summer vacation schemes run through June and July for four weeks each.

We welcome applications from Hong Kong/UK law graduates, penultimate year students and finalists.

If your initial application is successful, you’ll be interviewed by our graduate recruitment panel, including a Partner, a Senior Associate and a representative from our Graduate Recruitment team. A 1-hour translation test will be arranged after the interview.

We interview on a rolling basis, so please apply early to avoid missing out on an opportunity.

Applications for the Summer Vacation Schemes will open from 1 October to 1 January each year.

Training Contract

As a trainee, you'll be a valued member of the team straightaway, working alongside some of the world's best lawyers and directly contributing to the success of our clients. Our two-year training contract offers you a wealth of choice without compromising on quality and you will have the opportunity to discuss your seat choices, allowing you to tailor the training contract to your career aspirations. In our Hong Kong office, we recruit students who have a law degree; and since Asia is an emerging market, fluent Chinese skills is important. We will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need in order to build a fulfilling and successful career with us.


We know that the transition from university or another career to life in a commercial law firm can be daunting. That’s why we give you lots of support, including regular conversations with HR about your seat choices, training sessions and workshops, plus extensive on-the-job support from associates and partners. Once you’ve got to know your way around, you can start to look further afield and apply to spend time at one of our international offices or with a client – over 90% of our trainees go on secondment during their training.


Our two-year training programme gives you the opportunity to develop skills across a range of practice areas – rotating through four six month seats. All trainees spend time in corporate and dispute resolution. You may also choose to sit in finance, employment, energy, corporate, crime and investigations, competition, private wealth and international arbitration.


We recruit trainees from our Vacation Schemes two years in advance. If you are interested in our training contract, you are encouraged to apply for our Vacation Schemes.

Direct applications for training contract may open in August each year.

First Year Workshop

It’s never too early to start thinking about becoming a brilliant lawyer. Join us during your first year of study and you’ll have a great opportunity to gain the skills you’ll need to successfully apply for a vacation scheme or training contract later on.


Our two-day workshop is designed to give students who are in their first year of an undergraduate law degree an early insight into a career at an international law firm. The two days will feature presentations, interactive workshops, an opportunity to experience the kind of work we do, as well as tips on how to apply for a vacation scheme or training contract in the future.

You'll also be invited to a social event, a perfect opportunity to meet potential future colleagues and to help you decide whether a career at Herbert Smith Freehills is right for you.


Please note that this workshop is only available to those studying in the first year of an undergraduate law degree.

If your application is successful, you'll receive formal invitation for the workshop by November.

We are looking for students who demonstrate a strong academic performance to date and can demonstrate strong interpersonal skills.

Applications for our workshop in December will open in November.


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