I thoroughly enjoyed the two-day event at Herbert Smith Freehills. It was a good mix of engaging presentations, dynamic workshops, an office tour, and work shadowing a trainee. There were plenty of opportunities to network with a broad range of trainees, associates, and partners, providing a great insight into the firm's culture.
The workshops and presentations covered the full range of HSF's diverse practice, with senior representatives from each department leading them. Along with the many trainees assisting with events, this made me feel that the entire firm really valued the scheme participants, despite only being here for two days. During the work shadowing session, my trainee buddy was eager to answer any questions I had, even giving me the opportunity to sit in a call and assist with the review of documents.
The scheme was very comprehensive, starting with a general introduction to the firm by a partner, we then had the opportunity to hear from a panel of trainees (from different seats) describe their typical day at work. There was also a departmental career fair, where we had the chance to meet representatives from all six practice groups- an experience I found extremely helpful.
As a non-law, STEM student, there were fewer skills directly applicable to my studies; however, through the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and corporate negotiation workshops, I gained invaluable experience in commercial analysis, persuasion, and teamwork. From my lawyer teammates, I learned new terminology and negotiation tactics, which will aid me in my future legal career. Having a comprehensive exposure to HSF's different departments also sparked my interest in practice areas I had previously not considered, in which I hope to gain more experience as I develop my career.
The scheme was very well structured, the engaging presentations were nicely balanced with active group activities and workshops. All practice areas were covered in depth with plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Coupled with an office tour, evening networking event, and work shadowing, I left with a comprehensive understanding of the firm as well as first-hand experience of life as a trainee.
The atmosphere at HSF was incredibly friendly and welcoming; from graduate recruitment and trainees to partners, they all seemed genuinely glad that we were visiting the firm and eager to share with us their experiences. I greatly appreciated the openness, no interaction felt reserved or forced, and I could really feel the positive, collegiate culture first-hand.
Despite being a two-day scheme, we received a significant amount of training through the workshops and work shadowing led by trainees and associates. There was very much an emphasis on actively engaging us in the work we can expect to receive in different practice areas at the firm, nicely complementing the more information-based presentations.
The scheme struck a good balance between informing us about the firm's practice areas and actively integrating us into trainee life. I left with a high-level overview of the role of a trainee in each department, and from asking questions during the work shadowing portion, received a more day-to-day picture of the functioning within a specific practice group.
From the office tour, I was able to witness many of the firm's values in action, such as a truly open-door policy. During the evening social event and work shadowing, I had the chance to speak with trainees about their daily life at HSF, gaining a good insight into the positive, collegiate culture amongst trainees and with supervisors.
The scheme further confirmed my interest to pursue a career in law, and more importantly, helped me discover aspects of a firm's work and culture that I would value in a future career.
The firm covered travel expenses and accommodation for those living outside of London.
The two main structured networking opportunities were the evening social and work shadowing. That being said, everyone at the firm was eager to meet us, even secretaries and other trainees stopped by my trainee buddy's office to introduce themselves.
The networking and social opportunities were very well thought-out, creating an environment in which we could freely chat to trainees, associates, and partners about different aspects of working at HSF. My trainee buddy also arranged a coffee break with other corporate team trainees so we could ask them questions and get helpful advice.
My main insight into activities outside of work came from trainees directly, many speaking of an active sports scene as well as numerous trainee committees which organise networking and social events. I got the impression that the firm values these activities and supports initiatives launched by trainees to have a positive impact on the firm as a whole.
I would highly recommend the First Year Workshop to anyone looking to gain a truly comprehensive insight into a career at HSF.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Central London and City
3rd April 2019