Vacation Scheme at Herbert Smith Freehills

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
London Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Commercial Law Corporate Law


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

The Herbert Smith Freehill's vacation scheme was very enjoyable. The two weeks were well organized, with a high standard of work, presentations of life at the firm, especially those focused on life as a trainee (Pro Bono & Citizenship, The importance of legal research, Learning and Development networking session) and social events (dinner on the first night with the other Vacation schemers and chocolate making during the second week!).


2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?

I felt extremely well valued during my time at HSF.
All the cases I was exposed to were things my senior associates were working on at the time. For example, in my first week, I drafted one of 10 counterclaims, whilst my senior associate drafted the others. This enabled us to discuss any thoughts I had about the cases easily, as we were both working on the same documents. I also felt as if I was doing something actually useful.
My trainee buddies were also very welcoming and friendly.
The partners were extremely accommodating, finding time to have coffee with me.


3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?

The HR team at HSF are extremely well organized and friendly.
The introductory sessions in the first few days were also great in explaining how basic things such as the IT system worked. I actually had an IT issue on my first day, but thanks to the IT session we had previously had, I knew who to call and got it sorted myself.
The trainee buddies also provided excellent support.


4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The skills I developed and the information I received during the HSF Vacation Scheme have assisted me to a significant extent. The Vacation Scheme provided a true insight into the daily life of a lawyer at HSF. Exposure to this and the type of work found at HSF at an early stage is fascinating and encourages exponential growth and responsibility.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

The Vacation Scheme was well structured. Introductory sessions in the first week enabled us to get to grips with the IT system, life as a trainee, etc... Most mornings and some evenings we had talks from associates and partners from each group which gave a great overview of what each did. There was also social events (Partners' networking drinks, dinners, team building activities ...) which helped to get to know the other students.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

The general atmosphere was good. Everyone was welcoming and friendly.
The dinner between Vacation Scheme students on the first night enabled us to get to know each other rapidly, and gave us the opportunity to create our Whatsapp group, which we used to organise lunch together, etc...
I was also asked to go to lunch by both my trainee buddy and my senior associate.


7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

Herbert Smith Freehills invested immensley in the students during the Vacation Scheme.
There were various presentations everyday given by senior associates and partners, as well as HR and the Learning and Development Team. The Pro Bono team asked us to deliver group presentations, again investing in our personal training and development.


8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?

I believe that the Vacation Scheme provided a true representation of life at the firm. I worked on current issues at the same time as my senior associates and was able to have interesting discussions about the law but also their experiences and opinions of life at HSF. The trainee buddies were also great at describing what life was like, both bad and good!


9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?

The Vacation Scheme demonstrated a collaborative environment at all levels, one which I could see myself in alongside my colleagues. Indeed, being bilingual and bicultural myself, it was important that this diversity is reflected in my future career. The city attracts people from a range of backgrounds, helping to create more vibrant, interesting and insightful teams. Throughout this process, all with whom I have interacted with, from partners to the vacation scheme students have been open and different.


10. How valuable was the content in helping you to decide on your future career path?

The content of the day was extemely helpful. Having had experience in Chambers, I had decided that the solicitor route was better suited for me. In addition, I knew I wanted to be in an international environment that offered exposure to complex, multi-jurisdictional, high value work. The Vacation Scheme at HSF confirmed this for me.


Other Information

11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?

I was paid for the full two weeks I was at HSF.

12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?

There were many opportunities to network with other associates and partners. Specific networking sessions were set up by the HR team, but we were also encouraged to contact anyone who we wanted to talk to and ask to meet up for a coffee. I did this many times and the partners always made sure they made time.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

The organized networking opportunities were really good:. We had had a networking session previously delivered by the Learning and Development Team which had provided s with some tips on how to make the most out of these opportunities, the dos and don'ts, (sounds a bit over the top, but it was actually really enjoyable and useful).
The social events were good. I think we actually only had two in the two weeks. Could maybe have done with a bit more.


14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?

Not really. This is something I would have liked to have known more about. Although, I asked one of the trainees about this, and they actually said there wasn't much to get involved in, so maybe that is why!


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Yes, the vacation scheme is invaluable in providing insight into what it is truly like to work at HSF, especially as a trainee lawyer.
The two weeks are packed with amazing work exposure, development sessions and the skills learnt can be applied in many different areas, regardless of what career you decide to pursue.