Vacation Scheme Student

by Herbert Smith Freehills


  • Skills
  • Business Insight
  • Culture
  • Your Impressions


  • 1. Please give an overview of the insight and what was involved on a day-to-day basis.
  • I completed a three week virtual vacation scheme at the firm. It was really well-organised, and we were sent an agenda for the three weeks and our IT equipment beforehand. We were able to specify which practice areas we'd like to sit in - I sat with a disputes team for two weeks and the Competition Regulation and Trade team for one. My tasks ranged from research on specific points of law or processes, to preparing an update for a ongoing client relationship project, as well as helping prepare documents for Court.


  • 2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
  • As a non-law graduate, the scheme really helped develop my legal research skills. It also helped me understand what information is relevant to clients, and how to adapt my writing style for an internal and external audience. Over the course of the scheme, I also spoke one-on-one to people from all across the firm, ranging from other associates to partners. This helped me build my communication skills and my ability to create rapport with a wide range of different people.

  • How would you rate the training provided during your experience?
  • 5/5

  • How would you rate the knowledge learned around industry-specific skills during the experience?
  • 4/5

  • How would you rate the knowledge learned around personal or professional skills during the experience?
  • 5/5

  • Please rate how the knowledge learned has helped you with regards to your career development
  • 5/5

    Business Insight

  • 3. What was it like understanding all about the business and potential roles available?
  • Graduate Recruitment arranged presentations for us from practice areas all across the business, which was great for understanding where we might like to sit if we train with the firm. We were also able to set up chats with people if there were additional areas we were specifically interested in - I did this with a few people who were all really willing to give me their time. I also felt that the scheme gave me a really good insight into the role of a trainee at the firm, as well as a commercial lawyer. I was able to compare this experience to my non-commercial legal experience, so it was really helpful in deciding whether I would enjoy this as a career.

  • Please rate how insightful you found the insight
  • 5/5

  • How would you rate the structure of the insight
  • 5/5

  • How would you rate business leader involvement during the insight
  • 5/5


  • 4. What was the company culture and general atmosphere like?
  • People were mostly really welcoming and willing to give up their time to speak with me, as well as being genuinely interested in why I'd applied to the firm and what interested me about a legal career. The effort which the firm puts into the scheme also shows that they value their trainees, which was echoed by the trainees I spoke to. The firm also clearly emphasises its commitment to diversity across all areas, from race to social mobility - it felt very inclusive.

  • How would you rate the inclusiveness of the culture?
  • 5/5

  • How would you rate the networking opportunities?
  • 4/5

  • Please rate how valued you felt during your insight?
  • 4/5

    Your Impressions

  • 5. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?
  • I really enjoyed it - I felt like I got a great insight into the firm and the role of a trainee, but also found it really challenging so I feel like I learnt a lot. I also really enjoyed speaking to different people. People were generally very nice, friendly, and happy to chat about non-work things as well as work which made it easier to imagine making friends at the firm. As the event was entirely virtual, it was a shame to not to be able to get to know the other vacation schemers as well as we might have in person.

  • Please rate your level of enjoyment on the insight
  • 5/5

  • Please rate how your experience met your expectations
  • 5/5

  • Please rate the future employment prospects at Herbert Smith Freehills
  • 5/5

  • 7. Would you recommend Herbert Smith Freehills to a friend?
  • Yes

  • 8. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Herbert Smith Freehills
  • It sounds like a cliche, but be yourself! Think about why you specifically want to apply for a vacation scheme with HSF as opposed to other firms. I found that attending events beforehand really helped me get a feel for the firm and its culture, as far as you're able to without working there. Let your personality, experiences, and motivation come across in the application form - this way you'll stand out from the thousands of other applications. Once you're on the scheme, also just be yourself! The firm want someone who is capable but also nice and easy to get along with.

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Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)

Commercial Law

Central London and City

July 2021

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