Vacation Scheme (Winter) at Herbert Smith Freehills

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

This review was written using a previous version of questions that were updated in 2013


The Role



The Role

Role Description

Herbert Smith's winter vacation scheme allows students to work as a trainee City solicitor for a fortnight. Pay is £350 a week, and HR offer help in finding accommodation if necessary. You sit in with a partner in two different departments - one a week. Subject to availability, you can choose the departments yourself.

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

A great fortnight and really good insight into law in the City. There were 20 people on the scheme, and by the end of it, we all wanted a place at Herbert Smith.


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

There's obviously a limit to the work a non-law finalist can do in a big City firm. Still, I was asked along to client meetings where my notes formed part of the matter file. Partners asked me to sit in on conference calls, and I was given live research tasks to do, which were actually read and discussed.


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

We were all assigned a partner mentor (somebody different from the partners whose offices we were sharing) to chat to in the case of any problems/difficulties. The trainees really looked out for us, and the two partners I sat with talked me through all of the work they were doing.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

Quite a lot of work to balance with social stuff and presentations. I ended up in the office until 7pm on two evenings - a real taste of being a trainee!


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?


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

I'm doing a non-law degree - I imagine the skills will help a lot during the GDL and LPC.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

It was Christmas season, and it awesome - Christmas quizzes, parties, and a brilliant 'Twelve Days of Christmas' scheme where partners/associates took it in turn to open their office to the rest of the department for a day, complete with hilarious decorations and food/drink.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

A very clear timetable (including at the application stage), and everything flawlessly carried out.


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

Feedback from the interview at the beginning of the vacation scheme, and then feedback from both weeks at the end of the fortnight, before entering the training contract interview.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Sports and Social Club
  • Company Parties/Events

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

Everybody who succeeds in securing a vacation placement is offered a training contract interview. Herbert Smith will then fund the LPC (and, if necessary, the GDL).



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

Went out for drinks every night together when there wasn't something put on for us - some good venues in Exchange Square! Vacation scheme students were asked along to all of the department parties, which were really impressive. Events that were put on for the vacation scheme included:
- cocktail mixing class (complete with an open bar)
- party at a club in shoreditch
- first-night meal out
- partner lunch
- farewell drinks
- trainee & vac schemers lunch


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

London - that pretty much says it all. Most people on the vac scheme were either staying with friends from uni or with relatives.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Great location - Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Farringdon... Bars and pubs were thriving after work every night, and there were always people from Herbert Smith up for going out.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

I went along to a legal advice centre one evening to see the pro bono element of the firm. A partner also asked me along to attend a legal lecture. A few people on the vac scheme played sport for Herbert Smith's teams over the fortnight.