The Training Contract
Freshfields recruits about 100 people a year to start as trainee solicitors in the London office. Freshfields has a very broad practice and encourages its trainees to see as much of it as possible. The firm has a flexible three month seat rotation system; trainees are able to visit up to eight different practice areas, and high priority is given to trainees' preferences, both in terms of which seats they visit and how long will be spent there. There are large numbers of secondments available to the firm's overseas offices and to clients, as well as to the Free Representation Unit and Liberty.
Before officially beginning the two-year training contract, all Trainees must complete the 6-month LPC (Legal Practice Course) (see below). Trainees from non-law backgrounds must also complete the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) beforehand.
Applications for training contracts should be made at least two years before the entry date you are seeking (to allow time for training courses), although the earliest that applications from undergraduates will be accepted is the summer before their final year. Applications are accepted from students from both law and non-law backgrounds who are on track for a 2:1 degree.
Salary & Benefits
Trainee Solicitors currently receive £39,000 p.a. for their first year and £44,000 p.a. for the second. Newly qualified solicitors receive £66,000 p.a.
Freshfields operates a flexible benefits system. Options include pension, life assurance, critical illness insurance, income protection insurance, private medical insurance and dental insurance. Other benefits include an interest free loan when you start, an interest free season ticket loan, on site gym, restaurant, doctor and dentist. The package includes 25 days holiday, and at the end of your training contract you will have the option of taking 4 weeks unpaid leave.
Freshfields pays full fees for the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) and LPC (Legal Practice Course) and gives a maintenance grant of £6,250 for those on the GDL and £7,250 for those on the LPC. Grants are also offered towards the cost of a PC, and towards language courses or voluntary work.
The Legal Practice Course
Prospective trainees are required to undertake the LPC at BPP Law School in London, where they will undertake a tailored LPC and take part in the firm's "Simulated Office" programme. This 6 month programme is designed to help prepare the firm's future trainees as fully as possible for working life, giving them the opportunity to manage meetings, handle “clients” and learn how the Freshfields office works.