For a newer version of this article, please see Freshfields Interview Tips And Assessment Centre.
The application and interview process for Freshfields is as follows:
The application form for training contracts can be found on Freshfields' website. There are eight sections to the application form and you may complete them in any order. For the qualifications sections, you are required to list all the subjects that you have studied or have yet to study, and the percentage mark for each. You are also asked to include an 850-word covering letter that tells the firm more about you. To ensure you make an attractive application, keep in mind that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is looking for the following key competencies in candidates:
Try to highlight these aspects of your personality when filling out your application. Once you submit it, you will immediately be invited to take the online verbal reasoning test.
Once you receive the invitation to take the test after submitting your application, you will have 7 days to complete the verbal reasoning test. This test is provided by SHL and you will have 20 minutes to complete it. There is a short practice test that you may take before completing the real test, and there is also a practice version on Freshfields' website. Once you have completed the test, your application and results will be reviewed.
The assessment day at Freshfields takes places at their offices in central London, and lasts about a half day. It is divided into the following activities:
After a meet and greet, you will again be taken to a private room and given a 45-minute writing exercise. For this, you will need to argue for and against a one-line statement or question.
Each candidate receives a different assignment but past statements/questions include: "Should firms have a seven seat training contract?" “Compulsory recycling should be introduced in households” and you will need to write one page arguing for this, and one page arguing against it. Ensure that your arguments are well-articulated using proper spelling and grammar, and that you do not exceed one page for each side of the argument.
Immediately following the writing exercise you will be given the reading exercise. For this you will be given 25-30 minutes to read and assess an article from the Financial Times, or something similar. Subsequently you will have 45 minutes of questioning by two lawyers on the subject of the article. These lawyers will test you with difficult questions that may force you to take time to think, before giving your responses. They will begin by asking your to summarise the article in as few words as possible, and then questioning you on its content before moving on to broader, more speculative questions regarding the subject. No prior knowledge of the law or the issue at hand is expected, but this is a good opportunity to demonstrate your commercial awareness. At the end of this section you will have time to ask questions to these lawyers, about anything you wish.
TIP: Though the questions may get quite tough, stay assertive and enthusiastic, and back up your responses with the details of your reasoning process.
Finally, you will meet two different lawyers (who may be a partner and associate, two associates, or a similar combination) for an hour long talk. Questions will ask you to explain why you have chosen law as a career, why you have chosen Freshfields as a firm, and your CV, education, and academic qualifications. There will almost certainly not be any commercial awareness or current events type questions. Competency based questions requiring you to give examples from your experiences are also unlikely. You are more likely to be asked questions such as:
Your day will finish with a tour of the office given by a year-2 trainee, and an opportunity to ask further questions should you wish to.
You will be contacted within a week if you are given an offer.