Freshfields Interview Tips and Assessment Centre

Freshfields Interview Tips and Assessment Centre

Updated February 26, 2022

Written by the WikiJob Team

Freshfields is an international law firm which currently employs over 2,400 lawyers in 28 offices situated throughout the world. Freshfields provides comprehensive legal services to national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and more.

Competencies Required by Freshfields

When approaching any aspect of the recruitment process at Freshfields, candidates need to convey a number of competencies which are extremely important to the company. These include:

  • Critical thinking – Candidates should demonstrate through their answers that they can approach problems in a logical manner, outlining complex issues clearly and concisely and making sense of a complicated situation. If you can think of an example of how you have taken an innovative approach to solving a problem, ensure that you refer to this.

  • Resilience – The ability to overcome obstacles and the determination to succeed are key qualities that you need to convey.

  • Curiosity – Being able to adapt to new situations and explore new ways of working while demonstrating an enquiring mind are important.

  • Teamwork – Working as part of a team is essential to the success of operations with Freshfields. You need to be able to work collaboratively, take instructions and respond well to feedback.

The Application Process at Freshfields

The application process for Freshfields is certainly in depth: you will need to demonstrate your understanding of the firm, a natural aptitude for law, as well as strong analytical skills.

The recruitment process is broken down into the following stages:

The Freshfields application system is designed to enable the recruitment team to easily identify candidates who possess the skills and experience that they look for in employees. Although the recruitment process for Freshfields may differ slightly depending on the role you are applying for, the main elements remain the same.

Application Form

The application form is your opportunity to tell the recruitment team why they should select you over other applicants. It will be the only document that they have when making a decision as to whether you are suitable for the role you have applied for.

The application form includes eight different sections requesting information about you, your experience, education and skills. Perhaps the most important section of the form is the personal statement, where in 850 words you have to tell the recruitment team about your career choices, experience, skills and reasons for applying for the role. You must review the competencies thoroughly and tailor your answer to each of these.

Specific topics that you should cover in detail include:

  • Reasons for wanting to be a lawyer
  • Reasons for applying to Freshfields
  • Examples from your past experience which show the core skills Freshfields look for
  • Interests and achievements outside of law

It is important to avoid making any mistakes, answer questions fully and prepare a strong personal statement.

Verbal Reasoning Test

After completion of the application form, you will be automatically invited to complete an online verbal reasoning test, which should be completed in a period of 7 days after the invitation. Designed by SHL, one of the leading providers of psychometric tests, the verbal reasoning test is designed to assess how you understand, interpret and analyse texts which relate to the company.

Verbal reasoning tests are carefully prepared and they will include a passage of text, followed by a question and several answers. You will need to use your reasoning skills to review the text and determine the most appropriate answer. The verbal reasoning test is fast-paced, so you will need to work quickly and accurately to progress through the questions.

Rather than simply grading the verbal reasoning test as a pass or fail depending on how well you do, the tests will be marked against the scores of similar applicants. Subsequently, you not only need to aim for a good score but you need to achieve a score which exceeds that of other applicants.

Assessment Centre

If you complete your application form and verbal reasoning test to a high standard, you will be invited to attend a half-day assessment centre at the company's Fleet Street offices. You will be told when you arrive how your day will be structured. The activities that you are asked to complete may be in any order, but the day will typically consist of:

Written Exercise

The aim of the written exercise is to assess your ability to synthesise data and prepare written information in a clear and concise manner. You will be allocated a period of 45 minutes to review a number of draft documents, identify any mistakes in the text, outline any discrepancies and then redraft a section of the report so that it is correct.

Applicants don’t necessarily require any legal knowledge to complete this test to a high standard, just a meticulous attention to detail and a methodical approach. The written exercise is a way to establish how well you can process copious amounts of information while being able to make accurate corrections, all within a short timeframe.

Article Interview

The article interview is an hour in duration, and it evaluates your analytical skills along with your commercial awareness and legal understanding. At the start of the interview, you are given 20 minutes in which to read through the content of a business-based article. Following this, a partner and associate will ask a number of questions based on the article that you have read.

The articles can be taken from a number of sources, including the Financial Times or other business publications. At the start of the interview you are asked to summarise the article as briefly as you can. Then you are asked more questions about the content of the article, before progressing on to more general questions about topics and issues raised by the article.

General Interview

Also an hour long, this interview is carried out with a different associate and partner. The general interview is aimed at finding out more about you and the skills you can bring to the role. It will generally be more informal than the previous interviews. Examples of questions you might be asked include:

  • Why have you chosen this area of law?
  • How do you deal with pressure?
  • How do you think lawyers approach solving problems?
  • What skills could you bring to the role which will make you a good lawyer?

There is always the possibility that you might be asked different questions to those listed above, so you should try to prepare for every eventuality. If you understand how the business operates, know your CV inside out and can think quickly, you should be able to provide strong answers to each of the questions.

Freshfields is part of what is informally known as the Magic Circle of UK law firms. The firm is looking for professionals with the potential to make exceptional lawyers. Professionals who are committed to the field, dedicated to helping clients, and who can demonstrate the competencies sought by Freshfields will do very well in the application process.

The competition for positions is tough. Freshfields typically receives 3,000 applications annually for only 100 training contracts. Freshfields recruits on a rolling basis, so it is always advisable to apply as soon as you can. If you follow this guidance carefully and use available resources online to practice for aptitude tests, you can significantly improve the quality of your application form and strengthen the answers that you provide at interview.