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Graduates - MENA

MENA Summer Work Experience Programme 2024

Through offering work experience to students with an interest in the Middle East region and specifically in the UAE, we hope to contribute towards young professionals’ future careers by providing opportunities to gain hands-on experience and real-life knowledge about the operations of a global law firm, and to seek career guidance from established lawyers and colleagues.

The objectives of this structured programme are aligned to the firm’s global people strategy: inclusive work environment and outstanding career development.

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Reflecting on a transformative two weeks, we have embraced the Freshfields way with determination, collaboration and a commitment to excellence.

Our interns' stories

I am Sreelakshmy Arun, a penultimate year law student at Middlesex University, Dubai. My passion for law was sparked by my grandfather's courtroom work. Representing my university at the 21st Willem C. Vis East International Commercial Arbitration Moot has fuelled my interest in arbitration. Previous internships in diverse fields prepared me, but my time at Freshfields was truly distinctive.

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My name is Rabia Ashraf, and I am currently studying at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. I will be beginning my final year of my Scots Law degree. I currently work part-time in a jewellers called Chisholm Hunter Ltd, and I have previously completed work experience in an immigration law firm called McGill & Co. I have always had an interest in corporate law and coming to join the team at Freshfields Dubai has enhanced it.

We have both been given the opportunity to partake in the 2-week work experience programme here at Freshfields Dubai. We had the chance to spend a week with the Dispute’s Resolution team and the second week with the Global Transactions team.

From the moment we stepped into the office, we were greeted with warmth and professionalism, setting the tone for what would be an enlightening and enriching experience. We were astounded by the range of engaging tasks we were assigned to such as shadowing trainees, associates and partners and given research tasks on current legal matters that the firm is dealing with. Whether it was observing associates during client meetings or delving into intricate legal research, each assignment stimulated us to approach challenges with a blend of critical thinking and imaginative flair.

What resonated deeply with us was the sincere commitment Freshfields showed to mentorship. Being paired with experienced trainees wasn't just about completing tasks; it was about forming genuine connections. They generously shared their wisdom and patiently addressed our inquiries. Their mentorship wasn't just about guidance; it gave us a real insight into what our future career will look like. The interactions we had gave us the confidence to proactively seek out tasks as well as connect with the team.

These interactions opened a world of networking and personal growth opportunities that truly resonated with us. From engaging lunchtime discussions to casual coffee chats with associates and partners, every interaction felt like a stepping stone in our personal and professional journey. These encounters have allowed us to establish genuine connections that have fueled our passion further for working in an international corporate firm.

Reflecting on our time at Freshfields, we can confidently say it was a transformative experience. The collaborative environment fostered teamwork and communication skills that will undoubtedly benefit us in our future endeavors. We are grateful for the mentorship and support we received, and we are eager to apply what we have learned in our future pursuits. We hope to be a part of the Freshfields team in the future!

My name is Laila Nicholson, and I am currently studying Common Law at the University of Glasgow. I have previously completed work experience with the in-house counsel at Alpha Dhabi. My time at Freshfields has solidified my interest in corporate law and demonstrated why the firm boasts such robust success in their areas of practice.

Laila Nicholson in office

The opportunity to spend my first week with the Dispute Resolution team and my second week with the Global Transactions team has been invaluable and has encouraged me to approach tasks with steadfast diligence, critical thinking, and enthusiasm. Throughout all the assignments, whether that be legal research or observing at team meetings, I felt supported under the supervision of sophisticated mentors.

Alongside my mentor’s guidance, the training the firm provided was of an incredibly high calibre, but was delivered in such a manner that it remained digestible for students like myself. During my training, I was shown the realms of Competition Law, and Anti-Bribery and Corruption – areas of law I had not previously engaged with. Not only did the training introduce new areas of legal specialisation but it also deepened my appreciation for different areas of legal practice and their importance within the corporate field.

The firm’s collegiality is transparent and has allowed me to form genuine connections with other work experience students, and reputable members of the Freshfields’ team – all of whom paid a genuine interest and willingly offered advice and accounts of their own experiences.

I am immensely grateful for the opportunity and am ardent to apply the skills I have honed and the knowledge I have acquired during the programme.

My name is Kristine Mathew, and I’m a penultimate year law student at Middlesex University Dubai. Over the past two weeks, I had the incredible opportunity to complete a work experience placement at Freshfields.

Kristine Ann Mathew in office

My journey with Freshfields began last year when I interned at the DIFC Courts' Pro Bono Programme and met several lawyers from the firm. Their dedication, and genuine passion for the law and helping society left a lasting impression on me. I knew then that Freshfields was the kind of firm I wanted to be a part of – a place that truly lived what they preached.

The atmosphere at the firm was a perfect blend of professionalism and friendliness. What stood out the most during my time though, was the genuine interest my colleagues took in my development. Whether it was offering guidance on a particular task or providing career advice, their willingness to share their expertise was invaluable. This mentorship extended beyond just work-related matters, encompassing broader life and career advice that I will carry with me throughout my professional journey.

The responsibilities I took on ranged from legal research to drafting documents, giving me a hands-on experience with the type of work the firm handles. The opportunity to delve into real deals and contribute meaningfully to ongoing projects was incredibly rewarding. I appreciated the chance to apply my academic knowledge to practical scenarios, enhancing my understanding of legal processes and the intricacies of different projects.

One of the highlights of my experience was observing the collaborative spirit within the firm. Teamwork is at the core of Freshfields' success, and I witnessed this firsthand through the team meetings and discussions. The lawyers' ability to work seamlessly together, share ideas, and support one another was truly inspiring.

Overall, my two weeks at Freshfields have been an invaluable learning experience. The firm not only met but exceeded my expectations, providing me with a comprehensive understanding of the legal profession in a dynamic and supportive setting. I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to applying the skills and knowledge I have gained as I continue my journey in law. Hopefully I will get to be a part of this wonderful team in the future!

I am Jacques-Henri Rogivue, a French citizen based in the UK for 8 years now. I've just finished my year 13 in a boarding school in England and will take my A-Levels in Maths, Economics, Politics and French next year.  Because I would like to become a lawyer, I applied for an internship at Freshfields in the hopes of getting further understanding on what being a lawyer is really like.

Jacques-Henri Rogivue in office

Freshfields offered me the opportunity to learn and see for myself a glimpse of the life of a lawyer and allowed me to talk to some of them, seeing them work on different transactions. In addition, I was assigned work to do. In particular, I was given the task of doing legal research on current topics the firm is dealing with. I thought the task were interesting and required some level of critical thinking. Which was stimulating and encouraged me to delve in further detail on how to apply legal knowledge to solve matters.

Everybody at the firm was friendly and helped me get accommodated with the office quickly. Guidance and assistance were given whenever needed and this provided better understanding or tips on how to research certain topics. People would always be open to talk, and I found their shared experience to be very impactful in my journey throughout the week. This experience will not only help me choose my future career but will also help me in my studies and has truly motivated me to pursuit law to a higher level.

My name is Zaid Magdub. I am a second-year student at the University of Oxford, currently reading a BA in Jurisprudence.

Zaid Magdub in office

Having returned to the United Kingdom to pursue a law degree, I quickly found myself swept up in the hubbub of conversation about work placements, summer vacation schemes, competitions, etcetera.

In particular, there felt to be a real culture around applications towards large and affluent corporate law firms - especially elite multinationals with headquarters in London.

As most first-year experiences often are, this could feel rather overwhelming - but also uniquely appealing. Coming from a somewhat more international' background than many of my peers, I had always been particularly interested in international arbitration and global transactions. Yet I found myself conflicted on whether I wanted to apply for that kind of work experience in the United Kingdom, I had already done a Mini-Pupillage in London, as well as having spent much of the year in a high-stress environment away from home.

For those reasons, I was looking for a fresh kind of experience, closer to where my family is based in Abu Dhabi. Having spent my formative years in the Emirates, I have always maintained an interest in potentially returning for legal practice. On that basis, I applied and secured a two-week work placement at the Dubai office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The flow of finance capital within the broader MENA region was a principal interest of mine, and I simply could not miss out on an opportunity to witness firsthand how the legal field operates in such a burgeoning commercial hub like Dubai.

A primary goal of mine was to compliment the often very rigorous but very academic nature of my legal study, with real and tangible legal experience. The incredibly welcoming Trainees, Associates and Partners provided me with the means to do so - whether it be through insightful research tasks; shadowing the solicitors in meetings; or simply just friendly conversation - I received an extensive dive into this realm of legal practice, which so many are so interested in yet so few get to see up close. Getting the chance to speak to experts in the fields that I had been so interested in. even in a more recreational setting, was something I deeply appreciated. I did not feel like I was just on some summer work placement scheme, I felt assimilated to life at the office.

I am incredibly grateful for the diverse scope of opportunity that I was granted. The chance to expand my own network with a greater understanding of how the different fields of international corporate law operate, was one that I cannot but thank all the solicitors for. In addition, the genuine warmth and kindness that we as interns felt was a very welcome surprise, one that made this one of the best work experiences I have had.


My name is Kiyara Weerakoon, a first year at Middlesex University Dubai. I am currently a Student Liaison Officer in my University Career’s Department and have previously completed work experience at a UAE based law firm called Afridi and Angell. When I got a taste of Freshfields’ culture and range of work from the lovely HR team at our University Career Fair, I knew I had to get a deeper insight via the work experience programme. I can confidently say that the past 2 weeks have exceeded my expectations.

Kiyara Weerakoon in office

From the very beginning, we were treated as team members, and encouraged to ask questions and engage with the work as much as possible. This included research tasks on pressing legal matters, conducting due diligence, shadowing trainees and associates and participating in global team meetings. Taking a hands-on approach allowed us to make the most of the experience without feeling awkward or hesitant. Our learning was clearly prioritised, as online learning modules had been carefully curated. I particularly enjoyed them as they were interesting, spanned all practice areas but also displayed Freshfields’ commitment to continuous development at every stage.

I am grateful for the warm welcome, as it allowed me to foster meaningful relationships and conversations that opened my eyes to understand the firm holistically, as a business. The work goes beyond direct client work and the way different teams intersect to produce a finished project was truly remarkable to me. This led me to exploring the intricate knowledge management of the firm intranet, and my conversations with legal project managers and knowledge lawyers were fascinating, truly showing how interconnected every office and department is. The honesty and openness from all members of the team was refreshing, as through such interactions, I was truly able to get answers on what my life will look like in the future!

As my two weeks have come to an end, I leave Freshfields knowing I have become more confident in a corporate setting, gained abundant knowledge on law firm practices, have opened myself to new perspectives, and have created relationships and received guidance that will continue to propel me further in all aspects. As I aspire to qualify with an international law firm, my work experience has been pivotal in helping me make key decisions related to my career trajectory. I cannot thank the lovely team in the Dubai Office enough, and I hope I have an opportunity to work at Freshfields in the future!

My name is Ahmed. During my recent internship at Freshfields, I had the privilege of participating in their “Two Week Work Program.” The experience was both enriching and transformative, offering invaluable insights into the legal profession and the operations of a leading international law firm.

Ahmed Abdelwahed in office

From the very first day, the HR team at Freshfields made sure that my fellow interns and I felt welcomed and valued. The structured program allowed me to spend the first week with the Global Transaction team and the second week with the Dispute team. This rotation provided a comprehensive overview of the firm's diverse practice areas, highlighting the breadth and depth of legal services they offer.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the internship was the opportunity to connect with trainees who served as our buddies throughout the program. These interactions were instrumental in offering professional guidance and career advice, helping me navigate my future career choices. The trainees' openness and willingness to share their experiences created a supportive and inclusive environment, making us feel like an integral part of the Freshfields family.

What stood out most during my time at Freshfields was the firm's international reach and the seamless collaboration between their offices around the world. The level of coordination and harmony across different geographies was nothing short of mesmerizing. This global connectivity is not just a testament to Freshfields' operational efficiency but also reflects their commitment to providing a cohesive and integrated service to clients worldwide.

While the professional aspects of the internship were immensely valuable, the lighter moments also left a lasting impression. For instance, the Dubai office is renowned for its coffee machine that makes excellent hot chocolate—a small but delightful perk that adds to the positive work environment at Freshfields.

My law studies at Pantheon University in Paris have fueled my passion for International Arbitration. Next year, I will be advancing my knowledge in Private International Law and International Trade Law at the same university. The experience at Freshfields has further solidified my interest in these areas, offering a practical perspective that complements my academic pursuits.

In summary, my internship at Freshfields was a remarkable experience that provided a blend of professional development, global exposure, and a sense of community. The firm's commitment to inclusivity, professional growth, and international collaboration makes it an ideal environment for aspiring legal professionals. As I continue my studies and look forward to my future career, the insights and connections gained at Freshfields will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping my path.

My name is Jana Samer, an LLB student at Nottingham Law School in the United Kingdom. Before my two-week internship at Freshfields, I gained experience in the legal department at ARADA Company, a leading real estate developer in Dubai.

Jana Samer in office

At Freshfields, I initially joined the Dispute Resolution team before transitioning to the Global Transactions practice. The internship kicked off with a welcome lunch, which was more than just a chance to socialize. It played a key role in building a collegial atmosphere and sense of comfort among the interns and their buddies.

Throughout the internship, I had the opportunity to shadow trainees and associates, and conduct legal research on international and UAE Law; including corporate competition and director liability. Not only did these experiences sharpen my research abilities, but it also fostered critical thinking skills and encouraged innovative problem-solving approaches, allowing me to tackle complex legal issues effectively.

Additionally, interactions with senior advisors were especially enlightening. They were always eager to help and shared valuable insights and tips about pursuing a career in a large corporate firm. We also participated in a community group project making dolls for refugees. This experience was deeply fulfilling, reinforcing the importance of social responsibility in in our profession.