Applying for the trainee associate programme
We read every application that we receive and shortlist applicants on merit alone. Whatever your background, if you think you can make it as an international commercial lawyer, you should apply.
This year, we’re offering up to 100 places on the trainee associate programme for intakes to our London office in spring and autumn 2025 and, in addition, we’ll also be offering a number of trainee associate programmes to commence in spring 2026.
You can apply either directly for the trainee associate programme or, if you’re a penultimate-year undergraduate student, via a vacation scheme. Find out how to prepare for each stage of our application process.
Apply directly for the trainee associate programme
Winter trainee associate programme application window: 10 October 2022 to 5 January 2023
Who can apply:
- final-year law and non-law students
- law and non-law graduates
Summer trainee associate programme application : 1 June to 13 July 2023
Who can apply:
- penultimate and final-year undergraduate law students (UK law degree)
- law graduates (UK law degree)
- GDL/PGDL graduates
Virtual interviews for direct trainee associate programme applications in winter will be held in March 2023 and summer interviews will be held in August 2023.
Am I eligible for the trainee associate programme?
If you're a non-law student, you're eligible to apply in the final year of your undergraduate degree or as a graduate.
If you're a law (UK LLB) student, you are eligible to apply in the penultimate or final year of your undergraduate degree, or as a graduate.
You can apply once per academic year, so if you apply for a place on trainee associate programme during the winter application window, you cannot apply again during the following summer application window.
Apply via our vacation scheme
If you’re in your penultimate year at university, you have an alternative option: to apply for a place on our vacation scheme. If you’re successful, you can interview for the trainee associate programme at the end of the scheme.
To apply for a place on the trainee associate programme or the vacation scheme, fill out our application form and write a personal statement of up to 850 words. If you’re invited to the next stage of the process, you will complete the Watson Glaser test (which assesses critical thinking skills). If you’re successful at that stage, we’ll invite you to a half-day assessment centre.
When you go the extra mile, partners and associates will show appreciation for your contribution to the team.
Folarin Odunubi, Associate
Applicants with disabilities
Freshfields is committed to being a disability-inclusive employer. We are constantly searching for ways to attract and progress our disabled talent. We partner with Business Disability Forum, who help organisations become disability smart, and are part of their Global Taskforce. We also work with Myplus Consulting who advise on better attracting, retaining and progressing talented disabled undergraduates and graduates.
If you have a disability, we want you to be able to show your full potential. We'll provide any adjustments and/or support you need during the recruitment process. Adjustments we can make include assistive technology, extra time, offering interviews at a specific time and ensuring ease of physical access.
Please let us know as soon as you can if you think you would benefit from any adjustments. Email email@example.com or call +44 20 7785 5554. All conversations will be kept confidential. To learn more about what Freshfields is doing to support our colleagues who are affected by disability, visit our diversity and inclusion page.