Eight-seat trainee associate programme
Our eight-seat trainee associate programme sets you up for the high-profile, precedent-setting international work you’ll be doing. What we do is complicated, crossing multiple geographical borders and practice groups, so you’ll get wide experience of many areas of commercial law.
All trainees complete at least one seat in dispute resolution and at least two seats in global transactions (across corporate, finance and real estate). You can choose other seats in: antitrust, competition and trade; people and reward; tax; and IP/IT.
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to know what type of corporate law you want to specialise in – not many people do at this stage. Instead, we believe our future lawyers should be able to try different things.
We'll help you learn about the different seats on offer before you arrive at Freshfields. After that, we offer regular drop-in advice sessions on seat moves.
Double supervision and mentorship
At Freshfields you're supported all the way until you qualify – and beyond. Our trainees are usually allocated a main supervisor and a second supervisor. We’ve found an additional touchpoint beneficial for trainees, especially when remote working.
Your main supervisor is the primary point of contact for work allocation, day-to-day supervision, the mid-seat reviews and any other issues. The second supervisor (usually an associate) is your ‘buddy’, checking in regularly as a visible and friendly face, helping introduce you to other team members and there to answer any questions.
Your trainee intake partner (TIP) is your personal mentor throughout your two-year trainee associate programme. You can catch up with your TIP at any time, and you’ll meet them halfway through your trainee associate programme to discuss progress. One-to-one coaching is also available from our trainee development team.
The City Consortium CCP
The route to qualification recently changed with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). Freshfields is part of the City Consortium, and we have created the City Consortium Solicitor Training Programme (CCP) alongside BPP Law School to prepare our trainees for the SQE.
Trainee cohorts joining from August 2023 will undertake the CCP to prepare for the SQE. Whichever route you take, BPP Law School and the trainee development team will be on hand to support you through each stage of the programme.
Our trainee development team will liaise with you about starting the Law Foundations Course (PGDL) if you’re a non-law graduate, and about commencing the CCP, which will take place in central London. You’ll then complete your trainee associate programme (which will constitute your qualifying work experience (QWE)) in our London office at 100 Bishopsgate.
During your time at BPP, you’ll be encouraged to form as wide a network as possible and you’ll be studying with prospective trainees from all of the City Consortium firms (Freshfields and five other leading law firms).
The CCP launched with BPP Law School in September 2022. This means the first SQE trainee cohort will join Freshfields in August 2023. In order to cover the range of content and to adequately prepare students for the SQE examinations, the CCP will be delivered over 11 months.
The CCP consists of the following programmes, which will be taught at BPP’s site in London:
• SQE1 Preparation Programme;
• City Consortium Plus Programme; and
• SQE 2 Preparation Programme.
Although no longer a regulatory requirement, City Consortium non-law graduates will be required to sit the Law Foundations Course (PGDL) prior to commencing the CCP and SQE exams. The Law Foundations Course (PGDL) can be studied not only in London but also at other BPP venues in the UK.
Our trainee development team will provide you with clear guidance through each stage of these courses.
If you accept a trainee associate programme with Freshfields and you later complete the Law Foundations Course (PGDL) for non-law graduates and CCP, we’ll provide a maintenance grant to study for each of the PGDL (£10,000) and CCP courses (£20,000) (pro rata if you’ve already started the course when you accept our offer) to cover your living costs while you study.
We offer a discretionary grant up to £2,500 if you want to do a legal internship, for example with a charity or NGO. This may include organisations supporting the rule of law and/or promoting the rights of women, children, refugees or our other target groups. Examples of previous internships undertaken by prospective trainees include the AIRE Centre or the UNHCR in London.
We also offer mentoring support and coaching to some of our future trainees who come from under-represented backgrounds, to help them to hit the ground running when they start their career with us.
If you accept a trainee associate programme with us after you have completed either of these courses, we may be able to provide some reimbursement of your tuition fees on a discretionary basis.
Most of your training will be on the job as you work with partners and associates. Our open-door policy means you’ll always find someone to answer your questions.
You’ll start with a two-week induction, which includes practical skills workshops and advice. After that, we offer legal training on a departmental basis and business skills training on, for example, how to work productively, delegate and handle pressure.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to huge changes in our everyday lives. Freshfields’ new working environment focuses on flexible collaboration and effective agile-working, while continuing to deliver the same exceptional standard of service to our clients.
We do everything we can to support our people. All colleagues are able to contact our global IT service desk 24/7. Mental health and wellbeing is also taken very seriously at Freshfields and there are numerous ways staff can access support. Our Mental Health Affinity Network is a grassroots organisation set up by people with lived experience of mental health issues, and our trained Mental Health First Aiders augment our support mechanisms and resources by proactively in spotting the first signs of someone struggling.