By DebbieH 07 Feb 2013 7 min read

Working for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

“Forward thinking and intellectually rigorous” is how Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer describes itself on the corporate website. The kind of people the firm looks for tend to be open minded, big thinkers, strategists, tacticians.

To work for Freshfields, trainees and solicitors will need to be high-achievers, determined, energetic, dedicated and highly ambitious. To say there is a ‘long hours culture’ would be an understatement, so if you land a job here, don’t expect a comfortable work/life balance. On the upside the pay is excellent. Freshfields’ London takes on around 100 trainee solicitors a year, and is known for its very high retention rates. In terms of high level promotion though, partnership opportunities – particularly for women – have been hard to come by in recent years, as in many City firms.

Background on Freshfields

This Magic Circle stalwart is know for working with huge clients – from the Bank of England to London 2012 Olympic organisation – and hiring high flying lawyers capable of handling “complex deals, disputes and problems that span countries and continents”.

The firm was formed in 2000 through the three-way merger of Freshfields with Deringer Tessin Herrmann & Sedemund (Germany) and Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Löber (Germany/Austria).

This means Freshfields boasts hundreds of years’ experience, dating back to 1743 in the UK and 1840 in Germany. Its ambition is to become the world’s leading international law firm.

In May 2008, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer converted its business and assets to an English limited liability partnership (LLP), meaning that client relationships are with the new LLP, rather than its partners, and the LLP is responsible to clients for all work.

Today Freshfields is a global operation with 28 offices. The firm is not restrained to working in countries where it has offices though. It says 30% of its work is in countries beyond the offices. “We have worked in nearly every country in the world, touching almost 200 countries in each of the past three years.”

The Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer values

The firm’s ‘shared vision’ is “to become the number one international law firm; the firm that is widely recognised as standing apart, for the quality of our advice and for our unswerving commitment to our clients.” Freshfields aims to offer outstanding legal advice and client service that sets it apart, and says one of its core values is “to go above and beyond”. Here is how the firm aims to do so:

  • We understand our clients – that’s our focus. And we find ways through the legal problems they face. We don’t give up easily; if there’s a way, we’ll find it. We will tackle a client’s challenges as if they were our own and aim to build enduring relationships.
  • We keep it simple – We cut through complexity to provide clear, precise and insightful answers. We balance the big picture with what our clients need to know, now.
  • We’re composed – No matter how stressful the situation, we stay focused. Grace under pressure, teamwork, consideration and humour are essential to the way we work.
  • We’re forward-thinking and intellectually rigorous -We think ahead and anticipate issues before they become problems. And we apply our passion for the law and our interest in the world at large for the benefit of clients, colleagues and the wider community.
  • We work as one team – Our impact is greater when we combine energies. We work as one team – with clients, other law firms, advisers and each other – managing clients’ issues efficiently, anywhere in the world.

Opportunities for career development

Freshfields offers learning and development programmes which help associates improve their technical knowledge and professional skills through tailored seminars, workshops and technical training. In Corporate, in Finance and in Disputes, for example, this includes intensive two-week foundation courses for newly qualified associates and lateral hires.

The firm also runs award-winning Virtual Office and Real Deal programmes which feature a combination of technical and developmental training. “And our skills programmes for junior, mid-level and senior associates cover everything from project management to negotiation skills.”

Many of the programmes are run globally, so that associates from different parts of the firm can network and develop international working relationships. And, as well as formal and on-the-job training, lawyers at Freshfields benefit from secondment opportunities to clients and to the 27 overseas offices.

Estimated salaries

Salary (1st seat trainee): £39,000

Salary (NQ): £65,000

Salary (1PQE): £72,500

Salary (2PQ): £80,000

Salary (3PQE): £90,000

Browse our Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer vacancies today.

Photo: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer