Freshfields Graduate Recruitment, Interview and Verbal Test Preparation

Are you applying to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (or more commonly Freshfields) for a graduate trainee, summer intern or experienced hire position? Before Freshfields offers you a job, they will ask you time and again to prove that you have what it takes to work with them. This article will guide you through this process and point you to JobTestPreps’ resources available to help you prepare.
 
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The Freshfields application process contains:


The Freshfields application process is designed to help them identify the candidates who have what they are looking for. This guide will take you through the application process for training contract and vacation schemes, as they follow the same process. Applicants for other jobs will find the information contained in here useful even if their recruitment does not follow the same path.

Candidates to Freshfields have to use the application process to demonstrate how they relate to the following competencies:

  • An analytical mind – can you think clearly through a problem; explain complex issues clearly and simply; and make sense of a complicated situation? Do you look for alternative ways to approach and solve problems?
  • Determination and drive – you need to fit a lot into your life, and have plenty of enthusiasm, energy and drive.
  • Curiosity – do you enjoy dealing with new ideas and adapting to new challenges. What is your appetite for finding out about things you have never come across before? It is important how you approach a task; you need to see things in the round, as well as the detail.
  • Teamwork and interpersonal skills – do you enjoy working with others? Are you good at taking instruction and at accepting feedback.
  • Organisation and discipline – you need to be able to multi-task, keep track and stay cool.
  • Commercial sense – you should have a commercial instinct and the potential to develop in time.
  • “Stickability” – or your ability to see things through, especially evidence of how you have stuck with things in the past.

Freshfields Application Form

The application form is your first opportunity to tell the firm about yourself. It will be in the only piece of information they have about you when making the decision whether to invite you to the next stage. The application form contains eight sections asking for information about you. However the most vital section of the form is the personal statement. This section gives you 850 words (or 5,000 characters) to tell the recruitment team at Freshfields about you, your choice of career, your past experiences, and your skills. Before you start, review the competencies and understand what the firm are looking for.

Topics to cover (from the Freshfields guide - The Perfect Application):

  • Why I want to be a lawyer.
  • Why I want to apply to Freshfields.
  • Give examples of how your past experience (including positions of responsibility, all previous employment or work experience) has allowed you to demonstrate the core skills they are looking for.
  • Any interests you have (outside law), any sporting or other achievements.
  • Try to write simply and directly. Avoid cliches.
  • Structure your statement, use paragraphs, make it easy to read.
  • Don’t repeat information from other parts of the form.
  • Check it over, remove all spelling and grammar mistakes (remember the attention to detail so prized in all lawyers)

There is a lot riding on this personal statement, and therefore it is important that you get it right first time. JobTestPrep have created a package designed to help you write a covering letter that will help you stand out from the crowd. See how we can help you here. For more tips about how to complete your Freshfields application form, take a look at our blog dedicated to each section of a law firm application. 

Freshfields Online Verbal Reasoning Test

Once you have submitted your application form, you are automatically invited to sit an online verbal reasoning test. You will have seven days to complete the test. Once you have completed the test, your application and test results will be reviewed. Freshfield’s online verbal reasoning test is designed by SHL, one of the largest providers of psychometric tests. You are tested on your ability to understand, analyse and interpret work related texts. You will be scored in the test against a group of similar applicants for a similar role. It is therefore important that you not only prepare to get a good score, but that you practice to be better than the rest of your field. JobTestPrep have developed verbal reasoning practice packs that prepare you specifically for the SHL test.

Freshfields Assessment Centre

If your application form and verbal reasoning test score show that you have what Freshfields are looking for, you are invited to a half day assessment day at the firm’s Fleet Street offices. There are three parts to this day, which can take place in any order.

The programme of the day is:

Writing Exercise

The writing exercise is designed to test your ability to analyse written texts and write information clearly for the use of others. You have 45 minutes to review a set of draft documents, highlight any mistakes included in the text, discuss any ambiguities you can find, and redraft a section of the report so that it is clear and correct. You do not need to have any legal knowledge for this test, you are being tested on your ability to analyse written texts. The writing exercise requires you to balance between processing large amounts of information and writing corrections within a short period of time. See how JobTestPrep can help you practice this balance with our written exercise pack.

Article Interview

This is an hour long interview which aims to analyse your analytical skills and thinking ability, as well as your commercial acumen and legal understanding. You are given 20 minutes to read a business based article, which you will then be questioned about by a partner and an associate. The article you are given will come from any source, but is likely to be a current article from The Economist or The Financial Times. You are asked at the start of the interview to summarise the article as concisely as you can, then you are asked questions on the content of the article, before the conversation moves on to wider topics based on the subject of the article. Some of the questions on the article include: how could this article be used to bring in new business to the firm; and which departments would be involved in a case such as this one. JobTestPrep have prepared a case study practice package that can help you in this section.

There is time at the end of this interview to ask the interviewers any questions you may have. Don’t forget to prepare some questions before coming in to interview.

There is a lot riding on this interview, and as well as the reading exercise which starts off the interview, you will need to be unphased by the questions you face on the article. The best way to appear confident in an interview is to practice in interview conditions. JobTestPrep’s Skype based interviews package can help you get in that all important interview practice ahead of time.

General Interview

The general interview is another hour long interview, with a new set of interviewers, again a partner and associate. This interview aims to find out more about you, and how you demonstrate your skills against the competencies listed above. This is a more informal interview than the article interview, and you will not be asked competency based questions. You will be asked about the information contained on your CV.

Some of the likely questions asked in this interview are:

  • Why qualify in England?
  • Why London?
  • Why this area of law?
  • How do you deal with pressure?
  • What skills do you have that will make you a good lawyer?
  • How do you think lawyers approach problem solving?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What makes Freshfields different from other Magic Circle firms?
  • None of your extracurricular activities relate to law. Why should we hire you?

This interview will ask very different questions to the other interview you will have on the day, and you may want to think about how to answer questions about yourself rather than on your opinions. See how JobTestPrep’s interview preparation package can give you tips here.

In Summary

Freshfields are a magic circle law firm, and one of the largest law firms in the world. Freshfields are not looking for good lawyers, they are looking for great lawyers. To them great lawyers encapsulate all the qualities listed above, and more. Freshfields are the fourth largest law firm in the world, with over 2,500 lawyers in 28 offices around the world, and they receive more than 3,000 applications each year, so competition is high for 100 training contract places. Freshfields recruit on a rolling basis, so better to get applications in early. This article has guided you through the Freshfields application process, highlighting the resources available to help you improve the quality of your application. Start practising today. Good luck!

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