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Culture

9.0 / 10

(based on 26 ratings in 2016)

2016

"People are very approachable and even partners are very friendly towards trainees. While a hierarchy exists, there is no obstacle for trainees to approach partners with ideas. Outside of the office, people have vibrant private lives – many have kids and the work from home policy seems to permit those with kids to see them a lot."
First year trainee, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
"The firm's culture is very friendly. There are social activities planned every week, whether on a firm-wide basis or at a departmental level."
First year trainee, London
"There are good levels of socialising, particularly among sports teams. We have friendly and helpful supervisors who provide good training."
First year trainee, London
"There's a really good social culture, especially among trainees. This is helped by the fact that we all study the legal practice course together so know each other really well. It gets more hierarchical as you go up but there are still regular social events and opportunities."
First year trainee, London
"The people at HSF are lovely. Everyone is approachable and friendly and makes an effort to make you feel welcome in your new seat. My cohort of trainees is really sociable and I already have some friends for life whom I met on the legal practice course."
First year trainee, London
"The other people in my department, from trainees through to partners, have all been very friendly and welcoming. I've had a good level of contact with people at all levels in the firm. The department, as a whole, is fairly sociable and there are always people around to chat to about non-work related things. My trainee intake is also very sociable and we frequently go out for coffee, drinks or dinner together."
First year trainee, London
"There is some structure (which is good) but mainly people are very friendly and good to hang out with – both during and after office hours."
First year trainee, London
"Despite being a busy firm, there are always plenty of things to get involved in outside of work, which helps to break down barriers between PAs, trainees, associates and partners."
First year trainee, London

2015

"While I think that the working hours can be long, especially in the Corporate Department, I would say that we work as a team and socialise as a team. Partners are generally very approachable and easy to get on with. There's some structure and hierarchy in terms of work allocation/team structuring so that everything runs smoothly/optimally, but people are encouraged to take part in as much as they can so that they progress their knowledge and experience and step up to the next level."
Second year trainee, London
"Although I think that the social side could be better, there is lots of cooperation and an 'open-door' culture where you can ask questions and seek advice."
First year trainee, London
"With a few exceptions I have found the culture at Herbert Smith Freehills to be very positive and inclusive, with teams working effectively and minimal hierarchy. The level of social activities varies between departments, but generally the trainee intakes are pretty close-knit and there is always someone to grab lunch/a drink with."
Second year trainee, London
"There is a genuinely inclusive culture which is committed to diversity and inclusiveness. The firm is non-hierarchical, but it still has a respectful air."
First year trainee, Tokyo
"The firm really does work to promote a team mentality and supportive environment."
Second year trainee, London
"The Corporate Team I am currently in is very open and everyone is approachable. There is a great social scene and I feel part of a strong team."
First year trainee, London

2014

"The people at the firm are great: friendly, supportive and really interesting to work with. There are plenty of opportunities to socialise with colleagues and to get to know people outside of the office. There is quite a hierarchical structure but nevertheless most people are very approachable. There isn't a 'face-time' culture and you'll only be there late because you really need to be."
Second year trainee, London
"Levels of socialising differ between departments. There is more of a hierarchy in litigation than elsewhere. Excellent sense of camaraderie amongst the trainees."
Second year trainee, London
"Almost all staff and partners are approachable. There is a genuine open-door policy throughout the firm. On deals, there is a strong sense of teamwork and 'divide and conquer'. Socialising amongst the corporate team is very common - spontaneous drinks, organised events, summer parties, ski trips, etc. There are also lots of networks such as Women Lawyers, Disability Network, Sports and Social Committee, etc."
First year trainee, London
"There is a lot of socialising in the trainee population both at lunch times and after work. Friday night drinks also happen as we are by Exchange Square. Socialising with the rest of the team depends largely on the departments you are in. In departments where there is not as much hierarchy, there is more socialising and better teamwork as Partners and Senior Associates are always happy to listen to the opinions of junior members of staff. Though this is not always the same in all departments."
Second year trainee, London
"In my experience there is no culture of 'face-time' at HSF, everyone is very friendly and there really is an 'open-door' policy. Socialising between colleagues is common, particularly amongst trainees."
First year trainee, London
"The culture here is great. The hours can be long but there's a gallows humour to it and you are almost never in the office alone. The associates will be there with you. The London office is not too hierarchical but is probably more formal than the overseas offices. Different groups will organise social activities a few times a year and in the summer lots of people congregate for a drink outside in the square after work. Some teams are more social than others but generally everyone makes an effort."
Second year trainee, London
"I have found that the hierarchy is quite flat - individuals are respected on their ability, though obviously position within the firm is based on ability. The teamwork is excellent - during one particularly busy period half the team was working on a matter at all hours, and the other half volunteered to help when they had time, which meant that the whole team worked until 1:00am rather than half of the team all night. In terms of socialising, this again is cross rank, with lots of social events amongst trainees as well as within teams and across the firm where you mix with trainees, partners, senior and junior associates, PAs, and of counsel. All are very willing to chat with each other, regardless of position within the firm."
First year trainee, London
"I have found the firm to have a great, friendly and open feel. Everyone is approachable and supportive, especially the Partners I have worked with."
First year trainee, London

2013

"My group/department are very friendly, and there is certainly a sense of cooperation and camaraderie between the staff, from PAs to partners. After hours I'd always like there to be more, but it's hard to coordinate at times with people's up-and-down hours. More trainee socials would be cool too."
First year trainee, London
"The culture within HSF is positive: the staff are friendly and the network which I have built with other trainees is invaluable. It is not uncommon to meet partners in the corridors who will speak to me by name and take a moment to ask how I am. This helps to create a sense of belonging, and results in a working environment where all staff are valued regardless of their role."
First year trainee, London
"Generally friendly and not too stuffy. Obviously hierarchical - that's just law firms. Trainees socialise but more could be done to encourage socialising within departments."
First year trainee, London
"Supportive and collegiate teams mean that trainees can always ask for advice. There is plenty to do after-hours too."
Second year trainee, London
"Socialising amongst trainees = top. Socialising with the rest of the office = mediocre."
First year trainee, London
"Excellent culture, with very friendly staff. It varies between teams, but the going-out culture is sometimes restricted only to the Christmas party, however the trainees can usually be relied upon for lunch/an after work drink/weekend socialising."
First year trainee, Abu Dhabi
"Trainee ball to look forward to every other year, plus plenty of opportunity to go for drinks after work and attend various other social events (e.g. women's chocolate tasting event). However, the hours can be long so you might need a coffee first. The structure is hierarchical and it can be tough being at the bottom of the ladder, but, if you prove yourself to be a quick learner you won't be there long."
Second year trainee, London
"The legal teams are very hierarchical but most people respond well to trainees. The back office are more friendly and do a great job."
First year trainee, London
Our 'Inside Buzz' reviews are the comments and views of recent graduate recruits, giving you a view of what it may be like to work for an organisation. Copyright of all TARGETjobs Inside Buzz material lies solely with GTI Media.
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