Freshfields is an elite law firm with over 2,800 attorneys and other legal professionals in 27 offices who have built a reputation for breaking new legal ground, handling the highest-profile matters and solving our clients’ most complex corporate, regulatory and litigation challenges in the US and internationally.
Read a brief overview of our Summer Associate Program below:
Who is in our summer program
There are 48 2L students representing 20 law schools in our 2022 Summer Associate Class – 35 in New York, 11 in Washington, DC and 2 in Silicon Valley.
What to expect
Our summer program is 10 weeks long. We offer our summer associates:
Substantive Work: We have a summer work allocation team tasked with ensuring that each summer associate has received a range of work assignments and has a fulfilling summer experience overall. Freshfields offers summer associates the opportunity to participate in actual client matters and interface with clients.
Pro Bono opportunities: We work on a wide range of projects and welcome you to get involved. Recent summer associates have assisted on a range of challenging pro bono projects such as:
A class action in partnership with International Refugee Assistance Project on behalf of Afghan and Iraqi allies to challenge egregious processing delays by US Homeland Security of their Special Immigrant Visa applications. More here.
Drafting with The American Bar Association an international animal welfare treaty to reduce risk of future pandemics and establish minimum standards for the treatment of animals.
Assisting a UK Foundation dedicated to innovative environmental solutions to establish a sister 501(c)3 entity in the US.
Cultural and social events: Events are a great way for our summer associates to network with our attorneys to get to know them and their practice areas. Summer events have included designing your own Nike sneakers, a painting class, culturally themed virtual tour, scavenger hunt, trivia night, baseball game, wine and spirit tastings, cooking class and more.
Mentoring: Each summer associate is provided with partner and associate mentors throughout the summer, who will introduce summer associates to the firm and offer guidance and support throughout the summer.
Training: There are learning and development opportunities throughout the summer to enhance summer associates legal skills.
Where we have a summer program in the US
We will host summer associates in our New York, Washington, DC and Silicon Valley offices in 2022.
NY: Key practices include M&A, Capital Markets, Investigations, Securities & Shareholder Litigation, Commercial Litigation, International Arbitration, Finance, Restructuring & Insolvency, IP Transactions, Executive Compensation & Benefits and Tax. Summer associates will have the opportunity to work on a variety of matters.
DC: Key practices include Antitrust, Investigations, Sanctions, CFIUS, International Arbitration, IP Transactions and Data Privacy & Security.
SV: Key practices include M&A, Capital Markets, Securities & Shareholder Litigation, Data Privacy & Security, IP Transactions, Executive Compensation & Benefits and Antitrust.
Why Freshfields is a great choice
Freshfields is a great place to spend your summer and beyond. Our summer associates choose Freshfields for the opportunity to work with, learn from and be mentored by best-in-class lawyers on substantive and pro bono matters for blue-chip clients in an entrepreneurial and inclusive environment.
Freshfields is an incredible place to spend your summer - and beyond
We welcome applications from all students. If you will not be attending an on-campus interview, we encourage you to apply by submitting your cover letter, resume and law school transcript via our online application.
Schools Freshfields will visit during on campus interviews and job fairs in 2022
We welcome applications from outstanding students at any law school. We also visit many top schools across the country. In 2021/22, we will be conducting on-campus interviews or attending job fairs at:
BC/BU Job Fair
The University of Chicago
The University of Michigan
The University of Pennsylvania
The University of Texas
The University of Virginia
We will also be attending the Lavender Law and NEBLSA career fairs. OCI and job fair dates are forthcoming.
If your school is not listed, please contact: USLegalRecruiting@freshfields.com. If your school is listed, please contact your career services office to arrange an interview with us.
Your summer experience is an exceptional opportunity to lay the foundation for your future success as an associate.
We sat down with three of our junior associates—Devony Schmidt and Annie Powderly in Global Transactions and Elvira Sihvola in Dispute Resolution—to find out their tips for doing so. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Do your research, consider the practice groups that interest you.
Before beginning your summer, identify the people and teams that you want to get to know better. Take advantage of meet-and-greet events (whether virtual or in-person), speak with professors and professionals in the legal industry, and ask others who summered at your new firm for insight. Also, remember that your OCI interviews are research opportunities and keep in mind who you’d like to speak with if you are offered follow-up interviews so you can continue to educate yourself and get a taste for who the key players are in your area(s) of interest.
Have peripheral vision when you start as a summer associate. Look around, take it all in, and be open to trying new things. You may find that your preconceived interests don’t end up being the practices you enjoy most, so take advantage of opportunities to try different practice groups out! Freshfields is unique in that the firm encourages your summer to be a time for exploration. A good way to do this is by seeking out a diverse set of assignments to make sure that you are getting a taste of all that the firm has to offer. If you try out one assignment and find it doesn’t spark your interest, talk to associates and partners about other kinds of work within a given practice group. You may discover that you love certain elements of a practice.
Shortly after you end your summer and accept your offer to join as an associate, you’ll have the opportunity to broadly declare your preferred practice area (at Freshfields NY our broad categories are ‘global transactions’ or ‘dispute resolution’). This is another reason that you should use your summer as an opportunity to develop a sense of the general practice area you will want to work in as an associate. All of the information you get can help you build your practice. Remember, this is your career, and no one knows you better than you know yourself. Plus, it is in everyone’s best interest to help you find the best possible practice group fit for you.
That said, keep in mind that Freshfields encourages its associates to continue to explore different practice groups even beyond the summer program. The firm offers a rotational program that allows you to try out two different practice areas during your first year. Many of us have tried it and discovered passion for practice areas we had not anticipated. Make sure to speak to other associates who have gone through the program. Ask them how they made their decisions! You might be surprised to find that some of them went through similar thought processes, and could be helpful when you make that decision.
2. Build relationships and make an impression.
Your summer is a unique opportunity in your career for capitalizing on events and a more flexible work schedule to get to know your colleagues across all levels of seniority. Although senior lawyers can be busy at times, find opportunities to approach them and express interest in their practices. This is a time to be bold and persistent. The more you make yourself known, the more you’ve expressed interest in a particular practice, the more top-of-mind you’ll be when it comes time to be staffed on matters as a summer (and later, as an associate).
It’s also important to get to know associates who are closer in seniority to you, as you’ll likely be spending significant amounts of time with them on projects, and they’re a great resource for help if you need clarification on an assignment, or advice about which resources to seek out first.
Don’t feel shy about asking a partner or associate to lunch. The lunch program—which is a staple in all BigLaw firm summer programs—is in place for a reason, to give you an opportunity to get to know your future colleagues and learn as much as possible about the firm. And don’t let a virtual summer change that, reach out to associates through e-mail, instant messenger, or even just a quick phone call. They’ll be thrilled to have a virtual lunch or coffee date and spend some time with you.
Finally, bond with your fellow summer associates! They’ll be your support system during your first year. But, if your firm offers summers an overseas rotation—as Freshfields does (when travel guidelines allow)—do it quickly! You’ll have limited time before you and others ship out for your rotation.
3. When in doubt, ask!
Don’t feel shy about requesting follow-up instruction, templates, or precedents when you’re tasked with an assignment. Every attorney has been in your shoes and knows your summer is most likely the first time you will have been asked to complete assignments like the ones you’ll be tasked with. Asking for clarification is better than “taking a stab” at a project and delivering work product that misses the mark.
That being said, aim to ask for clarification before you begin an assignment, or try to gather your follow-up questions and ask them in one go if you can—it will help everyone work more effectively. Talk to the junior associates you are staffed with about their working styles and practices; some associates don’t mind being pinged with periodic questions throughout an assignment on instant messenger, and others prefer a more structured approach. Learning to ask those questions early on, and becoming comfortable with a variety of work styles, will set you up for success early in your career.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on timing expectations. One of the most challenging parts of the career is balancing tasks that need to be delivered immediately with those that can be done more slowly. Overcommunication is better than under-delivering! If you find yourself struggling with how to ask for clarification, talk to your fellow associates. We’ll absolutely have some tips for you on how to manage these situations!
If there is still a question you have that you feel “silly” asking a superior, reach out to your associate mentor! They are a great resource, and they are not involved in evaluating you at the end of your summer. We all remember what it was like to get started and sometimes feel overwhelmed, and we’re here to help you. We understand that doing this, especially during a virtual summer, may seem intimidating, but you should feel comfortable reaching out to your associate mentor on the phone or over video chat to catch up or ask for advice. Remember, that’s what they’re there for!
4. Manage your time – it goes by quickly!
With networking opportunities, assignments, and formal summer requirements (like trainings), there is no shortage of competing demands on your time during your summer. If you start to feel overwhelmed, let your summer coordinator know! It is important to balance your workload with the time to form relationships with your colleagues. It is also important to be honest about your workload and available capacity—and what you want to see more or less of—with your summer work allocation team. Ultimately, we want you to have the best experience you can have—so don’t be afraid to take part in building it!
Remember that over a virtual summer it may not feel as natural to speak up about your workload or the types of work you’d like to try. Don’t be shy about speaking up. Shoot your summer coordinator an email or give them a quick call. Everyone wants you to get the most out of your summer!
5. Be strategic.
You may not have considered participating in pro bono projects or an international rotation, but they are opportunities to strategically tailor your summer exposure and invest in networking that will benefit you as an associate, not to mention they’re fun and informative. Pro bono assignments are also an excellent way to take on responsibility you wouldn’t get elsewhere and will help you meet and collaborate with colleagues that work outside of your interest area. An international rotation (when travel restrictions permit) can be very valuable in building relationships across your firm’s global network, which you’ll be able to leverage in the future, and they help you gain an understanding of the broader firm.
6. Be flexible.
Finally, a tip for those facing an unconventional summer, particularly as we all prepare for the virtual summer associate program of 2020. Your summer will be exceptional, which also presents an opportunity: because we are learning as we go, you’ll have an opportunity to contribute to the shape that this summer takes. Your insights and creative suggestions are welcome and will be essential for ensuring that you have the most meaningful summer possible. If there is something in particular you want to see or do during your summer, let the teams you are working with know -- whether it’s a social event or a work assignment.
All in all, your 2L summer is an exciting time for you to take advantage of and learn from as many experiences as you can. By keeping our tips in mind, you’ll be on the right track for success as an associate. Good luck, and have fun!