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Applying for the trainee associate programme

We read every application that we receive and shortlist applicants on merit alone. Whatever your background, if you think you can make it as an international commercial lawyer, you should apply.

This year, we’re offering up to 100 places on the trainee associate programme for intakes to our London office in spring and autumn 2025. 

You can apply either directly for the trainee associate programme or, if you’re a penultimate-year undergraduate student, via a vacation scheme. Find out how to prepare for each stage of our application process.

Apply directly for the 2025 trainee associate programme

Winter trainee associate programme application window: 6 November 2023 to 18 January 2024

Who can apply:

  • final-year law and non-law students
  • law and non-law graduates

Summer trainee associate programme application: 17 June to 1 September 2024 

Who can apply:

  • penultimate and final-year undergraduate law students (UK law degree)
  • law graduates (UK law degree)
  • GDL/PGDL graduates

Am I eligible for the 2025 trainee associate programme?

If you're a non-law student, you're eligible to apply in the final year of your undergraduate degree or as a graduate.

If you're a law (UK LLB) student, you are eligible to apply in the penultimate or final year of your undergraduate degree, or as a graduate.

You can apply once per academic year, so if you apply for a place on trainee associate programme during the winter application window, you cannot apply again during the following summer application window.

Apply via our vacation scheme

If you’re in your penultimate year at university, you have an alternative option: to apply for a place on our vacation scheme. If you’re successful, you can interview for the trainee associate programme at the end of the scheme.

To apply for a place on the trainee associate programme or  the vacation scheme, fill out our application form and write a personal statement of up to 850 words. If you’re invited to the next stage of the process, you will complete the Watson Glaser test (which assesses critical thinking skills). If you’re successful at that stage, we’ll invite you to a half-day assessment centre.

When you go the extra mile, partners and associates will show appreciation for your contribution to the team.

Folarin Odunubi, Associate

Applicants with disabilities

Freshfields is committed to being a disability-inclusive employer. We are constantly searching for ways to attract and progress our disabled talent. We partner with Business Disability Forum, who help organisations become disability smart, and are part of their Global Taskforce. We also work with Myplus Consulting who advise on better attracting, retaining and progressing talented disabled undergraduates and graduates.

If you have a disability, we want you to be able to show your full potential. We'll provide any adjustments and/or support you need during the recruitment process. Examples of adjustments we can make include assistive technology, extra time, offering interviews at a specific time and ensuring ease of physical access.

Please let us know as soon as you can if you think you would benefit from any adjustments. Email or call +44 20 7785 5554. All conversations will be kept confidential. To learn more about what Freshfields is doing to support our colleagues who are affected by disability, visit our diversity and inclusion page.

     Apply now