Herbert Smith Freehills Assessments

Prepare for the Herbert Smith Freehills recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

About Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) is an international law firm most famous for specialising in dispute resolution. Co-headquartered in London and Sydney, Australia, HSF was created in 2012 when UK firm Herbert Smith, a so-called 'silver-circle' firm in London merged with one of Australia's 'big six' firms, Freehills.

Renowned for having the most FTSE 100 clients, Herbert Smith Freehills is a prestigious law firm which attracts the highest calibre of applicants, drawn to its reputation for litigation as well as financial and corporate work. HSF also has a growing reputation for exciting and interesting work, particularly in the energy and resources sector.

HSF offers a number of opportunities for graduates including vacation schemes and training contracts as well as open days, campus ambassador and various work experience and scholarships. Applications for vacation schemes and training contracts follow the same process.

HSF Application Process

HSF does not require applicants to have studied law when making an application, welcoming applicants from all backgrounds, as well as those who have additional work placed experience and then have decided to change career to law. HSF prides itself on building a diverse workforce and actively seeks candidates from a range of backgrounds and skill sets.

HSF Application Form

The application process begins by the candidate completing an online application form, in which information around academic background and relevant work experience should be set out.

There are then three written questions to which responses must be prepared, with a maximum of 300 words per question. These questions are broad and allow for candidates to draw on their knowledge, skills and expertise to showcase their personality and fit for HSF.

The current questions are:

  • Introduce us to a topic you know about and explain why it interests you
  • Explain why you're interested in pursuing a career at Herbert Smith Freehills
  • What skills, qualities and attributes would you bring to the role?

HSF Aptitude Tests

Successful candidates are then invited to submit online tests, which are specific to HSF, and take around 30-35 minutes to complete, although there is no official time limit. There are three types of questions included in the test: situational-judgment, verbal reasoning and personality/behavioural, with both the time taken and the accuracy of the answers reflected in the scoring.

HSF Situational judgement test

Situational judgement tests present typical workplace based scenarios, similar to which trainees can expect to face in their day to day work, and then ask questions based on the scenarios from which the candidate must decide which of the courses of action is most likely, or least likely, or rank responses.

The HSF tests are blended, so they will also test verbal reasoning and make personality based assumptions based on the candidates responses. Candidates might expect to face scenarios which reflect ethics, management, working practices such as time management or prioritisation, or client facing scenarios.

HSF Verbal reasoning test

Verbal reasoning tests assess verbal comprehension in the form of ability to read and understand the written word. After reading a written paragraph the candidate will be asked a number of questions. Based solely on information provided in the written scenario, which are not related to each other, candidates will be assessed on their ability to draw conclusions and differentiate between fact and opinion, by responding to whether a statement is true or false, or that you are unable to say.

HSF Personality/behavioural questions

The personality / behavioural element to the questions allows HSF to make more informed decisions about whether a specific candidate suits the culture and nature of the work at the firm. The questions require the candidate to answer whether given traits are 'most like me' or 'least like me', from which a personality type is identified. Whilst it can be tempting to second-guess which traits HSF are seeking, overall it is better to be honest.

Herbert Smith Freehills Assessment Day

Those that successfully complete the online application form and online tests will be invited to attend an assessment day. There are three elements to the assessment day - all of which require thorough preparation. The assessment days for trainees are held in person but currently vacation scheme applicants are being invited to attend virtual assessment days where the case study interview is replaced with a second scenario-based interview.

HSF Case Study Interview

The case study interview takes the form of presenting your opinions / advice on a case study (based on a scenario which you would expect to encounter during your work as a trainee) to a partner.

Candidates will need to demonstrate commercial awareness, an ability to think quickly under pressure, to reach a conclusion or give next steps. You will have 45 minutes in which to prepare a ten minute presentation based upon a list of questions provided in the case study. The presentation is followed by an interview/ discussion, so you should also be prepared to discuss and robustly defend your thoughts and arguments.

HSF Scenario-Based Interview

Similar to the case study is the scenario-based interview, in which you will take part in a discussion with a partner about a real-life commercial scenario, usually one upon which they are currently working. You will need to think from the client's perspective as well as considering commercial awareness and business strategy. You will not be expected to have in-depth legal knowledge, but will be assessed on your strategy and ability to think and discuss a problem with someone more senior, whilst bringing your own ideas and defending your proposals.

HSF Competency Interview

Lastly, you will face a competency interview with a senior associate, in which you will be interrogated on your reasoning for choosing a career in the law, at HSF in particular, and what skills and values you can bring to the firm. You should thoroughly prepare for this, having answers to hand in relation to why you are interested in law, your strengths and weaknesses, why you want to work at HSF and how you align with the visions and values of the firm, as well as the particular departments that you are interested in.

Sample Herbert Smith Freehills Assessments question Test your knowledge!

Score: /5

In a contractual dispute, the contract's language is ambiguous. What should be the focus when interpreting the phrasing to determine the contract's intent?

  • The immediate economic advantage gained by either party.
  • The written terms only, disregarding any prior negotiations.
  • The relevant industry standards that apply to such contracts.
  • The overall purpose the contract was meant to serve and the intent of the parties involved.
  • The personal opinions of the parties involved regarding contract terms.

During an arbitration process, two parties in a dispute must follow a logical flow of procedures. If step one is the selection of an arbitrator, step two is the exchange of statements of case, which of the following would be the logical next step?

  • Final decision by the arbitrator.
  • Compilation of evidence and documentation by both parties.
  • Direct negotiation between the two parties without the arbitrator present.
  • Appeal to a higher judicial authority in case of dissatisfaction with the arbitrator.

Consider a sequence of events in the preparation of a legal document. If the first step is gathering facts, followed by legal research, what would most likely be the next step?

  • Distributing the document to the involved parties.
  • Drafting document based on collected data and researched laws.
  • Submitting the document for a court hearing.
  • Billing the client for services rendered.

A client has presented a scenario where an external force is applied to two separate levers, one short and one long, to achieve rotational movement. Based on the principles of mechanical reasoning, which lever would require less force to achieve the same degree of rotation?

  • The shorter lever.
  • The longer lever.
  • Both would require the same force if the force is applied correctly.
  • Cannot be determined without knowing the weight at the end of the levers.

In reviewing the financial documents for a case, you find that the initial investment was $50,000. After 4 years, at an annual interest rate of 5%, compounded yearly, what would be the total value of the investment?

  • $60,525.00
  • $102,500.00
  • $60,208.37
  • $60,950.00
  • $61,000.00

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Herbert Smith Freehills Assessments Tips

Know Your Disputes

When it comes to shining at Herbert Smith Freehills, understanding the complex world of dispute resolution is key. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the concepts and terminologies specific to the legal disputes that HSF often handles. Get comfortable with case studies and potential scenarios you may encounter. Your theoretical knowledge will be your best defense!

Brush Up On Legal Aptitude

As a potential candidate for HSF, your analytical skills must be top-notch. Dedicate time to refine logical reasoning, attention to detail, and comprehension abilities. At Law Tests, we provide mock questions designed to hone these very skills, emulating the types of challenges you might encounter in actual HSF assessments.

Practice Under Pressure

HSF’s testing environment could be tense and timely. To mimic this, incorporate timed practice exams into your study routine. Our suite of tests at Law Tests helps you manage time effectively, ensuring that when the moment comes, you’re able to handle the pressure and perform at your best, even under tight timelines.

Embrace a Holistic Approach

Securing a position at HSF isn’t just about what you know; it’s also about how you present your knowledge. Work on all-round development including effective communication, clear writing, and a poised demeanor. Use the resources at Law Tests to improve not just your test scores, but also these vital soft skills.

Seek Feedback & Reflect

Each practice exam is an opportunity for growth. After every test at Law Tests, review your answers, understand the reasoning behind your mistakes, and seek constructive feedback. Reflection is a crucial step in preparing for HSF’s assessment process and can significantly improve your subsequent test performances.

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Herbert Smith Freehills Assessments FAQs

What does Herbert Smith Freehills look for in a potential employee?

Herbert Smith Freehills looks for people who show initiative, have good communication skills and are willing to learn new things as the company grows. The ideal candidate has knowledge of the field and is able to work well in a team environment as well as independently.

Why should I apply for a role at Herbert Smith Freehills?

Working at Herbert Smith Freehills can offer a valuable experience where you will be able to develop your skill set. From networking with influential figures to staying up-to-date on current cases, there are plenty of chances to grow as a professional.

How many positions are available for training contracts?

Herbert Smith Freehills usually offer 60 places for training contracts each year.

Where can I practice Herbert Smith Freehill's tests?

You can start practicing with our free Herbert Smith Freehills tests - no credit card is required. All you need to do is sign up with an email address.