Careers/Associates/Associate

Associate

As an associate, you will work independently, yet also have contact with clients. We will support you with a tailor-made development programme.

Careers/Associates/Associate

Starting your career as an Associate

As an associate at Freshfields, you will start your career as a fully-fledged member of a highly qualified team. Every day, you will work with demanding clients and face new challenges. Or, to put it another way, Freshfields offers you the optimal conditions to quickly mature into an outstanding legal personality.

On your way there, we attach great importance to actively promoting your development and offering you an environment in which you feel comfortable. This includes the formation of diverse teams that jointly pursue the goal of achieving results at the highest level. An experienced member of your team will accompany you during your orientation period and answer your questions.

Of course, you can take part in a comprehensive range of further training courses too. These include specific training courses as well as assignments at our locations throughout the world.

Similarly high value is given to the issue of work-life balance. Flexible working models and the possibility of part-time work, as well as time-outs along your career path, are a given.

You can find more details about our personnel and career programme under Development & Engagement. Discover what your personal career at Freshfields could look like below.

Associate

Associate

As a young graduate, you will immediately work independently and have direct contact with clients. However, you will not be thrown in at the deep end. Your lead partner and team colleagues will introduce you to your work, step by step. With training and other development opportunities tailored to your needs, we aim to help you mature in your role as an associate.

Principal Associate

Principal Associate

Has your outstanding professional and personal competence during your first four years with us enabled you to demonstrate you are one of the best commercial lawyers? If so, you can look forward to being made a Principal Associate. This will involve a closer relationship with the firm and you will be advising with clients independently. To best prepare you for your new role, you will be offered exclusive qualification opportunities.

Counsel

Counsel

Are you an impressive Principal Associate with both legal know-how in a specific field, and leadership potential? Then your progression to the role of Counsel will open up the possibility of a long-term career with us. As Counsel, you will occupy a prominent position within the market, and be given responsibility both for clients and for a team.

Partner

Partner

We believe it is important to see Freshfields’ partners emerge from within our own ranks. The appointment as partner — usually after six years of service with our law firm — is based on a transparent, firm-wide selection process. We will jointly shape your career path to a full partnership in a fair and transparent manner. You will continue to benefit from our full commitment, enabling you to adequately meet your new responsibility to establish and maintain client contacts.

Would you like to enjoy a successful career at Freshfields? If so, take a look at our current employment opportunities. Important information regarding your application can be found in the FAQs below.

Testimonials

Maren Tamke

Counsel

Maren Tamke

Counsel

ACT (Competition)

Berlin

After working for one year as a research assistant in the Berlin Freshfields office, I was taken on by the firm at the end of 2008 as an antitrust lawyer. In 2019, I became Counsel.

In recent years, I have worked in all areas of antitrust law, with a particular focus on proceedings relating to merger control, antitrust fines and cartel abuse, compliance issues and damages claims. From the very beginning, I have been able to work very independently and with constant contact with the authorities and clients. While providing advice on antitrust, I find it particularly appealing that I am able to gain a deep insight into the respective business of the clients and the individual markets. Moreover, antitrust is a very dynamic legal field, so that new and exciting questions keep arising, for example, as a result of digitalisation.

I enjoy working in a team with professionally excellent, friendly, charming and helpful colleagues from different practice groups all over the world. For us, “truly international” is not just an empty phrase, but a lived reality.
In addition to learning on the job, the excellent training in the form of professional and other courses has been, and still is, a great enrichment for me. I wouldn’t want to miss the numerous in-house antitrust or sector-specific conferences or the opportunity to work in different locations around the world, e.g. as part of my secondment to our London office. I also appreciate the flexibility that Freshfields offers me. For example, a few years ago, I was able to take some time off to complete my doctorate alongside my work.

Hendric Labonté

Principal Associate

Hendric Labonté

Principal Associate

Dispute Resolution

Dusseldorf

During my studies, I took part in Vis Moot, the international moot court competition, which drew my attention to dispute resolution for the first time. My first contact with Freshfields, however, was initially in the area of corporate law, which I also found very interesting. However, dispute resolution continued to intrigue me and when I met my current lead partner personally during a recruiting event, it became clear that I wanted to join Freshfields in this area.

The fields of activity for lawyers can roughly be described like this: one field concerns the advisory activity so that the client “locks the stable door before the horse has bolted”, and the other field concerns the issue of when “the horse has already bolted”. Our practice group deals with the latter. This is done out of court, but also in front of state courts or arbitration tribunals — and, for me, this is the classic image of a lawyer. Since it is possible to dispute almost anything, the range of disputes we cover is very wide. As a result, we often have areas that overlap with other practice groups which support us in litigation in specialised fields.

A particularly exciting case that I have been working on since my first day at Freshfields concerns the defence of a client from the automotive industry. In particular, the highly complex nature of this case is due to the large number of procedures to be handled independently, and the high degree of autonomy that results from this. A big plus is also the large number of hearings. You don’t always get this amount of court experience. Despite the high degree of autonomy in handling cases, I also work together very closely with a large number of colleagues and contacts on the client side, both locally and internationally. The less experienced members of the team are also involved in this intensive collaboration right from the start.

For me, this daily interaction with my colleagues, which also includes the partners and occurs very much on an equal footing, is a great strength and makes Freshfields different, and is one of the reasons why I enjoy coming to work every day.

Alicia Hildner

Principal Associate

Alicia Hildner

Principal Associate

GT-Corporate

Secondment

As a lawyer specialising in banking supervisory law, I deal with issues relating to the regulation of credit or financial services institutions. This includes an incredible range of topics such as licensing requirements, equity base and risk management of institutions, or areas such as money laundering, the law on trading in securities or on payment services. As a result of the financial crisis, we increasingly advise clients on reorganisation and liquidation law issues. Due to the digitalisation of the financial sector and the growth of the FinTech industry, we deal increasingly with new financial technologies and classify them in terms of regulation.

During my studies, I did not come into contact with banking supervisory law. I gained my first experience in this area during my time as a lawyer at Freshfields. At the time, as it is now, it was a challenge to try and maintain an overview in the ongoing “regulatory tsunami” that has taken place since the beginning of the banking crisis. Due to the wide range of issues as well as the in-depth legal work and the constantly changing conditions, work in the field of banking supervisory law is never dull, and the learning curve is very steep.

In my team, I really appreciate the fact that we can share information with each other and, in particular, discuss our questions with partners at any time. Their experience and knowledge are enormously helpful, especially since, at the Frankfurt office, we are the only practice group in Germany to advise on banking supervisory law. Of course, our daily routine requires us to work with colleagues from other practice groups or offices too. I find the international nature of Freshfields particularly remarkable and this is reflected in the team work and collaboration, not only at the firm itself, but also with regard to our clients.

Moritz Heidbuechel

Counsel

Moritz Heidbuechel

Counsel

GT-Real Estate

Hamburg

In real estate law at Freshfields, I found an area where I would like to work every day. Our team attaches great importance to teamwork and respectful interaction. I find being able to work with various personalities, all of whom are outstanding lawyers, particularly inspiring.

We work closely together across all seniority levels and always have a sympathetic ear for questions or suggestions. This atmosphere of co-operation made my start as a lawyer at Freshfields much easier. Even today, I still very much appreciate this and try to pass on the same spirit whenever new colleagues join us.
Our work focuses on a particular property, which often makes the task both clear and easy to understand. The real estate law of the German Civil Code (BGB) often plays only a minor role in this context and the work focuses more on purchase contracts, real estate financing and their associated securities, tenancy agreements, company law in connection with real estate, for example in joint ventures, construction contracts for project developments and contracts with architects, as well as public law or the law of unit trusts. This versatility ensures a broad range of content and leads to constant dialogue with other practice groups within the firm.

I still find it great to read in the press about transactions that I have worked on or, when I travel around the city, to recognise buildings that we have advised on.

As well as that, our work has an international focus, for the simple reason that our clients are often based abroad and sometimes the property in question is also located abroad. This means that I regularly work with colleagues from our international offices, and negotiations are in English. Personally, I enjoy this international communication and it helps us to develop optimal solutions for our clients, especially if the case is complicated.

Theresa Ehlen

Partner

Theresa Ehlen

Partner

GT-Corporate

Frankfurt

Actually, I never intended to work for an international commercial law firm as my mind was dominated by stereotypical images. My clearly defined goal was to become a judge. Nevertheless, I did not want to miss out on the opportunity of acquiring an insight into the work of a commercial law firm during my legal clerkship. So, I started my career as a lawyer almost without expecting too much. Fortunately, things turned out quite differently.

Now, I work in a fantastic international team on challenging cases and complex legal issues, and do so in an environment where I am constantly developing. Joining Freshfields was exactly the right decision for me and I am glad that I was willing to get involved in the “big law firm” experiment.

What’s the best way to describe my job? That is not an easy question to answer because my work is so varied and versatile that I cannot list everything. Broadly speaking, I do everything related to media, digitalization, technology and intellectual property. I frequently work on contracts, ie I draft, revise and negotiate them, and help clients with their interpretation and implementation. I handle court and regulatory proceedings and advise clients, usually within the framework of international transactions.

I find it particularly important to be able to apply my legal skills in a practical way in all these activities, and also have the opportunity, on a daily basis, to think outside the box. It is great to see how, through teamwork within a project, different areas of law all feed into a single joint outcome. In my first year at university, I heard that law is not boring but lively and relevant to everyday practice. During my studies I had my doubts, but who doesn’t? Now, I am pleased to be able to say that, every day, I experience again and again how vibrant the law can be, and indeed should be.

How to become a part of the team?
What requirements do I need to apply for the role of associate at Freshfields?
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We want to meet exciting personalities with foresight, who enjoy teamwork and are enthusiastic about working in an international commercial law firm. Excellent exam results and good English language skills are naturally a prerequisite. Practical experience in your preferred legal field and experience abroad are additional assets which can score you extra points.

How can I apply and what documents should I include with my application?
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We accept applications for the role of Associate throughout the year at all locations in Germany. Your complete application documents should consist of your curriculum vitae, a cover letter and all relevant certificates since leaving school, including your A’ level certificates. Please compile all your documents into a single PDF file and send it by email to the HR contact person at your chosen location. They will be happy to answer your questions at any time.

What are the next steps after I have submitted my application?
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As soon as we get your application, we will send you confirmation that we have received it. This means you can be sure we have started reviewing your application. If we like your written application, the next step will be an invitation to an application day at the location of your choice. We attach particular importance to ensuring that the chemistry between you and your future colleagues is right. For us to get to know each other better, you can expect a series of one-to-one interviews with partners and associates of the respective teams. Following these interviews, you will receive prompt feedback from us.