Development & Engagement

Development & Engagement

Our comprehensive programme offers you personal and professional support throughout all the stages of your career. We also encourage you to get socially engaged.

Development & Engagement

Work is just the half of it ­- what about the other half?

We encourage independent work through a positive and dynamic environment. To achieve this, we maintain an open and team-focused atmosphere in which everyone feels appreciated and is able to develop his or her individual skills. This is because we know that it is not only the right balance between a professional and a private life that is crucial for a successful career. Well-being in the workplace is another essential element which has an impact on all other areas. The way we work at Freshfields shows who we are and what we stand for. Not only do we seek to advise our clients well, we also aim to do so in a responsible and sustainable manner. Just as we demand top performance from ourselves as an employer, we constantly encourage your performance within your area of responsibility.

Appreciation and respect, development and ongoing training

We want our firm to reflect and promote the diversity of humankind. It is why an inclusive environment, characterised by mutual respect, regardless of gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, creed, culture, disability or other aspects of personal life, is extremely important to us. We actively provide support for our employees throughout their careers. They are able to choose from a wide range of development activities, differentiated according to their specialist focus and professional experience.

Would you like to know more about our activities in the area of Learning & Development, Responsible Business and Diversity & Inclusion? Then read on.

Learning and development
Learning and development

Top talents never stop developing — our tailor-made career development programme provides additional encouragement. Our programmes support you in developing professional excellence, a confident personality and strong management skills. We want to provide you with everything you need for a successful career, both with us and in the legal departments of other companies.

Clearly defined career levels determine the criteria that are decisive for your development at Freshfields. These are differentiated according to your specialist focus and professional experience and you can choose from a wide range of development schemes.

Our range of activities include learning through involvement in top cases, international assignments and training in the six key pillars of Legal Expertise, Professional Development, Business Skills, Language Skills, Diversity Development and Executive Development.

You will have access to a pool of renowned specialists and speakers, including partners from our law firm, keynote speakers from client circles, experienced coaches, and management experts from renowned business schools.

Responsible business
Responsible business

Our advice reflects who we are at Freshfields; our character, our values and our ethos. At the core of our business strategy is our claim to provide our clients with excellent, responsible and sustainable advice. Our concept of responsible business is reflected throughout our entire organisation, from the management culture within our partnership to sustainable action beyond the boundaries of the firm. As a responsible company, we conduct business in an ethical, safe and environmentally-sound manner. We also strive to minimise any adverse impacts on our planet. We foster a culture of respect, consideration and courtesy within the firm. Externally, we believe it is necessary to use our global reach and culture of co-operation, to make a positive contribution to society, through pro bono, community and environmental work. The free assistance we provide extends to local associations as well as to some of the world’s largest charities including Save the Children and Amnesty International. Pro bono work allows us to support our clients with their own charitable corporate goals. In order to achieve this, we have extended our business activities to include a strategic framework based on our values and background, and on article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which we have adopted as a guiding principle.

Mental wellbeing
Mental wellbeing

Freshfields attaches great importance to the psychological well-being of our employees. We strive to create an environment characterised by open communication and an honest approach to mental challenges. In fact, we promote the exchange of information on this subject worldwide, at all levels of the firm and in many ways. For example, we have set up various programmes aimed at avoiding possible psychological stress and/or at finding ways to counteract it.

Inclusive culture
Inclusive culture

We have a series of initiatives which ensure we promote and firmly anchor an inclusive culture into the fabric of our firm. Here are some examples: – Inclusive Leadership Training — a training scheme for partners and senior staff worldwide. The scheme is designed to help senior management reduce bias when making decisions about new recruits, and to strengthen inclusive leadership skills. – Reverse Mentoring is a programme we launched in January 2019 in partnership with our internal Diversity Networks. This six-month mentoring programme involves more junior, versatile employees providing support to senior management. – Unconscious Bias Training — a training scheme for all new starters to raise awareness of forms of unconscious bias, such prejudices and stereotyping, and to question our own unconscious bias.

Diversity networks
Diversity networks

It is important to us that Diversity & Inclusion are genuinely a part of the workplace, in our culture and in our cooperation with third parties. Freshfields achieved a position in the top ten on the Stonewall Equality Index, a benchmarking tool for ranking the best employers with discrimination-free working environments. In addition, our multifaceted commitment was honoured with the Azur Diversity Award. In order to provide a network for diversity and to promote the inclusion of differences, we bring together people with common goals and interests, and create information platforms. Our internal company networks make up an essential part of our Diversity & Inclusion activities.

Halo

Back in 2002, we launched our LGBT+ network “Halo”. In 2006, we signed the Charter of Diversity. Halo promotes the worldwide integration and equality of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual colleagues. In addition to those who identify themselves as living within the LGBT+ community, all those who would like to support the network, our “Halo Champions”, are also invited and welcome to be a part of Halo. Regular meetings provide a platform for exchanging experiences and promoting networking.

Women’s Networks

Our Women’s Networks are active in all locations and are committed to creating an environment where both women and men are equally able to reach their full potential. In order to achieve this, they organise a variety of different activities and events, working together with clients and external organisations. Our “Anwältin sucht Referendarin” (female lawyer seeks female trainee) recruiting programme, our mentoring programme for young female associates and our global sponsorship scheme for top female talent also contribute to a better gender balance. In November 2018, our Women’s Networks also launched the initiative “Every Day Gender Equality Commitment”. This encourages gradual and tangible changes through practical and day-to-day actions, thus promoting real gender equality throughout the company, worldwide.