Pre-diversity era Freshfields graduate recruitment ad dredged up by law mag

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By Alex Aldridge on

1990 advert harks back to a different time


A illustration of how much corporate law firm culture has changed over the last quarter of a century has surfaced online after a law magazine dredged up an old Freshfields graduate recruitment advert.

The ad features a drawing — by artist Glen Baxter — of what appears to be Freshfields lawyers carrying colonial spears. Some are shirtless, others sport ‘F’ emblazoned tops and wear bowler hats. All carry umbrellas. Meanwhile, the text promises “exotic pleasures” to the firm’s “articled clerks” (now known as trainees) and boasts of Freshfields’ five overseas offices. Now it has 28.


The contrast with the modern, diverse and politically correct image that big law firms seek to project in 2016 is stark. But a lot changes in 26 years.

The ad (pictured in full below) first appeared in The Lawyer (registration required) in 1990, three years after the pre-internet era title was founded, and in a show of nostalgia has been republished by the magazine today.