Herbert Smith Freehills launches London advocacy secondment for junior lawyers

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In-house option sees associates spend 12 months working with global outfit’s top advocates

Junior lawyers at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) will now have an opportunity to hone their advocacy skills thanks to a new in-house secondment.

Legal Cheek can reveal the global outfit has launched a secondment programme, which will see two junior associates each year join the firm’s in-house Advocacy Group. Launched in 2004, the unit is made up of around 160 lawyers across the globe, including a number of top QCs, and forms an integral part of its litigation and arbitration practice.

HSF confirmed it’s starting to take applications from existing associates who have at least two years’ post-qualification experience (PQE), with the first secondee due to take up their spot within the team this September. Secondees will spend one year with the unit before returning to their original team.

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“I am proud of what we have achieved with our Global Advocacy Initiative and am excited about the further plans we have for the offering,” Damien Byrne Hill, head of disputes in HSF’s London office, said. “We believe that advocacy is a skill which lies at the heart of everything we do as disputes lawyers. Our ambition is to develop advocacy skills and court craft throughout our disputes division and the underlying raison d’être our Advocacy Group is to help us achieve that.”

Meanwhile, HSF confirmed commercial disputes partner Gary Milner-Moore has moved across to the Advocacy Group. The solicitor advocate qualified at HSF in 1997 and has been a partner since 2004. Milner-Moore will join existing partners Adam Johnson QC, who was appointed as a deputy High Court judge last year, and Tom Leech QC, to lead the firm’s Global Advocacy Group.

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Does anyone know if HSF is raising NQ salaries?



They don’t want to but they’ll have no choice to offer £90,000 – £100,000.



Oxbridge History grad GDLs are gonna be all over this.



Why would any of them go to HSF? They would definitely choose MC or US



I know this comment is probably taking the piss but the fact of the matter is many of these people do end up going to HSF – the firm is around 40% Oxbridge

Also, in areas like litigation, HSF matches or straight up outclasses the MC/US. The firm is also pretty strong in corporate (albeit not quite matching the MC or the top US firms).

Overall, provided the firm matches the latest salary hikes which I think it will, I don’t think HSF is a bad alternative to the MC, especially if disputes is your thing


Grumpy GILF

You kids on here are really pathetic. One guys makes a decent joke about Oxbridge History (Classics/Land Economy) GDL’ers and then some snobbish immature toad says oh but those elite students wouldn’t go to HSF, and then some insecure buthurt pre-teen responds that HSF is actually really elite. I’m trying to enjoy my lunch break here, take these playground antics elsewhere.



Worked insanely hard to get into the two of the top 10 universities in the world – did a degree in basket weaving/hopes and dreams. Better become a solicitor! Simmons was like that too – a few Russell group First LLBs and a load of 2:1 Oxford History/Fine Arts. What a joke.

I hope my current firm takes the high road when the SQE comes in and only interviews people with a proper law undergrad.


HSF Future Trainee 2020

I think they should instead focus on raising NQ salaries to £100,000.



If HSF doesn’t respond by raising NQ salaries the new market rate (at least 90k), there’s going to be a mass exodus from Exchange House.

Utterly no excuse not to respond, especially since HL has raised salaries too.


Macfarlanes Trainee

£100,000 is the norm now for NQs. Law firms can afford this – 1800 average billable targets at MC/SC firms. Average hourly rate for an NQ is about £350. Total revenue from an NQ is around £630,000. Stop being greedy partners and pay out!



Wow, that’s a high NQ billable rate. But surely a lot of NQ time at these MC/SC are currently being written down – so that £630,000 figure must be drastically reduced. A lot of finance sector and other global clients are no longer paying for trainee and NQ work these days.

There was also a few reports recently circulated that stated the vast majority of UK junior lawyers (mainly in BigLaw) were not hitting their targets, again due to partners writing time down or the lovely market uncertainty keeping businesses stagnate.


Linklaters Final Seat Trainee (Capital Markets)

Milbank, Cravath, Simpson Thacher, Kirkland & Ellis, Vinson & Elkins are all paying $190,000 + big annual bonus. I am leaving Linklaters in September, rather get paid much more for the same/less hours.



I agree!! £90-100k at mc/sc firms is a lot but you can get 50% more at a US firm.

I did my vac scheme at Freshfields and didn’t like the experience, thousands of lawyers who don’t know each other, culture isn’t great. Compared to the one I did at Skadden – smaller firm, big deals and everyone gets along well and they are very social!



Smaller firm + big deals + a few psychotic partners = weeks of not seeing daylight whilst stuck in the office. The whole sociability thing is just the inevitable result of people being too busy to have a social life with their family or (non-work) friends.



There are more freaks and perverted partners at MC firms. My ex-gf was a trainee at CC and was constantly harassed by partners.



Alex/Legal Cheek will delete this comment as they are biased and against freedom of speech.


Can you please elaborate on why culture isn’t great?



Everyone got along very well at Skadden? Yeah, course they did. EWYK means there’s blood on the walls at most partners’ meetings.



What is EWYK for the uninitiated please ?



Eat What You Kill (as opposed to a pure lockstep like Slaughters).

Random passer-by

Eat What You Kill.

How’s the hols after exams btw? Have you started doing your reading for second year?

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