Essential advice

Join us and you’ll find that everyone from associates to partners will be happy to give you advice if you need it. In fact, many of them have already provided some tips that should prove useful, whatever stage you are at.

Why law?

Six questions to help you decide if law is right for you

Do I have the right kind of brain?

Success in law is not just a question of being clever. For example, the trainees that do the best with us are inquisitive, logical and commercially minded.

Is it the work that appeals, or the lifestyle?

This is a big one. If the challenge of the work doesn’t grab you, then you’ll never really be able to fully commit to it. Make sure you’re looking at law for the right reasons.

How do I feel about international work?

Many law trainees work overseas at some point. Ours are very likely to. And even if you don’t travel, almost all of the work here has an international angle to it.

Am I ready for some serious reading?

If you can’t sit down and get your head round a lot of paperwork to get to the key issues, then this may not be for you. Working with words doesn’t suit everyone.

Is it right for me to be going into a client-facing industry?

Every deal we do involves lots of conference calls and meetings. You’ll have to be comfortable with this. Talking of which…

Am I comfortable being the one that everyone’s looking at for an answer?

You’ll eventually find yourself in this position. It happens to our trainees fairly quickly.

Seven essential reads for students considering a future in law

The Economist

It will give you a good overview of what’s going on in the world economy and the key commercial issues – important stuff if you’re going to advise a client on how your decisions may impact their business. It’s great for interviews too.


A very interesting website that will give you an insight of what life is like at various practices without the marketing sheen.


A good magazine to read if you want to get a global perspective on current affairs.

A serious newspaper

It always pays to know what’s going on at home and abroad. It doesn’t really matter which one you read, as long as you read one of them.

Know the City 2015/16 by Chris Stoakes

Explains the City and the commercial and financial worlds in a straightforward way.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A great book, featuring one of the most inspiring lawyers in literary history.

The Norton Rose Fulbright graduate brochure

If you haven’t read it yet, it’s definitely worth a look if you want an insight into life at a global legal practice. You can download it here.

Why Norton Rose Fulbright?

Five reasons why Norton Rose Fulbright is the right choice

We asked our people what made them choose us. Here are the reasons they gave, in their own words:

The future plans

“Norton Rose Fulbright is not sitting still. We’re really going somewhere."

The work

“Norton Rose Fulbright is innovative in its business development and areas of focus. This makes the work more tangible and more commercial. It’s up there with the best in the City.”

The international aspect

“It’s important to me, as I love to travel, and wanted to work at an international level. Pick somewhere in the world, and we’ve probably got an office there.”

The culture

“There’s an understanding here that, to provide the most effective and high quality work, people need to feel free to explore things outside of their immediate role.”

The people

“The Norton Rose Fulbright people I met at careers fairs and on the vacation scheme made a real impression on me. They were highly motivated and ambitious, but genuine and approachable too.”

Five things to ask yourself to find out if you’re right for us

Do I have a global outlook?

Our reach is worldwide, as are the careers we offer. Almost all of the work here has an international aspect. And you should expect considerable international exposure as part of your training contract, and beyond. Does this appeal?

Am I ready to really get involved?

The more you put in here, the more you will get out. And we’re not just talking about how hard you work. Getting involved means asking questions, meeting people, embracing opportunities and being curious about your work and our clients.

Am I open minded?

By this, we mean are you eager to add new dimensions to your experience? Your career here could go in any number of directions, and you must be adaptable and adventurous enough to make the most of every opportunity, wherever it is.

Am I more than just academically strong?

We look for sharp and agile thinkers with strong interpersonal skills and impressive academic records. However, the lawyers who do best here are the ones who go beyond, to think commercially about the business challenges our clients face.

Am I thinking long-term?

You are just starting out, so we will not expect you to have a vision of your future already laid out. However, it’s important that you’re thinking about, and are committed to, building a career that lasts.

Five tips for anyone considering applying to Norton Rose Fulbright

Don't assume that we are like the others

We have characteristics and an ethos that make us different to everyone else, so know what those are.

Be totally sure you want to travel and work abroad

It is highly likely that, at some point, you will. If this doesn't appeal, we might not be the right place to come.

Get experience

Trying different practices and different areas of law will stand you in good stead for your interview and during those first nerve-wracking weeks.

Be aware of our sector-focused strategy

It’s a huge part of the culture and work here, so be able to talk about it during your interview and assessment day.

Apply, and get engaged

Getting through the door and talking to people is the only way to really understand what the practice feels like.

The eight words that best sum up Norton Rose Fulbright

We asked our people to give us four words that summed us up as a practice and a workplace. In no particular order, here are the most popular answers.









The four best things about working in More London

The view

Tourists from all over the world flock to see the sights that I can see from my office window.

The area

We’re very close to Borough and Maltby Street markets, both of which I love going to. And I get to walk across Tower Bridge every day.

The environment in the office

It’s light, airy and spacious. It’s designed by Foster & Partners. And it’s new, so everything works.

The facilities

The office has got pretty much everything – a restaurant, a deli bar and a gym, to name a few.

Five ways in which our industry focus makes our work different

Our strong industry focus is a major influence here. It certainly drives the way we work. But how does it affect the work that you will be involved in? We asked some of our people for their opinions.

It gives you access to great work

Many of our sector teams are leaders in their field. This means they bring in the best work – not just the biggest, but some of the most innovative work too.

It makes you more commercially focused

You get to know what’s affecting our clients in their industry. It helps you relate law to the commercial world, and it makes our work more marketable.

It creates closer working across teams

Having this kind of shared focus really connects teams across the whole global practice.

It can help you choose your seats

All of my seats have been in the same sector, which has given my training contract a clear direction.

It means that you learn more

The industries we focus on change all time, so you have to stay aware of this. It helps when it comes to communicating with clients.

How to apply

Five tips for a strong application

Know what you’re answering before you answer

Start by reading through the form and making sure you understand what each question is asking for.

Show us why you chose us

Make it clear why you made your decision, and why you see your future here.

Make no mistakes

Don’t forget to check and double-check your spelling and grammar. Attention to detail is massively important in law, and any mistakes will show.

Be yourself

Individuality is valued here, so let your personality come through. Be interesting and engaging.

Let us know what you think

We’re interested in hearing your opinions about us. So, without quoting our own materials, let us know.

The seven best ways to stand out during the application process

We receive a lot of applications for our programmes, so you’ll want to give yourself the best chance of standing out. Here’s how.

Know your strengths

Ahead of an assessment day, think about what your strongest attributes are, and then take every opportunity to demonstrate them.

Write a new application

Cut and pasted answers from other applications will stand out a mile – and not in a good way.

Know your stuff

Make sure you know the ins and outs of the practice. What is our ethos, and what’s our business model? It’s also worth brushing up on some of our recent deals.

Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know

While we’ll be looking for commercial awareness, we don’t expect you to be a Financial Times columnist. So offer opinions when you can, and hold your hand up when you can’t.

Get noticed, but don’t shout

If you get invited to the assessment day, don’t set out to dominate proceedings during tasks. You’ll look better, and stand out more, if you try to involve everyone and work in a team.

Personality counts

Everyone who progresses in the application process has the academics to succeed as a lawyer. It’s up to you to prove that you have person skills needed too.

Be an individual

Don’t be afraid to offer a curve-ball opinion. We value people who think outside the box.

Some of the things we look for from our trainees

Rounded individuals. Most people here have done more in their lives than just study.

Engagement - not just with the work you do, but with the practice and people around you.

Enthusiasm. Your supervisor won’t expect you to know everything about a deal, but they will look to you to work hard and contribute in every way you can.

Diligence. Attention to detail matters in law, and mistakes will get noticed.

A willingness to learn. This is vital, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to show yours.

Organisational skills. They’re not glamorous, but they are invaluable. People remember the trainee who turns up late for every meeting.

Six ways to shine in your interview

Prepare thoroughly

Show your knowledge of our global reach, our strategy and our work. And say what it means to you.

Know your news

It helps to be up to speed with topical commercial issues and developments, so read the business and legal press.

Know about us

Get to understand our practice and the areas we focus on. But make sure you know what these really mean – don’t just quote our brochure at us.

Speak up

Be ready to do most of the talking. After all, we’ll want to get to know you.

Question as well as answer

Think of some pertinent questions for the end of the interview - we like enquiring minds.

Be you

Above all, be who you are, not who you think we want you to be.

Take advantage of early opportunities

Seven ways to get the most out of an open day

Treat it like an assessment day

As well as an opportunity to learn, it’s an opportunity to make a good impression and make some contacts.

Be a sponge

Soak up as much as you can. You won’t get a better chance to get inside information, so really listen, and try to take it all in.

Be prepared

Read up on the practice before you attend. This will help you work out what you really want to know, and will also help when it comes to talking to people on the day.

Have some questions ready

Ask specific questions about things that you can’t find on the website or in the brochure. The answers you get will prove useful in interviews later on.

Talk to a lot of people

And not just the senior ones. You can learn a huge amount from talking to trainees about their day-to-day work, because they’re the ones closest to the action. The trainee recruitment team are also good to talk to.

Be brave

Throw yourself into the activities because it’s your opportunity to make a good impression. We like people who involve themselves.

Look the part

While you don’t have to turn up in a suit, try to look smart, engaged and positive. It sounds obvious, but look like you want a job.

Four reasons to take part in our First step programme

A great introduction to law

You can’t really gauge what being a lawyer is like until you have worked in a practice. This will help you decide if law is right for you.

A great introduction to us

It goes without saying that spending a week with us is a good way to absorb our culture and experience our work. It’s also a good way to get your face known at this early stage.

It sets you up for the next step

Attending this programme will strengthen your applications for vacation schemes further down the line.

Looks good on your CV

It shows future employers that you’re engaged, proactive, and serious about a career in law.

Six ways to get the most out of a vacation scheme

Just say yes

Lots of activities will be offered to you. Say yes to as many as you can, because they will all have something valuable to offer.

Get involved

Meet people, work diligently and partake in all the social events. You’ll be with us for a limited time, so make every day count.

Ask questions

People here are very receptive to questions, and they’ll be happy to answer them. Current trainees are particularly good to talk to, if you want current insights into the training contract.

Treat it like a two-way interview

It is not just a matter of us looking at you – it is equally important that you look at us and ask yourself if you could see yourself building a lasting career here.

Network, network, network

The contacts you make on a vacation scheme will prove really useful if you go on to secure a place on the training contract. So get yourself out there.

Be honest with yourself

If you find yourself not really enjoying the work, listen to yourself. You won’t be able to force yourself to enjoy it for an entire career.

Studying for the LPC

Four ways to thrive on the LPC

Treat it like a job

This is not university, so make it your focus from nine to five.

Be consistent

Work hard from the beginning, and keep it going. If you slip behind, it can be tough.

Don’t panic

The course is not easy, but it’s well-structured and the teachers are very good. Have faith in the system, because it is designed to help people succeed.

Make friends

It’s a good environment to make friends in, and these friendships will provide valuable support as you move through the course. The contacts you make could end up lasting throughout your career.

Making the most out of your training contract

Eight tips for a successful training contract

Keep an open mind.

Preconceived ideas about which seats you want to take are very likely to change, so stay flexible.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

It’s okay to make mistakes. You are just starting out, and people will understand this. Let people know if you’re struggling, learn from the experience, and then move on.

Don’t think you have to know everything when you start

No one does. So focus on asking the right questions and you’ll soon start picking it up.

Support each other

If you are unsure about anything, your fellow trainees are a good first port of call. The training contract is not a competition, and you’ll get more out of it if you work together.

Learn the ropes

It might sound basic, but things like knowing how the printers work can prove invaluable. Ask someone to show you.

Learn from those around you

Watch how more experienced lawyers work and handle situations. Learn and absorb their good traits.

Give your all

Try to impress in every seat, even if you’ve decided early on that you would not choose to qualify there. Everyone you work with will have an impact on your application.

Get involved

Engage in as many ‘extra-curricular’ activities as possible - it's a great way to meet people from all parts of the practice. This is good advice for life as an associate too.

The eight best pieces of advice our people received during their training contracts

Take a notepad everywhere

You never know when you’re going to learn something valuable.

Hold your hand up

If you make a mistake, own up straight away. Things are easier to rectify if they’re caught early. And they often turn out to be less serious than you feared.

Ask around

It’s better to ask ten people one question each, than one person ten questions.

Do the little things right

Do this, and the rest will follow.

Keep cool

Use the mute button on conference calls. And never, ever, lose your temper. Even if it’s justified, it will always come back to you in the end.

Go home if you have no work

We do not a ‘face time’ culture. So when things aren’t hectic, take advantage.

Do your best

It can be as simple as that, sometimes.

Be commercial, not academic

The best advice is built on awareness, insight and creative thinking.

Eight ways to make sure your first meeting with a client goes well

Make sure you understand their business

Our clients expect us to bring commercial thinking to the table, so do a bit of background research. What is their business? What are its strengths and weaknesses? And what is the wider market situation in their industry? It’s amazing what you can find on Google for this. Colleagues will be happy to help too.

Make sure you know them

Speak to fee earners who work with the client already, to get some insights into what the client is like and what their interests are. It’ll help with small talk.

Also, make sure you know what the meeting is about

Ask your supervisor for some background to the meeting. This will mean that, even if you don’t speak much, you’ll know what’s going on.

Know who’s going to be there

Things are easier when you can put names to faces, so try to find out who’s going to be attending the meeting. Then learn their names.

Arrive early

Turning up early will give you some time to get settled and ready.

Get the paperwork ready

Print out the agenda and all relevant documents. Read it all thoroughly, and get it ready the day before. It’s also a good idea to bring a notepad and pen.

Don’t overthink things

It’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, you’re meeting some people. So while it’s important to be professional and informed, they also what some interaction on a human level.


Be polite, listen to the client, and try not to dominate the conversation.

Three things our people wish they’d known before qualifying

This one was just for the senior people. Here's what they said, in their own words.

The importance of soft skills

The job is not just about being a lawyer – it’s about being a people person too. The techniques of persuasion and rapport building are really important.

That qualification is not the biggest decision

It felt so at the time, but careers in law are long and there are plenty of opportunities to change direction along the way. It pays to stay adaptable.

That I would, one day, truly understand what I was doing

It’s easy to forget how overwhelming everything seems to begin with. Experience changes everything in time.

The eight most surprising tasks our people have been asked to do

To take delivery of a brand new cruise ship – and stay onboard in the honeymoon suite overnight.

Being put in charge of overseeing the delivery of a ship in a deal worth over $40m at the Liberian Ship Registry.

Revising a planning application where I had to argue in favour of protecting the great crested newts in her pond.

Travelling all the way to Kiev to demand payment from a challenging client.

Flying to Hamburg on my own during my first seat, to represent the practice at an aircraft delivery and signing meeting.

A client asked me to stand outside a sandwich bar that he was landlord of, and tell the customers they were trespassing. My partner supervisor didn’t think it was appropriate.

Run a complex closing for a cross-jurisdiction deal for the Singapore office.

Photocopying underwater warfare photographs in the British Library.

The seven things that surprised our trainees most about their training contract

The level of responsibility you are given, and how much this can grow if you do your work well.

That it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be.

How fast it goes. It just underlines how important it is to make the most of all the opportunities that arise.

How much you can shape your own training contract. It really pays to think carefully about the seats you choose.

The amount I enjoyed every seat. I had assumed that I’d find one thing that I would like over and above the rest. This hasn’t been the case. I even had a good time in a seat I initially thought wouldn’t suit me.

How good the food in the canteen is.

How much you learn without realising. Just being here is a learning experience.

Our trainees’ best experiences since joining

Going on secondment to Sydney.

Taking charge of a pretty important client call.

Being told I had explained something really well to an important client.

Being involved in headline deals and high profile cases.

Winning the Office Choir of the Year competition.

Being the point of contact for over 40 local counsel jurisdictions.

The most interesting places that working here has taken our people to

The depths of Kazakhstan

On secondment with a client. I was there for six months, during which they were taken over by a huge multinational.

A clapped-out plane on a ‘first class’ flight from Kiev to Moscow

The Royal Courts of Justice

Paris for a day, to drop off some documents for a closing

The mailroom on Floor -2. We weren’t supposed to go down there!

The 32nd floor of The Shard

Caracas in Venezuela

Sydney, Perth and Melbourne


Abu Dhabi

A football tour in Amsterdam

Nine examples of the actual day-to-day work you’ll do as a trainee

Sending emails, letters and documents to clients, to keep them updated about how their deals are progressing.

Attending meetings to listen to what the client wants to do in the transaction, and then producing notes afterwards.

Writing first drafts of both minor and major transaction documents.

Liaising with our other offices around the world via phone and email.

Carrying out legal research on whether aspects of deals can be done, and then drafting summaries for the partner (and potentially the client).

Proofreading documents and policies, to check for typos and accuracy of information.

Checking documents sent from clients and their representatives.

Amending agreements and drafting new clauses.

Collating and distributing information – what we call ‘bibling’.

Our culture

Four reasons to get involved in pro bono work

It’s rewarding

It feels great to win a mini-dispute for people against big companies.

You’ll gain experience and skills

You will get a different kind of hands-on experience with a case – managing your own matters and giving advice unsupervised. Your advisory and problem solving skills will get much sharper.

It’s fascinating

It’s a way to experience an even wider range of legal issues, and meet all kinds of people. You’ll never get bored.

You’ll make a difference

Something as simple as helping to write a letter can make a real difference to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access legal help.

The six best things to get involved in at Norton Rose Fulbright

The choir

Winner of Office Choir of the Year in 2012 and again in 2014, our choir welcomes people from right across the practice.

Pro bono work

It’s a great learning experience, and it’s always worthwhile.


Our Women in Norton Rose Fulbright network meets regularly, and is growing all the time.

Sports teams

We have a lot of these. They compete against clients and other law practices, and after-match pub trips are an important part of the experience. All abilities are welcome

The charity committee

They do a lot of good, and bake and eat a lot of cake.

Anything else you want

If there isn’t a society or club that does what you want to do, you’ll be free to set one up.

The things that have supported our trainees through their training contracts

I have a good circle of friends within the practice. We try to have lunch together every day.

The trainee development team have been excellent at supporting the trainees with a frank and realistic attitude. They’re great people to turn to.

My supervising partner has been great. She’s been ready and willing to help and explain, and so patient when I have questions.

The other trainees made a big difference. I’m part of a great intake.

For me, it’s the newly qualified associates in my team. They’ve just finished the training contract themselves, so they know exactly what I’m going through.

Six of the best ways to progress at Norton Rose Fulbright

Take part in events and groups outside of your immediate department. It’s a great way to meet other teams. You’ll get a lot out of it too.

Find out what you want, talk to the relevant people, ask for what you want, and take opportunities to demonstrate your ability.

Be proactive about building up an internal network and keeping in touch with previous teams you have sat in.

Work hard, and push yourself to deliver work that you’re proud of.

It might sound a bit simplistic, but be nice to people. Helping them out when they’re really busy is a great way to make a good impression.

Networking is always valuable. Whenever you can, speak to partners directly about seat choices.


Main menu

Use of cookies by
Norton Rose Fulbright
We use cookies to deliver our online services. Details and instructions on how to disable those cookies are set out here. By continuing to use this website you agree to our use of our cookies unless you have disabled them.