DWF is a fast-growing national firm with offices across the UK in Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Preston and Teesside. DWF employs over 1,560 people and provides a range of legal services to businesses and private clients.
Fun and ambitious.
- Lots of responsibility and client interaction
- Friendly and encouraging partners
- Wide variety of tasks and opportunities to work in different departments
- Social and supportive environment
- High trainee retention rate
- Good hours and work/life balance
- Not enough newly qualified positions in the departments trainees want
- Discrepancies in workloads between departments
- No scope to do a seat abroad, though you can go to any of the other UK offices
DWF is an expanding national firm with offices in in Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Preston and Teesside. The firm operates internationally, utilising the strong relationships it’s developed with firms around the world, employing over 1,560 people, including 166 partners and over 785 fee earners.
DWF provides a range of legal services to businesses and private clients, and specialises in banking and finance, business recovery, corporate, insurance, litigation, people, private client and real estate. In addition, the firm has developed expertise in a number of specific areas; sector focused teams include transport and logistics, education, food and recruitment.
The firm places a large emphasis on its values, which centre on its people, clients, community and environment. Its infrastructure is not just client-facing, but is increasingly client-driven, and each client has a dedicated client partner who is responsible for ensuring high service levels. DWF also offers a service for in-house lawyers to talk to fellow professionals with InTouch. This group hosts a number of social events that provide a platform for networking and regular get-togethers for in-house lawyers. Although the networking aspect is important, these events are also designed to teach and improve skills, and keep in-house lawyers well informed.
Additionally, the firm is engaged in the local community and gets involved by supporting young people in education and helping vulnerable people find work. Environmental sustainability is also high on the agenda – the firm is currently a member of The Legal Sector Alliance on Climate Change and has ambitions to achieve carbon neutral status by 2013.Read all 214 employee quotes
Trainees at DWF are required to undertake six four-month seats at five of the firm’s city centre locations in Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle. Trainees can return to their preferred department for their final or even penultimate seat which allows up to twelve months valuable pre-qualification experience – so be prepared to work hard during your training contract as DWF looks to retain its trainees and has maintained a 100% offer rate in 2010 and 2011! Although the firm serves clients internationally, DWF has no overseas offices and therefore does not offer seats abroad. Trainees do however have the chance to complete a secondment with a key client and rotate between the DWF offices.
Competition is fierce as the firm only takes on a small number of trainee solicitors each year with up to 40 first and second year trainees spread across its offices. Hence trainees get plenty of hands-on experience and ‘are given responsibility from day one’. So what does DWF’s ideal trainee look like?
All applicants need to demonstrate a strong commitment to a career in law, enjoy working in teams, and be up for a challenge! Their trainees are driven to deliver consistent results for clients. A solid record of academic achievement, consisting of good A-Levels and a 2:1 degree is normally expected. However, ‘those who are solely academic are probably not suited to DWF’ as the firm is interested in people ‘with a bit of pizzazz’. Candidates also need to be talented organisers and possess commercial acumen, on top of having ‘good communication skills, being approachable, friendly and confident’. Many of DWF’s trainees do not come from a law background so personal strengths and interests are more valued than your technical knowledge – make sure to impress with your skills and convince the firm why you want to work for them specifically.
The recruitment process is transparent and straightforward. First there is the online application form which focuses on your educational background, work experience, language skills and other core skills.
The next stage is an interview with a partner/associate and a member of HR. If successful, you will be invited to an assessment day which is set in a friendly atmosphere, and includes a presentation, a written exercise and a group discussion. There is also a second interview, which will be with a number of partners. Don’t be intimidated by this as the firm really wants to get to know you ‘so try to be yourself. Do not just rely upon legal experience to prove you are capable of certain skills but use all experience you have, however small’. Be relaxed and show off your knowledge of the firm, and certainly don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself. The final stage is Practice Group Partner Friday, where all the remaining candidates ‘are given the opportunity to meet and interact with the practice group partners before the final selection is made’.
DWF Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate Programme Manager
Tel: +44 (0)161 838 0088
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013
Vacation Schemes: 31st March 2013
No. of employees firm-wide: 1,560+
Trainee intake: 24
Trainees retained: 100% in 2010 and 2011
No. of applications per year: c. 1,300
Interview ratio: 7:1
1st year trainee: £25,000
2nd year trainee: £27,000
1st year trainee: £35,000
2nd year trainee: £37,000
Corporate & Commercial
Employment & Pensions
Finance & Restructuring
Private Client & Family
Genuine, driven and commercially minded individuals, who will fit in with our values. Know your CV inside out and put the time in to prepare for the interviewSecond year traineeHelpful?
100% trainee retention record, promotion on ability alone, gruelling but fair recruitment process, the firm hosts a Ladies Networking Lunch each month to encourage women in the firm to get together and achieve their full potential.First year traineeHelpful?
DWF sends out a list of where jobs will be and you can then apply for up to 2, (a first and second choice). If too many people apply for a job there are interviews. In past years there have been enough jobs for trainees in the locations they have trained in however this time there are not enough jobs in some locations and too many in others and some jobs in locations where nobody has trained and so there are concerns that this means that some people will either have to move or leave.Second year traineeHelpful?
Trainees are asked to select up to 5 choices from a list of available seats for about a month before the next rotation. These are then allocated by HR. The choice is quite varied but you don't always get a choice towards the top of your list.Second year traineeHelpful?
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85 King William Street
London EC4N 7BL
Tel: +44(0)20 7645 9500
1 Scott Place
2 Hardman Street
Manchester M3 3AA
+44 (0)161 603 5000
+44 (0)161 603 5050
No. of UK offices: 11