Hill Dickinson is an award-winning, full-service, international commercial law firm. Hill Dickinson has a network of offices in the North of England, London, Singapore and Piraeus, and has had over 200 years in practice.
Solid, traditional, wide variety of work.
- Lots of responsibility and contact with high profile clients for trainees
- Almost daily contact with partners
- Approachable colleagues and a social culture
- Great support network – especially between trainees (both past and present)
- Very structured and focused training on offer
- Limited foreign secondment opportunities for trainees in the North West offices
- Pretty long hours when the work demands, but rare and seat-dependent
- No bonus until associate level
- Not all firm decisions are communicated ahead of time
International firm Hill Dickinson has its roots in insurance and transport, with a growing profile in markets such as retail and financial services.
The firm traces its roots back to 1810 and has a long history in shipping. As a major Liverpool shipping firm in the early 1900s, Hill Dickinson gained a lot of work in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster for its client, the White Star Line. The firm now has offices in London, Manchester, Chester, Sheffield, Greece and Singapore as well as Liverpool. The overseas bases focus on international marine work, and provide greater access to the firm’s clients in the Korean and Japanese markets.
Besides shipping, the firm is well known for its excellent insurance practice and commercial property. Furthermore, Hill Dickinson boasts one of the largest health care and critical negligence practices of its kind in the UK. Other notable practice areas are corporate, commercial, private client and property litigation, and the firm has represented the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard.
The summer of 2010 saw even more expansion as Hill Dickinson acquired the Liverpool and Sheffield offices of Halliwells in July, along with their 125 employees. And not only was 2010 the firm’s bicentennial, but they also ended up winning the ‘National Law Firm of the Year’ award at the Legal Business Awards.Read all 332 employee quotes
As an award-winning law firm, competition for training contracts at Hill Dickinson is strong and applicants need to demonstrate a strong academic record, commercial awareness and enthusiasm for law in order to be successful. It is, however, not essential to have studied law at uni as evidenced by a current Hill Dickinson trainee who states that ‘the firm employs people from a range of backgrounds and not just individuals who have done the straight law route’. Work experience and ‘a good understanding of the role of a lawyer and the firm as a whole’ is definitely an advantage. Hill Dickinson is specifically looking for trainees with personality, so don’t be afraid to be yourself at the interview stage.
At Hill Dickinson trainees generally undertake four six-month seats in any of the firm’s departments including professional risks, insurance, health, employment, corporate, commercial, litigation, marine, regulatory, property, private client, family and insolvency. There is also the opportunity to do a seat in either the Greece or Singapore office, or to go on a client secondment.
Throughout the two years, training is said to be very varied and structured, especially ‘since the introduction of the Hill Dickinson Business School’. Current trainees told us they are given a ‘high level of responsibility’ early on so don’t be surprised to find yourself interacting with clients on a daily basis and attending meetings. Trainees also mentioned that ‘the firm's partners operate an open-door policy to allow trainees to learn and work closely with experienced lawyers at the top of their field’. This means that though you will have lots of individual responsibility, you won’t be alone and there is always someone willing to help and ‘explain something more clearly.’
The hiring process is pretty straightforward and the firm has an application form which is used both for the summer placement scheme and training contracts. ‘Individuals are asked a range of questions and the firm requires the candidate to be strong in every section’, according to one trainee. If successful, you will be invited to an assessment day. This usually involves a presentation for which you will be given ten minutes to prepare, followed by a group discussion, an interview with a panel of partners and a final written assessment where you will have to write an essay and complete a drafting exercise. Current trainees have said the assessment day will be ‘hard work and challenging’, but to remember that if you are there, ‘the firm is impressed by your application form.’ Also, interviews are said to resemble more of a discussion than a high-pressure Q&A session and the nail-biting wait afterwards is said to be short – a definite plus!
Hill Dickinson Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate Recruitment Advisor
Tel: +44 (0)151 600 8256
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013 for Northern TC, 30th June 2013 for London TC
Vacation Scheme (summer): Applications open November 2012 – 31st January 2013
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 1,400
Trainee intake: 14
Trainees retained: 83% (2012), 94% (2011)
Approx. no. of applications per year: 1,000
1st year trainee: £32,000
2nd year trainee: £34,000
Newly qualified: £58,000
North West offices
1st year trainee: £24,000
2nd year trainee: £26,000
Newly qualified: £36,000
Marine, Energy & Trade
Diverse range from different backgrounds and educations. Tips - be themselves and not overbearing. Prepare for an interview - know what you answered in your application form, have some commercial awareness and other than that it should be the 'easiest' part of the day, as you'll know all the answers to the questions.First year traineeHelpful?
The supervisors I have had give good feedback and do make the effort to praise/recognise you for good work done.First year traineeHelpful?
The London office is tired but we're on the move. The London office has dress down Fridays!First year traineeHelpful?
Reputation, location, interview staff.First year traineeHelpful?