The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
DAC Beachcroft is a leading international legal business with offices across Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The firm is a recognised leader in insurance, health and real estate. In 2012, DAC Beachcroft celebrated its 250th anniversary.
The star performers
Banking and finance; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial contracts; Construction; Corporate and regulatory; Crime; Employment; Environment; Health and safety; Health; Immigration; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Intellectual property; Local government; Personal injury: defendant; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Planning; Professional negligence; Property litigation; Real estate: construction (contentious)
Acted for Zurich Insurance in successfully defending an employer’s liability claim arising from alleged chronic pain syndrome following manual handling during the course of employment; negotiating all of Royal Mail’s licensing deals for special stamp editions in 2017 and also providing advice on exploitation of its own IP, trade mark infringement, passing off, domain name infringement and brand protection issues; acting for digital fintech start-up Tandem Money Limited in the outsourcing of its risk strategy and fraud management services; advising Dixons Carphone on the integration and harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment following the merger between Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse, in addition to handling restructuring and redundancy programmes following the merger; advising Spire Healthcare on various claims made in England and Scotland concerning the implantation of silicone breast implants filled with industrial grade rather than clinical grade silicon
Aegis Outsourcing; Cushman & Wakefield; DHL GBS; EE; Equifax; Intelliflo Limited; King’s College Hospital NHS Trust; Markel International Insurance Company; Mitsubishi Motors; Santander
At DAC Beachcroft there is a ‘major focus on training’. Various ‘materials, seminars and resources are made available’ to new recruits which are ‘invaluable’ to their development. Also appreciated are the ‘opportunities to engage in stimulating and challenging work’ such as ‘advising a client on a complex shareholder dispute’. Additional training contract highlights included ‘meeting the US Secretary of State for the UK while on secondment’ and ‘going to the consistory court’. There were some complaints about salary but one respondent felt that ‘when you look at the hours expected of us compared to some other firms, it’s probably fair’. Moreover, DAC Beachcroft is open to flexible working which is a ‘real benefit when balancing family life and progressing a professional career’. Though the firm encourages work/life balance, there are still ‘a couple of late nights’ to endure: ‘being sat at my desk when the lights start to turn off at night’ was a low moment for one recruit. There were also some negative comments regarding the delay in confirming training contract locations and seat rotations but ‘communication is improving’. Some trainees assumed there’d be ‘significant opportunities for international secondments’ but upon joining the firm they found that placements were fairly limited. As for client secondments, those who took part in the placement scheme described it as a ‘fantastic learning experience which provided insight into the workings of a client’; however, a ‘lack of structure and supervision’ (which was necessary at times) dampened the experience. Nevertheless, if you’d love to join a firm that’s ‘extremely supportive and knowledgeable’, apply to train at DAC Beachcroft.
A day in the life of...
Luke Chattaway, trainee, DAC Beachcroft.
Departments to date: property litigation, employment and pensions.
University: King’s College London.
Degree and class: English Language and Literature BA, 2(1)
8.30am: I arrive at the office early; the team is busy and it is good to get a head start on considering emails that have come in overnight. The department has been a busy one since the abolition of tribunal fees in 2017.
9.30am: A member of the team asks me to draft a tribunal application to postpone a hearing.
10.30am: I review the disclosure provided by the other side and draft an email following up on this.
11.30am: A partner asks me to write a note on recent developments in employment law in response to a query from a client. Providing resources like this for clients is a key part of business development.
12.30pm: It’s a nice day so I grab a quick lunch in the sun. The Leeds office is right in the middle of the city’s legal quarter and it’s a good place for people watching.
2.00pm: I sit in on an interview with witnesses. This issue involves a complicated healthcare matter, but because I have assisted with drafting these witness statements so I am familiar enough with the relevant facts that I can help clarify things.
3.00pm I receive a call from ACAS about a settlement offer from the other side and I call up the client to seek instructions.
6.00pm: I check my email inbox before heading out to the floating harbour for dinner with friends.
Louise Jones, trainee solicitor.
Departments to date: professional and commercial risk, corporate commercial.
University: Cardiff University.
Degree and class: Law LLB (2.1)
8.30am: Due to my commute, I leave home relatively early and so my first stop when I arrive at the office is at our canteen for breakfast, before heading to my desk. I like to be in at around 8.30am to check my emails and consider the tasks that I have on that day.
9.00am: I research a data protection query which centres on whether there is anything preventing a client from disclosing CCTV footage and prepare a file note summarising my research.
10.00am: I attend the weekly team meeting. This is an opportunity to discuss the tasks that everyone has on, who has capacity and any client news.
10.30am: A client has instructed us to advise on a non-disclosure agreement which they have been asked to enter into. I have had training on these agreements and so I review it and prepare a draft email of advice. I discuss this with a senior associate and explain my thoughts before finalising the email and sending it to the client.
11.45am: I have been assisting with the initial first draft of a sale and purchase agreement which will transfer the assets of a business. The negotiations have now been finalised and I proofread the agreement, make the required changes and send a copy to the parties to sign.
12.30pm: I walk over to St Nicholas Market for lunch with some of the paralegals.
1.30pm: I assist on a company secretarial matter by preparing board minutes, a letter of resignation and the relevant Companies House forms to enable a director to resign and a further director to be appointed in their place.
2.30pm: I have been negotiating over a number of days in relation to terms of engagement which our client wishes to enter into with an American company. The other party's legal advisors are in New York and so the differing time zones have led to difficulty in resolving this quickly. My client does not want this to go into another day and so I arrange a call to take place with the other party's legal advisors. I discuss the potential issues with a senior associate and prepare in advance of the call. During the call I discuss the points which remain in dispute and look to gain an understanding of their reasoning, while putting across my client's position in a persuasive manner. Following the call I prepare a revised mark-up incorporating the compromises which were reached and send this to the other party to consider.
5.15pm: I am briefed on a corporate transaction that I will be involved in and provided with the initial tasks that I will need to complete over the next week.
6.00pm: Tonight we have a team social and 16 of us will be attempting stand up paddle boarding in Bristol's Harbour before a well-earned drink in the pub.
About the firm
Address:100 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BN
Telephone: 0207242 1011
Senior partner: Virginia Clegg
Managing partner: David Pollitt
Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London – Minster Court, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Winchester, Dublin
Who we are: We’re a leading international law firm with over 2,300 people working across the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
What we do: Our lawyers advise many different types of businesses and other organisations. We’re recognised as market leaders in insurance, health and real estate but we also work in a wide range of other sectors. We have the specialist knowledge that helps clients to be successful locally and internationally. Our wide range of services includes claims, transactional, commercial, governance, risk and regulatory law.
What we are looking for: While academic qualifications are important, this is not the whole story. We are looking for people with the energy and drive to succeed as well as commercial acumen and leadership potential. You will be a lateral thinker who welcomes and values different perspectives.
What you'll do:During the two-year programme, you will have the opportunity to work with market-leading professionals and clients across a range of sectors. You’ll gain early exposure to interesting and challenging work with support from highly experienced supervisors.
Perks: We offer a competitive salary together with a comprehensive benefits package and a range of flexible working options. Core benefits include pension, life insurance and private medical insurance but you can also tailor your benefits package to reflect what is important to you. Flexible benefits include childcare vouchers, tax-free bikes, season ticket loans, dental insurance and discounted gym memberships. You will also have access to corporate discounts and offers through our online benefits portal. A number of our locations have local memberships and discounts as well as subsidised cafes or restaurants on site.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 260
Other fee-earners: 1,475
Total trainees: 26
Trainee places available for 2020: 13
Applications received pa: 450
Percentage interviewed: 14
First year: £35,000 (London); £26,000 (regions)
Second year: £37,000 (London); £29,000 (regions)
Newly qualified: Depends on team and location
When to apply:By 31 January 2019 for contracts starting 2020
What's involved:Assessment centre, Interview and vacation scheme.
Spring:April 2019 (this forms part of the trainee recruitment process)