Address: 1 Fleet Place, London, EC4M 7WS




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘It gave me the opportunity to do City work without having to stay in London’; ‘it was the only firm I saw whose offices outside London did the same work as the London office’; ‘the range of practice areas’; ‘the small number of trainees for such a big firm’; ‘the recognised strengths of the firm in banking, energy and real estate fit with my interests’; ‘excellent reputation in banking law’; ‘the growing nature of the firm’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘Good level of support and training’; ‘name recognition’; ‘excellent supervision’; ‘the quality of work’; ‘some great client secondments’; ‘the high level of responsibility that you are given as a trainee’; ‘the clients’; ‘international work’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Long hours at times’, ‘a lot us didn’t get a seat we’d chosen until our fourth seat’; ‘the trainee international secondments were cancelled at the last minute with no warning’; ‘the building is too small for the firm’s ambitions’; ‘some people underestimating how little you know as a first-seat trainee’
Best moment? 
 '‘Being sent to the employment tribunal by myself’; ‘being flown abroad for a client event’; ‘attending important signing meetings with clients on my own’; ‘being congratulated on the work I had done on a deal by the partner and associate in charge’; ‘drafting large sections of witness statements that made it to applications mainly unedited’
Worst moment?
 '‘18-hour day in a department where I had an unsupportive supervisor’; ‘staying in until 3am drafting notices of assignments’; ‘post-completion bibles’; ‘sending an email to the wrong people and it being too late to do anything about it’; ‘being told off for making a mistake’; ‘being asked to proofread a 1,000-page document’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

The Brain (Pinky and the Brain) – trying to take over the world

The Verdict

The firm

Since Lex last went to print, Dentons has continued its dizzying international expansion with openings in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, building on its landmark merger with China’s Dacheng in 2015. Dispute resolution, M&A and finance are all staple practice areas. Dentons was also nominated for the TMT Team of the Year accolade at the Legal Business Awards 2016. 

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Asset finance and leasing; Aviation; Bank lending – investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Commodities: derivatives; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Emerging markets; Health and safety; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); Islamic finance; Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Pensions dispute resolution; Pensions (non-contentious); Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Rail; Securitisation; Trade finance.

The deals

Acted for a lending syndicate on a $1.7bn revolving facility to Israel Chemicals; advised on the restructuring of LPN notes issued by Ukraine’s PrivatBank; advised KSL Capital Partners on the pension elements of its acquisition of De Vere Village Hotels; advised Hong Kong-based transport operator MTR on all aspects of its successful bid to operate Crossrail; advised Virgin Atlantic on a high-profile IT project.

The clients

Citigroup Global Markets; Emirates; Enbridge International; Hatfield Colliery; Hyundai Capital; John Lewis Partnership; National Bank of Oman; Royal Mail Group; Société Générale; Statoil (UK) Trading.

The Verdict

Dentons has an ‘ambitious strategy’ and a ‘global vision’ to build on its already significant ‘international network’. The firm now has a Chinese presence following its 2015 merger with Dacheng, offering a ‘strong reputation’ plus ‘international reach’. Recruits claim that the best thing about the firm is its ‘global presence’ and the resultant ‘international opportunities’, but there are complaints that ‘some international secondment seats were axed’. Many trainees find the firm’s ‘strong reputation’ for ‘banking work’ appealing. One trainee reported choosing Dentons purely because they could see themselves ‘fitting in well’. There is ‘excellent supervision’ for new recruits who are given ‘regular reviews’ to track progress. The ‘small trainee intake’ means newcomers are given ‘great responsibility’, ‘valuable work’ and ‘interaction with clients’. Trainees love their ‘welcoming colleagues’ and the ‘incredible level of responsibility’ means they are ‘trusted to see clients’ on their own. The ‘friendly and inclusive culture’ ensures ‘no one is an anonymous face’. Top trainee moments include ‘working on a deal for one of the biggest private equity firms in the world which made the headlines of the FT’, ‘spending an international secondment in San Francisco’ and ‘completing a complex transaction under high pressure to the delight of the client’. ‘Late nights’, ‘very tight deadlines’ and ‘long hours come with the territory’ but are ‘no more’ than trainees expected, and there are ‘friendly and social activities run by the firm’ to enable everyone to relax. Take a closer look at Dentons if you are looking for an ‘ambitious global firm’ that is going places.

 Why Dentons?

Who we are:  Dentons is the world’s first polycentric global law firm. A top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the firm is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways. Driven to provide clients with a competitive edge, and connected to the communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business challenge. Now the world’s largest law firm, Dentons’ global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national and global needs of private and public clients of any size in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.

Dentons is a truly ‘polycentric’ international law firm that fully embraces the diversity of its geography, cultures and legal traditions. The firm has no headquarters, no dominant national culture, and proudly offers clients talent from diverse backgrounds and countries.

Training:  As part of Dentons, you’ll be given all the responsibility you can handle. You’ll learn on the job by taking a real part in running deals and cases, meeting with real clients and taking your place in the fast-paced and increasingly global world of business. After all, it’s this type of experience that makes great lawyers and prepares you for the daily pressures of your professional career. At Dentons, you’ll get it almost from day one.

If commercial law is your ambition, beginning your career with us will help you fulfil it. You’ll be welcomed into a team globally renowned for its expertise. We’ll help you develop your skills and knowledge in an open and supportive environment.

London:  A training contract in our City office in London will place you at the centre of one of the world’s leading legal practices. In your first two years, you’ll spend six-month seats in four of our practice areas. Along with a seat in our banking and finance practice and a contentious seat (or an external litigation course), you may also have the opportunity to work in one of our international offices, or to work directly with one of our clients within their team and office.

Milton Keynes and Watford:  Our Milton Keynes and Watford training contract will see you rotate between these two offices where we are able to provide a City-level out-of-town legal service to many household name clients.

Our practice areas across the Milton Keynes and Watford training contract include corporate, dispute resolution, real estate, property litigation, financial litigation, construction and employment, and you’ll spend six-month seats in four of them. You must complete one non-contentious transactional seat (eg, corporate or real estate) and one contentious seat.

Vacation placements:  We offer two-week vacation schemes in London during the Easter and Summer vacations and in Milton Keynes and Watford during the Summer vacation.

These placements consist of business games, department visits and social events, giving potential trainees an insight into commercial law and our way of life at Dentons.

Social activities:  You’ll have plenty of time to socialise with your peers in activities organised by our trainee representatives. It’s not just our trainees who like to have fun, though. We believe social activities are vital to the happiness of our team, and they’re an important part of our firm’s culture.

You can participate in over 20 sports teams, including football, rugby, hockey and cricket. Or, if you prefer something less competitive, we offer aerobics, yoga and a choir. Our busy social committee organises firm-wide events like quiz nights, sponsored walks and drinks evenings, with all proceeds going to our nominated charity of the year.

About the firm

Address:1 Fleet Place, London, EC4M 7WS

Telephone: 020 7242 1212

Fax:020 7246 7777


Chief executive : Elliot Portnoy

Other offices: Please visit for a full list of offices. 

Who we are: 

What we do: We offer an international legal practice focused on quality in sectors such as: energy, transport and infrastructure, financial institutions and funds, government, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, retail and hotels, and TMT.

What we are looking for: There’s no typical candidate for our training contract programme. The expertise within our firm is as diverse as the needs of our global clients. We look for people with a wide range of skills, aptitudes and personalities, with the potential to contribute to our growing success. Being a team player is important, as is having the drive and ambition to succeed in a highly demanding work environment.

What you'll do:You’ll learn on the job by running parts of real cases, meeting with real clients and taking your place in the fast-paced and increasingly global world of business. We offer four six-month seats, which may include a seat in one of our international offices or with one of our clients. You will be given responsibility early on, working with your team and clients in real business situations.

Perks: Subsidised gym membership, season ticket loan, pension scheme and private medical insurance.

Sponsorship:GDL/LPC fees during actual years of study; study maintenance grants of £5,000 per year of study (£6,000 in London).


Facts and figures

Trainee places available for 2019: 30

Applications received pa: 1,600 

Percentage interviewed: 20% 


First year: £40,000 (London)/£27,200 (Milton Keynes/Watford)

Second year: £44,000 (London)/£29,750 (Milton Keynes/Watford)

Newly qualified: £65,000 (London)/£44,000 (Milton Keynes/Watford)

Total partners: 2,892

Other fee-earners:4,614

Total trainees:47

 Application process

Apply to:Graduate recruitment.

How: Online application form.

When to Apply:By 31 March 2017 for non-law applicants; by 31 July 2017 for law.

 Vacation schemes

London, Milton Keynes and Watford (apply by 31 December 2016).

 London (apply by 31 December 2016).