The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Hailed as one of the most innovative law firms, DWF operates out of 12 commercial centres in the UK and Ireland, and also has offices in Dubai and Brussels. In 2016, DWF merged with German international commercial law firm Bridgehouse Law, which enhanced the firm's international capability. The firm has core strengths in corporate, banking, insurance and litigation.
The star performers
Brand management; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Commodities: physicals; Construction; Data protection; Debt recovery; Employment: employers and senior executives; EU and competition; Family; Health and safety; Immigration; Insurance and reinsurance litigation; IT and telecoms; Local government; Personal injury: defendant; Product liability: defendant; Professional negligence; Transport.
Represented foreign insurers and their insured in product recalls and claims brought under EU legislation and the Consumer Protection Act; represented Maven Capital (Shire Hall Durham) in the acquisition and development of a Grade II listed building into a four-star 81-bedroom boutique hotel; advising a leading independent insurer on a novel claim regarding a vessel that was struck by a whale and sank off the coast of Mexico; advised Hindley Circuits on its acquisition of the assets of Opsol UK from administrators; advised the shareholders of Waterfall Catering Group on its sale to Paris-based multinational Elior Group.
Aviva; Cyprotex; Guinness Sustainable Infrastructure; LivingBridge; Marks & Spencer; Moneyplus Group; PepsiCo, Premier Inn; Top Technology Ventures; Whitbread Group.
'National commercial firm' DWF has an 'innovative and modern approach' and has experienced 'accelerated growth over the last few years'. Trainees report that 'there is a real sense of meritocracy' at the 'forward-thinking firm', which 'is evident every day and is not just a slogan'. A six-seat rotation system sets the training contract apart and recruits appreciate this because it gives them 'better exposure to the different areas of law the firm practises in'. Despite occasional 'quieter periods' in terms of work, trainees rest assured that there are 'supportive supervisors' and 'everyone has tons of time for you and is always willing to help', which is proof of the firm's 'people-centric culture'. Respondents praised the 'visibility of senior people' within the firm, which results in the 'opportunity to work with multiple fee-earners regardless of their position, from junior solicitors to partners'. Moreover, trainees can expect to be 'treated very well' and given 'a lot of autonomy' at DWF. Elaborating on the latter point, one trainee described 'running my own cases in each of the departments I have worked in'. There is also a 'good work/life balance' where 'it is not expected for a trainee to be in the office until 9pm without a very good reason'. There are some gripes about the confusing seat allocation process which can lead to 'having to do multiple seats in insurance' and 'seats being moved between offices so a seat you may really want will be taken away from you'. But on the plus side, recruits cited standout moments such as working on the 'Hillsborough inquest' and 'completing the due diligence on a multi-million pound deal'. If you want to work for a 'progressive and inclusive' firm which has a 'commercial services focus' and is a 'growing brand', apply to DWF.
A day in the life of...
Priya Mattu first-year trainee solicitor, DWF LLP
Departments to date: Real estate, secondment to Arcadia Group Limited, professional indemnty - construction
University:Aston Business School
Degree:International Business and Spanish
8.15am: I arrive at the office (earlier than usual!) after a 40-minute commute. I usually check my emails on the train to see if anything urgent has come in overnight. A few reports that I had drafted have been reviewed and need to be sent to the relevant clients before I head to a mediation at 9am. I quickly grab a coffee and review my supervisor's amendments before sending the reports out.
8.40am: I re-read the mediation statements that were exchanged last week in advance of today's mediation to refresh my memory on quantum and the main issues in dispute. I print out a couple of additional copies of the mediation statements in case they are required and check with my supervisor and the partner on the matter whether they have everything they need.
9.00am: We head to the claimant's solicitors' offices for the mediation. The mediator joins us to explain the format of the day and the mediation process to the clients, and for a discussion of the issues in dispute before the opening statements are made - I am required take a detailed note of this.
10.30am: I attend the first joint plenary session of the day to take a detailed note and further summarise the issues in dispute. Both parties are in agreement that the aim is to settle the matter today and avoid going to court.
11.15am: During a break in the mediation, I review and respond to a few emails about a research task that I am doing for another partner in the team about the law of frustration.
12.00pm: The first offer is made by our clients which is taken to the claimant's solicitors by the mediator, who comes back with a counter-offer that the claimant has proposed and a second plenary session is suggested to narrow the gap between the expectations of both parties.
2.30pm: The parties agree a settlement amount (a lot quicker than we had anticipated!). I assist my supervisor with reviewing the draft settlement agreement proposed for signing. We mark up the document with our amendments which are agreed by the claimant's solicitors.
3.15pm: I head back to the office after the settlement agreement has been signed. Having missed the usual lunchtime catch up in the bistro, I have a quick chat with some of the trainees about what they are working on and their weekend plans before heading back to my desk.
3.30pm: I attend a call with my supervisor with our counsel to deal with a complex point on limitation - this is a good opportunity for me to dust the cobwebs off my knowledge of the CPR rules! It is helpful to run our thoughts past counsel and discuss our litigation strategy going forward. I prepare a detailed note of the call setting out what was discussed and the actions agreed.
5.00pm: I am asked by an associate in the team to assist with some urgent research in relation to resurrecting a dissolved company in order to pursue them for a contribution claim. Having located the relevant information using PLC and the Companies Act 2006, I prepare a brief note and send it to the associate.
6.15pm: I finish my review of a collateral warranty and send my report to my supervisor for approval before sending to the client. I then write a to-do list for the following day and diarise upcoming filing deadlines at court.
7.30pm: Having finished with the day's work, I send a quick email to my former colleagues at Arcadia to arrange drinks in the Sky Gardens (a massive perk of working in the Walkie-Talkie building!) before joining some colleagues for drinks.
About the firm
Address:1 Scott Place, 2 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3AA
Telephone: 0333 320 2220
Facebook:DWF LLP Graduate Recruitment
Senior partner: Carl Graham
Managing partner: Andrew Leaitherland
Total partners: 329
Other fee-earners: c.1,450
Total trainees: 87
Other offices: Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, London, Chicago, Toronto, Glasgow, Brussels, Dublin, Cologne, Dubai, Munich, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Belfast and Singapore.
Who we are: DWF is an award-winning legal business with a strong reputation for excellent client service and innovation.
What we do: DWF has core strengths in corporate and banking, insurance and litigation, and in-depth industry expertise in eight core sectors.
What we are looking for: We're looking for talented, ambitious people who are passionate about helping our clients achieve their commercial goals. You'll provide innovative solutions and think differently about their needs.
What you'll do:DWF's training contract gives you a real taste of the variety of work on offer, giving responsibility and client contact from the get go. Many DWF trainees also have the opportunity to complete a client secondment.
Perks: Pension, healthcare, childcare vouchers, season ticket loan, life assurance, retail vouchers, employee assistance programme, subsidised staff restaurants in various locations.
Sponsorship:Sponsorship of LPC/Scottish Diploma fees.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: c.40
Applications received pa: 1,650
Percentage interviewed: 15%
First year: £22,000-£36,000 (depending on location).
Second year: £25,000-£40,000 (depending on location).
Newly qualified: Varies depending on location and practice group.
Apply to:Emma Byers - emerging talent specialist.
What's involved:Video interview and assessment centre.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 6 July 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 5 January 2018.