The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
DWF expanded into Europe in December 2015, first opening a Brussels office before adding bases in Cologne and Munich through a German tie-up. The full-service firm is an insurance leader, and also possesses highly regarded employment, private client and personal injury practices. DWF earned two nominations for the Legal Business Awards 2016, in the Insurance and Legal Technology Team of the Year categories.
The star performers
Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Corporate tax; EU and competition; Employment; Energy; Family; Health and safety; Immigration; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Intellectual property; Local government; Personal injury: defendant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation; Social housing.
Won a case for Trafigura concerning a $150m purchase of oil supplies from Malaysia; advised Tata Chemicals Europe on £140m of syndicated term and revolving credit facilities; advised The Authentic Food Group on its acquisition of a facility in Dundalk, Ireland from Heinz; advised the official receiver on the compulsory liquidation of Redcar Steelworks; advised Transport Scotland on the procurement of the Caledonian Sleeper and ScotRail franchise.
Birmingham City Council; Hovis; Liverpool FC; Lloyds Banking Group; Serco Group; Standard Life; Telefonica UK; UK Commission for Employment & Skills; United Utilities Water; Yodel.
‘Proactive and ambitious’, DWF is a firm that promises ‘forward momentum and growth in the market-place’. Trainees found the ‘big national’ firm ‘particularly appealing’ because of its ‘constant progression and innovation’. The firm ‘continues to grow and develop, pushing for more high-profile work while remaining committed to delivering great advice and client satisfaction’. One trainee reports that this can be a ‘double-edged sword’ as such momentum ‘is hard to keep up’. Yet year-on-year, the firm is able to ‘meet that growing ambition’, and opened its first international office in Dubai in March 2015. Trainees agree it would be good to have ‘international secondments’ available. The ‘four-month seat rotation’ gives trainees a ‘wide variety of experience in different areas of the legal industry’. It can be ‘stressful and the hours can be long, depending on the seat’. DWF has a ‘genuinely distinct identity’ as a ‘friendly firm’ where all ‘members of staff have a voice regardless of position or hierarchy’. Notably, trainees feel ‘valued as employees and as members of the DWF family’. There are ‘plenty of opportunities’ on offer for new recruits as the firm provides ‘good-quality work’. The ‘level of support’, ‘client contact’ and ‘good responsibility’ all make it a ‘very inclusive workplace’ for trainees. There is a ‘friendly atmosphere’ as ‘colleagues of all seniority levels are very approachable’. Top moments include ‘drafting the paperwork for a sale of a property more than £30m’, ‘working on a £70m refinancing deal’ and ‘attending a large multi-party mediation hearing until 1am and settling the case’. If you are looking for the ‘chance to make a difference’, look no further than DWF.
A day in the life of...
Joseph Hui second-year trainee solicitor, DWF LLP
Departments to date: Construction, corporate, pensions, employment, secondment to the Pension Protection Fund
University:The University of Melbourne
Degree:Bachelor of physiotherapy honours
8.30am: I arrive at the office after a 45 – minute commute while I review emails which have come in since I left the office last night. I make a quick mental note of my to-do list for the day before I arrive into the office and usually have just enough time to pop down into the bistro to grab some breakfast before I make a start on the day’s work.
9.15am: I prepare the documents that we need for an ‘all parties conference call’ on a complex acquisition and ensure that all the required documents have been circulated to the project team ahead of the call.
9.30am: I attend the call with the rest of the corporate team working on the project which deals with any outstanding issues and actions. The client has asked that certain documents are provided by the end of the week and I prepare a detailed note of the meeting setting out the actions agreed.
10.30am: I resume work on a due diligence report that I was working on the previous day and check the electronic data room for additional information provided by the other party overnight. This involves reviewing any information disclosed against questions that we have submitted. I arrange a catch-up with my supervisor to discuss any relevant information disclosed and identify any additional points we will need to raise with the other party.
1.00pm: I attend the monthly ‘corporate know how’ session hosted by our professional support lawyer. The topic this week deals with the UK Takeover Code and the treatment of minority shareholders in a transaction. This training comes at quite a good time as we are currently advising a client on an issue involving difficult minority shareholders and I can apply this knowledge fairly promptly.
2.00pm: I have a quick lunch with some of my fellow trainees in the bistro to catch up on what they have been working on for the past few days. We also discuss the upcoming summer boat party and plans for the weekend.
2.30pm: I attend a meeting with my supervisor dealing with the reconstitution of some lost company statutory books. This exercise involves reviewing all the company filings on Companies House and gives me a good opportunity to practise my detective skills and not to mention my mathematical skills.
3.30pm: I attend a meeting with my supervisor with a potential new client who is looking to acquire a sports club overseas. The deal is top secret at present and has significant regulatory implications. The meeting gives me a good insight as to how sports clubs make decisions and the importance of communication and PR timing. At the end of the meeting, my supervisor and I agree a set of actions and I set out to prepare a fee quote setting out our scope of work and potential costs.
5.30pm: Having recently returned from a secondment at The Pension Protection Fund, I email some of my old colleagues to arrange the long-awaited after-work drinks in the Sky Gardens on the 35th floor of our office building.
6.00pm: I am asked by one of the partners to assist with drafting an urgent undertaking in relation to a joint venture which is needed before 8.00pm. Having located the relevant information, I set out to draft the relevant document and submit it to the supervisor for approval before sending it out to the client.
7.30pm: Having finished with the day’s work, I catch up with some of my fellow colleagues and head off to a local drinking establishment for some well-earned rest.
About the firm
Address:1 Scott Place, 2 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3AA
Telephone: 03333 2022
Senior partner : Carl Graham
Managing partner : Andrew Leaitherland
Other offices: Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Newcastle.
Who we are: DWF is a national commercial legal business that offers clients excellent commercial guidance combined with sector specialist knowledge.
What we do: DWF has core strengths in insurance, corporate and banking, real estate and litigation, and in-depth industry expertise in six chosen 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:At DWF, we offer six four-month seats, giving you the opportunity to experience more practice areas than a traditional training contract.
Sponsorship:Full sponsorship of LPC.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: c.50
Applications received pa: 1,500
Percentage interviewed: 20%
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.
Total partners: 271
Apply to:Emma Byers.
When to Apply:By 7 July 2017 for 2019 contracts.
Programmes in Summer 2017 (apply by 27 January 2017).