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Duncan Lewis Solicitors

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The verdict

The verdict

Known as the ‘largest legal aid firm in the UK’, Duncan Lewis Solicitors offers aspiring solicitors the opportunity to ‘help vulnerable people from different walks of life’. The firm has a ‘strong reputation for immigration work’ and is a great fit for those with a keen interest in human rights and public law. Training at Duncan Lewis is less formal; instead the firm adopts a more ‘hands-on’ approach where trainees are given ‘a huge amount of responsibility and run their own cases’ with help on hand from ‘supportive supervisors’. Some recruits however, dislike that there’s ‘no proper training’. The firm offers an ‘impressive amount of client contact’ which is why it was awarded a Lex 100 Winner medal. Although trainees value the responsibility and client contact they’re given, one aspect of their training contract they dislike is the ‘limited selection of seats’ as it leaves them ‘feeling pigeon-holed’: ‘I’ve been training for over a year and have only completed one area of law’ grumbled one respondent. Complaints from a number of trainees centred on their ‘dismal salary’. Also distressing for newcomers was the ‘pressure to meet chargeable and billable targets’ which several cited as the worst thing about the firm. Nevertheless, ‘securing the release of a client who was detained for almost two years’, ‘obtaining humanitarian protection for a man for five years so that he could remain in the UK with his family’ and being ‘involved with Grenfell pro bono clinics’ provided trainees with a sense of fulfilment and made up for some of the drawbacks. ‘Receiving client testimonials and praise’ also boosted morale. To help ‘provide assistance to the most vulnerable in society’, consider training at Duncan Lewis.