Survey Results - Trainee feedback on DAC Beachcroft

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on DAC Beachcroft

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I was attracted to the type of work (insurance litigation)’, ‘I was a paralegal here and was given a good standard of work coupled with support and encouragement to apply’, ‘dedication to work/life balance’, ‘it stood out to me for being forward thinking and innovative’, ‘DACB is a market leader in the areas in which I am interested’, ‘community ties and friendliness of staff’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The quality of work and responsibility given to trainees’, ‘the [Manchester] office is a good size and not too hierarchical which creates an excellent team atmosphere’, ‘client secondment opportunities and the people’, ‘trainees usually get to really participate in varied work’, ‘there is absolutely no hierarchy in the Bristol office – you can approach all partners without feeling nervous’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Partners are often out of the office so it can be difficult to get their time’, ‘it doesn’t promote itself enough’, ‘the pay could be improved in some regions where living prices are rising’, ‘communication during the application process is not great’, ‘people in the London office aren’t very social outside of working hours’, ‘the culture can be very uneven across departments’

Best moment? ‘Receiving positive client feedback’, ‘making an application in front of a judge’, ‘assisting on a complicated completion, which was very exciting and quite nerve-wracking!’, ‘going on secondment twice’, ‘securing the return of a client’s rent deposit on a matter I ran independently’, ‘completing a property matter from beginning to end’, ‘the responsibility’

Worst moment? ‘When I realised I had taken too much on and was going to miss my first deadline’, ‘applying for a training contract in Bristol and being told three months before that I was being placed in London with no assistance to move’, ‘when six deadlines hit in one week’, ‘a supervisor not letting me come in half an hour late even though I had a personal issue’

The Lex 100 verdict on DAC Beachcroft

The firm: 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.

The deals: 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; advised 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.

The clients: Aegis Outsourcing; Cushman & Wakefield; DHL GBS; EE; Equifax; Intelliflo Limited; King’s College Hospital NHS Trust; Markel International Insurance Company; Mitsubishi Motors; Santander.

The star performers:

(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) 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).

The verdict

Expertise in insurance litigation, a ‘large healthcare department’ and a ‘good regional presence’ were some of the motivations to join ‘market leader’ DAC Beachcroft. The firm offers training contracts in Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and London, and several trainees mentioned working as paralegals at the firm beforehand, during which time they were impressed by the culture and the quality of work. Indeed, the calibre of work was cited by many as the best thing about the firm, with ‘trainees really getting to participate in varied tasks’, such as ‘attending a billion-pound arbitration’ and ‘negotiating contract terms with the other side’s counsel based in New York’. The ‘friendliness of staff’ with ‘absolutely no hierarchy’, in certain offices at least, also ensures that trainees feel at home at the firm. Grumbles included the ‘limited seat choices in some training locations’ and ‘occasionally poor communication, both internal and inter-office’. The ‘communication regarding training contract locations and seats’ was singled out in particular. Others felt that, considering ‘the firm is an expert in a range of interesting fields and works for well-known clients, it doesn’t shout about it enough’. Nevertheless, the work/life balance at DAC Beachcroft is excellent and trainees were pleased with the ‘reasonable working hours’ which mean that they are ‘not expected to be contactable at all hours of the day’. It was generally acknowledged that ‘although the pay isn’t as generous as in some other firms, the hours definitely make up for it’. To work at a firm where the ‘friendliness of staff’ is discernible and where there is ‘lots of exposure to high-quality work’, consider DAC Beachcroft.

A day in the life of… Louise Jones, trainee, DAC Beachcroft

Louise Jones, DAC Beachcroft

University: Cardiff University

Degree: 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

Senior partner: Virginia Clegg

Managing partner: David Pollitt

Other offices: Belfast, Birmingham, Bogota, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris, Leeds, London Minster Court, Madrid, Manchester, Mexico City, Newcastle, Newport, Santiago de Chile, Singapore, Winchester

Who we are: We are a leading international law firm with over 2,500 people, recognised for the quality of their insights and outstanding commitment to client service.

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’re 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 tax free childcare, 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.