DWF hangs on to just 62% of its newly qualifying lawyers

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By Thomas Connelly on

“This is certainly a lower number of trainees than we’d hoped to retain”, says firm


National law behemoth DWF has revealed a disappointing autumn retention result of just 62%.

The firm — which has recently taken grand office space in London’s Walkie Talkie Building — confirmed that from a 47-strong trainee cohort, 29 were sticking around post-qualification.

Ten of the new associates are based in London, eight started life as a lawyer in Manchester, the firm’s Liverpool and Leeds offices gained three new recruits each, two are based in Newcastle, and the remaining three are split across the firm’s Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh outposts.

DWF confirmed that its corporate and banking practice received the lion’s share of the newbie lawyers, with 12. Litigation gained nine, real estate were handed six, and the firm’s insurance team received two new associates.

Kate Hasluck, emerging talent manager at DWF, said:

This year many of our trainees were committed to securing roles in particular practice areas and unfortunately we weren’t able to accommodate all of these. This is certainly a lower number of trainees than we’d hoped to retain, but we remain as committed as ever to investing in our trainees and giving them valuable career opportunities including client secondments and international experience.

Having swallowed up firms including Buller Jeffries, Crutes, Biggart Baillie and Cobbetts, DWF — which offers around 50 training positions annually — has seen its lawyer ranks swell to more than 1,000. Unfortunately, this appears to have had a profound impact on retention performances at the firm.

This time last year DWF posted a retention figure of 74%, with 35 out of a training cohort of 47 staying put. The year before that the firm’s retention rate stood at a healthy 81%.