News

DWF keeps 66% of its autumn NQs

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As Cleary Gottlieb posts perfect 100% result

DWF’s London office

DWF has revealed a diasppointing autumn retention score of 66%.

The firm trained up its biggest ever cohort of aspiring lawyers, its 50 trainees beating the intakes of Allen & Overy (47), Freshfields (41) and Slaughter and May (32). From this massive qualifying cohort, the northern upstart — which has 23 offices in nine different countries — has kept hold of just 33 of its rookie lawyers.

The outfit’s new London recruits will start on a salary of £59,000, while their regional peers will earn £38,000. Those qualifying into one of the firm’s two Scottish outposts (Glasgow and Edinburgh) will receive £36,000. DWF currently offers around 40 training contacts annually.

DWF’s recent retention form has been mixed to say the least. In the past two retention rounds the firm chalked up results of 74% (35 out of 47) and 62% (29 out of 47).

Commenting on this autumn’s result, the firm’s training partner, Carl Graham, said: “As we undergo significant growth there is naturally a period of adjustment as we determine how to balance our training scheme against the needs of our changing business.” He continued:

While of course we always aim to retain as many of our talented trainees as possible, this year we had an exceptionally large intake and could not meet demand in our most popular practice areas. We are thrilled with the strong talent we have retained this year and look forward to seeing them develop their careers with us.

Meanwhile, the London office of US outfit Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has posted a perfect 100% score. The New York-headquartered firm confirmed that all nine of its newbies had opted to stick around, with eight remaining in London and one moving to Abu Dhabi.

The departments that will share these newly qualified lawyers (NQs) are: M&A, tax, dispute resolution, IP, capital markets, regulatory, competition, finance and restructuring. The firm offers around 15 training contracts each year, and pays its new lawyers a staggering £120,000.

Trainee autumn retention 2017

Firm Score Breakdown
Burges Salmon 100% 28/28
Watson Farley & Williams 100% 15/15
Fieldfisher 100% 13/13
Blake Morgan 100% 9/9
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 100% 9/9
Forsters 100% 8/8
Sullivan & Cromwell 100% 4/4
Latham & Watkins 95% 21/22
Ashurst 95% 19/20
Macfarlanes 92% 23/25 (two on FTC*)
Slaughter and May 91% 29/32
Travers Smith 90% 18/20
Ince & Co 90% 9/10
Stephenson Harwood 90% 9/10
Blake Morgan 89% 8/9
Reed Smith 86% 12/14
Allen & Overy 85% 40/47
Linklaters 84% 47/56
Gowling WLG 84% 21/25
Bird & Bird 83% 15/18
White & Case 83% 15/18
Covington & Burling 83% 5/6
Osborne Clarke 82% 14/17
RPC 82% 14/17
Clifford Chance 81% 42/52
Addleshaw Goddard 81% 38/47
Bond Dickinson 81% 22/27
Eversheds Sutherland 80% 44/55
Herbert Smith Freehills 80% 28/35
Hogan Lovells 80% 24/30
HFW 80% 8/10
Clyde & Co 79% 34/43 (one on FTC)
Mills & Reeve 79% 15/19 (one on FTC)
DLA Piper 78% 75/96
Simmons & Simmons 78% 21/27
Shearman & Sterling 75% 12/16
Pinsent Masons 74% 67/91
Mayer Brown 73% 8/11
Withers 73% 8/11
Charles Russell Speechlys 71% 17/24
Trowers & Hamlins 70% 7/10
Berwin Leighton Paisner 67% 16/24
Browne Jacobson 67% 6/9
DWF 66% 33/50
Freshfields 66% 27/41
Squire Patton Boggs 65% Not disclosed
Dentons 64% 18/28
Mishcon de Reya 64% 9/14
Taylor Wessing 62% 16/26
Kirkland & Ellis 56% 5/9
Weil Gotshal 50% 5/10
Stewarts Law 25% 1/4

*Fixed term contract

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37 Comments

Anonymous

DWF is genuinely one of the worst firms to train in.

(12)(2)

1st year

I am sorry for the dull question but why is that the case? What does make them the worst firm?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

They’ve got an oil tanker’s worth of debt and are kept going by incredibly low margin insurance churn work.

They have expanded into premises and locations appropriate for a major commercial firm without sufficient, higher margin quality work to sustain that outlay.

In order to keep PEP respectable they have a tiny equity, kept as such by farcical job levels like ‘Associate Partner’.

The firm is the embodiment of ‘Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity’ due to the outsized ego of one man and a cohort of slavish enablers.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

Top bantz, 10/10.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Ah yes, LC’s comments censor busy at work to keep those DWF dollars flowing.

Spineless flogs. C U next Tuesday, Alex.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Sure this will get the Kim Jong-Un treatment too

(1)(0)

Leatherbobz

“Associate Partner”

😂😂😂

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Most firms go with Director now to camouflage the Associate Partner saga.

Same thing.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

DWF is an incredible firm to train at.

(7)(9)

Anonymous

MEGALOLOLOLOLOL

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Hi Andrew.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Training at DWF is like losing your virginity to a 16 year old when you’re 22.

Yes, you’ve met the technical requirements, but you won’t have learnt anything worthwhile and you should never mention it again.

(15)(4)

Anonymous

Delicious bantz, 9/11.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Genuine question…are these endless retention articles actually of interest to anyone?

As far as I can tell all but a handful of stellar-qualified applicants would bite the arm off any firm that offered them a TC whatever their retention rate (or trainee and NQ salaries). Seems to be more a case of apply everywhere and cross your fingers. And as far as the city firms go they all offer much the same sort of (fantastically dull) law to practise anyway.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

LC commentors act like they can be as choosey as they want when it comes to TCs, sneering at firms like DWF, Irwin Mitchell and CMS but I bet my left arm any of them would jump at an opportunity to get a TC with any of them. Quite hilarious to watch

(10)(2)

Anonymous

So which one of these battery farms do you train at?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Fuck off kid

(0)(1)

Anonymous

CMS boiler room gimp spotted.

(2)(0)

CMS gimp in question

I said FUCK OFF

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Sucks to be you lololololol.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

1 being deported to Abu Dhabi you mean

(1)(2)

Anonymous

120k tax free? In an amazing city? Big ticket work? What’s not to like?

(2)(6)

Anonymous

120k salary working at DWF? Wot are you on about

(7)(2)

Anonymous

Read it again – it’s the Cleary lawyer going to Abu Dhabi

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Thanks for explaining, gimp.

(0)(3)

U wot

“Big ticket work”

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

(2)(1)

Leatherballz

What an utter cesspit. Approach DWF at your own risk.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Derisory salaries.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Pathetic, aren’t they

Not worth it

(1)(0)

Anonymous

£59k as an NQ in London really is scraping the barrel…

(2)(0)

Anonymous

NQ’s at £36k in Scotland and £38k in regions is even worse.

(4)(0)

Ramooky

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(3)(0)

DWF Associate

Legend has it that Leatherland always likes to have a sub 100% trainee retention rate, to save cash being spent on salaries and instead to expand his vintage leather biking catsuit collection.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

A lot of people comparing DWF to Halliwells over work drinks.

(5)(0)

Crumpet.

Perhaps because a lot of Halliwells partners work there haha!

It wouldn’t be a surprise if it were a pack of cards…. DWF is vastly top heavy and relies on too much cheap labour to be taken seriously.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

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(2)(0)

Comments are closed.