DWF pairs trainees with partners who qualified during 2008 financial crash to mentor them through COVID-19 uncertainty

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37 rookies jostle for just 25 NQ jobs

? DWF’s London office

DWF has paired its final seat trainees with partners that qualified during the last recession to help them navigate the qualification round.

The listed law firm has 37 trainees that are due to qualify this autumn but has only advertised 25 newly-qualified (NQ) solicitor vacancies. It launched the mentoring scheme amid the uncertainty brought by the coronavirus to connect trainees with partners who will impart their “experience and advice”.

The first session took place online with five partner-mentors. Laurence Applegate, Nicola Dunk, Katharine Mason, Hilary Ross and Sheona Woods held a group discussion in which they shared what they went through and how they reached partnership despite the period of uncertainty. A total of 121 sessions will be held in due course. The upcoming sessions will be open to all seat trainees both within DWF and externally, a spokesperson from the firm said.

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DWF trainees have also been offered application workshops, CV building and interview skills sessions that will be delivered by the firm’s recruitment team.

A statement from the firm read: “Applying for NQ jobs at the end of your training contract is an extremely stressful time, more so now than ever given the impacts of COVID-19. For the trainees, they feel as though their careers have stalled, and it is essential to help demonstrate it is not. Those who qualified in 2008/2009 went through a similar period of uncertainty caused by the recession, which led to a lack of jobs on qualification. DWF wanted to set up an initiative that put current partners who qualified during the recession in touch with current trainees to share their experience and advice.”

DWF confirmed last month it had pushed back the start dates of its incoming trainees by six months. Thirty-one new joiners will now start in February. In other DWF-related news, and unlike other City firms, DWF has confirmed that there will be no reduction to NQ pay. The firm does not disclose its NQ salaries.

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“37 rookies jostle for just 25 NQ jobs”

May the odds ever be in your favour.



It is like Legal Fortnite. But more fun to watch.



What a convoluted way to publish that DWF retention figures are awful for Sept 2020…



They were awful for September 2019, yet the world never seemed to see those figures.



This is shocking… indirectly telling trainees to get ready to look elsewhere.


The Empty Gestures Co.

No, DWF, hosting a Zoom call with 5 random partners does not make up for your shit retention rates and for dropping your trainees in it.



Have also heard that they will not be offering any of their Scottish trainees NQ jobs at all.. having told them repeatedly that the job list would be published week after week, it then transpired there would be no NQ jobs at all!


Scottish expat

Does anyone know what is going on with Shepherds? A lot of the senior associates I know there have left in the past 6 months. Their Glasgow office in particular seems to have been reducing headcount.


Former employee; survivor

Leatherbantz gets the boot and the whole rotten structure starts to crumble apart.

Shambolic management, shambolic firm, shambolic outcomes.


Joe Bloggs

What is the NQ salary at DWF?



£145,000 base, plus a metric f*ck-tonne of shares in DWF plc as an ‘phat overachiever boy/girl’ bonus.



Is it even legal to offer penny stocks as bonus compensation?



“DWF has confirmed that there will be no reduction to NQ pay. The firm does not disclose its NQ salaries.”

That’s because their London NQ whack is already far below any competitor, currently hovering around £58k-60k, depending on department.


DWF trainee

I happen to work in the London office and I can confirm that they don’t earn £58k-60k at NQ. I know two NQ’s who are on £45k as well as a 2 year PQE solicitor who is on £50k somehow. It’s well known within DWF that your salary is down to how well you negotiate in the interview rather than there being “set” bands (why do you think they don’t advertise the salary?) I came from another city firm and negotiated £32k as a paralegal whilst in the middle of completing the LPC, however I happen to know know for a fact there are paralegals on £25k and they’ve already completed the LPC! Shocking behaviour for a firm that constantly boasts about being “top 20”.


DWF by name, DWF by nature

“I know two NQ’s who are on £45k as well as a 2 year PQE solicitor who is on £50k somehow.”

Utterly outrageous if not bantz and actually true. Negotiate your salary in the interview? Wtf?!


DWF trainee

Whilst an anonymous internet forum is rarely a breeding ground for factual information, I promise you that this is 100% true. There are plenty of colleagues who joke about leaving and then coming back because you can increase your salary more easily than when you remain in your role. When the 2 year PQE told me on a night out his salary I did a double take at first. I assume then that associates are on mid 60k-70k? For such a huge firm its amazing as there is genuinely this sort of reverence about what a great firm it is amongst most of the staff.


Parcel Fish

To be fair, this is what 99% of jobs are like out there in the normal world.


Oh boo hoo hoo those poor trainees, earning £60k with London weighting when they do not even have to live in London given everybody works from home.



Wtf are you on about? London weighing? Lmao u high?


DWF trainee

You know you don’t get weighting just because you work in London right? My goodness the gall of some people to be so cocksure when they haven’t a clue.



The Lawyer leads with the shoddy retention and poor jobs list, Legal Cheek with this mentoring scheme (which it transpires is only available in London).

I guess we know who is getting money from DWF, then.



It’s a shambles. They are telling people there has never been a better time to buy the shares. “They can barely go down…much”



We were told when DWF floated that we would all receive a bonus for a “job well done”. I won’t even sully this section with the pittance they threw at those lucky enough to meet the ever-moving criteria of said bonus. If you didn’t have target hours for example (in April at the start of the financial year?!) then it was down to length of service, vice-versa, etc. Sigh.


DWF bod

First, confession time, I work at DWF. Some of the above comments I have sympathy for. This though is simply incorrect. All staff with more than 2 years service at a date around the IPO received 20% bonus. 2% paid in cash, the remaining 18% via shares (insert own joke on current performance) with 9% after this years accounts are published and the balance the same period next year. Always was that way and no movement of goalposts.



Presumably it’s not a total of 121 sessions with the partners, but rather some one-to-one sessions? Misreading the press release, I think.


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