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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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