DWF scraps specific A-Level requirements for training contract seekers

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Social mobility push comes amid results chaos for college leavers

DWF’s London office

DWF is scrapping specific A-Level requirements for aspiring lawyers, it confirmed today, as the government continues to come under fire over its handling of this year’s assessment results.

The international law firm said it will instead ask for “good A-Levels/Scottish Highers or equivalent” in order to attract the best talent, specifically those who may have chosen not to apply to DWF due to the previously high entry requirements.

Prior to today’s change, Legal Cheek‘s Firms Most List shows DWF’s minimum A-Level requirement was AAB. The firm recruits around 35 trainees each year.

“Since implementing the Rare Contextual Recruitment system in 2017, we have been able to look at an applicant’s achievements in the context that they were gained which has enriched our recruitment process and has given us a clearer idea of candidate potential,” James Szerdy, DWF’s graduate recruitment partner said. “We want to take the next step towards a more contextual assessment, ensuring that we are attracting and recruiting talented individuals from all backgrounds.”

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The announcement follows yesterday’s news that almost 40% of A-Level grades awarded in England were downgraded as part of a standardisation process, leaving sixth-formers scrambling to find uni places as conditional offers were withdrawn.

Legal Cheek reported yesterday that students can appeal to receive their mock result, or sit exams in the autumn, as part of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s ‘triple lock’ system.

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This is a step in the right direction.



So many down votes. This just goes to show how far the legal industry has to go in order to stop racism, classism, and all the other isms that plagues it.



In all honesty, what relevance do A-level grades hold after a candidate has spent several years at university/completed a degree? Surely their most recent, degree-level results are those employers should be focusing on?



Stop making sense. You’re scaring all the chinless inbreds with Essex shields and St George crosses hanging in their rooms. Although the reality is such measures will help them, it’s not how recruitment was done “in the good ol’ days” of which they desperately wish they lived through.



Why should employers not look at A-Levels and degree grades?

People who excel at both tend to be smart and hardworking. I’m not sure there is a better predictor of performance in law than that.



People can change a lot over uni and after they leave school – changing friends, getting much better teaching, a different learning style etc. can all make a huge difference. Also for this year in particular a levels mean jack



Agreed, but if we are being realistic, why should law firms spend increased time and effort doing this when they can simply filter on academics and find great candidates?

Is it a law firm’s responsibility to try to re-balance all the inequity in the education/social system? That’s the job of politicians I would argue.



A person who has to work throughout high school and/or university vs. a person that has a monthly stipend from parents to cover rent, food and other general living expenses.

The former is going to spend less time studying, etc. etc. Not putting as much weight on grades counteracts that to some extent. These employers often have other ways to evaluate. I think a couple of consultancy firms have stopped putting so much weight on grades, too.



Clearly, you are unaware of the disparity in marking processes at University.

Who is the better candidate, the 87% Average student from Kent, or, the 68% average student from a good uni, where scoring over 75 is physically impossible.

Requiring A-levels knocks out the dweebs that attend polytechnics who inflate grades for student satisfaction.



No one with good A levels applies here anyway


Kirkland Recruitment Bot #8

Well it’s not like good A Levels are that important at DWF. The CFO only makes twice as much as a Kirkland NQ and the CEO makes an eighth of a Kirkland Partner.


Future City Trainee

I’m sorry but anyone who struggles to achieve mostly As at A Level isn’t cut out for a career in City law (unless it was due to a huge lack of effort).



Unless you’re doing something hard like tax, then some nobhead from down tut pub with 3 CCCs at nursery could do most city law.



Future City Trainee, when you start your TC go find out which unis the partners went to. I dare you to tell the ones who didn’t get all As at A level or who went to former polys that they’re not cut out for it.


Just FYI

lol as if DWF was in a position to filter out those with shet A-levels to begin with

their vac schemes feel like Love Island but with ugly people



The Manchester partners recruit in their own image. Most of them wouldn’t know quality if if they saw it in a Poundland aisle.



Hmmm I’m not buying this. ‘Good a levels’ I reckon they’re still not gonna recruit people with lower grades than their previous standards. This is a plot for illusion to think those that aren’t capable can get a TC



I feel sorry for their HR department now they are going to be swamped by awful CVs.


NQ at US Firm in the City

I’ve worked for several years to improve D&I at mine and other firms in the city. This comment section is pretty darn disheartening.

I’d like to think the industry is improving and bringing in more progressive future trainees, but if this thread is anything to go by, the next generation is going 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

If you made any of the comments above at interview I can tell you now that most firms wouldn’t take you on. There’s a difference between bants in a LegalCheek thread and an outright lack of D&I understanding.


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