DLA Piper

The Legal Cheek View

The tale of how DLA Piper rose from humble regional outfit in Sheffield to become, via a series of bold mergers, one of the world’s top three biggest law firms is one of the great business stories of recent times.

Inevitably the success has bred some snarkiness, with the now ubiquitous DLA sometimes referred to as the ‘Coca-Cola of the legal world’. But even the firm’s harshest critics concede that its dizzying growth over the last two decades has in general been remarkably well-consolidated. Particularly impressive is the way that the firm has managed to carve out, simultaneously, a reputation for high-end legal expertise and volume work prowess.

In the UK, the firm is led from London with further offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield and London – and structured similarly to other national firms. Those in the capital earn more (see below) but an effort is made to apportion quality work as evenly as possible.

Admin-level tasks are sent to the firm’s paralegal-staffed ‘Legal Delivery Centre’ in Leeds, which may be related to DLA's A-grade for training in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18. Reports one rookie: “We get very strong training internally and externally with both technical seat specific matters being covered and general legal skills.”

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Key Info

Training contracts 70
Latest trainee retention rate 78%
Offices 90
Countries 40
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Average arrival time 9:09am
Average leave time 7:12pm
Annual target hours 1,600
Annual leave 28 days


First year trainee salary £44,000
Second year trainee salary £49,000
Newly qualified salary £75,000
Profit per equity partner £1,360,000
GDL grant £8,000
LPC grant £8,000

The figures above are for London. GDL and LPC grants are £7,000 when studied outside London. First year trainees in the English regions receive £27,000 and those in Scotland £24,000. Second year trainees in the English regions are paid £30,000 and £26,000 in Scotland. Newly qualified solicitors get £42,000 in the English regions and £38,000 in Scotland.


UK female associates 55%
UK female partners 20%
UK BME associates 13%
UK BME partners 7%

Universities Current Trainees Attended