The Legal Cheek View
Watson Farley & Williams began life in 1982 as a breakaway from Norton Rose’s shipping practice. Since then it has expanded into most branches of corporate law – although remains most well known for shipping, aviation finance and renewable energy – and opened offices in 11 different countries, most recently Dubai.
Around half of WFW’s staff are based overseas, which may explain the exceptional international secondment opportunities that the firm’s trainees enjoy. Popular destinations include Bangkok, Paris, Singapore, Hamburg and Athens.
The other area where the firm scores very strongly in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey is its canteen, run by French chef Philippe, which is famed throughout legal London. This year there has been a new addition, barista-made coffee, ensuring WFW stays ahead in the catering stakes.
Where the firm does less well is for its training, being graded a 'B' in our scorecard ranking. Happily, the quality of work is A-rated, so if you trainees can get up to speed, the opportunities are there. The high-end nature of the instructions are reflected in the salaries, with NQs pulling in close to £70,000 and profit per equity partner comfortably over half a million quid.
Work/life balance isn’t too bad for a City firm, with most lawyers getting away in the evenings by 7:30pm, while there is also a fairly quiet social scene that occasionally explodes into action on a Friday.
The biggest grumble surrounds the recent office refurbishment. According to insiders, this has resulted in “a pretty smart looking client meeting floor” at the price of “crazy amounts of disruption”. Worst of all, the powers that be have “completely failed to do up the loos despite this being really the only area that was in desperate need of attention”.