Watson Farley & Williams

The Legal Cheek View

Watson Farley & Williams’ (WFW) has long been famed for the quality of its canteen. With legendary French chef Philippe at the helm, the firm’s food apparently reached levels that would have brought Michelin stars if WFW were a restaurant rather than a law firm. So you can imagine the shock at bewilderment at the news that Philippe has left the firm. WFW has denied claims from trainees that the chef was “forced out” by “cost savings”, but a decision to outsource its London catering services may have left him with little choice.

The new culinary regime hasn’t been taken to kindly. One insider reports: “Since the decision was taken to show our famous French chef the door and replace him with a third party supplier, the quality has deteriorated significantly; gone are the days of freshly cooked steaks, tuna steak and battered fish all made to order.”

WFW’s canteen rating has plunged from an A* to a D in this year’s Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18. It all seems very unfortunate, because the firm has had a really good year in business terms, increasing revenue by more than 20% to nearly £160 million. Profit per equity partner has soared 27% to reach £608,000.

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Key Info

Training contracts 18
Latest trainee retention rate 100%
Offices 14
Countries 11
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 9:16am
Average leave time 7:55pm
Annual target hours 1,400
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £43,000
Second year trainee salary £46,000
Newly qualified salary £70,000
Profit per equity partner £608,000
GDL grant £6,500
LPC grant £6,500


UK female associates 52%
UK female partners 28%
UK BME associates 9%
UK BME partners 11%

Universities Current Trainees Attended