DWF Group

DWF is a global legal business headquartered in Manchester with 31 offices across the world.[5] In March 2019, DWF was listed on the London Stock Exchange. With a £366m valuation and offer size of £95m, DWF became the UK’s largest listed law firm.[6]

DWF Group plc
DWF LLP Logo.svg
HeadquartersManchester, England
No. of offices31
No. of attorneys1,100
No. of employees3,100
Major practice areasGeneral Practice (see below)
Key peopleJonathan Bloomer (Chairman) [1]
Sir Nigel Knowles (CEO)[2]
RevenueIncrease £297.2 million (2018/19)[3]
Date founded1977 (Liverpool)
FounderJim Davies, Guy Wallis[4]
Company typeplc
Websitehttps://dwfgroup.com/
DWF's London offices at 20 Fenchurch Street also known as London's "Walkie Talkie"

The firm started life as a four office practice in North West England and has grown globally through a series of international mergers. It currently has around 3,100 staff and is the 19th-largest law firm in the UK measured by revenues and advises national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments.

View of the Sky Garden rooftop garden and restaurant at the top of the 20 Fenchurch Street tower where the firm's London office is based

DWF's London offices at 20 Fenchurch Street also known as London's "Walkie Talkie"[7]

View of the Sky Garden rooftop garden and restaurant at the top of the 20 Fenchurch Street tower where the firm's London office is based

In March 2019, DWF floated on the London Stock Exchange, valued at just under £370m, well short of the £1 billion that it was hoping for a year earlier.[8]

DWF posted group revenue growth of 15% from £236.5m to £272.4m for 2018-19 and 19% to £297.2 for 2019-20.[9]

DWF's Dubai offices are situated in the Al Fattan Marine Towers complex

HistoryEdit

Davies Wallis was founded in 1977 in Liverpool,[4] and merged with Dodds Ashcroft in 1989.[4]

A merger with Foysters in 1990[4] brought a Manchester office and a change of name to Davies Wallis Foyster, which was abbreviated to DWF in 2007,[4] shortly after the acquisition of Ricksons.[10] The Ricksons acquisition added offices in Preston and Leeds. DWF opened a London office in 2008.[11]

A series of acquisitions in 2012 and 2013 added offices in Birmingham (Buller Jeffries),[12] Newcastle (Crutes),[13] Glasgow and Edinburgh (both Biggart Baillie),[14] Bristol, Dublin and a second London office (Fishburns),[15] before acquiring Cobbetts through a pre-pack administration.[16]

In 2014, DWF reported a 23% increase in net profit from £20.8 million in 2012/13 to £25.5 million in its first full year financial results following four mergers.[17]

DWF opened an office in Dubai in March 2015, the firm's first office outside of the British Isles.[18]

DWF opened six offices in 2017, including two new operations in Continental Europe. The firm opened in Berlin after hiring two lawyers from DLA Piper. It also launched its first office in France through a merger with four-partner Paris firm Heenan Blaikie. In the Asia Pacific region, DWF also launched two offices in Melbourne and Brisbane through a combination with independent firm MVM Legal.

DWF further opened in Singapore after hiring from Eversheds Sutherland’s practice. It gained bases in Sydney, Chicago and Toronto after the acquisition of claims company Triton in January.[19]

DWF posted strong results for H1 2017/18, with revenue up 23% and net profit increasing by circa 33%. Turnover for H1 2017/18 was £113.5m in a period marked by a spate of office openings in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.[20]

In June 2018, DWF announced its intention to seek a stock exchange listing.[8]

The firm strengthened the IPO business case with a double-digit growth in September 2018. DWF posted revenue growth of 18% from £201.3m to £236m ($309m) for 2017-18 ahead of the firm's initial public offering. The firm also said profit per equity partner (PEP) increased by 9%.[21]

In September 2018, DWF agreed to an exclusive association with US law firm Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP (WSHB), a Los Angeles headquartered full-service law firm with 22 offices across the US, 56 partners and 250 lawyers, and generated gross revenue of $81m in its last financial year.[22]

In January 2020, DWF acquired Mindcrest, a legal and managed services business, for $18.50 million.[23]

 
DWF is occupying the 58th floor of Republic Plaza, the second tallest skyscraper in Singapore.

RecognitionEdit

  • Legal business DWF was highly commended in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers report and ranked 11th as most innovative law firm in Europe for developing a platform based on Kim, the AI technology that underpins Ernst & Young Riverview Law's virtual assistants, to manage employment tribunals for clients.[24]
  • In a 2018 report by Experian, DWF ranked 7th among the most active legal and financial advisers in the UK and 15th in Europe by deal volume and value.[25]
  • Nine legal experts from DWF have been recognised in The Legal 500 Hall of Fame, an annual industry benchmarking guide that recognises lawyers who have received the highest level of praise and consistent positive feedback from clients over the last ten years.[26]
  • DWF achieved a number of awards in 2018 in the insurance industry recognition for Insurance Law Firm of the Year at the Post Claims Awards, Best Fraud Prevention Solution of the Year and Legal Partner of the Year at the Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards and Outsourced Partner of the Year at the British Insurance Awards.[27]
  • The business won Litigation Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards and achieved Gold in the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) new Talent Inclusion & Diversity Evaluation (TIDE) Awards for its outstanding equality, diversity and inclusion practices.[28][29][30]
  • DWF has been ranked 10th in the 2017 Financial Times Most Innovative Lawyers in Europe Report, and scored highest of all firms for innovation in the business of law.[31]
  • The firm won 'Best Work Placement Scheme' (Best in Law Awards 2017).[32]
  • Commended for Team of the Year – Corporate/Commercial (Manchester Legal Awards 2017).[33]
  • Won the award for ‘Data Analytics Excellence’ (Insurance Times Tech & Innovation Awards 2016).[34]
  • Won ‘Best Leadership of Innovation’ and ‘Best Managed Workplace’ (Managing Partners’ Forum Awards for Management Excellence 2015).[35]
  • Awarded ‘Legal Innovator of the Year’ (Legal Business Awards 2015).
  • Named ‘Management Team of the Year’ (The Lawyer Management Awards 2014).

The firm is dedicated to creating a diverse business and was the first UK law firm to achieve the ‘ClearAssured’ accreditation, which highlights the firm as an inclusive recruiter of disabled talent. DWF has also launched a women's and LGBT network and was ranked in the 2016 Stonewall Top 100 Employers Index for its inclusive workplace policies.[36]

 
DWF occupies Bridgewater Place in Leeds.

Notable casesEdit

  • DWF, working alongside Jones Lang LaSalle, has advised Korea's National Pension Service as lead bidder to buy Goldman Sachs’s new London headquarters for $1.56bn. The deal will see Goldman Sachs commit to a 25-year lease of the 826,000 square foot site and are set to move into the building in summer 2019. The landmark transaction is the single largest UK real estate deal this year, and the second-largest ever, after the sale of the 'Walkie Talkie' building for $1.6bn, where DWF London lawyers reside.[37][38]
  • DWF is advising Kensington and Chelsea Council as the inquiry into Grenfell Tower fire disaster in June 2017, which resulted in the deaths of at least 80 people in North Kensington.[39]
  • DWF's Police and Prison Law team have secured a favourable judgment for South Yorkshire Police in a claim brought by Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC and SYP for infringement of his privacy rights.[40][41]
  • The firm advised Poundland owner Pepkor on its $233m financing with US investment firm Davidson Kempner Capital Management.[42]
  • DWF advised Discovery Park, one of Europe's leading science and technology parks, on $207m biomass renewable energy plant. Around 650 Pfizer UK employees are based at Discovery Park.[43]

Notable people and alumniEdit

  • In 2018, DWF has appointed business transformation and managed services specialist Anup Kollanethu as CEO of Managed Services, who joins from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer after spearheading one of the UK's largest legal services offerings for the magic circle firm.[44]
  • DWF hired former DLA Piper CIO Daniel Pollick. Pollick held the role of CIO at DLA – the UK's top law firm by revenue in 2017 – from December 1997 to February 2018, and is one of the best known names in the industry.[45]

Practice areasEdit

DWF is structured into two legal service areas, covering Commercial Services and Insurance Services respectively. The Insurance Services area includes a practice dealing with "Claimant Services", delivered as Resolution Law. DWF also offer a wide range of additional products and services under their Connected Services division that allow clients to consolidate their supply chain. These products and services include a digital claims platform and software solutions, as well as specialist lawyers and barristers, forensic accountants and investigators[46]

OfficesEdit

DWF's recent history has been dominated by a process of internationalisation. Over the past decade it has developed a presence in key major cities around the world. The firm is headquartered in the Spinningfields district of Manchester and has 33 offices in 15 jurisdictions across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.[47]

United Kingdom

International

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Jonathan Bloomer appointed as Chairman". Directorstalkinterviews.com. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  2. ^ "DWF appoints Sir Nigel Knowles as CEO". Thelawyer.com. 29 May 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  3. ^ "International expansion and Brexit boost revenues at law firm DWF". 2019-11-08. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  4. ^ a b c d e "DWF enters 'abbreviation age'". Manchester Evening News. 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  5. ^ "DWF Locations".
  6. ^ "DWF becomes UK's largest listed law firm as it completes £95m IPO". Legal Business. 2019-03-15. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  7. ^ "DWF, based in the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in the City of London". The Times.
  8. ^ a b "Because they're worth it: DWF's valuation and the Knowles effect". 18 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Investegate |DWF Group PLC Announcements | DWF Group PLC: Full year results for the year ended 30 April 2019". www.investegate.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  10. ^ "DWF and Ricksons confirm merger". The Lawyer. 2007-01-03. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  11. ^ "Davies Lavery team defects for DWF City launch". Legal Week. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  12. ^ "DWF and Buller Jeffries to merge". Business Desk. 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  13. ^ "Crutes completes merger with DWF". The Journal. 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  14. ^ "Biggart Baillie reveals merger with DWF". The Herald. 2012-07-06. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  15. ^ "DWF to merger with professional indemnity firm Fishburns". Legal Week. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  16. ^ "DWF plans to buy troubled Cobbetts". Manchester Evening News. 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  17. ^ "DWF posts net profit growth to £25.5m, revenues at £191m". The Lawyer. 2014-07-24. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  18. ^ "DWF tears up UK-only strategy with Dubai office launch". The Lawyer. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  19. ^ "DWF pushes further into Middle East with Qatar launch". The Lawyer. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Financials 2017/18: CMS claims 25% profit hike post-merger as DWF's top line grows 23%". www.legalbusiness.co.uk. 20 November 2017.
  21. ^ "DWF revenue surges 18% ahead of anticipated IPO".
  22. ^ "Firms enter into exclusive association for US expansion". www.globallegalpost.com.
  23. ^ January 29, Meganne Tillay |; International, 2020 at 05:05 AM | The original version of this story was published on Law com. "UK Law Firm DWF Acquires Chicago-based Mindcrest for $18.5M". Law.com. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  24. ^ "Innovative Lawyers: Europe". www.ft.com. 30 September 2020.
  25. ^ "International M&A Review : Experian Business Research: H1 2017" (PDF). Experian.co.uk. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Nine DWF lawyers recognised in Legal 500 Hall of Fame". www.dwf.law.
  27. ^ "Claims & Fraud Awards". www.postevents.co.uk.
  28. ^ "G2 Legal - Bringing business and talent together. Targeted, quality focused, international legal recruitment". www.g2legal.co.uk.
  29. ^ Today, Personnel (10 July 2018). "Equality and inclusion winners celebrate at the enei 2018 Awards". www.personneltoday.com.
  30. ^ Today, Personnel (10 July 2018). "Equality and inclusion winners celebrate at the enei 2018 Awards". Personnel Today.
  31. ^ "Innovative Lawyers - Financial Times". Rankings.ft.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  32. ^ "LawCareers.Net". Lawcareers.net. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-11. Retrieved 2017-10-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Tech & Innovation Awards 2016 shortlist announced". Insurancetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  35. ^ "DWF LLP - London - Law Firm Profile - UK Guide, 2018 - Chambers and Partners". Chambersandpartners.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  36. ^ "The Legal 500 > DWF > London, ENGLAND > What the firm says". Legal500.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  37. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-29/the-20-hour-flight-is-coming-and-it-may-have-a-gym-and-bunks
  38. ^ https://www.dwf.law/en/MediaCentre/Press-Releases/2018/August/DWF-advises-on-landmark-City-real-estate-deal
  39. ^ "DWF in line for over £1.3m from Kensington and Chelsea Council for advice on Grenfell fire disaster". LegalWeek.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  40. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/26/sir-cliff-richard-settles-row-south-yorkshire-police-raid-home/
  41. ^ https://www.dwf.law/MediaCentre/Press-Releases/2018/July/DWF-LLP-secures-favourable-judgment-for-South-Yorkshire-Police
  42. ^ "Eversheds Sutherland nears first anniversary with trio of corporate deals". Legalbusiness.co.uk. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  43. ^ "DWF advises leading science and tech park on £160million biomass renewable energy plant - DWF". Dwf.law. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  44. ^ https://www.legalbusiness.co.uk/blogs/dwf-hires-the-brains-behind-freshfields-manchester-hub-for-new-managed-services-role/
  45. ^ https://www.legaltechnology.com/latest-news/exclusive-daniel-pollick-to-join-dwf-as-cio-as-tech-takes-a-front-seat/
  46. ^ "DWF Launches Specialist Business Division".
  47. ^ "Locations - DWF". Dwf.law. Retrieved 26 August 2018.

External linksEdit