DWF logo


DWF logo

          Trainee Recruitment FAQs

          We want to provide you with as much information as possible to help inform your decision about applying with us, so we've listed the most frequently asked questions here.


          Currently DWF offers training contracts in our Belfast, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester offices. From October 1 2018 you can apply for our English and Scottish offices for 2021, and our Belfast and Dublin office for 2019. 

          If you're unsure on which office would be your preference, you can apply for a different vacation scheme location to your training contract application. However it is encouraged that you apply for a vacation scheme in the same location where you would like to apply for a training contract, as you will get a good feel for the culture of the office. 

          Currently we do not recruit for our international offices; our international growth started in 2015 and our offices are still growing and embedding into DWF culture. However there may be opportunities for international secondments while you complete your training contract (this would be dependent on business need and trainee suitability). 


          If you are an LLB or Scots Law student, you can apply in the penultimate year of your undergraduate degree. For non-law students it's recommended that you apply in the final year of your undergraduate degree. 

          If you are studying in Belfast, you must be in your final year of your degree and have a provisional place to study at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS).

          If you wish to apply for a Dublin training contract, you must be in your final year of your degree and have passed your FE1's. 

          For all training contracts we also accept applications from law and non-law graduates.

          We do sponsor Tier 2 working visas for training contracts only, but we only sponsor, we do not support with any financial or personal resources. It is your responsibility to keep up to date with any changes to your visa, and to ensure that you are eligible.

          If you are on a Tier 4 student visa, you have to ensure that you are eligible for 72 hours paid experience on the vacation scheme in order to apply. 

          We ask that candidates have achieved an AAB at A-Level and a 2.1 minimum at degree level. However we don't screen out application forms which haven’t met this requirement – so please don't be disheartened if you fell short of these grades. We use Rare's Contextual Recruitment System which can help us to understand the context of your application and achievements. We also take mitigating circumstances into account.

          You should aim to make your overall application the best that it can be, including your personal statement and work history. 

          Application form

          You are able to update your personal details on your application form (such as personal information, education etc.), however you're unable to amend the application itself once it's been submitted. To amend any of your personal details, please visit your Apply4Law account. Please do not email any changes to the Graduate Recruitment Team, as we are unable to amend your application and these changes will not be considered. 
          We do not accept any CVs/cover letters as part of our recruitment process. In order to apply, you must register on Apply4Law and complete an online application form. 
          Unfortunately due to time constraints and a large volume of applications, we are unable to provide feedback at the application stage of the process. 
          Applications for our English and Scottish offices are not assessed on a rolling basis. However applications for our Belfast and Dublin offices will be assessed on a rolling basis, so if you wish to apply for these offices it is important that you apply at the earliest opportunity. 


          If you haven’t yet submitted a training contract application then you are able to submit this after being unsuccessful for a vacation scheme. However please be aware that if you didn’t meet the requirements for the vacation scheme, it's likely that you would need to improve your application before applying again. 
          Unfortunately the only form of work experience which we offer is the vacation scheme; we do not offer any informal work experience at this stage. 

          The dates of our vacation scheme are as follows:

          • Scottish offices – 3rd June 2019 – 14th June 2019 
          • English offices – 10th June 2019 – 21st June 2019
          No, if you were successful in receiving a place on the vacation scheme then you would be considered for the training contract at the same time. For this reason, you need to be eligible for the training contract in order to apply for the vacation scheme.  

          Assessment Centre

          The final stage of the recruitment process for the training contract is a networking day. This is unique to DWF and you will meet Andrew Leaitherland our Managing Partner and CEO, and some of the Senior Partners in the business. This is a compulsory session on specific dates which are: 

          • Vacation Scheme applicants: 5th July 2019 
          • Training Contract applicants: 30th August 2019

          There are no alternative dates, so please ensure that you are available to attend. 

          For our vacation scheme recruitment, we have confirmed the following dates:

          • Edinburgh and Glasgow (hosted in Glasgow): 28 February 2019
          • Birmingham and London (hosted in London): 7 March 2019 
          • Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester (hosted in Manchester): 12 March 2019
          • Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester (hosted in Manchester): 14 March 2019 

          Please note that these dates may be subject to change. 

          We reimburse travel expenses for up to £150 of reasonable travel with evidence of receipts. 

          Postgraduate Studies

          DWF will pay for LPC fees for candidates who have yet to start their LPC at the point of a training contract offer. DWF do not reimburse fees if the LPC has been started, or completed. We do not offer any financial assistance during the course. 

          If you are applying for a training contract in our Belfast office, DWF do not currently provide assistance with the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS) fees.

          We do not ask for any specific electives during the LPC; however it is useful to choose electives which align to the practice groups at DWF, and explore areas which you may be interested to follow on your training contract. 

          Although DWF use BPP as our LPC provider, we do not consider this to be a disadvantage if you have not completed your LPC at BPP.

          You can apply for a training contract in the Belfast office permitting that you are in the final year of your law degree, and have submitted an application for the Institute of Professional Legal Studies (IPLS). A conditional training contract offer is made based on the successful candidates passing the entrance exam and subsequently receiving a place at the IPLS. 

          If you are offered a training contract and haven’t started the LPC at the point of offer, you have the option to be funded for the LPC. If you accept this offer, you would complete the LLM in Commercial Legal Practice at our preferred training provider, BPP.

          There are a number of BPP universities across England; you are able to choose the location which is most convenient for you, and are not restricted by the location of your training contract. For example, a Manchester based student who is joining the Leeds office can complete the LPC in Manchester if convenient. 

          If you have self-funded the LPC, you will not have to complete a top up or complete any further study. The LLM Commercial Legal Practice is only a requirement for the trainees that we sponsor and pay course fees for. 

          Training Contracts

          For our English and Scottish training contract, you will sit in four six month seats. Many of our trainees also have the opportunity to complete a client secondment.

          Contact our Graduate Recruitment team

          Sarah Tucker

          Emerging Talent Specialist

          Charis McGowan

          Emerging Talent Officer

          Connect with our Graduate social channels

          For all the latest Graduate news and events