DWF LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in Manchester with 25 offices across the world.[7] The firm started life as a four office practice in the North West of England. The firm has grown through a series of international mergers and currently has around 3,000 staff and is the 19th-largest law firm in the UK measured by revenues and advises national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments.

DWF has been ranked the 10th overall most innovative legal business in Europe in the 2017 Financial Times Most Innovative Lawyers Report, and scored highest of all firms in Europe for innovation in the business of law.[26]

The law firm is renowned for its expertise in corporate and banking, insurance and litigation, financial services, technology and transport. Clients of the firm include major household names and FTSE 100-listed companies such as adidas, Aviva, Barclays, Expedia, Leeds City Council, Marks & Spencer, the Royal Bank of Scotland, RSA Insurance Group, Virgin Trains, Whitbread and Zurich Insurance Group.[27]

History

Davies Wallis was founded in 1977 in Liverpool,[6] and merged with Dodds Ashcroft in 1989.[6]

A merger with Foysters in 1990[6] brought a Manchester office and a change of name to Davies Wallis Foyster, which was abbreviated to DWF in 2007,[6] shortly after the acquisition of Ricksons.[8] The Ricksons acquisition added offices in Preston and Leeds. DWF opened a London office in 2008.[9]

A series of acquisitions in 2012 and 2013 added offices in Birmingham (Buller Jeffries),[10] Newcastle (Crutes),[11] Glasgow and Edinburgh (both Biggart Baillie),[12] Bristol, Dublin and a second London office (Fishburns),[13] before acquiring Cobbetts through a pre-pack administration.[14]

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.[15]

DWF opened an office in Dubai in March 2015, the firm's first office outside of the British Isles.[16]

In September 2017 DWF announced Sir Nigel Knowles as their new Chairman.[28] Sir Nigel was knighted for services to the legal profession in the 2009 New Year Honours List and is currently Chairman of Sheffield LEP, High Sheriff of Greater London and a Trustee of The Prince's Trust.[29] Nigel takes over from Alan Benzie who served for 10 years. Nigel was the former global co-chairman of the international law firm DLA Piper.

Practice areas

DWF is structured into two legal service areas,[23] covering Commercial Services and Insurance Services respectively. The Insurance Services area includes a practice dealing with "Claimant Services", delivered as Resolution Law.[23]

Awards

  • Won 'Best Work Placement Scheme' (Best in Law Awards 2017)[23]
  • Commended for Team of the Year – Corporate/Commercial (Manchester Legal Awards 2017)[23]
  • Won the award for ‘Data Analytics Excellence’ (Insurance Times Tech & Innovation Awards 2016)[23]
  • Won ‘Best Leadership of Innovation’ and ‘Best Managed Workplace’ (Managing Partners’ Forum Awards for Management Excellence 2015)[23]
  • 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.[23]

Offices

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 25 offices in 14 jurisdictions across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.[23]