Recognition & Awards

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved and the international recognition we’ve received from both clients and industry peers. We’ve been praised for our delivery of client service excellence, legal expertise as well as our efficient operational management.  Some of our recent successes include:

Legal Business Awards 2015

DWF was awarded Legal Innovator of the Year in recognition of the firm’s innovative approach to operational management, people engagement and the successful delivery of client service and workplace improvements. Following a £12million investment in IT, the introduction of a range of client-focused products and new IT-enabled tools for increased collaboration across the firm’s 14 offices, are enabling DWF to continue to provide outstanding client service whilst offering a rewarding working environment for its people.

Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report 2015

DWF was commended for its innovative approach to dispute resolution following the ground-breaking Supreme Court case, Zurich v IEGL, in which DWF partner and Head of Occupational Head and Casualty Derek Adamson represented Zurich in its successful appeal. The firm was also commended for innovation in strategic resourcing and technology for its approach to agile working and for innovation in social responsibility for the success of the 5 STAR Futures programme, which is the legal sector’s largest youth development CSR programme.

Financial Times Innovative Lawyer Report 2014

DWF has been recognised as one of Europe’s 50 most innovative law firms by the Financial Times in its Innovative Lawyers 2014 report. The independently researched report, published annually in association with RSG Consulting, recognises the lawyers and law firms which are contributing to fresh thinking and innovative practice. It is the only ranking of law firms by innovation.

  • DWF has been recognised as one of the ‘Most Innovative Law Firms in Client Service’ for its bespoke Crisis Response Service, which supports clients across a broad range of sectors through any type of business crisis. Offered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Crisis Response encompasses access to legal advice, business continuity planning, reputation management and psychological support for employees. DWF is believed to be the only UK law firm providing such a comprehensive service.
  • DWF has been named one of the ‘Most Innovative Law Firms in Diversity’ in recognition of becoming the first UK law firm to achieve the ‘Proud to be ClearAssured’ status. Established by The Clear Company, the UK’s leading auditors of inclusive recruitment practices, the ClearAssured status highlights DWF’s commitment to encouraging diversity within the profession and establishes the firm as an inclusive recruiter for disabled talent.

Managing Partners’ Forum for Management Excellence 2015

DWF was presented with two awards at the Managing Partners' Forum for Management Excellence 2015 in recognition of the firm’s management and operational excellence:

  • Best Leadership of Innovation: In recognition of the firm’s leadership across a broad range of innovative initiatives that have led to major developments in client service delivery, organisational structure and people management and are driving the firm’s vision of becoming a Top 15 legal business.
  • Best Managed Workplace: Recognising the firm’s forward-thinking approach to developing a workplace characterised by high levels of employee engagement and collaboration.

Managing Partners' Forum Awards for Management Excellence 2014

The MPF Awards are held in association with The Financial Times, Google Enterprise and The Harvard Business Review and recognise management excellence in professional services firms across Europe.

  • DWF won 'Best Managed National Firm' as it “demonstrated a strong alignment between its overall strategic objectives and delivery by its management team”, the firm was particularly commended for its “strong leadership”, “clear sense of purpose” and “preparedness to adopt state-of-the-art business practices”. DWF’s exceptional growth was noted for being “underpinned by a strong management team” who are “well equipped to drive the business to greater heights, and delivering against a well thought through plan”.
  • DWF won ‘Best Financial Management’ in recognition of how the firm has “brought together people, processes and systems to improve financial performance across the firm”. The firm was praised for its “focus on communication to ensure fee earners and support staff understand the firm’s financial objectives”, its “investment in systems to improve management information” and its “focus on improving efficiency at all stages in the end to end billing process”, particularly in relation to how these investments have “benefited clients through more transparent information”.

British Legal Awards 2014

DWF won two awards at the British Legal Awards 2014, hosted by legal magazine Legal Week.

  • DWF won the ‘Law Firm Innovation’ award for its bespoke Crisis Response service, which provides clients with comprehensive support and helps safeguard their business and reputation during any business crisis. DWF is the only UK firm to offer this type of integrated service, encompassing 24/7 legal advice, business continuity planning, reputation management and psychological support for clients.
  • DWF won ‘Best Use of Technology’ following an investment in the firm’s IT systems, which is driving major operational efficiencies and significantly enhancing client service. Through a partnership with Canon – a deal believed to be a world fist – the firm is moving to a paper-light environment by electronically routing mail directly into the case management system. The investment is also allowing DWF to develop bespoke extranets and a platform that gives clients real-time financial management information.

The Lawyer Business Leadership Awards 2015

DWF was awarded ‘most innovative use of office environment’ in recognition of its approach to developing state-of-the-art office environments across the firm’s 12 UK locations using a range of technology-driven innovations that are transforming the way people work, facilitating agile working and reducing property costs. DWF’s Director of Facilities sand Property Karl Warmbold was also recognised as a finalist in the ‘business leader of the year category’.

The Lawyer Awards 2015

DWF was shortlisted for Regulatory Team of the Year in the Lawyer Awards in recognition of the team’s work on a landmark international case which involved the strategic engagement of the UK and Irish Government and the EU Commission as well as regulatory bodies and world-renown scientific experts to support an international food manufacturers use of innovation and technology.

The successful outcome of the case safeguarded the client’s business and set a precedent for the future production of a specific class of food products. DWF’s team was led by Hilary Ross, Head of DWF’s Food, Retail and Hospitality sector and recognised in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 list, and Dominic Watkins, head of DWF’s Regulatory team in London.

Legal Week Client Satisfaction Report 2014

DWF has been independently recognised as one of the top UK law firms for client satisfaction in Legal Week magazine’s 2014 Client Satisfaction Survey, with clients commending the firm’s ‘commercial acumen’ and ‘approachability’. 

  • The firm ranked highly for quality of commercial advice, cost/billing practice, service delivery and quality of legal advice and achieved a high ranking of 7.98 overall and placed sixth out of 18 UK firms.
  • DWF ranked joint first out of all law firms for its Use of IT and Knowledge Management, reflecting the successful outcomes of the firm’s £12million investment in IT and achieving a ranking of 8.0 compared to the national average of 7.1
  • The firm received its highest scores for responsiveness (9/10) and personal/partner relationships (8/10) reflecting the significant growth of the firm’s client care programme.
  • Clients described DWF as ‘multi-disciplined, responsible, professional and able to adapt to change’ and offering ‘great service to customers’.

Lawyer Management Awards 2014

DWF won ‘Management Team of the Year’ at the Lawyer Management Awards 2014 in recognition of the firm’s successful operational management. The Lawyer magazine, which hosted the awards, cited that DWF has excelled across all operational areas including business and client development, facilities, HR, knowledge management, IT, and risk and compliance, and commended the firm’s “rapid expansion and willingness to embrace new opportunities in the UK legal market”.

Legal Business Awards 2014

Andrew Leaitherland, Managing Partner & CEO at DWF, won ‘Management Partner of the Year’ for “putting his firm firmly on the legal services map”. Commended for building “strong strategic and operational boards” and “eschewing the traditional law firm structure” to adopt a corporate approach which enables “sharper decision making and clearer reporting lines”, Andrew’s “boundless energy” and “ability to communicate his vision effectively” have been credited as “galvanising forces behind the firm’s success”.

Legal Week Employee Satisfaction Report 2014

An independent survey of solicitors and trainee solicitors across the top UK firms.

  • DWF ranked second of all UK law firms for overall employee satisfaction.
  • DWF ranked third of all UK law firms for professional satisfaction.
  • DWF ranked third of all UK law firms for management, which covers key areas such as strategic direction, cooperation and teamwork, recognition and praise, line management and internal communication.

Legal Week Client Satisfaction Report 2013

An independent survey of senior decision-makers at FTSE 100, 350, and AIM listed companies as well as the UK's 100 largest privately owned businesses.

  • DWF ranked first of all top 20 UK law firms (by revenue) for the quality of its legal advice with a score of 9.15 out of 10, the only national firm to score above nine in any category.
  • DWF ranked in joint first place of all national firms for service delivery and responsiveness, with a score of 8.5 out of ten. DWF's client's commended the firm for its “speed and efficiency”, in addition to acknowledging the firm's “knowledge of subject area.”

Lawyer Management Awards 2013

  • DWF won ‘Best Major Project’ in recognition of the firm’s achievements following the acquisition of Cobbetts. Recognising the “immense time pressures” the judges commented that “sometimes it is the most practical projects that impress” and that “the bare facts boggle the mind – 742 people, less than a month’s elapsed time and three lease negotiations A huge achievement for the facilities, IT and real estate teams.”

The Lawyer Hot 100 2014

  • Andrew Leaitherland was recognised as one of The Lawyer’s Hot 100 in 2012 for his success as DWF’s Managing Partner.
  • Hilary Ross was recognised in the Hot 100 in 2014 for her regulatory work.

Alarm Risk Awards 2015

National legal business DWF was awarded Product of the Year at the 2015 Alarm Risk Awards for the firm’s Crisis Response service, which supports clients across a range of sectors with legal advice, business continuity planning, reputation management and psychological support for employees during any type of business crisis. DWF is the only UK law firm to offer a comprehensive, 24/7 crisis management service.

Top Employers for Working Families 2014

  • DWF ranked in the Top 30 Employers for Working Families 2014 following independent research, conducted by the work-life balance organisation Working Families, which benchmarks employers on their work-life and flexible working policies and practices.

The Lawyer Diversity Pioneer 2015

DWF has been named one of The Lawyer magazine’s Diversity Pioneers, one of just twenty UK law firms who are recognised as industry leaders in creating diverse work environments and establishing inclusive recruitment practices.

Telegraph Out at Work Top 50 LGBT Executives 2015

The Telegraph Out at Work Top 50 LGBT Executives celebrates those who are making a difference in the workplace and influencing change in their companies and communities. DWF solicitor Paul Maddock has been recognised for his work in founding and chairing DWF’s LGBT employee network, OutFront. He has organised events in conjunction with Stonewall and has also reviewed the firm’s HR policies to help champion LGBT needs.

Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) Awards Shortlist 2015

DWF is shortlisted in two categories at the enei Annual Awards 2015. The Community Impact category recognises DWF’s success in building strong community partnerships through its innovative 5 STAR Futures programme, which delivers tailored workshops to over 30 schools across the UK to provide young people with the tools to improve confidence and develop key employability skills. DWF is also shortlisted for Employee Network Group of the Year for its internal networking group ‘OutFront’, which brings together the firm’s LGBT staff to help support its people and develop the firm’s diversity agenda.

Living Wage Champions Award Shortlist 2014

The Living Wage Foundation supports UK employers who have made significant contributions to their community and industry through the implementation of the Living Wage, an hourly wage that is set independently and calculated annually according to the basic cost of living in the UK.  Shortlisted for a Living Wage Champions Award, DWF has been recognised for the impact it is has had in the North West, where it employs over 1,200 people across Liverpool, Manchester and Preston. 

North West Responsible Business Awards 2014

Business in the Community 2014

DWF has achieved Silver and Bronze standards for gender and race diversity in a survey conducted by Business in the Community (BITC). This was DWF’s first year participating in the survey, which was developed by BITC as a confidential diversity assessment tool to provide participants with sector specific performance data, constructive feedback and specific action plans around their diversity and inclusion agendas. The survey is jointly run by:

  • BITC’s Opportunity Now campaign which empowers employees to accelerate change for women in the workplace and;
  • The Race for Opportunity campaign, which helps businesses to improve employment opportunities for ethnic minorities.

Roll on Friday Firm of the Year Survey 2014

DWF is ranked 14th in Roll on Friday’s Firm of the Year Survey, reflecting the numerous initiatives that have been launched this year aimed at increasing employee engagement and satisfaction across the business, including social activities for staff, the launch of the DWF academy to support learning and development, new office locations in Birmingham, Dublin and London and a significant investment in IT systems that has enabled greater collaboration across the firm.

2014 North of England Excellence Awards

DWF won the Leadership award at the  2014 North of England Excellence Awards in recognition of the firm’s commitment to championing and developing excellence across the firm. The firm was commended for demonstrating critical elements of excellent leadership, successfully communicating its vision and values and engaging with employees, clients and wider stakeholders in order to increase efficiency and deliver growth. DWF is the first legal services firm to partner with the British Quality Foundation and North of England Excellence as part of its excellence journey.

Birmingham Legal Awards 2015

DWF’s national head of occupational health and casualty, partner Derek Adamson, was presented with the Partner of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to DWF, the legal profession and the local Birmingham community. Two other individuals in the firm’s Birmingham team were also recognised at the awards: partner Mark Kenkre was shortlisted for International Lawyer of the Year, and trainee Laura Longman for Trainee of the Year.

2015 West Midlands Insurance Institute Awards

DWF won Service Provider of the Year in recognition of the firm’s wide-ranging insurance expertise and commitment to delivering innovative legal services to its major base of insurer clients.

2015 Birmingham Post Business Awards

DWF is shortlisted for Law Firm of the Year in recognition of the firm’s outstanding legal achievements in the Midlands and commitment to the Birmingham community.

Scottish Legal Awards 2015

DWF was shortlisted for Public Sector Law Firm of the Year in recognition of the firm’s achievements in advising central and local government organisations on some of the largest and most prominent projects in the country, including acting for Transport Scotland on the relet of the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper Rail Franchises worth circa £7 billion.

Scottish Business in the Community Awards 2015

DWF was awarded the Closing the Education Gap Award in recognition of the firm’s innovative education programme 5 STAR Futures, which focuses on working with young people to provide a practical framework for improving confidence, building resilience and developing key employability skills for the future. Through 5 STAR Futures, DWF has worked with nearly 900 students in more than 30 schools across Scotland the UK.

Law Awards of Scotland 2015

DWF was awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility award in recognition of the firms innovative initiatives that support education and employability, health and wellbeing and homelessness to communities across Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of the firm’s strategic approach to CSR. The firm was recognised for its 5 STAR Futures programme, which helps young people develop employability skills, its participation in the annual Give and Gain day and its ongoing partnership with The Rock Trust.

Manchester Legal Awards 2014

North of England Excellence Awards 2013

Liverpool Legal Awards 2013

Yorkshire Legal Awards 2013


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