03 Feb 2022

DWF promotes 17 to partner in latest bumper round

Listed firm elevated just six lawyers to partner in 2021 on the heels of a turbulent pandemic-impacted year

The firm's Manchester office saw the most promotions this year, with five Shutterstock

Listed UK law firm DWF has promoted 17 lawyers to its partnership in its latest promotional round that saw a total of 34 lawyers move up the ladder in a variety of other senior roles. 

The UK firm’s latest new partner cohort is significantly larger than in 2021 when just six lawyers made the cut. Gender balance came in at just over 35%, with six women being promoted in this year’s round. 

The firm said a total of 223 professionals across the firm’s three divisions - Legal Advisory, Midcrest and Connected Services - were elevated in different capacities as part of its annual promotions process. 

Headlining this year’s partner promotions was the firm’s Manchester office, which saw five of its lawyers move up the ranks: Daniel Williams (disputes); Darren Ormsby (corporate); Lee Norman (disputes); Colin Bushell (fraud); and Stuart McCann (real estate). 

DWF’s London office came in at a close second with four promotions, including Chris Wheeler, who heads the firm’s forensic services team. The Liverpool and Birmingham offices saw two promotions apiece, with one lawyer getting the nod in Leeds and another in Dublin. 

Outside the UK, the firm elevated Milan duo Francesco Falco and Guglielmo Fabbricatore to the rank of local partner. Both of the new partners lead teams in Italy — Fabbricatore heads the energy group while Falco leads the compliance team. 

In terms of practice areas, disputes led the pack with six promotions, followed by real estate and insurance with two promotions apiece. Other practices to receive promotions included litigation, corporate, banking and finance and fraud. Kate Meadowcroft, who leads the firm’s employment team in Birmingham, was also elevated from director to partner. 

“I congratulate everybody on their accomplishment, in contributing so much to the continuing success of our business in what has been a transformational year,” said Sir Nigel Knowles, CEO of DWF Group. 

The firm emerged from a turbulent pandemic-impacted year last summer when it reported a 12% increase in revenue to £400.9m against adjusted profit before tax of £34m. DWF's international revenue grew 33% to hit £92.5m, which it attributed to the £33.5m contribution from its acquisition of Spanish firm RCD

After implementing a series of cost-cutting measures in the earlier stages of the pandemic - including the closure of its Singapore and Brussels offices and the scaling back of its Australia legal operations – the firm was able to report a reduction of its net debt at year-end to £61m from £65m in 2020. 

As further evidence of its return to form, the firm reshuffled its operations in the Middle East by announcing the creation of a regional headquarters for its business services arms in Riyadh while also launching an association with local law firm Al-Ohaly & Partners to boost its legal division in Saudi Arabia in October. 

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