Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Watson Farley & Williams LLP.
We are currently recruiting for our training contracts commencing in September 2026.
All applicants should apply using the online application form available from uktrainee.wfw.com. After an initial video interview, the next stage in each process is an assessment centre followed by a final stage partner interview. This interview takes place during the vacation scheme for candidates successful in gaining a place on one of our schemes.
How to applywfw.grad.allhires.com
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Ms Lisa Holmes
Method of applicationOnline application form
Method of assessment
- Assessment centre
- Partner interview
- Video interview
Watson Farley & Williams LLP is an international law firm advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network. We have a strong sector focus, combining our technical excellence with deep industry knowledge across energy, transport and associated infrastructure. We have offices in Athens, Bangkok, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanoi, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
We strive for excellence in all that we do and view investment in our people as key to achieving our business goals and values, which rest on developing deep and long-lasting relationships externally and internally through respect, sharing, communication and integrity. Our teams are integrated across legal disciplines and offices delivering consistently high levels of service in combination across borders and locally through a deep understanding of local business customs and culture.
Areas of work
Within our core sectors of energy (conventional and renewable power, oil and gas, mining and commodities) and transport (aviation, maritime and rail) plus associated infrastructure, we provide a full suite of legal services including capital markets, construction, corporate, dispute resolution, employment, finance, private equity, public law, real estate, regulatory and competition, restructuring and insolvency and tax.
Our vacation scheme is the best way to familiarise yourself with WFW. The two-week placements will be at our London office. They give us a chance to get to know you, and you a chance to experience the firm in more depth.
To appreciate first-hand the kind of work trainees undertake day-to-day, you will work with senior solicitors and partners in one of our core practice groups for the whole period, where possible. To complement this focus on one area, you will also participate in a variety of training and social events designed to give you a general overview of the firm. These include informal presentations to give you a broad understanding of all our different practice groups.
Our two-year training contract differs from many other firms. With us you will gain valuable insight from six four-month seats, including one in the firm's largest group, assets and structured finance, one in dispute resolution and one overseas in either Athens, Bangkok, Dubai, Frankfurt, Paris or Singapore. In each you’ll join a team led by a partner and see complex and high value transactions firsthand. Your training contract will be hands-on, with as much experience of clients and real, high-profile work as possible. You’ll also benefit from plenty of exposure to senior lawyers, many acknowledged leaders in their field. The firm has a reputation for challenging work. Yours will be no exception as we believe that only total immersion can provide you with the experience you require. We give you early responsibility, but we also offer plenty of support and feedback.
Although there is no typical WFW trainee, there are certain qualifications, skills and traits that we look for.
You will need a 2:1 or above – or predicted if you haven’t yet graduated. We also ask for at least ABB from A-level results, or their equivalent, if you have taken other qualifications. As well as academic achievement, we particularly value applicants with clear initiative, drive, commercial awareness and an interest in our sectors.
Trainees joining us in 2026 will qualify via the SRA's new mandatory route to qualification, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. Details of our programme of study and funding for this will be confirmed to you at offer stage.
Please visit www.sra.org.uk for full details of the changes to the route to qualification.
In a rapidly changing world, attracting, retaining, and developing the very best talent is a priority for international law firms such as ours. Our focus is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the firm through promoting the values of teamwork, inclusivity, collaboration, and transparency. We want to create clear career paths and opportunities for all by ensuring our people have the chance to develop, express their views and ideas, have the opportunity to grow and see their careers fulfilled within the firm. We truly value our diverse workforce. Encouraging diversity of thought and drawing on different perspectives means that we can provide innovative solutions to our clients’ most complex matters. For this reason, we’re working hard to develop a diverse pipeline of talent and we are taking action through our global diversity and inclusion strategy to help us achieve this.
In recruitment, we partner with the Bright Network and MyPlus Students’ Club to ensure we attract the very best candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. We also use Rare's contextual recruitment system in our trainee recruitment which allows us to understand individual academics in the context of how they were achieved.
Find out more on our website – https://www.wfw.com/about-us/diversity-and-inclusion/.
Full fees (both PGDL and SQE) are paid, dependant on the point of offer, plus a maintenance grant.
- Assets & structured finance
- Dispute resolution
- General Counsel
- Real estate
- Regulatory & public
- International (guaranteed)
- Corporate & Commercial
- General Commercial
Aviation lawyers provide commercial, regulatory and insurance advice and litigation services to the world's airlines, manufacturers and financiers.
Banking & finance
Sponsored by Milbank LLP. Banking and finance involves many financial products, from bank loans to companies to highly structured financing arrangements across multiple jurisdictions.
Capital markets lawyers work with transactions involving the issue of debt or equity securities to the public or investors.
Company & commercial
Sponsored by Gowling WLG (UK) LLP. Commercial lawyers focus on trade, from commercial agreements about supply, manufacture and distribution to identifying the best routes to market.
Competition & EU law
Sponsored by Ashurst LLP. Competition and regulatory work includes merger control, regulatory and court proceedings, issues arising from sector-specific regulation and utility procurement issues.
Construction & engineering
Sponsored by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Contentious construction work involves the resolution of disputes while non-contentious work involves drafting and negotiating contracts and advising on projects.
Corporate finance/mergers & acquisitions
Corporate finance lawyers advise companies on all aspects of the buying and selling of whole businesses or business assets.
Corporate tax involves involves advising clients on the tax risks associated with acquiring, selling or restructuring assets.
Sponsored by RPC. Commercial litigators represent and advise commercial clients when disputes arise from joint venture projects, civil fraud, commercial and banking transactions, corporate governance, financial services regulation and professional negligence.
Employment, pensions & incentives
Sponsored by Lewis Silkin. Employment lawyers work across all areas of employment law, including handling discrimination, staff restructuring and whistleblowing issues.
Energy & natural resources
Sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright. The energy sector is an important part of the legal landscape and is making more headlines than ever before.
Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the covid-19 pandemic and various financial scandals, there is always lots going on in this area.
Immigration lawyers deal with all legal matters relating to immigration and nationality.
Restructuring and insolvency lawyers are necessary when a company, individual or other organisation is in financial difficulties.
Sponsored by Bristows LLP. Intellectual property is an umbrella term for a variety of different rights which protect intellectual creations, such as inventions, brands, designs, and literary and artistic works.
Sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau LLP. The term ‘Islamic finance’ refers to a system of banking that is consistent with Sharia law.
Large projects involve lawyers specialising in finance, construction and corporate law.
|Profit per partner:||£584,000 (2022)|
|Training contract applications:||900 (2023)|
|Retention rate:||78% (2023)|
|Has overseas secondments:||Yes|
- Hong Kong
- New York
- Bethnal Green Legal Advice Centre
- Legal Advice Centres
- TrustLaw Connect
- UK collaborative pro bono plan
- University House Legal Advice Centre
- Bright Network
- Business Disability Forum
- City Parents
- Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter
- MyPlus Consulting
- Rare Recruitment
- Social Mobility Foundation