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Watson Farley & Williams LLP

  • 18 vacancies
  • 36 trainees
  • 175 partners
  • 1140 staff

About Watson Farley & Williams LLP

We are an international law firm, with a strong sector focus, advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network.

Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Watson Farley & Williams LLP.

More info

The application window for applications for 2023 vacation schemes and 2025 training contracts opens on 1 October 2022.

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.


Applications to

Ms Lisa Holmes

Method of application

Online 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 infrastructure. We have offices in Athens, Bangkok, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanoi, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, Singapore and Sydney.

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 finance, capital markets, corporate, construction, planning, employment, public law, real estate, regulatory and competition and dispute resolution.

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, and one overseas in either Athens, Bangkok, Dubai, Hamburg, 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 2025 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. 

As an international firm with a global client base, diversity and inclusion is a key part of how we operate as a firm. Respect for different backgrounds and perspectives is at the heart of our firm's core values, which is why we are committed to attracting, recruiting and developing the best talent from a wide range of backgrounds and creating the type of inclusive environment in which all of our people can reach their full potential.

We 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.

You can read more about diversity and inclusion at the firm 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
  • Competition
  • Corporate
  • Dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • General Counsel
  • Projects
  • Real estate
  • Regulatory & public
  • Tax
  • International (guaranteed)
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • General Commercial

Practice Areas

Extra info

15 Appold Street, London, EC2A 2HB
Phone: 020 7814 8000
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.wfw.com/uktrainees
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 24
Minimum qualification: 2.1 degree, in any discipline or equivalent
Start salary: £47,000
Fees paid for:
  • CPE/GDL
  • SQE
Turnover: £187,800,000 (2021)
Profit per partner: £565,000 (2021)
Training contract applications: 500 (2022)
Retention rate: 78% (2022)
Partner diversity:
  • 78.0% male (2022)
  • 22.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 51.0% male (2022)
  • 49.0% female
Has overseas secondments: Yes
Overseas secondments:
  • Athens
  • Bangkok
  • Dubai
  • Hamburg
  • Paris
  • Singapore
  • Athens
  • Bangkok
  • Dubai
  • Dusseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • Hamburg
  • Hanoi
  • Hong Kong
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Milan
  • Munich
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Singapore
  • Sydney
  • Legal Advice Centres
  • UK collaborative pro bono plan
  • University House Legal Advice Centre
  • BITC
  • Bright Network
  • City Parents
  • Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter
  • Rare Recruitment
  • Social Mobility Foundation