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Watson Farley bumps up trainee numbers and mulls Dubai seat

Written by: Richard Simmons
Published on: 15 Mar 2016

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The London-headquartered firm will take 18 trainees from next autumn, up from 16 last year, and anticipates that demand for trainees will grow further in future.

Part of the reason for the increase in numbers is greater demand from Watson Farley’s international network. The firm is one of only a handful that guarantees its trainees an overseas seat, with Bangkok, Singapore, Hamburg, Athens and Paris all taking one trainee per four-month rotation.

The Athens and Paris offices both now want to take two trainees at a time, while the Dubai office is also asking to have trainees sent over.

The firm’s training principal, Christina Howard, told Lawyer 2B: “All our trainees do at least one of their four-month seats in one of our overseas offices and there are often qualification opportunities abroad. We’re also increasing the number of trainees we recruit this year from 16 to 18, driven by demand both in the UK and overseas, and in line with the firm’s growth ambitions for the next three to five years. As training principal, I’m delighted that going forward we’ll be able to offer more trainees the opportunity to join our international practice.”

WFW is the latest of a number of firms that have boosted their trainee numbers as the economy has improved. Macfarlanes will be looking to hire up to 30 for 2018. Burges Salmon is likewise looking to recruit “up to 30”, while East Anglian firm Birketts has increased numbers from eight to ten.

Trowers & Hamlins has upped its intake from 20 to 23, Clifford Chance’s London chief David Bickerton has said the firm wants to recruit ten more to cope with the increase in work the firm is experiencing, while several US firms, including Shearman & Sterling and Latham & Watkins, have announced they are boosting numbers.