DWF: putting people first

DWF in Dublin has steadily strengthened its position as a leading global provider of integrated legal and business services, and its growing focus on ESG initiatives ensures this trend will continue.

With offices and associations around the world and approximately 4,000 employees internationally, DWF has tremendous reach and strength.

Publicly listed on the main London stock exchange, it publishes its financial results twice a year, usually in July and December. It achieved net revenue of £338 million (€407.8 million) in the financial year ended April 30, 2021.

Since expanding into the Dublin legal market in 2013, DWF has grown and developed a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers to support Irish and international clients.

The comprehensive legal and commercial services offering covers specialties such as dispute resolution and labor law, in critical sectors such as insurance, renewable energy and infrastructure, real estate/construction and services financial.

The last few years in particular have posed significant challenges to the legal industry, with Brexit and the pandemic being the two most high-profile examples. Still, there has been a flurry of activity in Ireland in recent months, with companies merging with a national entity or seeking to expand their reach.

“You can just see that over the past 12 months there has always been vibrant activity with new entrants to the market,” said Eimear Collins, managing partner at DWF in Dublin. “It reinforces customers’ belief that a presence in Dublin is essential if you want to have a global reach. A company that is not just a specialized office or a back office, but a full service company to support national and international customers.

This is greatly enhanced by the breadth of services and industries here. Although Ireland is a small island, it is home to a wide variety of sectors, from multinational technology companies based in Dublin to pharmaceutical companies based in the Shannon region. In addition, the data sector is also growing, bringing real dynamism to its economy.

One of the strengths of DWF’s Dublin office is its ability to draw on the global capabilities of the entire group.

DWF has three main strands to its work. The first is Legal Advisory, premium legal services offering the best in business intelligence and industry sector experience to provide personalized advice to clients.

The second is the Connected Services which are additional services that complete its legal offer. For example, legal advice for insurance may also benefit from claims management and settlement, or another service may require forensic or regulatory advice.

The final component is Mindcrest, which offers ways to optimize, systematize and extend legal work to save time and money.

The combination of the three offerings results in a business that is greater than the sum of its parts, ensuring that clients can benefit from tailor-made solutions tailored to their legal and business needs, with greater efficiency, price security and transparency.

For customers, it is important not only to know what is happening now, but also what is coming six, 12 or even 24 months later.

It is essential to have strong communication between the 30 offices, as each jurisdiction faces its own challenges from which the others can learn. This is why collaboration, technologies, recruitment at all levels and the development of its partnership with its office in Belfast to create a stronger initiative throughout Ireland are essential.

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Thinking about the future

The last few years have not only brought new challenges, but new ways of approaching work. One of the things that drew Collins to DWF in 2017 was its focus on flexible and alternative ways of working.

The focus has always been on creating an environment and understanding where work can be done and avoiding any signs of presenteeism.

When the pandemic hit, all developments in this area paid off, as DWF was already set up for agile working practices and was able to develop them further with laptops, docking stations and the deployment of Microsoft Teams that have enabled truly global collaboration.

Hybrid working has become a new priority for co-workers, exemplified by a company-wide survey that found staff would prefer to be in the office between two and three days a week.

As a result, DWF has moved from 5 George’s Dock to a reduced space at 2 Dublin Landings to better reflect this trend, while supporting the goals of reducing unnecessary travel and minimizing carbon footprint.

Even the pandemic has raised challenges that could not have been envisioned, so initiatives focused on mental health, connection and well-being have taken on new importance.

A big part of that is its own awards program, the Rubie Awards, designed to recognize people for their work and give its approximately 4,000 employees a way to connect and bring a feel-good factor across the board. ‘business.

“Awards are a way to make sure people know they are appreciated, as days and weeks can be very busy. It’s a chance to take this break; part of our underlying philosophy to assess performance on how we treat people.

“Very quickly we realized that working from home brought its own challenges, so beyond the technical aspect, we also put in place initiatives to support mental health, which is a big priority for DWF,” Collins said.

A Wellbeing Committee, made up of colleagues from across the company, brings together resources and support currently on offer and reviews new ideas and initiatives to continue to support and improve wellbeing.

DWF Life includes Wellness Wednesdays with a focus on blogging, advice and webinars and colleagues can also access an Employee Helpline for a range of issues.

“Caring for the health and well-being of our people is an essential part of ensuring that we are all capable of being the best versions of ourselves,” she said.

For future lawyers, it is just as important for them to know that they are making a difference in the world as it is for the advancement of their careers. At one time, things like compensation and the path to equity were top concerns for new hires, but now it’s very much about company value beyond the spreadsheet.

“Given the amount of time they spend in their lives working, it’s important for them to feel they’re making a difference and see the results,” she said. “It is very important that they are heard, that their values ​​are respected and we would be remiss not to give them some.”

Over time, a company’s ESG strategy will increasingly come into play and DWF has its own in place, which sets out long-term carbon reduction and diversity and inclusion goals, among other things. .

The first is climate change which is huge for the younger generation, Collins said, and DWF has specific goals to work towards.

“They find it impressive because there’s something to be done and if we get there, every person in DWF has played a part in that process,” she said.

Others include a partnership with DCU’s Access Program, which has been running for 30 years and is designed to help people from disadvantaged communities pursue higher education. Add to that people champions, diversity and inclusion initiatives, inclusivity and gender goals, and internship programs.

The case is not to tick a box, as that goes against the philosophy that DWF has built, but to ensure that the future is full of perspectives, viewpoints and creative ideas that may not be available if business was business as usual. As Collins says, “every individual who joins brings something to the table”.

As for the future, DWF is looking to hire more people in its office and expand the Dublin base. That, along with developing initiatives like its ESG strategy, will take priority, but Collins stresses that a critical factor in this is people.

“When we went through the market downturn, one of the things we did as trusted legal counsel to clients was to stand by them during tough times because that was important,” said she declared. “We do the same with our people.

About Charles D. Goolsby

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