National law firm DWF has announced plans to significantly deepen and broaden its City capability, effectively doubling its London headcount to 600 people over the next three years, to meet increasing client demand for its commercial and insurance services.
DWF plans to substantially bolster its corporate, commercial, employment, insurance and real estate teams in London and strengthen its industry sector focus on financial services and retail, food & hospitality to further support and grow its client-base of major UK Plcs and household names including adidas, Aviva, Morrisons, RSA and Virgin Trains.
DWF, which employs over 2500 people across 12 offices in the leading commercial centres in UK and Ireland, plans to take advantage of its national footprint to deliver work profitably and at a price point favourable to its client base of FTSE-listed companies and big name brands. To facilitate this the firm has grown its agile workforce to over 400 people, employs over 120 homeworkers, and, over the last 12 months, has invested £11million in its IT systems.
DWF has recruited heavily into its commercial arm in London over the last 12 months with 18 lateral partner/director (equivalent of partner) hires in the City building its corporate, employment, real estate and real estate finance offerings and has developed its insurance capability, recruiting a team from Greenwoods. The hires have also strengthened the firm's expertise in its six chosen industry sectors which include central & local government; energy & industrials; financial services; retail, food & hospitality; technology; and transport.
Today's announcement however, represents a major statement of intent from DWF's Managing Partner & CEO Andrew Leaitherland about the future of DWF's business.
To support its strategic growth plans, DWF will move all its people in London into the landmark 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3 on 1st September 2014. DWF will relocate its 305 London-based people including 53 partners whom are currently based across two London sites, into the single-site building more commonly known as the Walkie Talkie, helping the firm to fully realise the benefits of its recent mergers, acquisition and team hires and giving its people and clients an exceptional working space.
The firm's flexible working strategy, combined with the highly space-efficient design of the building with its 1:8 (people to sq m floor) space ratio, means that the top 20 firm is taking only 43,428sq ft of space but will benefit from all of the building's exceptional facilities including its Sky Garden, which will be the highest in Europe, as well as restaurants, bar and event space. Designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, the building is BREEAM rated excellent, and offers unrivalled panoramic views across London.
DWF is currently the only law firm to have agreed space in the building alongside a number of global insurance and financial services companies including RSA, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Tokio Marine Kiln and Vanquis, and plans to lease all of the 32nd floor and part of the 31st floor, sufficient for its 300 people and with further additional capacity for planned future hires.
DWF's Managing Partner & CEO Andrew Leaitherland, recently named Management Partner of the Year, says: "We are significantly expanding in London, deepening and broadening our talent base in the City to meet growing client demand for both our commercial and insurance services. As well as a central City location close to some of the firm's major clients, 20 Fenchurch Street offers an exceptional working environment. It's a flexible space designed to encourage agile working, teamwork and great client interaction."
He added, "We remain committed to growing and developing our regional offerings because our national footprint gives us a significant advantage in the market. It is due to the hard work and commitment of everyone across the business that we are now able to make this investment in the City, giving us an even stronger platform for future growth."
20 Fenchurch Street has been developed by a joint venture partnership between two of the UK's leading property companies, Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities. DWF was advised by Strutt and Parker.