The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Top 100 UK firm Ward Hadaway has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester. Established in 1988, the firm has undergone consistent and considerable growth. Ward Hadaway has a substantial client base of regional, national and international clients from the private and public sectors and also looks after the personal interests of numerous private individuals.
The star performers
Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate and commercial; Crime: general; Debt recovery; Education; Employment; Energy; Environment; EU and competition; Family; Health; Insolvency and corporate recovery; IT and telecoms; Licensing; Local government; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Property litigation
Advised the shareholders of the software company Kykloud on the sale of US-based Accruent; advised Santander UK on the provision of term loan facilities to North East Property Fund, which included assisting with fund structuring and state aid matters; handling Trekksoft’s acquisition of Digital Ticketing Systems; assisted Livingstone Financial Services and The Informed Partnership with a group restructuring following the retirement of a major shareholder; acted for a Yorkshire-based development company on acquiring senior and mezzanine funding for the redevelopment of a former hotel into apartments in Harrogate; represented Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust in a dispute with the Bank of Scotland pertaining to a termination notice for a multimillion-pound PFI agreement
Abbey National Treasure Services; Anglia Ruskin University; Bannatyne Fitness; Ebac; Hyperdrive Innovation; Newcastle City Fitness; Nissan; Oakapple Group; Santander; Total Capital Partners
Ward Hadaway is ‘proud to be from the North’. The firm boasts an ‘excellent regional reputation which extends nationally’ and ‘continues to grow and succeed’, yet maintains a ‘very friendly culture in spite of its size and stature’. Variety is key at the Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester-based outfit, where the ‘client base ranges from large international companies to public sector organisations to small businesses and individuals’. As a result, the range of seats on offer is diverse: ‘you wouldn’t usually be able to do a family or a medical seat in a large, commercial law firm’, pointed out one trainee. Moreover, client secondments, which provide a ‘brilliant opportunity to get client contact and gain commercial knowledge’, are in abundance. While the firm can be ‘a bit old fashioned and outdated’ in terms of the IT system, flexible working and social media presence, the training earns plaudits. Recruits benefit from the support of two ‘trainee liaisons’ with whom they can discuss any training issues: a member of HR and a partner. ‘You are not consigned only to ‘trainee’ jobs’ for ‘supervisors are willing to get you involved with more high-level work and, as you develop, to let you run some of your own files’. High levels of responsibility can occasionally lead to mistakes, such as ‘making an error in a Companies House filing’ but can also result in positive experiences such as ‘leading on a contract negotiation via conference call’. For a firm that is ‘big in its client base, level of work, the facilities available and its reputation, but feels small due to its approach to clients, the friendly culture and the way it treats employees’, consider Ward Hadaway.
A day in the life of...
Daniyal Malik Second-seat trainee
Departments to date: Commercial/IP and commercial litigation
University:University of Hull
Degree:LLB Law – First Class
8.30am: I start my day off with a short walk to our Newcastle Quayside office, usually arriving in the office between 8.30am and 8.45am. The first most important task of the day is to review my to-do list, which I created the day before. This really helps me organise my day and today is no exception. I then catch up on emails which have surfaced in my inbox overnight.
9.00am: Since starting in the commercial litigation department, I have been closely involved in a large group action representing and communicating with over 150 clients. Due to the scope of the work involved and number of clients we are representing, I am frequently required to speak to clients over the phone and email. This morning I have arranged to speak to three clients over the phone, with the aim of updating them on progress and ascertaining relevant information in relation to their action against a financial services provider. Being responsible for the day to day management of this group action has given me an invaluable opportunity to advance my client care and communication skills. I need to take instructions from my supervisor in relation to a query that one of the clients brought up, and head into his office to ask for his opinion on it. We discuss the client’s query and share ideas of best course of action. The department really encourages trainees to advance their own thoughts, which for me is a great way to develop my critical analysis skills and confidence.
10.00am: After wrapping up my morning phone calls and responding to incoming emails, I have been asked to draft instructions to counsel on a professional negligence matter. Before I start on the instructions to counsel, I telephone the Royal Courts of Justice, Commercial Court to chase for an order which I was expecting. I am told the order is waiting to be actioned by the judge, so I diarise a call back to the court in two days.
12.00pm: A senior partner in the department requests some urgent assistance on an emergency injunction application which has landed on his desk and is scheduled for a hearing first thing tomorrow morning. Due to his prior commitments, he is unable to attend and requires me to review the papers, liaise with counsel and attend the hearing tomorrow morning at Newcastle Moot Hall alongside the client and counsel. The document review includes various SPAs, email correspondence and details of the claim.
1.30pm: I treat myself to an Italian for lunch with some of the other trainees at a nearby restaurant. Upon returning to the office, a diary reminder pops up informing me of a 72 hour deadline for filing a defence and counterclaim in relation to a small track debt dispute. I conduct a thorough review of the papers, following which I speak to the solicitor who I am assisting to discuss some preliminary issues.
4.15pm: A partner in the department emails me and asks me to conduct research into the applicability of the commercial agency regulations for an international commercial agent dispute we have been instructed on by a household fashion brand. He wants a short note with supporting case law and authority. As this is quite a niche area to research, I am required to pop across to the law library and use a practitioner textbook specific to commercial agency law. It is common for me to be working on various matters on a daily basis and the fast-paced environment means I am constantly learning and developing as a trainee solicitor.
5.45pm: My supervisor comes to my room to discuss the note I produced on the applicability of the commercial agency regulations. We discuss the law but more importantly our focus is on the practical application of the law. He talks me through his interpretation and highlights one point I missed out on. Supervisors frequently provide constructive feedback which is an invaluable way for trainees to constantly improve and learn.
6.30pm: Before I leave the office I write a to-do list and prioritise the tasks that need to be completed tomorrow following the hearing. Tonight I am attending a Junior Lawyers Division social event which is a great way for me to network with junior lawyers in the region and have an enjoyable evening. The firm really encourages trainees to get involved in networking and social events outside of work.
About the firm
Address:Sandgate House, 102 Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 3DX
Telephone: 0161 837 3810
Who we are: Ward Hadaway is one of the UK’s top 100 law firms and a major player in the North of England with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
What we do: We have a substantial client base of regional, national and international clients from the private and public sectors, as well as looking after the personal interests of private individuals. We offer a full range of legal services to clients across the private and public sectors as well as bespoke advice to individuals.
What we are looking for: We want to recruit people whose ambitions match our own – to provide the highest quality legal advice. It is critical we recruit talented people with the right mix of competencies, skills, attitude and motivation. We welcome diversity and, as well as strong academics, we are looking for a range of other skills and attributes including excellent interpersonal and communication skills, commercial awareness and business acumen.
What you'll do:We aim to support and develop our trainees through every day of the training contract, from induction to qualification.
Perks: Competitive salary; 25 days’ holiday (with an option to buy additional days) plus statutory bank holidays; group personal pension plan with employer contributions; flexible benefits including health/dental cover, child care vouchers, insurance and discounted shopping; life assurance; interest-free season ticket loans for travel; funding for the GDL/LPC (including a maintenance grant); membership to the JLD or equivalent.
Sponsorship:GDL/LPC tuition fees and maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 80+
Other fee-earners: 200
Total trainees: 26
Trainee places available for 2021: 20
Applications received pa: circa 500
Percentage interviewed: 20%
First year: £24,000
Second year: £26,000
Newly qualified: £36,000
Apply to:Graduate recruitment team
How: Apply online
When to apply:By 30 June 2019 for 2021 contracts
What's involved:Online application form to detail academics and work experience, and some longer answer questions.
Summer:June/July. Apply by 28 February 2019.