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Q. Hello Gareth, what is your role within DWF?
A I am head of corporate in Liverpool. I undertake a variety of roles including managing the team and fee earning as well as business development.
Q You have been with DWF for 13 years now, how does the practice today compare to the DWF then and how would you describe the culture?
A DWF has come a long way since 1995. Despite being a top 100 firm now, we have retained a lot of the good qualities of a smaller practice. As the business has grown we have had to adapt and become a little more disciplined as we have become accustomed to working on bigger and bigger deals, but there is still a good feel to the firm. We work and play hard. One of the benefits of growth is that those who have the necessary qualities now have more opportunities to progress within the firm.
Q What is the best thing about your job?
A I get immense satisfaction out of completing a job whether that be a big or small deal. I have a great team around me and aiding the individuals within the team is hugely satisfying.
Q What is the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
A Just before Christmas 2004 myself and Michael Hudson from our banking team were in London working on a £150 million acquisition, with Allen & Overy acting for the other side. We managed about an hour’s sleep in two days. It was hard going but we have acted on two major transactions for this client since, most recently a £370 million refinancing deal.
Q What has been your greatest work achievement to date?
A I was very proud to become head of the corporate department in Liverpool back in May 2007
Q What would you advise trainees seeking to qualify into corporate law in 2009 considering the current economic climate?
A It’s going to be tough in the immediate future, given the current market, although the economy will recover in time. Corporate has always been a competitive field and anybody looking to succeed in this area has to be exceptional in terms of being both academically gifted and well trained, as well as having a real passion for the subject matter.
Q What impact has the current economy had on DWF as a whole?
A Insurance remains strong whilst Litigation is buoyant as one would expect in the current climate. As for Corporate, we are certainly seeing opportunities coming through but the biggest issue we face is how quickly they are able to obtain credit approval and complete. Deals that were typically completing within two to three months are now being stretched considerably.
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