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UK City Firms

DAC Beachcroft (London)

Our view:

Beachcroft had been desperately trying to reinvent itself – it dropped the “Wansbroughs” from its name and moved into flashy new offices in Bristol (“rather like working in an iPod”, grumbled one assistant). And on 1 November 2011, merged with fellow middle-ranking insurance firm Davis Arnold Cooper to become DAC Beachcroft (sadly not ABCD as RollOnFriday had hoped). But it seems there's still a long way to go before it can catch up with its rivals.

The surprisingly big Beachcroft – pre-merger it had over 140 partners, seven UK offices and branches in Dublin, Brussels and New Zealand –  hasn't turned in a stellar performance over the last few years. Turnover in 2008/9 increased from £114 to £121million, but profits per equity partner actually fell from £310,000 to £301,000. 2009/10 was a better year - turnover grew by 8.2% to £131m and PEP increased to £314,000. 

And whilst recent years have seen a growth in turnover, helped along by the merger (net profit rose 22% to £31.8 million in 2012/13), it's come at acost; namely, the firm's debt, which has increased from £10m in 2010/11 to an eye-popping £34m in 2011/12. A hefty hike. In 2012/13 average profit per equity partner fell 11.5% to £284,000.

The firm’s associates have been panning the firm for poor pay and uncompetitive salaries for years. "Salaries are going down rather than up", "no pay rise for three years and not a cat in hell's chance of a bonus", "the management are always looking to save money at the expense of the staff" are all cries from assistants. Whilst support staff complain that  "salaries haven't increased for most staff since 2008" while "partners are getting richer." As one lawyer put it, “if only top brass would accept that rate of pay is the sole reason why staff turnover at junior fee earner level is so high and do something about it.”

Communication could perhaps be better at the firm, with associated complaining of "mass lay-offs done on the sly" which have "devastated morale".

But it's not all grim. Plenty of lawyers write in to praise the firm’s work/life balance, chummy atmosphere ("no pompous arses") and good social life (including events such as "ferret racing"). “Money grabbing psychopathic assistants and unconcerned slave driving partners tend not to be attracted to Beachcroft, which helps keep the firm (almost) full of friendly people who are good at what they do but don’t see work as the primary reason for breathing.”

And the firm’s made some strides in broadening its practice too. Historically known largely for its insurance litigation expertise, it now gives commercial legal and litigation advice to a number of industries including financial institutions, the health and public sector (which has seen a particular investment over the last year), real estate, technology and industrial and consumer goods and services. And with the merger has come a much stronger focus on interntional expansion, sometimes in unexpected directions: in 2013 it became apparently the first European firm to open in Chile.

So what now for DAC? Well, the first joint announcement issued by DAC Beachcroft was to say that trainee recruitment was cancelled indefinitely. Not wholly positive, but hardly surprising given that pre-merger both firms took on 75% fewer trainees in their 2013 round.

The next few years look as if it will be a time of consolidation for the firm, which will be hoping that cost savings (including ditching under-achievers) will lead to a slicker outfit able to compete more effectively with rivals.

If you're after decent hours (by City standards) and a friendly environment this firm is not a bad bet. Just don't expect to be paid well for it.


Salary (1st seat trainee): £34,000
Salary (NQ): £57,000
Salary (1PQE): £60,000
Salary (2PQE): £64,000
Salary (3PQE): £67,000
Salary (Salaried partner): £150,000

Bonus Scheme

Bonus scheme: Yes
Typical bonus as % of salary
- NQ: 5%
- 1PQE: 5%
- 2PQE: 5%
- 3PQE: 5%
- 4PQE: 5%
- 5PQE: 5%
- Partner: 5%


Grant for GDL: £0
Grant for LPC: £5,000
Training places per year: 22
% of trainees retained: 100%

RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores

Salary: 27%
Development: 41%
Work/Life: 54%
Openness: 39%
Biscuits: 51%
Toilets: 53%
Social: 51%
Firm of the year overall score: 43%


Holiday allowance: 24 - 30
Flexi holiday: No
Pension: Contributory up to 5%
Healthcare: Yes
Maternity policy: Statutory up to 6 months service, after that the firm tops up to full pay for 12 weeks and half pay for 12 weeks
Target hours: 1440 - 1500
Childcare vouchers: Yes
Gym: No
Restaurant: Yes
24 hour photocopying support: No
24 hour secretarial support: No


News Stories

Exclusive: DAC Beachcroft implicated in blackmail plot
Going the extra mile for its clients ... read more >
Exclusive: DACB hit by dirty protest
The phantom shitter returns ... read more > (15 comments)
DAC Beachcroft announces perfect trainee retention results
Norton Rose, CMS and Clydes are a bit meh ... read more > (4 comments)
Velodrome battle named best perk for in-house lawyers
Sweaty fun ... read more > (3 comments)
Exclusive: City lawyer struck off for stealing sunglasses
DAC Beachcroft NQ loses livelihood in "moment of madness" ... read more > (37 comments)
DAC Beachcroft axes office and puts 65 staff at risk
More personal injury misery ... read more > (4 comments)
Exclusive: DAC Beachcroft lawyers caught boozing in office loo
Daytime drinking shame ... read more > (7 comments)
Firm of the Year Loser: Parabis gets the Golden Turd
Clarke Willmott and DAC Beachcroft just miss out ... read more > (53 comments)
DAC Beachcroft and Kennedys announce eye-popping debts
Partners resorting to ... read more > (9 comments)
UK Firm of the Year 2013: Pay
US firms dominate the top of the table, but it's not just big bucks that make for a satisfied workforce ... read more > (2 comments)

Your Views

Feel free to enter your comments on the news story below, subject to our terms and conditions. Please note that comments are subject to moderation and so will not appear immediately.

Please keep it nice. Thanks.

Order By:
anonymous user
21/08/2011 22:45
Rate it
I have found Beachcroft (soon to be DAC Beachcroft), a surprisingly pleasant firm to work for with a good work-life balance.
anonymous user
19/10/2011 11:07
Rate it
No salary increases for most of the firm for 5 years.
anonymous user
03/11/2011 23:24
Rate it
The pay information set out above is completely in accurate
anonymous user
15/12/2011 11:02
Rate it
The comment about pay increases is true. Most employees have not an increase for 5 years those that have had increase its not worth mentioning.
anonymous user
17/12/2011 01:28
Rate it
I've had 3 pay rises in 4 years in my regional office. I know I'm earning more than my peers at a rival national firm. It's a secure job in an ambitious firm and I get a family life. I wouldn't work anywhere else!
anonymous user
21/12/2011 15:26
Rate it
The above person has been very fortunate to get pay increases for the last 3 years. Support staff are not so lucky.
anonymous user
11/01/2012 12:18
Rate it
Perhaps ROF could take another look at the hastily added paragraph about the DAC merger (a cut and paste from the Clydes entry perhaps)? The combined firm's turnover will be closer to the £200m mark.
anonymous user
01/11/2012 13:20
Rate it
And the same thing again - no increases
anonymous user
09/11/2012 14:42
Rate it
The majority of staff and mainly support are not getting a pay increase. That's nearly 6 years for some. Times are hard and everything is so much more expensive.
anonymous user
07/12/2012 15:51
Rate it
2% increase for just staff under £30,000. not great
anonymous user
19/12/2012 14:20
Rate it
The partners get richer and the workers get poorer. Whats new?
anonymous user
18/01/2013 12:54
Rate it
No cost of living increases ever again employees have been told. Increases only if you are exceptional. Profits go up but employees salaries dont.
anonymous user
18/01/2013 14:23
Rate it
All the comments about salaries are so true. Lot of unhappy people at DACB but not a lot can be done about it at the moment. But times will change eventually.
anonymous user
26/01/2013 21:59
Rate it
Salary figures above are inaccurate for London.
anonymous user
28/01/2013 17:07
Rate it
86% retention rate? closer to 56% in reality.
anonymous user
01/11/2013 15:04
Rate it
Salary review time coming up. Probably a wage freeze again or a low percentage
anonymous user
09/12/2016 13:14
Rate it
Salary time. Very few people in support got an increate. Those that did received only a small one. Been told no more cost of living increases. Will look at the market street to decide if you get paid enough. Meanwhile the firm is doing well and the partners are getting more profits.
anonymous user
16/12/2016 14:51
Rate it
Shocking salary reviews. been told it because of brexit.