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UK City Firms

DAC Beachcroft (London)

Our view:

Back in the day, legacy 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 in 2011, merged with fellow middle-ranking insurance firm Davis Arnold Cooper to become DAC Beachcroft (sadly not ABCD as RollOnFriday had hoped).

And since the merger, the firm has largely been making a success of it with steady growth. DAC Beachcroft's 2015/16 financials were positive with turnover rising 2% from the previous year to £202m, profit up 9% to £35m, and profit per member up 21% to £358m. In 2016/17 turnover was £207m, an increase of £5m from 2015/2016. Profit was up 10% to £39m, and profit per member increased by 20% to £432,000. The Firm's net debt was down for a fourth consecutive year, down £1m to £19m.

However, 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. 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.” 

On the flip side, 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 international expansion, sometimes in unexpected directions: in 2013 it became apparently the first European firm to open in Chile.The firm is well represented with a plethora of offices across the UK.  And further afield, it has launched in Madrid, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand. As well as forming associations in several other countries.

And it seems to be a happy ship at the junior end as the firm's retention rates were pretty good in October 2017, as it kept on 77% of its trainees.

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 getting the top bucks.

NB Under the "Bonus Scheme" in the column to the right - bonuses start from 5% but in many cases may be higher.

Salary

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%

Training

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: 45%
Development: 56%
Work/Life: 76%
Openness: 57%
Biscuits: 55%
Toilets: 55%
Social: 61%
Firm of the year overall score: 59%

Benefits

Holiday allowance: 24 - 30
Flexi holiday: Yes
Pension: Contributory up to 5%
Healthcare: Yes
Maternity policy: The firm pays 12 weeks at full pay and 12 weeks at half pay
Target hours: 1440 - 1500
Childcare vouchers: Yes
Gym: No
Restaurant: Yes
24 hour photocopying support: No
24 hour secretarial support: No
Other:

  

News Stories

DAC Beachcroft criticised by judge over blackmail
Sit on the naughty step ... read more > (7 comments)
Exclusive: DAC Beachcroft implicated in blackmail plot
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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 > (54 comments)
DAC Beachcroft and Kennedys announce eye-popping debts
Partners resorting to wonga.com ... read more > (9 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.

anonymous user
21/08/2011 22:45
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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
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5
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No salary increases for most of the firm for 5 years.
anonymous user
03/11/2011 23:24
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1
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The pay information set out above is completely in accurate
anonymous user
15/12/2011 11:02
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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
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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
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7
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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
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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
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And the same thing again - no increases
anonymous user
09/11/2012 14:42
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8
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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
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7
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2% increase for just staff under £30,000. not great
anonymous user
19/12/2012 14:20
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6
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The partners get richer and the workers get poorer. Whats new?
anonymous user
18/01/2013 12:54
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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
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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
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5
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Salary figures above are inaccurate for London.
anonymous user
28/01/2013 17:07
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86% retention rate? closer to 56% in reality.
anonymous user
01/11/2013 15:04
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1
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Salary review time coming up. Probably a wage freeze again or a low percentage
anonymous user
09/12/2016 13:14
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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
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Shocking salary reviews. been told it because of brexit.
anonymous user
26/01/2018 11:22
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Partners are happy.

Average pre-tax profit per member – which DAC has confirmed is equal to profit per equity partner – saw a 20 per cent rise, growing from £361,000 to £432,000, while pre-tax profit grew 10 per cent from £35.3m to £38.9m for the 2016/17 financial year