The Lawyer UK 200 Rank24

DAC Beachcroft emerged out of a merger between Beachcrofts and Davies Arnold Cooper in 2011. Davies Arnold Cooper was one of the smaller City mid-sizers. Originally a full-service kind of firm, in 1999 it went through an extreme period of turbulence, making a swathe of redundancies as it cut entire departments. It retrenched around three core areas: insurance, property and litigation and also had a notable Latin American practice for a UK firm at the time. But despite a 2008

DAC Beachcroft emerged out of a merger between Beachcrofts and Davies Arnold Cooper in 2011.

Davies Arnold Cooper was one of the smaller City mid-sizers. Originally a full-service kind of firm, in 1999 it went through an extreme period of turbulence, making a swathe of redundancies as it cut entire departments. It retrenched around three core areas: insurance, property and litigation and also had a notable Latin American practice for a UK firm at the time. But despite a 2008 takeover of KSB Law, which added £8m to the firm’s top line, DAC struggled to grow organically. In 2010 turnover dropped by 2 per cent from £45m to £44.1m, with profit per partner (PEP) falling from £361,000 to £278,000. 

At the same time as DAC was undergoing its period of trauma in 1999, Beachcroft Stanleys was entering into a merger with Bristol-founded Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave to form a new firm with core specialisms of commercial, healthcare and insurance. By the time of the 2011 merger with DAC it was in a relatively strong position, having added £10m a year to its revenues over the previous three years. The merger brought together two hefty insurance practices, though it was ultimately overshadowed by ­Barlow Lyde & Gilbert’s tie-up with Clyde & Co at around the same time.

Since then, DAC Beachcroft snapped up Andersons in 2012, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh and specialised in insurance litigation and dispute resolution. It has also continued to develop its South American practice, merging with Santiago firms SegurosLex and Amunategui y Cía and Bogotá’s De La Torre & Monroy to establish a presence in Chile and Colombia.

While never looking in serious difficulties, DAC Beachcroft had never been viewed as a particularly fashionable firm. Its London lawyers had the misfortune to reside in one of the City’s least lovely offices, a Fetter Lane building dubbed a “miserable dungeon” by one of the firm’s own clients. Meanwhile, in 2013 it had one of the highest levels of borrowing of any firm in the UK 200, a whopping £36m of debt.

Since the election of David Pollitt as managing partner in late 2015, however, there has been a noticeable change. In London the firm has moved to offices more representative of its standing as a top 50 firm, and the towering debt levels have been brought down significantly. Under Pollitt’s stewardship, DACB has been steadily moving to a position where it has a strong balance sheet and is visibly a well-run, sustainable business likely to attract talent.

TRAINING CONTRACTS

What is the trainee salary at DAC Beachcroft?

1st year trainee (London): £35,000; (regional): £26,000

2nd year trainee (London): £37,000; (regional): £29,000

What is the NQ salary at DAC Beachcroft?

NQ solicitor: N/D