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An insight into the Ethnic Minority Programme

24 November 2022

Mark Dimitri, a future Trainee Solicitor at DWF, talks about how his experience on the Ethnic Minority Programme led to him securing a training contract. 

During my LPC year, I applied for the Ethnic Minority Programme as I was intrigued to understand DWF’s legal business model, as well as experience the business' friendly and diverse environment. The opportunity to learn more about DWF, be involved in live work, and build connections across the legal business was what convinced me to apply. 

Work matters I was involved in

As part of the programme, I joined the employment team in the Manchester office for one week. I had a mentor who would assign me work, as well as a trainee buddy for support. 

One task required me to review a legal bundle relating to a race discrimination case. I was fortunate to attend a three-day tribunal hearing in person where I observed the close working relationship between DWF’s employment solicitors and the instructed barrister. This matter also enhanced my knowledge of employment law as well as the tribunal procedure. 

I was also tasked with reviewing a settlement agreement relating to a termination of employment. This task made me appreciate the importance of the DWF value of “attend to details” as I had to ensure the cross-referencing of clauses were correct. 

Networking and learning more about DWF

Alongside the work tasks, I met with each member of the Manchester employment team to understand their area of expertise and work matters they are involved in, as well as receive career advice. 

The programme also included a trainee Q&A session where I learnt about DWF’s training focus on business development as well as DWF’s culture. I appreciated listening to their various routes to law, their experiences in each seat, as well as the possibility of going on a client secondment to gain insight into a client’s business operations. I was able to appreciate the challenges of being a trainee and received tips on how to mitigate such challenges by remaining proactive and having a can-do attitude. 

During a speed networking event, I met various employees ranging from paralegals, associates, partners, and a member on the executive board. This enabled me to gain a holistic assessment of DWF as a legal business and the significance of inter-connectedness across three business divisions.

Diversity & Inclusion at DWF

By networking with DWF employees from all levels across the business, not only did I learn about the numerous D&I initiatives, including the business' own charity (DWF Foundation), but also how DWF is unified in its genuine commitment to D&I. I learnt about DWF’s specific D&I targets as well as the employee-led networks, such as the Race & Ethnicity Network. 

I personally experienced DWF’s inclusive culture as the programme coincided with my holy week. As a Coptic Orthodox Christian, attending Good Friday was of vital importance to my faith. DWF, without hesitation, allowed me to prioritise my faith which highlighted DWF’s genuine commitment to D&I which goes beyond statistics. 

Why you should apply?

The programme allows you to be involved in live work, provides an opportunity to network, as well as understand DWF as a legal business. Having first-hand work experience at DWF and personal connections across the legal business will enable you to stand out in the training contract application process.

I am certain that this experience played a central role in my success of securing a training contract.


Find out more about the Ethnic Minority Programme 

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