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Firm of the Year 2018 Culture: 80-90%
09 March 2018
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At Travers Smith (89%) the "ar*ehole to good egg ratio is, at worst, 1:5", said a junior solicitor. It placed top of the tier of firms which managed to score in the excellent range of 80-89% for their culture.

Travers Smith's culture "is changing", said a female colleague, "but it is not losing any of the warm and fun environment that makes it a good place to work". It was "definitely more 'laddy' a few years ago", but "more female partners and a diversity push have changed some of the more 'banter heavy' behaviours for the better". Trainees agreed it was "engaging, considerate, surprisingly diverse" and "boozy", although, said a senior solicitor, "that's when the disfunctional nature of most senior associates/partners' lives becomes the most obvious".

The culture was "probably the best thing" about Trowers & Hamlins (86%), said a partner. "Short on robots and dickheads", he said, "long on genuine people who actually get on with one another".  Trainees at Shearman & Sterling (85%) were complimentary of a "Fantastic culture which makes the long hours tolerable". "I cannot stress enough how welcome I have been made to feel", said another trainee. "You can still spot the absolute tools a mile off" at Addleshaw Goddard (82%) said a junior solicitor, "so that says a lot for the rest of the people here". And while "we have an impressive client list these days", said a senior solicitor, "the people are still the best thing about AG. I am genuinely happy when I receive a call from a colleague who I haven't worked with for a while". Plus, said a colleague, "the use of open plan offices means that the risk of being 'Weinsteined' is practically zero".

A partner at Fieldfisher (82%) said that when he joined many years ago, "I quickly found that the wider firm culture was disjointed, inward-looking and riven with partnerial gridlock". But "how times have changed!" Ten years on, "the Fieldfisher of 2017 is friendly, nurturing, united and ambitious all in equal measure". Underlings mostly agreed. "The vast majority of people are normal, approachable human beings", said a junior solicitor. At Simmons & Simmons' (82%) culture "has to be"  strong point, said a senior solicitor. There was "a low proportion of massive wankers. The firm seems to be getting more comfortable with this again, after last year's 'let's stop being nice' initiative".
"I was a bit apprehensive" about Macfarlanes' (81%) "'posh boys club' reputation", said a junior solicitor, "but that is something a lot of people at the firm are really desperate to shake off and it really doesn't reflect how many of the lawyers here see themselves". "It's wonderful", said a senior solicitor. "For a top firm it manages to stay friendly rather than aggressive or competitive". Although, "there's too many man, too many many man, too many man too many many man", said a female junior lawyer. "We need some more girls in here re the partnership". TLT (81%) "is extremely friendly" and "there is a genuine supportive atmosphere amongst teams", said a senior solicitor. "It was only after a brief stint at another firm I realised how important this is", she said, "and what a difference it makes to your role". Womble Bond Dickinson (80%) was "friendly as f" said a trainee. "Bristolians and Geordies", summarised a junior solicitor: "Lady and the tramp(s)".

  Makes a change from pictures of wombles. 

Dozens of Eversheds Sutherland (80%) staff attested to its "genuinely friendly" atmosphere. Some said the regional nature of the firm meant the culture "is very much driven by location", and there also were some concerns about what would happen following the US merger. But in the meantime, said an associate, "99% of the people I have come across here are down to earth and decent". There "is the odd plank, but they tend to stick out like a sore thumb - being a plank has not been normalised here".  

"Everyone is very smart and open to questions", said a junior at Slaughter and May (80%). "Although, I can count on two hands the amount of NQs who did not go to Cambridge/Oxford Uni". SandM came top of the Magic Circle for a culture which was "smart, conservative and posh with a helping of arrogance", said a lawyer. Plus it was "pretty ok with the gays (like me) - even the firm colour is purple". There "is no Slaughters 'type'", said another, "beyond being quite bright".


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