Which firm's management will delight in winning the Golden Turd this year?
In advance of the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2023 survey closing on Monday, lawyers have been taking the opportunity to help their respective firms to glory and avoid the Golden Turd.
The survey serves as a poignant historical record of firms that have been on top and those which have gone through ugly periods.
Last year, Burges Salmon took the crown, with one lawyer saying that the culture is "surely as good as it gets working for a major firm." The firm also took the top spot in 2017 and was joint-winner with Shearman & Sterling in 2016.
Knights was lumbered with the Golden Turd last year, with a blunt verdict expressed by one junior lawyer that the firm only cares "about share price".
Mills & Reeve was on a roll from 2018 to 2020, being crowned the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year for a stunning three years running. An overarching feeling about the firm when it dominated the table those years, was its "collegiate, supportive" and "just plain friendly" staff.
At the other end of the table, Slater and Gordon couldn’t flush away the Golden Turd, as the firm had the ignominious honour of being landed with the poo award two years running: 2020 and 2021. A solicitor said of the troubled PI giant that it piles "more work on top of already unmanageable caseloads when people leave. They talk a lot about mental well-being but that's lip service."
Historically, the Golden Turd has attracted PI firms like flies, as Irwin Mitchell was the bottom of the table in 2018. "Scoreboards on the walls with stars next to names of solicitors indicating management approval (or not)", revealed a lawyer, that year. But, to be fair, the firm has improved since then, placing 27th out of 61 firms last year.
One of the biggest turnarounds is Trowers & Hamlins. The firm was the recipient of the Golden Turd in 2015, with one member of staff making the explosive claim at the time, that the firm had become "nothing more than a poorly-run cabal" where "capricious decisions are commonplace" and lawyers unable to find work elsewhere "cement their position by knifing the more capable in the back". However, it seems to have got its act together since then, climbing up the table to finish in the top 10 in 2022.
Flipping in a less desirable way is Ince. The firm is currently enduring a torrid time, that has seen off its former CEO, had its share price tumbling, followed by its shares being suspended from trading. But a decade ago, it was Firm of the Year, well before it was a skin-suit for rapacious management for a listed company. Back then, the firm offered "fabulous support" and "hands on experience with big sexy cases (in so far as insurance can ever be sexy)".
KWM went into administration in 2017, and shafted its staff, making it a perfect bedfellow for the Golden Turd that year. One staffer proposed renaming the Golden Turd the 'KWM Memorial Partner Turd Award', "forever immortalizing the utter, utter f*ckwittery that sent a decent firm down the pipes".
Now, the next chapter. Which firm will be crowned the winner this year? And where is the Golden Turd headed? It's all to play for. Have your say below. This really, really, (really) is your final chance. God's honest truth. Come back next week to find out the results.