A future Slaughters lawyer
In-house lawyers have been listing the firms that have impressed them the most this year, in the RollOnFriday In-house Lawyer Survey.
So far, Slaughter and May tops the table, with the highest number of respondents picking it as the most impressive firm. "They lived up to expectations and came across as being very diligent, thorough and responsive," said an in-house lawyer working for the government.
"They give excellent, well thought through advice consistently," said a client of the Magic Circle firm; but with the caveat: "I wouldn't want to have a pint with them, but that's not what we pay them for."
"Slaughter and May was fast and impressive," said another client, "in addition to being quite pleasant people". Which is possibly a slight improvement on the pint point.
Taylor Wessing is in second spot, as things stand. The firm offers "solid service" which is "unflashy" but "gets the job done", said one respondent. A GC in real estate gave an equally snappy summary: "No nonsense. Try hard to impress. Predictable fees. Nice people. Innovative."
Pinsent Masons has also impressed clients. An in-house lawyer said the firm offers "solid, pragmatic advice within the quoted timescales and on a fixed fee basis." Another said Pinsents had "good responsiveness, with lots of value add, tailored legal updates", and was "up front about fees."
A head of legal in the TMT sector rated Forsters as the best firm, and singled out a senior associate for "being on standby for urgent issues via WhatsApp, even when he is on annual leave. I didn't care he answered while he was in a bar, I just appreciated him taking my call. They have an excellent understanding of the issues that actually matter."
Elsewhere, CMS was applauded for its "technical excellence and lovely people to work with". While another client said the firm was "always very commercial and approachable."
One client was impressed with Ashurst's "dependable advice, which I can take to the board, without sweating that they'll pick it apart."
Clyde & Co was lauded by a GC, who was "constantly surprised by its depth of quality litigation expertise", while Baker McKenzie "always provide tailored, easy to follow, reasoned advice at a very good price," said a client in the energy sector. "They anticipate my needs and are ready to meet them as they arise and give advice / heads up on things to consider so I don't have to."
The survey is still open, so there's still time for another firm to knock Slaughter and May off the top. If you work in-house, have your say in the survey below.
It’s been a while since Bingus has posted a comment on the horrors of working at Slaughters. Share the pain, Bingus! I’ll get the popcorn ready
@ Anon 08:30
I think you'll find Bingus was too busy submitting some anonymous WebEx questions on our live firmwide town hall with the remuneration committee. We had a flurry of spicy questions which were refreshing!
"A head of legal in the TMT sector rated Forsters as the best firm, and singled out a senior associate for "being on standby for urgent issues via WhatsApp, even when he is on annual leave. I didn't care he answered while he was in a bar, I just appreciated him taking my call.""
Also in-house lawyers on RoF surveys:
"Why don't firms treat their associates better, and give them some more time off?"
Any interesting updates? Did they give details about twice-a-year bonus structure?
Very nice to see someone actively acknowledge what Clydes can offer. We get an awful lot of shade in the comment threads here, but whenever I deal with firms that seem to have much higher opinions of themselves I'm surprised by how little they actually seem to know about litigation...
Shame the pay is bloody awful, mind.
I’ll be honest - not much has happened since the pay review, which is why I’ve been fairly quite (bar the bizarre email this morning about bring your dog to work day every last Friday of each month this Summer - nice try Deborah you aren’t fooling me).
I did ask a few questions on the WebEx presentation. The one I wanted clarity on was whether the June bonus is the Christmas bonus split in half - we’ll see. I’m half expecting an email today but knowing Slaughters they’ll wait until the Friday before it’s paid to let everyone know….
No updates, as [redacted] said we will probably only find out on payday itself or the Friday before if we are lucky what we are getting in June.
Otherwise they have set up associate forums to discuss other changes and those are starting next week.
Despite all the words though, it remains business as usual on opacity and no glasnost.
"I didn't care he answered while he was in a bar"
In what world would you have the right to care that he answered your call on AL in a bar
Clients (and Partners) are 🤡s
Good to hear from you, Bingus! I'll take no news as good news on the workload front. Looking forward to hearing about the bonus split when Slaughters HR take their finger out
"I didn't care he answered while he was in a bar"
I care!!! I want my lawyers to take their annual leave in their offices so they can respond in an appropriate and professional manner. This is just another sign of slipping standards in private practice.
Slaughters are great at scraping the bottom of the barrel and grinding it into a fine mist at enormous expense in their search for the best possible outcome for their clients. Understandably, fees and management time aren't taken into account in the calculation of "best". Sometimes that's what clients want though- less sure about the client's shareholders/taxpayers.
Pinsents are fine. It won't be as flashy and you'll have to correct more typos (the horror). But they're a lot cheaper, less hassle and the only time you'd rationally regret not choosing Slaughters over them (as opposed to the times when you want a comfort blanket of reassuring expense) is the maybe once in a decade experience of all that extra scraping and grinding getting a meaningfully better result.
Clyde & Co impressed somebody? Aww bless, that’s so kind.
@Anon 10 June 22 23:15 What matters to private practice lawyers doesn't always matter to in-house lawyers. Perhaps you should think on that before slandering your fellow professionals in the future.
I'm in-house and I brief all manner of firms (magic circle, Elite US, silver circle, local counsel in several jurisdictions) depending on the deal we are working on, often the firms that get talked up the most in these comment sections are the ones that give the most "meh" service.
What is the point of employing an in-house counsel if they are nothing more than a postbox for Slaughter and May?
Seriously, what is the point of your job if you are relying on your external law firm to give you a "heads up on things to consider so I don't have to"?
I would suggest that some of the respondents to this survey appear to be adding zero value to their organisation and should probably be sacked.
Buzzkill2 13 June 22 09:59 If you think that a finely crafted missive from any lawyer, MC or otherwise, can be put in front of the senior management of any company in the form it is received by in-house counsel you have got another thing coming. Even the most "commercial" lawyers have no idea what really matters to their clients.
The job of in-house counsel is to take the advice we receive from external counsel, understand it, assess the risks in the context of the transaction and then give real world, practical advice to our Boards and those in the C-Suite. This is a skill in itself and takes years to hone.