Tier 1 for 'Diplomatic'.

Managers at Legal 500 bemoaned staff "banging on about their mental health" and said they had faces “like a smacked arse”.

The disparaging remarks came to light as part of a campaign by the Unite union to get two former employees reinstated after they were sacked from the legal directory last November.

Bosses at Legal 500, which is part of the Legalese group, told the two staff they were being dismissed due to “underperformance”. Unite has accused the company of inventing “bogus charges” to get rid of the pair because they were organising other employees to join the union.

Now candid messages have emerged which allegedly reveal Legal 500 managers discussing workers over an online app which was visible to other staff. According to Unite, the conversation went as follows:

“Should we bother giving them a bollocking or can we not be arsed?”

“It makes no difference. We’re just wasting our breath and we have to be all cuddly and nice or else they’ll start banging on about their mental health FFS.”

“It’s the blatant yawning and face like a smacked arse thing that really gets to me.”

“I want to smack people in the face tbh.”

“Haha – so do I!”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “These messages are appalling and are reflective of the contempt that The Legal 500 shows to its workforce. They also demonstrate the appalling environment in which two of their employees were sacked on bogus charges for union organising. Unite will not tolerate this. The company now needs to reinstate these workers and get its house in order.”

Legal 500, which was accused of sharp practice while furloughing staff during the pandemic, did not respond to a request for comment, forgoing the chance to provide some exculpatory context for the messages.

Some readers may sympathise with supervisors struggling with an unmotivated team. Others may be disgusted. So ROF’s throwing it open to a poll:

LU icon When firms like you for a role, they ping you direct on LawyerUp, available on the App Store and Google Play.

Tip Off ROF


Spotty Lizard 23 February 24 08:53

It must be so frustrating for people with genuine mental health conditions to have to listen to these many, entitled little shrimps hijacking the term to protect themselves from having to face their many inadequacies. 

Rising Star in Legal Influencing; Forbes 30 Under 30 23 February 24 09:14

I am delighted and humbled to announce that I am yet to be described as having a face like a smacked arse this week. Follow me on Tik Tok for more legal tips. 

Anon 23 February 24 09:21

I'm not sure what is more naive and ill considered, having those thoughts in the first place or committing them to writing. 

Anonymous 23 February 24 09:50

"I'm not sure what is more naive and ill considered, having those thoughts in the first place or committing them to writing." - Answer C. Hiring talentless Zoomer arts-grads and expecting them to do eight hours of work in return for eight hours of money.

Ex-Legalease 23 February 24 09:51

I worked at Legalease a long time ago. It was a genuinely lovely place to work - I've not experienced a culture like it before or since. It's been sad to see how it's changed over the past few years.

Band1 23 February 24 10:02

Thanksfully, help is at hand - https://www.legal500.com/c/london/employment/employeesunions/

Sumoking 23 February 24 10:03

legal 500 has managers? 

what the hell does it need managers for? it's a bluddy wikipedia, complete with wildly inaccurate nonsense and propaganda 

you only need managers if you're making something accurate and important 

Anonymous 23 February 24 10:31

As a lawyer who is consistently ranked well in Legal 500, I wouldn't give a monkey's if it did not exist.

Anonymous 23 February 24 12:52

I agree some of the kids these days are unbearably fragile but I have heard it’s a sweatshop. 

Anonymous 23 February 24 12:54

Does a firm go up or down the rankings if it successfully brings an employment tribunal claim against Legal 500?

Defund Legal 500 23 February 24 15:40

The only people who give two Phucs about the Legal 500 are the dinosaur partners with a massive ego who need to compensate for their failing marriage and balding head. No one with any self-respect truly cares about the Legal 500

Anon 23 February 24 22:29

Defund Legal, you are so right. I say this as I admire my balding head. Your post made me laugh. Thank you. 

Considering offshore 23 February 24 22:38

Do any directories matter, i.e. is Chambers and Partners as irrelevant as people here say that Legal 500 is? 

More widely, how do people judge offshore law firms? (Not the allegation that they're all cretinous failure - I understand that whinge... - rather, if you have to choose, on what basis do you do so?).

Specifically, which firms have the best reputation for insolvency? I'm considering moving to Cayman, hence the question.

Anonymous 24 February 24 08:04

I'm personally not bothered about the Legal 500.  It is a burden doing the submission every year and is a distraction from focusing on fee earning work.  


Absolutely no reflection on how good a person is as a lawyer.  Never been one for self-promotion - rather do a good job and be compensated well so i can do the things i want to do in life with my family.

Anonymous 25 February 24 09:53

Everyone's mental health is shot to sh!t at the moment, including a lot of people in denial about it.


Life expectancy has actually fallen over the last 14 years and our leaders are more interested in creating and exploiting division than unifying a country that has suffered a lot of shocks and disappointments over the last few years.


the future for the young and the low paid is increasingly precarious and in the current environment the low paid includes people who are on and above the average wage.


As Philip Larkin said, "We must be careful of each other.  We must be kind while there is still time."

Proper Lawyer 26 February 24 16:12

"how do people judge offshore law firms?"

It's fair to say that we judge them all.

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