Associates have bemoaned the near impossibility of making partner in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2019 survey.
"Partnership is monopolised by men in their 50s and 60s", said a Shepherd & Wedderburn lawyer. A "disgruntled underclass" has been waiting for years "for a sniff of the P-word". At Fieldfisher, "bed blocking, sharp-elbowed partners" claim to be "custodians of the firm for the next generation", said a junior, but are actually just "preventing their associates getting anywhere".
At Simmons & Simmons the partnership openings in one department appear particularly limited. RollOnFriday was pointed to the firm's Corporate department where 10 associates are listed as working for 24 partners, with respondents blaming a flurry of resignations. A spokeswoman for the firm did not respond to a request for comment. It is not the first firm to have attempted the innovative dimaryp model.
Other lawyers railed against the bleak reality of kissing ass. "You will only reach the dizzy heights of partner through being friends with the right people", said a KPMG associate. An Ashurst solicitor said it was "like old-school politics, and you need a powerful sponsor to make it work".
Homegrowns are well-loved at DLA Piper, said an associate, who said that even lawyers returning to the firm "are welcomed back with a weird (if not cult-ish) level of delight. One of us, one of us..."
|Back in the fold at DLA Piper.|
As for non-fee earners, many are complaining that a 'them and us' culture continues to handicap their progression. A Watson Farley Williams staffer said bluntly, "there is no career development for business services staff", who have to suffer the indignity of being referred to as "'BS' in many firm-wide documents".
The survey shuts in a couple of weeks, so if you haven't added your voice to the plus 4,000 so far, please do.