Some firms achieved less than 50% for career development in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2018 survey, indicating that the majority of respondents thought there was more chance of progressing in the deadly vacuum of space.

"The last time I checked the criteria for associateship" said a BLM (37%) junior lawyer, "it read 'must be able to jump through ring of fire backwards blindfolded with no expectation of wage increase'". A junior looking higher up the ladder said, "I found out how much salary partners get paid the other day. I'll be leaving as soon as I can". And anyway, said a senior solicitor, "I'm a good, technical lawyer with strong client care skills. There's no way I will fit in with upper management". A peer said, "either you are one of the management's happy boot lickers or you don't get on". But if you are..."If you can be a shameless self promoter", said a partner, "and good with stabbing colleagues in the guts then you may succeed. Plus being able to talk Man Utd helps too".


RYAN GIGGS says... "So you're saying there's a chance." 

At Kennedys (23%) promotion "is dangled like a carrot". Partners "don't do enough to encourage and develop talented associates", said one of them. There was, said a junior solicitor, a "gulf" between the Solicitor and Senior Associate roles, because "the conditions to become an SA match those previously in place for junior partners".

It wasn't all despair from within the Golden Turd 2018. Irwin Mitchell (21%) offered a "good level of responsibility and clear career path", said a trainee. That was about it for the positives though. "The cleaner has more chance of progressing than any of the paralegals", said one of their number. "Why develop careers when you have to pay employees more?" said a junior solicitor. "Departments within the firm base their entire business model on not qualifying staff and are now trying to prevent qualification via cilex after having relied on the TC model for years to hold people back". A partner suggested helpfully, "Shag a partner and you might have a chance". Although he accepted that option may no longer be available "now that sex predators are being outed". Highlights last year for those seeking partnership, said a senior solicitor, "include the introduction of the the new 'senior associate' position between associate and partner, setting back the career trajectory of all mid-level IM solicitors by several years at the stroke of a pen. Well judged IM".

"Cronyism rules" at PI stumbler Slater & Gordon (20%), said a senior solicitor. "Unfortunately", said a junior lawyer, "I am neither Australian nor a non-qualified businessman, so I will never reach the top of the totem pole". There was, summed up a colleague, "No chance of progression or promotion, no chance of a pay rise, no point in trying". The firm pipped the Golden Turd to last place by one point.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 16 February 18 09:12

Stop press! Firms which are overexposed to low hourly rate insurance work don’t pay very well and can’t offer associates the same rewards as City firms which do more profitable transactional work! Shock horror!

If you want to earn good money, and if that is important, don’t join firms which operate in a depressed insurance market where rates are well behind inflation let alone what might be considered reasonable in 2018 for providing good quality advice to institutional clients. Get out now, or suck it up.

Anonymous 16 February 18 22:41

Kennedys do you justify the partners as they can't bring in work...head partner has left why!!!!

Anonymous 17 February 18 10:06

The results of this year's ROF survey are hardly surprising.

Given that Kennedys came runners up in the Golden Turd Award last year, outmatched only by KWM who were in administration at the time, suggests that its junior lawyers (or the lawyers willing to participate in the survey) must find it a dreadful place to work.

The comment by anon 09.12 is a breathtaking example of just how inept Management is at some firms: "if our junior lawyers are unhappy they should either f*ck off or stop complaining". Well, those who do leave are usually the good ones and those who hang around for long enough usually end up being promoted thereby perpetuating the endless cycle of clusterf*ckery.

Also, the suggestion that junior lawyers must be unhappy solely because of pay demonstrates a remarkable lack of insight and is pathetically small-minded. Pay may be a reason why some junior lawyers are unhappy but the real problem with a lot of these firms is that they are ruled by a politburo of incompetent partners.

Anonymous 18 February 18 20:42

Of course the junior associates appreciate that things are depressed in insurance. We just fail to see as to why partners are paying themselves as though the reforms never happened?

Anonymous 19 February 18 14:20

All these firms seem to be going down. What does it matter if you are a redundant Associate or a redundant Senior Associate? Either way you are equally unemployed.
Instead of wasting your life waiting for a promotion that isn't worth having, why not use your talents to get a proper job?

Anonymous 20 February 18 11:06

I don’t think the comment at 09:12 is necessarily from management. It seems to say that associates are joining or remaining at firms which they should know are not able or willing to pay well, or offer good prospects, and so it is pointless to expect them to change because all the evidence is that they will not. Rather than whinge about it, the poster seems to be saying do something about it. If all these associates really are worth more money and really do think they should be progressing more quickly then in an open market economy why don’t they take their skills to a firm that will offer them what they think they are worth?

Anonymous 20 February 18 20:27

20/02 at 11.06 is spot on. Too many staff at these insurance firms have no idea what hard work is. They moan about not having city style salaries but frankly have nothing like a city style workload. It is absolutely correct that they should go if they feel they are undervalued. If they don’t go then they should stay and stop whinging. The worst people in the world are the ones who stay at their firms but whinge endlessly. Many of them have to accept that they get lower wages then other firms in the city or doing corporate style work because frankly they don’t have to work the hours. Live with it or find some clients who will pay you more. Or maybe you just don’t have the first clue how to win a client! There are just too many insurance lawyers who expect the world to owe them a living simply because they passed their exams years ago. Get a grip. Even at the worst paying firms in the country like Keoghs, BLM, Kennedy’s and DWF insurance dept the people are well compared to the average Joe.

Anonymous 20 February 18 22:32

Last comment has got it so far wrong. The problem is that the partners at kennedys are taking too much out of the business as if they are city firms and pay their associates too little.

Anonymous 21 February 18 12:16

If that is true, it is a business model which only works if the associates (no matter how much they say it’s unfair) choose to stick around. If they all resigned tomorrow because of poor pay and prospects, then it would be evidence that the business model doesn’t work and the partners would have to address it. I’m not saying that is a morally edifying approach but then business is business. The aim of law firms is to make profits for their owners. As per the comments above, if you genuinely think you are underpaid in an open market, vote with your feet and apply to work for firms who will pay more. If you can’t or won’t, you are basically endorsing the approach taken by these insurance firms and showing that whatever criticisms you make, you won’t leave.

Anonymous 21 February 18 20:22

To anon at 20/02 22.32: er, no. If the associates think they aren’t getting a fair share they should leave. Go somewhere you can get a fair share- whatever that is. If the owners of the business don’t share their profits with you, tough. Become an owner yourself. Oh, sorry, you can’t of course. And we all know why. Only the very best get to be owners. Or take the risk and set up your own firm? Thought not. Having said that, Kennedy’s does sound awful. You have my sympathy in that regard, but not for moaning about wages. If you don’t earn enough: move!

Anonymous 21 February 18 20:36

To 12.16 21/12 - what an idiotic comment. If all the magic circle associates resigned it would prove the model doesn’t work. Same for any business. The fact is everyone won’t leave as there is nowhere to go. Kennedy’s Lawyers don’t go to the MC, none of their peers are hiring and they are going to go it alone. Therefore: stuck where you are so suck it up. Capitalism is a bitch ain’t she.

Anonymous 21 February 18 23:18

20.36 - the first part of your post simply repeats the same argument that you call “idiotic”. The conclusion reached is that the models in both the case of MC firms and insurance-led firms does work because there are associates willing to work at both of them. The difference between MC associates and insurance associates is that the former aren’t complaining about their pay and benefits. I am not sure what your evidence is that Kennedys or other insurance associates couldn’t work at the MC (in fact they would be well suited to risk roles there which is a growth area and which pay far more) but MC firms are not the only options. There are places to go for insurance associates generally, such as com lit or in house at insurers or in house for blue chip professional services firms. The point is that if you have the skill set and ability, you are marketable and should test the market. To simply whinge and moan about poor pay at firms where the hourly rates are so low you can only ever bill a small sum per year is going to change nothing. If good assoicates left these firms, for more money and better prospects, the partners couldn’t sustain a sufficiently good product to service clients and would have to accept lower drawings in order to attract and retain good people.

Anonymous 22 February 18 12:16

To 23.18 : correct. But they don’t leave!! They stay as it is more complex than just money. They winge about money, but never about working hours! Ergo they stay as on balance they don’t want to give up what they have just for a few quid. i.e. a life.