The Golden Turd did not have the worst management in the land. Irwin Mitchell was bested by Slater & Gordon. 

"I'm honestly not sure what goes through there heads sometimes", said a junior solicitor at Plexus (59%). "The problem is they seem to have the same problem". There were "two types of partner" at Plexus, explained one, "partner managers and partners". The issue was that "many of the managers have not done any real legal work since before our apprentices could walk and just spend their days doing busy work". The "attitude of management at Plexus has been for some time that it doesn't matter how badly we treat staff as law students are ten a penny", said a trainee. "Cue numerous instances of new starters marched out of the office in tears in front of everyone for something as basic as talking too loudly". "Actually", said a paralegal, "to their credit the fact that we're still going is a miracle". Others were also positive. "Took on the Titanic. Still floating. New York is in sight", said a trainee. "Very few have drowned".

It was a dismal showing for Freshfields (50%). "Some of the decisions they're taken recently (eg making PAs redundant and toughening up the expenses policies for associates) rankle slightly", said a lawyer, "when we then get an email saying they're flexing the top of the equity for high performers". Partners "are either robots or maniacs", said a trainee. There were "new 'initiatives' every other week to plaster over the fact that people are unhappy and the firm has put short term profit above the long term benefits of employee satisfaction".

At Shakespeare Martineau (45%) the "current CEO has no idea what he's doing", said a staffer. "He's coasted off the back of one big merger" and "chunters on about 'organic growth' while watching clients leave and fees go down". There was also, said a lawyer, "one partner who lost a banking client worth shedloads", but "instead of being let go" was "made head of an admin dept". It "doesn't hurt" that the partner "is living with one of the department heads".

The verdict on management from one senior solicitor at BLM (38%) was "Idiots, but there are some green shoots". "Clueless dimwits with ridiculous ambitions", said a colleague. "It would be fine if this were the 80s and we were all high on cocaine, but sadly it's not". BLM "is a dog chasing a car with no destination", said a junior lawyer. "Delusional", said a senior solicitor. "By 2020 we will be the biggest risk and insurance business in the world. We will achieve this first by closing offices, losing partners and shrinking the business. Second, we will keep our staff in the dark and accord them less respect than a battery chicken". Getting into specifics, a staffer said, "They decide to go dress down (good idea), then issue 6 pages of rules about what we wear. How about treating us like grown ups and letting us use our judgment?" "What's management?" said a partner. "We lurch from one disaster to the next".

    That 2020 strategy in full. 

At Irwin Mitchell (25%), "I'm rather tired of being told to trust in the plans for growth when all you see is people leaving in droves", said a solicitor. "Something just is not right". "Why", asked a colleague, "is no one asking why hires last less than two years, especially partners?" Management was "utterly disconnected from the shop floor", said a partner. "They lock themselves in their ivory northern pork pie tower". Nonetheless, said a senior solicitor, the current upper management team "is much better than the previous one".

At the bottom of the pile for leadership, it was Slater & Gordon with an appalling 23%. The "news reports speak for themselves", said a senior solicitor. Senior Management "are horrific", said a trainee. "Team Leaders aren't too bad". They've "done a full 180 turn from the initial 'costa coffee' strategy of having an office on every high street", said a staffer, "and are now shutting offices left, right and centre". Plus the managers are metastasising: "there was a Head of Client and under her a head of client experience and a Client Journey Manager", reeled off a lawyer. And what a journey it's been.
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Comments

Anonymous 02 March 18 09:25

Clue - there is a strong correlation between bad management and open plan / 100% hot-desking. Work it out.

Anonymous 02 March 18 14:41

So many of the low ranked share common themes including personal injury focus and insurance litigation funding.

Anonymous 02 March 18 20:01

All the kak pi and defendant pi firms are seeing their borrowings rise. They are all going to go bust

Anonymous 03 March 18 12:45

@ 20:00 - Amen. Having paid through the nose for junior solicitors to 'process' these claims for far too long, the insurers have at last realised that the overwhelming majority of these claims could - and indeed should - be dealt with by administrators armed with clever spreadsheets. On both sides of the fence, but especially so for the defendant practitioners, these firms are about as relevant today as the gold standard. But while this shift is certainly overdue (and cause for celebration), the defendant practitioners didn't help themselves by lobbying endlessly for their own demise. I worked at BLM and knew the end was in sight back in 2015.

Anonymous 03 March 18 19:59

Got to love 12.45 on 03/03/18. Firstly, what on earth is a clever spreadsheet? A spreadsheet is nothing more than a collection of human knowledge. Secondly, it’s nice to see that the people who have left our profession are in no way bitter. Thirdly, it is absolutely a fact that there is less work for defendant firms. Fourth, and most importantly, it is a fact that insurance companies are now looking very closely at the accounts and balance sheets of the defendant firms. This is essential as too many had a difficulty in the past. The strong will survive and thrive. The rest will go bust. My money is on Keoghs going bust. Topco is owed a fortune. They can trade profitably but cannot pay the debts. Anyone who looks at their accounts with the slightest bit of knowledge will realise that that company is absolutely screwed. It is just a matter of time. Come 2020 it will all be over because that is when the debts fall due.

Anonymous 03 March 18 21:14

19.59 makes a good point but it’s not just PI firms. Law firms cannot pay down debt because there is never surplus money after the partners’ drawings expectations have been met. Hence the debt mountain is getting bigger. Soon the banks will wake up. When that happens, there will be cash calls and then carnage.

Anonymous 04 March 18 18:00

Agree with 21.14 on 3/3/18. The only law firm worth working for in the long term now is one with no debts. Imagine the carnage when interest rates rise!!!! Who’d work for Keoghs now, honestly? Or BLM?

Anonymous 06 March 18 16:53

I've not left the profession - I now work for DLA Piper (a proper law firm). I agree with 21:14 and 18:00. The whole sector - DLA included - needs to take a serious look at itself.

Anonymous 06 March 18 17:03

PS... @19:59 - I'm going to assume that you're a partner at BLM. If you're not going to do the sensible thing (which would be to run as fast as you can away from this big hot mess), then you could at least try and reform the firm. Get rid of that bloated marketing team. Invest in your systems. Close down that ridiculous office in London. Just a few ideas...

Anonymous 06 March 18 20:46

@19.59 ...think you also need to brush up on your reading/accounts skills ...you've made yourself look a bit foolish