Only a handful of firms notched up a sub-50% score, with Golden Turd Irwin Mitchell landing last on a dire 21%

Watson Farley Williams (49%) "made it excruciatingly hard to get any form of bonus", said a junior lawyer. "Peace in the Middle East is more likely".  Pay rises were "non-existent" at Clyde & Co (47%), said a senjor solicitor. Clydes "will blame Brexit", she predicted, "once they finish attributing the difficult circumstances to the 1930s Depression and global warming".

The discretionary bonus scheme at Shakespeare Martineau (45%) was "diabolically secretive", said a senior solicitor. Billing figures "seem completely unrelated to remuneration", said a paralegal. "Haven't had a pay rise in 3 years plus", said another lawyer, "despite the firm allegedly outperforming year-on-year". A non-fee-earner said "I have been stuck on 16k for the past 4 years even though I work all God given hours and go above and beyond the duties listed in my contract".

"Partners line their own pockets and give staff paltry 1% pay rises year on year for slogging their guts out", said a Shoosmiths (41%) senior solicitor. "They also can't be bothered to introduce merit-based pay, so the hardest working associate gets the same percentage payrise as the secretary that's off half the year taking numerous duvet days. Oh, and bonuses? That's a dirty word at Shoosmiths". 
HR deals with a Shoosmiths associate who dropped the B-bomb

Pay was "excellent for some managerial positions dealing with meaningless tasks", said a BLM (34%) trainee. But "others toil doing the real work earning a pittance"."If you look 20% below the bottom of the scale", said a partner, "you will find the top BLM pay rates". "I can see the insurers pay f*all", said a junior solicitor, "but why can't insurance firms at least TRY to negotiate better rates?" "I would have a better standard of life if I was a slave", offered a non-fee-earner. "Some of the support staff gloated about being paid more than fee earners", said a senior solicitor. "Then they were made redundant. Hard to know who is the winner out of that". 

Pay at Capsticks (27%) was "dogshit" said a senior solicitor.

At Slater & Gordon (25%) it was "awful", said a non-fee-earner. "It's low", said a junior solicitor, "and nobody in my department of 120 got a pay rise this year, regardless of individual performance". Perhaps not surprising given the firm's recent difficulties.

Pay at Kennedys (23%) "is completely opaque", said a junior solicitor, but "I suppose they have to fund the aggressive international expansion somehow". It didn't help that the pay review took place in September just before the profit share, according to a paralegal. And so "in our office many people received no pay increase at all just before the partners all rolled up in new cars".

"I have given poor marks in the past as pay has been well behind firms that we'd like to think are competitors", said an Irwin Mitchell (21%) junior solicitor, "but there has been a real effort recently at the junior end to address that". He wasn't alone. An NQ at the Golden Turd said the pay "has inched up this year from insulting to very poor". "My personal pay is pretty good", agreed a senior solicitor, but only because, "after I told them I didn't want to play the game of threatening to leave but I wanted a fair (ie average) salary, and they still shafted me, I got a new job and then negotiated hard". He said, "others aren't so lucky". There "is no transparent pay scale", said a junior solicitor. "Different people seem to be paid according to how little they can get away with offering you". She said non-legally qualified managers "get the big bucks" while for the rest "the pressure is on to perform and bill with no real financial motivation". A partner said there was "massive disparity at all levels", and said it was "soul-destroying as a team leader trying to improve morale, when management insist pay is not a big factor for staff when it clearly is".
Tip Off ROF