Only a handful of firms plunged below 50%. But they made a mess when they landed.

57th - Freshfields (49%)

It was a dire showing from the Magic Circle firm, which placed well below its enchanted siblings. In fact the pay was well-regarded by many. "It's good", said a senior solicitor. "Its actually not too far from US firms". "Top of the Magic Circle", said another. But "forget: weekends, public holidays, annual leave, state bereavement, paternity leave...must close that fucking deal". And there was the perception, said a junior solicitor, that "certain partners are seriously bitter about having to raise pay back in 2016" and "they are taking it out on junior associates wherever and whenever they can". It "is a sweatshop", said a colleague. "This is why Kirkland is setting up a mini-Freshfields in its London base". "The grass is greener (with dolla) on the other side". Some recent budgetary decisions like PA redundancies also "rankle slightly", said a junior solicitor, particularly "when we then get an email saying they're flexing the top of the equity for high performers". 

58th - Shakespeare Martineau (47%)

The work life balance "is OK - the office is practically empty at 5.45 most days", said a solicitor. But "for all the slogans and marketing talk", said a lawyer, "it doesn't really feel like we've really gone anywhere". Integration between the two merged firms "is still a work in progress after 2 years", he added, "which is just a polite way of saying that there are times where it feels like there are two firms sharing a name and office space". It "doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast", agreed a colleague. "While that doesn't always make for a highly exciting day it's comforting to know it's not going down the potty either". Though also "Not exactly setting the world alight", said a senior solicitor. Others were less circumspect. "There's no direction, the partners are numpties, and banter levels are nonexistent", said a paralegal. Others complained about career development. "Not even a whiff of meritocracy here", said one solicitor. In some departments,"getting promoted  was "completely impossible", while in others it "seems to be as simple as covering for your supervising partner when he slopes off to the boozer".

    The problem was getting him to remember. 


59th - BLM (38%)

BLM scored terribly, but given that several staff thought it was a shoe-in for the Golden Turd perhaps it should count its position as a victory. In fact, it has moved up from 63rd place last year to 59th. Several staff said things looked like they might be about to improve even more. The old era "appears finally to be coming to an end", said one senior solicitor. "To the relief of anyone left with half a brain. So there may be some hope for the future". A non-fee-earner agreed, "They've gone from abysmal to merely really poor this year, so on the up!

"Contrary to what you may read elsewhere", said a senior solicitor, "there are some excellent lawyers and very good people in the firm". Its "decline over the last few years can be directly traced to the morons in senior management" who "spent fortunes making a series of truly terrible 'improvements'", summed up "by the unfathomably hilarious decision to make clients feel valued by renaming them 'customers', like they are low rent supermarket shoppers". 

Others had equally strong views. "I can't believe" a partner in management "made it this far", said a solicitor. "I mean I genuinely can't believe it. It's like a joke but with awful consequences. Send him back" with his "awful ties" and "Tesco Value short-sleeved shirts" before "things get even worse".

60th - Capsticks (33%)

Change was (hopefully) also afoot at Capsticks. "The differential between the organ grinders and the monkeys feels stark at the moment", said a senior Capsticks solicitor. "Time will tell" if things improve, as "the managing partner and senior partner, director of finance, director of IT, and half the equity partnership have changed this year". Better move quick. It was "haemorrhaging people, and good ones at that", said a partner, who mused "this firm does not have a bright future".
The worst-rated firms of all - Slater & Gordon, Kennedys and Golden Turd Irwin Mitchell - were dealt with last week.
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Comments

Anonymous 02 February 18 15:03

'Old era coming to an end' , 'some hope for the future'. All a bit too late for the many good people who were swept away in the last year, some of whom, to my knowledge, are still looking for jobs

Anonymous 04 February 18 11:58

Oh the irony. The guy they refer to in patronising and denigrating terms who has a penchant for short sleeved shirts is the guy who has overseen the recovery of BLM and set the scene for what is seemingly a successful future for all staff.

Anonymous 07 February 18 15:41

Recovery of BLM? How bad were things before the banks started taking control of the firm"s assets? Why did three of the firm's most distinguished partners leave in 2017? Why is the firm losing clients to Plexus? Plexus?!?! This is what happens when likeable but otherwise useless lawyers pretend to be serious business leaders.

Anonymous 07 February 18 20:17

The Defendant insurance sector is a mess. Lots of firms doing that work are distressed.

Anonymous 07 February 18 21:28

Well Brown has been replaced by some guy from Cardiff but the damage has been done. 2018 will be more of the same again. Nothing new here.....jog on

Anonymous 08 February 18 09:39

Bring back the Easter Eggs and BLM may just make the top 50 next year, still hear people reminiscing of those good old days when we all got an Easter Egg!!