Slipping below 60% indicated a strong streak of dissatisfaction, and while it was not all bad as far as these firms' staff were concerned, they probably cry in the toilets more than is recommended by doctors.

51st - Allen & Overy (59%)

Allen & Overy received heaps of praise for the "very good" formal training, the partners "interested in helping juniors getting their name out to the market", and the "quality and breadth of work". But those factors were not sufficiently rated to offset the poor work/life balance and lift the firm out of the 50s. "Every partner likes to bleat on about the monsters they once worked under", said a junior solicitor, "while simultaneously heaping ever higher expectations in associates". He said, "you may not be able to fill associates' offices with cigar smoke any more", but "the steaming turds you fling into my inbox at 2am every other day are no more fragrant". A more upbeat trainee vouched that A&O "is full of living legends, myself included".    

52nd - Shoosmiths, Ashurst, Plexus (58%)

"The culture is what saves Shoosmiths, and it's driven by a large number of the partners not being bellends", said a senior solicitor. Unfortunately they don't save it completely. Given the "dire remuneration package and non-existent bonus scheme", said a solicitor, it "appears to expect something for nothing". Partners "line their own pockets and give staff paltry 1% pay rises year on year for slogging their guts out", said a senior solicitor. "If the nickname 'Shitsmiths', which is bounding around the junior lawyers became public knowledge", said one, "..oh, wait..." Alternatively, as volunteered by a partner: "'Pooshits - we know your business'. Sorry, that's an in-joke from the last Partners' conference".

  It was always a nightmare getting the Shoosmiths partners back inside for more conference. 

Ashurst was "having a bit of an identity crisis", said a senior solicitor (which isn't going to be helped by getting sandwiched between Shoosmiths and Plexus). But it still had "decent people", he said, "without (generally) the extreme behaviour that is endorsed, nurtured, and ultimately standardised at some rivals". Management were "masters of paying everyone about 86% of what they should", said a senior associate. "Just enough to keep you there, but not enough to make you happy". The new London MP "is great and has reversed the decline in the London office", said a solicitor. But, said another, "we have seen in recent years Ashurst is very vulnerable to higher paying competitors cherrypicking the top talent". It also "scrapped taxis for evening working because we can all get ubers now", said one female associate, which she said was "embarrassingly shit".

Almost as embarrassing as drawing level with former Golden Turd Plexus. "Yeah, we've had some management problems in the past", said a Plexus partner, which is one way to describe going into administration. "But they're better now". Perhaps. "Every year we grab as many apprentices and graduates as we can", said a partner. "Plop them down at a desk with a stack of files and wait to see what happens. Those who manage to get things done get a minimum wage". Those that fail "are shown the door at the end of their probation period and we move onto the next child". There was a good work/life balance, said many respondents. But, "it reminds me of being at school", said a senior solicitor. "Seeing staff put down there pens/notepads at 16:45, turning the computer off by 16:50 and standing by the door at 16:55 waiting to run". And "God help anyone who ever crosses the managing partners!", said one solicitor. A colleague "recently left the Manchester office with his team to work for Keoghs (they all resigned at once). Judging from the reaction of the higher ups he also personally nailed Jesus to the cross". 

    He's not the Messiah, he's gone to Keoghs. 

55th - HFW (54%)

The maritime specialist offered "interesting work", said a lawyer. "I often get to see the cases I am working on on TV", said a senior solicitor, citing the team that deals with kidnappings and hijackings. Although the nature of the work meant that "everything's urgent or on fire or sinking or being hijacked", which "can take its toll". But the fireworks weren't enough to cancel out grumbles, particularly around management. "In just two years" it had "taken a pretty happy place", said a senior solicitor, "and turned it into a complete sh*t show. I don't think they could have destroyed morale more if they tried". Shipping in London, said a colleague, "is currently known as the 'departure lounge'". 
56th - Watson Farley Williams (51%)

The new head of learning and the PSLs were credited with "making huge progress with the training programme for associates", said a WFW associate. But other lawyers were less kind about other elements. First year trainees "got an increase in salary the same day we graduated to a second year", said a junior lawyer. In terms of career progression, said a senior solicitor, "young good-for-nothing partners" were "feeding from the plates of old dinosaurs". Still. At least it edged over 50%.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 02 February 18 13:13

As a plexus employee I’m genuinely shocked that we’re as high as we are on this list!

Anonymous 04 February 18 21:02

Keep hating (anon at 13.13 on 02/02/180. Then leave our firm. You are in the minority and are not wanted. Go, please. Best wishes. Xx

Anonymous 05 February 18 11:18

"In just two years" it had "taken a pretty happy place", said a senior solicitor, "and turned it into a complete sh*t show. I don't think they could have destroyed morale more if they tried".


Anonymous 05 February 18 21:28

Am I the only one who finds the person who cheerleads for Plexus on every story whilst ending their messages with kisses a little creepy? My money is on a certain partner with to much spare time. . .

Anonymous 07 February 18 16:34

Nice to see that the higher ups acknowledge the recruitment practices at Plexus for what they are