There was a lot to be said for the work/life balance at firms scoring between 60-70%, it's just that not all of it was great the closer scores crept to 60%.

The work/life balance at DLA Piper (69%) was "periodically bad", said a junior associate, "not consistently bad". Others agreed with the lawyer who said it was "actually flexible about flexible working!" Work/life balance "was never going to be great at a law firm but its not bad here", said a Norton Rose Fulbright (68%) trainee. "Not a good year to ask this question", said a senior solicitor. "So much time was spent at my desk I feared that the image of my computer screen would be permanently burned into my retina". She said "things have improved" and "I was spared a trip to Moorgate Eye Hospital (just)". 

At Dentons (67%) it "very much depends on the partners in your team", said a senior associate. "If they happen to have abandoned any hope of a personal life in order to make partner by their early thirties, expect surprised looks when you have better things to do than work every evening and weekend". Other partners "do get it". "If you wanted to leave at or before 7pm every day, it wouldn't be an issue unless you work in the Banking Department", said a trainee."LOL @ work life balance", said a senior associate at Weil (66%). "It's just cash mate. Filthy amounts of cash". "Genuinely about the same as the magic circle" said a junior associate. "Although expect email chasers from partners if you don't respond to emails within 10 minutes".

    Yes, yes! YES!

At Ashurst (65%) "it's work/life fit", said a senior associate, "Not balance. Balance is an illusion for grad-recruitment events". Others painted a rosier picture: "It's as expected in a Silver Circle firm", said an NQ. "Some late nights, some not so late nights". At Macfarlanes (65%) it was "really up and down" said a junior solicitor. "I miss my friends" said another. A Macs partner mused, "Always a tricky question to interpret what this means - is 7 hours in an unsupported, non developing role which you dislike mean a better work/life balance than, say, 10 hours in one which you feel is developing you. I'd argue the latter is much better to-" etc etc etc.

"Being slammed is a rite of passage", said a Slaughter and May (65%) trainee, "One that you pass through regularly". However the firm came top of the Magic Circle for WLB, as it historically does, thanks partly to an absence of billable hours targets. Slaughters was, said a junior solicitor, "making an attempt to differentiate ourselves from US firms by offering a better work/life balance, rather than competing on pay. Annual leave was increased to 30 days; we can work from home one day a week; there is a paid sabbatical after 3PQE". However, there were  "inevitable pressures". "My gf misses me :-(" said a junior solicitor, "but is comforted by the fact I'm not at Clifford Chance".

Stephenson Harwood (63%)
had the "same hours as Slaughters", said a junior solicitor. "Good thing we get paid the same.. oh wait..." A trainee said, "I literally go home to bed then wake up and go back to work". Happily, said a senior solicitor, "Working from home was introduced as an entitlement last year. Someone should tell the dinosaur partners who still make you feel like you're asking for the head of Alfredo Garcia when you raise it".

    Bums.

"When it is busy, it is terrible",
said a trainee at White & Case (63%). "But I went in with my eyes open. During quiet periods no one cares if you duck out a 6". "I'm looking at a 2,500 hour year", said  a junior associate, "but there's no culture of facetime: on the 2 occasions I have finished before 11pm I've left without anyone batting a proverbial eyelid". A partner at Shoosmiths (63%) said "the importance of the freedom to work flexibly to gender equality and quality of life is hard to understate". However, she said, "We have a female CEO, but women still suffer severe attrition on the partnership track".

At Latham & Watkins (60%) there were "Very late nights", but "weekends are generally protected", said a junior solicitor. "As you would expect when you are busy you are extremely busy", said a colleague, "however the fact that there is no face time culture is significant".
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