Parabis Group came a resounding last in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2014 survey. The personal injury firm scooped the Golden Turd with a miserable 41% overall score.

What could it possibly have done to deserve it? Quite a lot, it seems. "In-fighting and politics, incapable staff, poor systems - do I need to go on?" asks one lawyer. The firm's management scored a rotten 27% and was blasted for providing "appalling support and infrastructure". "Mean to the point of embarassing", agreed one associate. "My floor has 50 fee earners and one white book" and, when staff requested another, "we were told the senior partner would himself have to authorise the expenditure. Three weeks later, a flat refusal".

    One for the back of the trophy cabinet


Parabis also scored poorly for career development, of which there is "absolutely none" according to one lawyer. "No desire amongst staff to promote from within" says a colleague. "If your hours are down, or your face doesn't fit, you will be managed out". The firm also scored just 30% for pay, with associates grumbling that salaries "are low and barely move". As for the working environment, it is "anonymous, like working at Tesco", says one staffer, with "vast rooms filled with rows of desks - a massive claims handling factory, overseen by **** *****". Oh dear.

But it isn't completely nightmarish. Parabis scored reasonably for work/life balance (61%) with several respondents echoing the view that the "hours are easy". Plus there's a "beer budget every month", the London office has "some of the nicest people I've ever worked with", and, erm, "the disabled toilets are nice to cry in".



Clarke Willmott came second to last. It was blasted for "dreadful" pay and "infighting and bickering between teams and offices". As for the firm's attempt to start an organised training programme, "the 'CW School of Management' is an embarrassment - partners randomly talk about topics like 'how to record more time' or 'how I poached clients from my former firm'". Mostly, though, Clarke Willmott lawyers talk about their peers leaving "like rats jumping from a sinking ship". That's despite the fact that "we got new pens this year".

Last year DAC Beachcroft came second to last, but this year it's moved up one spot, and at its current trajectory will win RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2054. It gets credit for engaging in "lots of pro bono for its insurer clients" and for its "great" people. But everything else? Not so much. DAC lawyers describe salaries as "shocking" and "shit" and bonuses as "unattainable". Fee-earners, grumbles one, "would earn more cleaning the files than running them". And despite healthy profits, says another, "we are constantly told that margins are squeezed and so we are unlikely to (ever) get a pay rise".

There was one happy camper though: the DAC partner who responded to the survey question 'Good things?' with "Excellent", the question 'Bad things?' with "Excellent" and the question 'Anything else?' with "Excellent". Roll on 2054.
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Comments

Anonymous 31 January 14 07:40

Well done Parabis. You are joining firms as infamous as Dickinson Dees and Irwin Mitchell.

Anonymous 31 January 14 08:35

I know a few people who work there and this result is unsurprising. If you look at previous winners of "the turd" they have much in common. At the end of the day it comes down to a culture which is driven by management. Greed is a key feature, viewing low paid staff as expendable work horses is another. These firms win this award because of detached, over weight and over promoted 18th century throw backs who fail to inspire and do nothing but demoralise their employees. Sadly they will never change.

Anonymous 31 January 14 08:38

Well done Parabis! You treat your staff appaulingly bad. But, hey, as long as the top management get their handsome salaries on the back of poorly paid staff with no incentives, who cares. You deserve this award!

Anonymous 31 January 14 09:35

I can only assume that the person who made the comments about Clarke Willmott is probably just sore after a bad performance review. If you do well, the rewards are excellent and it's a great firm to work for. The comments are unjustified.

Anonymous 31 January 14 10:02

Great place to work...work like a dog, pushed to the limit then worked a little more with little or no thanks and the annual pay rise swept under the carpet.

Anonymous 31 January 14 10:21

I work for Parabis (so far in 2 of it's 3 London/Croydon offices) and have to say I dont share those views at all! I trained here, moved away to a couple of other big name firms for 6 or 7 years, but then chose to come back having missed the place so much! It actually has a reputation for a high rate of 'returnees'. It's super friendly, informal, operates flexible hours, has a great bonus scheme, lovely clients, effective air con in the summer (it makes a difference!), historically retains 95-100% of its trainees who then rarely move on (which speaks volumes), and unlike many firms we've had a pay increase each year. I wouldnt want to work anywhere else!

Anonymous 31 January 14 10:42

Not a CW PR gimp... just because I like my job, do well, and don't follow the trend of moaning like a child about it, does not make me a PR gimp. Basically, if you feel that way about the firm you work for, grow a pair and leave!

Anonymous 31 January 14 10:53

Statistically Parabis has come last. This is a fact. There are always staff who enjoy working where they are. However looking at this survey to come in last position confirms that for the majority this is not the case. Majority rules?

Anonymous 31 January 14 11:04

I'm with Parabis in respect of the white book, or "shite book" as it is known here. You can access it online so no need for more than one copy. I would recommend the Jackson ADR handbook though to add to your collection.

Anonymous 31 January 14 11:08

Thank anon 10:21 glad you got your annual pay rise...cant say the same for the majority of our office! What makes you so special and why are they not telling us why we have not received our usual notification in Jan??

Anonymous 31 January 14 12:44

Can I just say that Bond Dickinson did not deserve to win the Roll on Friday Golden Turd award... Oh hang on, we didn't... Result!!!!

Anonymous 31 January 14 13:10

I've worked for Clarke Willmott in recent years. Let's just say the only thing that surprises me is that they rank so highly.

Anonymous 01 February 14 10:00

To the person who said that there's a bonus scheme, and that they get pay rises, please confirm just once more for clarity that you're talking about Parabis, and which office you're in. Unless it's Narnia, you're talking bollocks.

Anonymous 01 February 14 10:10

I am truly disappointed that Irwin Mitchell did not win The Turd this year. The place has not improved since last year's award and I was convinced this year they would be the worthy winners again. What happened?

Anonymous 01 February 14 17:37

To anon 10.10 today. Yes I was referring to parabis, not Narnia. The pay rises have been delayed a month, to be back dated. Why is this so bad? It certainly doesn't mean there isn't one. If life is so bad for you at parabis, why stay? However, the low staff turnover suggests most people (presumably the ones who didn't fill in the survey or pay any attention to this blog) enjoy working for the firm. I have friends at other city firms who hate every second of their job. Stress levels are through the roof. Their lives are controlled by their BBs. Their pay has been frozen for 4 years and there is no bonus. Bullying is rife and secretaries act like the mafia. Let's just hope that, when you do leave because you hate parabis so much, you don't end up in one of those firms.

Anonymous 01 February 14 18:16

Only reason no bonus paid at Parabis is failure to meet KPi;s. Re white book comment this must be a joke surely, all staff have online access. Maybe made by one of the staff that struggle with such modern inventions. As for the beer budget comment - more info needed as there is such budget at my site.. and I have been with Group for 8 years.

Anonymous 02 February 14 09:49

Hi, Anon 10:10 here again. Hold your horses, person who responded to me: At no point did I say I hated working here. I merely commented on bonus and payrise, of which it appears some offices are treated more equally that others. Beer budget too. All three of these things are unheard of where I am.

Anonymous 03 February 14 19:30

I have to keep this nice. Not sure its possible. Poor management and lack of any respect for the staff. Air conditioning? Doesn't the air conditioning comment sum this company up? Staff lucky to be able to work in temperatures above the legal limit. How 1930s

Anonymous 04 February 14 17:08

  We know there is a bonus scheme but they don't tell us what we need to do to get the bonus. There is zero scope for progression
Its as if we don't exist

Anonymous 04 February 14 22:55

The beer money is funded by Greenwoods and every month they all go out with a tab of around £800. Let's not forget ex-Greenwoods employers who went to DWF attend these free drinks!! I wonder why the rest of Parabis doesn't get one? Unfortunately to say... It seems like people are leaving left, right and centre to either DWF or BLM....who will be next...

Anonymous 04 February 14 23:16

Low staff turnover?!?!?! Hahaha really??? I haven't heard so much bollocks!! Look again fools!! Half the agencies say they have Parabis on their books. Poor management, low pay, no progression.

Anonymous 05 February 14 11:06

seriously though, there is a bonus, it's based on targets clearly set out at the beginning of the year and I have hit it for the last two years. I have also had a payrise each year since I started there, only a small one, 2.5%, but a payrise all the same. We dont get a beer budget but I can live with that. Maybe they do things differently in different offices. Sorry for the unpopular view but I think its a good place to work.

Anonymous 05 February 14 16:30

You must clearly be one of the "favourites" there! No pay rise for a lot of people in Parabis. How is that fair? You must have enough work to be hitting your targets unlike a lot of people....you must be a partner.....stop trying to shine the turd....

Anonymous 05 February 14 17:22

I agree with 11.06 (today). There is a bonus, on the Defendant litigation side - and a decent one at that. Easily achievable on a 9-5 shift if you are efficient with your time. The pay rises happen each year. This year it is slightly late so will be back dated. My office doesnt have a regular beer budget but we do have frequent social nights out/birthday lunches that are funded by the firm on an ad hoc basis. Remember the 'award' was given to the Group as a whole. You cant always please 3,000 employees over 15 natonwide offices, especially so soon after several large mergers. Of course there will be differences between offices and some disgruntled employees (clearly the ones who read this rag) as a result. I think some perspective should be taken!

Anonymous 05 February 14 21:22

I used to work at Plexus Law, London. The people are very nice and there are some exceptionally good lawyers. However, rumours around the insurance market are rife, it is far from being a happy ship, particularly since becoming an ABS. Whether the firm is a good place to work or not, what is patently clear from the comments is that there are a lot of unhappy people. When a firm becomes as successful as Parabis claims to be, it is immoral to bleed staff the way they do with little or no reward, and no career progression. They are messing around with peoples' careers and peoples' lives, which is frankly not on. Plenty of insurance firms such as Kennedy's, DWF and Clyde & Co who, I understand, care about their staff are currently looking to recruit in all departments and until the good people leave on mass, unfortunately Parabis will continue to have a reputation for being an awful employer. The management at Parabis (and the Duke Street people) should read this and take stock, because the key to success rests with its staff. Parabis does have talented and loyal staff. However, until it realises and unless it invests in its staff, plenty more irreplaceable people will continue leave.

Anonymous 06 February 14 16:53

Spoke to senior member of the management team on the biscuits front, theres talk of introducing Jaffa Cakes.

Anonymous 07 February 14 00:13

'In-fighting and politics, incapable staff, poor systems - do I need to say more?'

Judging by the grammar, syntax and tone of the above comments I think that Parabis' staff would do themselves a favour by commenting no more...

Anonymous 07 February 14 16:22

I worked for Parabis a few years ago and to tell you the truth, it was an absolute crap place to work for. The salary is extremely poor and you are timed for every phone call, every letter in fact everything from going to the loo! The people are really nice, but the work moral is low. Poxy bonus that wouldn't cover your fares, management - can't organise a piss up in a brewery. And who the hell keeps going on about beer money. Twat! That place used to really get to me and I'm so glad that I got out - it makes those young people ill. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would march back in there and tell the management team what a bunch of twats they really are. Taking all the profits that these young people so truly deserve. They work hard and get little in return. Need I go on.... ok I will. The fat cats at the top who are milking all of the profits need to seriously think about their staff as they are the ones that are making them the fat cats that they truly are. FAT AND UGLY PEOPLE! There that's it folks.... If anyone out there DARE want to argue with me, I'm here just waiting....

Anonymous 09 February 14 00:24

Pro bono scored higher than most other categories? Does anybody at Parabis, CW or DAC actually do any pro bono?

Anonymous 09 February 14 17:49

I suspect that most of these adverse postings are from London employees. I have been at Parabis in Liverpool for over two years, and I feel I am well treated.

Anonymous 19 February 14 19:06

The Leeds office is pretty much if your face fits and it certainly is it's not what you know it's who you know! Staff paid peanuts and then when they leave are asked why! Yeah as if they don't know why people leave! If u step out of the office at 5, don't expect to get anywhere fast. Low wage but expected to put the hours in whilst the dragon gets paid £££££££££

Anonymous 22 February 14 10:20

anonymous user
04/02/2014 22:55

I suspect you work at the London or Bristol Greenwoods' office.

Anonymous 01 March 14 17:12

Parabis latest - fund training contracts then offer paralegal salary! Rats are leaving a sinking ship. Can the last person to leave please switch off the lights.

Anonymous 05 March 14 19:15

You're right there. Last person does need to switch the light off. Everyone seems to be jumping ship. Partners all leaving and Leeds office partner walks round with a face on. Real communication problem. Miserable!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous 14 March 14 21:11

I work for Parabis Ltd and whilst the company has been fair in the time I have worked there, there has recently been a change in the culture. Good staff are not being retained, bonus payments delayed (and significantly reduced compared to recent years), pay review delayed and the communication to staff very poor. The performance of Parabis Ltd has been extremely good for it's clients, in a tough climate...time to reward and develop the staff that have produced these results!

Anonymous 10 September 14 11:02

I can completely endorse most of these comments.Employees do not feel valued and career development is non existent other than for the ones whose faces fit.I would not recommend working at this firm to my worst enemy.....or maybe I would!!!!!

Anonymous 14 November 14 23:24

Just keep trampling on the little people "Parabis".............. it is such a sure way to fail ..... just buy up good strong companies chew out and spit out............... would like to say good luck "Parabis".... but what goes around comes around..... and your days are numbered LMFAO

Anonymous 27 January 15 22:56

Shocking that they can get away with treating people as they do in their greedy pursuit of self. No regard for staff welfare. As someone else has said, what goes around comes around. Time will tell.