Irwin Mitchell came rock bottom of the RollOnFriday UK Firm of the Year 2013 survey. The firm managed a paltry 39% overall score and so will be going home with the infamous Golden Turd.

So, where did it all go wrong for the personal injury specialists? In the words of one lawyer: "Pay, pay and what else?....Pay". The firm scored a barrel-scraping 20% in this category and was blasted by its lawyers for salaries which are "completely uncompetitive, with de minimus benefits". According to one mid-level lawyer "this year, they have combined an exceptionally poor pay review...with major increases in billing targets". The penny-pinching seems especially galling as, apparently, the firm is exceeding its targets and as a result "the morale is at rock bottom", several respondents claimed.
    One gong which won't make the Irwin Mitchell mantlepiece
Irwin Mitchell also scored poorly for promotion prospects. Lawyers claim they are "micromanaged" and "told to work harder without any prospects of career development". One respondent reported that when applying for an internal promotion: "HR said: your performance in your current role is irrelevant, it's how you perform in front of us that matters". According to another, "unless the partner you are working for really likes you" lawyers at 6PQE+ should "get the hell out". And one lawyer claimed that despite a PR push on diversity "most of the partners are white and male, even in departments which have a high percentage of female fee-earners".

Management was criticised too for a lack of openness with staff. Scoring just 45% in this category, IM employees lambasted the firm for an "utter lack of communication" while one respondent moaned, "I usually read about updates at the firm on trade websites". One particularly disheartened staff member claimed plaintively, "I would rather work in McDonalds".

But it's not all terrible. Irwin Mitchell's highest mark (54%) came for work-life balance, with the firm praised for "really good hours" and for having "no presenteeism culture". And staff also mentioned the "friendly, normal people" - and "Dyson hand-driers in the toilets." Although even that wasn't enough to justify a high score for its loos; the firm managed just 48%.

A spokesman for the firm said: "We’re surprised at this. Our own recently completed, independently run employee satisfaction survey, which saw almost four out of five of our people respond, showed the vast majority are proud to be working for Irwin Mitchell and want to be working for us this time next year".

DAC Beachcroft joins Irwin Mitchell at the arse-end of proceedings, with a score of just 43% overall. Staff complained of salaries which "are going down instead of up", "mass lay-offs on the sly", "devastated morale" and "rubbish pay" despite "targets which increase year on year".

And third from bottom is perennial Firm of the Year under-achiever Field Fisher Waterhouse which was criticised by staff for "poisonous partners", "a sense that management are at each other's throats", a "lack of openness" and "shocking salaries". Otherwise, fine.

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 25 January 13 01:00

Pinsent Masons continue to fall down the league table year after year I see. This year fifth from bottom and seemingly saved from the bottom three by its nice bogs. Nice recruitment slogan 'we have nice bogs'.

Anonymous 25 January 13 10:25

The response from Irwin Mitchell highlights the out of touch management. Nobody believed that the on line responses were anonymous but were confident the RoF poll was - hence the different outcomes.

Anonymous 25 January 13 11:12

Dixon Dees should have been in the running to retain the Golden Turd award for a second year. However their marketing team voted so many times that the humble fee earner votes were diluted.

Good work marketing team! Working here sometimes feels like living in a Communist state!

Anonymous 25 January 13 13:55

Irwin Mitchell are worthy winners. Contrary to the PR fluff the firms that win this award do tend to deserve it. They've usually been in or around the bottom place for a couple of years.

Well done to Dickie Dees for responding to the Golden Turd win last year in the right way. A mid table position suggests they're finally losing that 'nasty firm' tag. Due credit must also go to their biscuit suppliers for that important 85% score.

Anonymous 25 January 13 16:54

Irwin's employ school leavers as legal clerks for the cheapest salary they can get away with and milk them for fees. Meanwhile the partners' Astons jostle for position in the car park at the front. The rankings are no surprise to anyone who has worked there.

Anonymous 25 January 13 22:30

Irwin Mitchell should be ashamed. It is a terrible place to work and this award is fully deserved.

Anonymous 26 January 13 15:14

IM deserve this entirely, it's an awful place to work - and the main reason is avarice at management level. What do you reckon the response will be to this award? 'Pay's a problem? Ok then! 10% more money for everyone at partner level! What's that? Other staff want pay rises too? No, we've got something even better up our sleeves for you guys...increased billing targets!! Merry Christmas!'

Anonymous 26 January 13 23:04

I work there and agree with the survey results...honestly it's a joke. Management are tight and they employ an army of non fee earning staff in Sheffield whom contribute absolutely nothing! Pay is appalling and morale shit.

Anonymous 28 January 13 10:41

Irwin Mitchell was a pretty vile place to work on almost every level. Only realised how bad it was once I'd moved on somewhere else!

Roll On Friday 01 February 13 14:02

A very well deserved award for IM who clearly have excelled themselves this year. At least this will be one turd that the proud parners will be able to polish to their hearts content!

Anonymous 16 February 13 11:19

Irwin Mitchell is a dreadful place to work. The management made themselves a laughing stock when they emailed their own survey results shortly after the golden turd result was published. Morale is awful and it is all down to their tightness at pay review and their laughable attempts to become a commercial firm rather than sticking to what they are good at. Why keep recruiting partners who go on the radio and television but bring in no clients or fees? All that happens is that the PI dept funds these failures and its staff get next to nothing at pay review which wrecks morale.

Anonymous 15 April 13 23:28

I heard from a friend who's moved to I.M. that while partners struggle by on a paltry £500k a year (the brave little soldiers) they offer London NQs a whopping £38,000 plus awesome benefits like a free photo of the managing partner for your desk.