knights

The indignity.


Knights PLC is the Golden Turd 2022.

It ranked last in the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2022, with respondents from Knights recording the lowest satisfaction scores of all the law firm workforces in the survey.

Knights' poor performance contrasts with its stock market success. The firm floated in 2018, growing its share price and acquiring other firms so proficiently that Chief Executive David Beech made £61 million when he sold a portion of his shares last year.

But that same profitability appears to have cultivated the seeds of the Golden Turd.

The blunt verdict expressed by a junior lawyer was that Knights "only care about share price", a judgment echoed by other staff.

"It’s all about the investors. I’d be better off in McDonalds", claimed a partner.

Some respondents were irked that the firm was able to buy up other businesses even during the pandemic, but was apparently unable to refund wage deductions which it imposed during the same period.

"Our pay was docked by 10% without consultation and unlike other firms, we are not getting it back", complained a senior solicitor.

Considerable resentment was directed at the higher-ups. "The CEO told the workforce during a video call that he is personally no longer motivated by money... which is a very easy thing to say when you're worth over £130m!", said one respondent.

Not all the Knights were unhappy. A paralegal said her pay was "considerably higher than other firms locally. So I cannot really complain".

There was also praise for the "excellent" work/life balance on offer. It "genuinely is your core hours and the odd additional bit for market rates of pay", said a solicitor.

But, said another, "It is a very strange place. People disappear overnight. One minute somebody is there and the next they are gone".  Several respondents referred to a lack of transparency. "All information is clouded in secrecy until a certain point when you are provided with part or inaccurate information. You are told what you want to hear to get you to do what they need", said a junior solicitor.

A number of staff alluded to a religious atmosphere. "It’s a bit cult like at times - being critical of the firm marks you as a troublemaker rather than a professional considering ideas from all perspectives", said a senior lawyer. "If you can tolerate that (not all can!) then it’s a really friendly place".

"It is very much the DB show", said another partner, "but if you play the game you are fine". Knights "actually micromanage much less than other firms”, they added. “Also the risk as a partner is nil as you have no equity.”

A junior lawyer countered that actually they were watched very closely, and grumbled that "our hours recorded are scrutinised and you get a call from some over-promoted idiot if you’re not recording enough".

"People are made to send emails or worse, stand up at conferences and 'fess up to not charging clients enough", said a lawyer. "You may as well put a hat on which says 'I am a twat'", they added. "You tell your story of how you’ve not been maximising your billing to clients for years, but now, with the help of [management], you’ve seen the light. What sort of place encourages such ritual humiliation?" 

The future of the Golden Turd could well be golden, however. Some staff said the difficulty of locating a culture amongst the disparate firms which now form significant parts of Knights was bound to vanish with the end of Covid restrictions. "I look forward to the real merge happening when offices can meet and interact in person and we start having our full firm 'dos' to bring everyone together", said a paralegal.

A less optimistic solicitor warned that "the issue is Beechy selling his remaining shares, if that happens the business will go down the pan faster than a fully vazzed turd". At least it will be golden.

The firm declined to comment.

Check out the RollOnFriday Best Law Firm to Work At 2022, and the complete rankings.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 21 January 22 08:10

I’m not surprised a plc has won the golden 💩. 
 

They are **** places to work. Promotions are phased out and everything becomes about the share price. It’s fundamentally a money making scheme for existing partners at the expense of the future of the firm.

Knight Rider 21 January 22 08:14

LOL! I note "the firm declined to comment". That sounds about right for them. Never apologise, never explain!

Anonymous 21 January 22 08:26

Two easy rules:

Never work for a listed firm. You are ruled by beancounters.

Never invest in a listed law firm. They always lose value over time.

These are truths universally acknowledged. I give you: Knights, DWF, Gateley and Rosenblatt.

The only one that seems to have bucked the trend is Keystone, but that's quite a different animal.

Anonymous 21 January 22 08:35

The lesson of Knights is that too many lateral hires kills a law firm. Any decent director or senior associate leaves if they can’t get promoted. 

Anon 21 January 22 08:38

As an escaped and now-rehabilitated former employee, I can confirm that the less-than-glowing comments in this article are generally a very accurate reflection of life at Knights. I really hope ROF presents DB personally with the Golden Turd trophy, preferably on the 18th green at his Cheshire golf club.

Anonymous 21 January 22 08:59

Yeah - where is Keystone? It was top dog last year. Now it's not even in the list.

Anonymous 21 January 22 09:57

As a current Knights employee I am shocked by some of this. I suppose in some ways it has become a two tier firm. They acquire businesses that are generally tier 3 / 4 regional and then make loads of lateral hires from top 50 firms. There’s obviously then discrepancies between the laterals and the acquired lawyers in terms of pay and quality of output. I’d suggest the majority of the responses are probably from disgruntled acquisitions rather than the laterals. Probably worth noting that a lot of the laterals either wouldn’t make partner at top 50 or wouldn’t get equity. Therefore they’re either pleased to have the title or happy with the pay! 

Clem Fandango 21 January 22 09:59

I was asked by my manager at Slater and Gordon to give a positive response to this,  I did not. Unfortunately I suspect due to the high churn of staff, the new starters haven't been around at S&G long enough to realise quite how bad of a place it is to work, or unfortunately it says a lot about the quality of those hired.

Interesting analysis 21 January 22 10:40

Anon 09.57

If that’s true, why buy third rate law firms?  There is clearly a clash and it can’t be sensible putting third raters in with you top 50 snobs (and I bet you weren’t even top 50 equity yourself). 

I wouldn’t invest in what appears to be a completely flawed business model. 

Anon 21 January 22 10:47

Calling the 2023 Golden Turd for Mishcon de Reya (or what's left of it) - you heard it here first. 

Stanley 21 January 22 11:32

Laurel 9.28 I suspect champagne might be an option but I’m unsure Slater and Gordon have any offices left!

Anon 21 January 22 12:29

Anonymous 21 January 22 08:35: associates who leave firms do so precisely because they are not good enough to be promoted.

Anonymous 21 January 22 12:44

@ Anon 21 January 2022

Or because they get a better offer elsewhere? 

The fastest way to progress and increase salary is usually by a few well-timed moves.

Partner Retirement Home Knights Plc 21 January 22 13:51

"Also the risk as a partner is nil as you have no equity."

 

That really says it all...

Anon 21 January 22 16:20

08.59; RoF made a late decision to eliminate the result count for consultancy style law firms for fear of not comparing apples and apples. 

Constipated of Tunbridge Wells 21 January 22 18:17

So if they floated in 2018 and won the golden poo, shouldn't they be considered a floater?

 

Bust flush 22 January 22 08:37

Recruitment into the cavernous and half empty northern offices just got a lot harder.  The word has been out on Knights for a while.  Nobody wants to move to Knights but judging by the number of CVs out there, lots of people want to leave.  
Looking like a bust flush.  

Big Exodus 22 January 22 14:07

coming at DLA Piper i hear everyone unhappy  with salaries from associates to business support.  watch this space.  

Culture vulture 22 January 22 15:08

This is a big f*** you from a large proportion of your employees.

I wonder whether it will make the slightest bit of difference?  I very much doubt that it will.

 

Anonymous 23 January 22 16:59

Never has there been a more worthy winner of the Golden Turd.  Knights reputation for mistreating its employees is legendary.  Pay cuts, abolishment of titles, mass redundancies, sackings where pay cuts are resisted. The list goes on and on.

Knights is reaping what it has sown over a number of years.

It is good that it is at last getting the exposure it deserves.

 

 

Anonymous 24 January 22 17:05

The Golden Turd Award 2022 should have gone to Slater and Gordon. An absolutely shocking and terrible firm to work for. 

Anon 24 January 22 19:52

Loads of revenue growth but funded by an increasingly big debt facility.

Tiny profit margin and at one point last year, loss making. 

Share price hasn’t moved off £4 for about two years. 

I await the implosion. 

Current employee of Knights 24 January 22 20:28

I suspect a lot of the Knights staff who moan also don’t realise just how lucky they are at having to work in such a relaxed atmosphere. I know the firm doesn’t get everything right but what business does. I agree it has some issues but compared to other equity partner structure law firms it is a far better place to work than those back stabbing environments. Not perfect I know as I work there myself but I suspect most of those who slagged it off wouldn’t last 5 days in a more traditionally structured business where their time recording and billing are heavily scrutinised. Rather than moan they are completely at liberty to move and I would suggest they do. (And no I am not management!)

Results focused 25 January 22 07:42

Just taken a look at Knights recent results.  Not very inspiring at all.  The business model doesn’t seem to be working on any level.

Delivering bang average results whilst winning the golden turd suggests there are some deep rooted problems at this shop.  

A concerned observer 26 January 22 07:35

#Current employee @20.28

Hundreds of “redundancies”, pay cuts without consultation and the numerous other horror stories we are hearing about doesn’t suggest to me that there is a “relaxed atmosphere”.

Most of those “back stabbing” environments to which you refer (if they exist at all) repaid their employees in full following Covid related salary deductions.  Your employer would appear to have reinstated its shareholder dividend in preference to repaying its employees.

Just let that sink in and then give your head a wobble.  

 

 

 

Anonymous 27 January 22 10:23

It is coming up to 400 days since DWF last promoted a member of its staff to partner. 
 

Another current employee 27 January 22 10:23

A concerned observer has it right - the non-refund of the pay cut sticks in the throat. Would have been such an easy win to get staff back on board. 
 

Also the “redundancies” were largely at the junior end. Sacking paralegals and nqs in April 2020 was not a good look. 
 

 

... and no I am not management! 27 January 22 11:14

#Current employee @20.28

You must be one of the lucky ones (there are very few, normally those that shouldnt be in law at all). I worked at Knights and couldn't agree more with the article - it is a sh!t show. I would add that I have lasted more than "5 days" at a more traditionally structured business.

Anonymous current employee 27 January 22 17:41

The comments here reflect how worthy this firm is for this award. 

Anonymous 28 January 22 08:04

Every partner that sold their firm and employees out to join this shit show should be ashamed.

Integrity trumps greed. 

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