Taking the temperature of the law firm nation.
The results of the most comprehensive survey of law firm satisfaction are in.
Over 8,000 people in private practice rated how happy they were with their firm, determining which are the best (and worst) firms to work at in 2022.
Burges Salmon took the top spot out of the 61 firms which made the cut. Its people's scores revealed that the Bristol-based firm has the happiest workforce in 2022, with the majority of respondents declaring themselves to be very satisfied.
The Burges Salmon balance may not be for everyone, however. Those who prefer masses of cash and less sleep may have more in common with the silver medallist, US firm Sidley Austin.
Travers Smith is top of the City's UK firms, placing third.
The top 10 RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2022 is rounded out by Birmingham-headquartered Clarke Willmott in 7th place, national firm DAC Beachcroft in 8th, and City firm Trowers & Hamlins in 9th, alongside US giant Latham & Watkins.
US firms are well-represented at the top of the table. White & Case, Ropes & Gray and Shearman & Sterling all placed 11th, with another US firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, sharing the 14th spot with corporate City powerhouse Macfarlanes.
Of the Magic Circle, Freshfields is the happiest, in 30th place, followed by Clifford Chance in 34th, Linklaters in 44th and Allen & Overy in 47th. In a shock drop, Slaughter and May appeared in 59th place alongside transport and shipping specialist Watson Farley & Williams, only just avoiding the bottom spot.
Knights PLC came last, giving the northern firm the dubious distinction of being the Golden Turd 2022.
In the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2022 survey, respondents picked whether they were 'very satisfied', 'satisfied', 'neutral', 'dissatisfied', or 'very dissatisfied' with each of five metrics: their pay, career development, work/life balance, the culture, and management.
Anyone working in the firm, from a partner to a PA to the IT Team to a paralegal, was entitled to enter.
Their selections were converted into a percentage (100%, 75%, 50%, 25% and 0%, respectively), and added to their colleagues' marks to determine an overall score for each category and for their firm as a whole.
The results also show who exactly is happy, and with what.
Within the average law firm, partners are the most satisfied, followed by non-lawyers and trainees. Junior and senior solicitors represent a squeezed middle who are less likely to be as jolly, and paralegals are odds-on the most miserable in the building.
The survey shows that people working in private practice are, overall, the most satisfied with their firm's culture, and the least satisfied with their pay.
RollOnFriday will reveal the Best Law Firms for Pay, Work/Life Balance, Culture, Career Development, and Management in the next few editions, beginning next week with pay, plus a closer look at what's going on inside the Magic Circle.
Thanks to the thousands of people who took part and provided an indispensable guide to where's hot and where's not, and for terrifying managing partners and HR teams in the process.