The RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2020 results are here, identifying with pinpoint accuracy the happiest and saddest law firms in the UK - and revealing that there are a gratifyingly large number of contented people in private practice. Not all of them partners.

Mills and Reeve is the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2020. Boasting the most satisfied staff in the UK, it takes the crown for itself for the second year running, trailed by Shearman & Sterling, which came fourth last year, and Osborne Clarke, which placed second in 2019.

Slater and Gordon is the Golden Turd. It came last, and by a considerable margin. Last year's loser, Ince Gordon Dadd, is no longer law's polished poo. 

Over seven and a half thousand people from over 150 firms took part in the Firm of the Year 2020, rating how satisfied they were across six metrics: pay, career development, work/life balance, management, culture, and the office. 

Respondents picked whether they were very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with each category. RollOnFriday converted each selection into a percentage (100%, 75%, 50%, 25% and 0% respectively) and fed it through an Atari. The results are an unimpeachable guide to which businesses are full of love and laughter, and which are riddled with escape tunnels and lawyers crying silently on the loo. Behold:

chart

Given the day-to-day grumbles which wallpaper most firms, it may come as a surprise that the majority of those firms which tabled were populated with people who were fairly content. 17 boasted staff who said they were mainly satisfied or very satisfied. Their responses resulted in scores of 75% or more.

Staff at another 31 firms said they were mainly satisfied or neutral (50% to 74%). Only staff at the bottom three firms - WFW, Blake Morgan and Slater and Gordon - were mainly dissatisfied or neutral (25%-49%).

While there were hundreds, and hundreds, of grumbles, positive descriptors appeared substantially more frequently than negative descriptors, as a wanky wordcloud reveals.

word

As for the transatlantic invasion of London, US firms generally placed higher than the Magic Circle, although only Freshfields and Linklaters posted particularly mediocre results.

mc us

Across the sector as a whole, there was practically no difference in satisfaction between men and women, or at least those who identified as such. 

sad

Broken down by role, partnership provided the most happiness. Partners were closely followed by trainees, fresh to the job and delighted to be paid.

happy

Junior solicitors brought up the rear, although 13 points between the highest-rated and lowest-rated role is a relatively small spread. Of course, within certain firms, average levels of satisfaction diverged wildly from those comforting figures.

Tune in next Friday to find out where staff are delighted with their pay, working hours and career development, and where they are pretty sure they have made a terrible mistake.

Tags
Tip Off ROF

Related News

This Week’s News

Comments

Bob 24 January 20 09:10

Why has HSF been classed as a Magic Circle firm?  I thought it was an Aussie Tin Circle outfit?

Future Lawyer 24 January 20 09:51

Can't wait for the WFW management cries of all is okay over the sound of people shouting bring out your dead

Suspicious 24 January 20 10:22

Given the notoriety now of this survey, it’s become a victim of its own success.  It is almost inevitable that some firms will inflate the scores and provide positive feedback to ensure a publicly embarrassing result.    

Hey Nonny Nonny 24 January 20 12:10

Hmmm. Once again the bronze medallion leading regional firm I work for fails to get listed. 

Jamie Hamilton 24 January 20 14:21

'Jokers the lot of them': to help ensure a fair representation we upped the threshold for entry this year to quite high numbers of entries. SPB just missed the cut. It would have scored 53%, putting it 48th.

Jokers the lot of them 24 January 20 15:30

"SPB just missed the cut. It would have scored 53%, putting it 48th."

Hmm, sounds about right. Shocking score for a shocking firm.

Ex-SPB Associate 24 January 20 16:22

Recently left SPB in December (among the 40+ fee earners the London office shed in 2019 alone) and can confirm it's going from bad to worse.

Management is desperately trying to stem the bleeding, but that's hard to do when you're making the entirety of the London Real Estate team redundant (surprised The Lawyer didn't publish that yet) and people are jumping ship left right and centre. Get out while you can people.

Lots of Laughs 24 January 20 19:10

"SPB just missed the cut. It would have scored 53%, putting it 48th."

 

Glad to see all is going well at SPB

Greasy Joe 26 January 20 14:19

I disagree with Future Lawyer @ 24 January 20 09:51. WFW is a good firm and people are treated well and looked after there so there will be no calls of bring out your dead. The ranking of 49 from 51 is just the malcontents venting; the majority of staff at WFW are too busy and happy to be bothered with this rubbish.

Anonymous 27 January 20 18:19

“that's hard to do when you're making the entirety of the London Real Estate team redundant (surprised The Lawyer didn't publish that yet)”

i guess they didn’t 

Lawyer journalist 27 January 20 19:01

“that's hard to do when you're making the entirety of the London Real Estate team redundant (surprised The Lawyer didn't publish that yet)”

Generally, The Lawyer publishes facts and this isn’t one of them.

We understand that yes, there have been cuts in some of the weaker teams over the last year or so - from your email it sounds like you might have been part of that process which is, of course, horrible!!! If so, I hope you find a new firm very soon.

In the meantime your story / journey does sound really interesting to The Lawyer. If you’d like to come in for an interview, please call our switchboard and ask for Pat.

Anonymous 28 January 20 13:20

Ince GD shoots up to 24th and the previous Golden Turd winner Irwin Mitchell is 21st. Is that their staff standing up for the firm - or top marks needed for their PR and marketing teams for diligent work in making sure there were high numbers of positive surveys filled out?? I know what my money is on ....

Wielding the Axe 28 January 20 13:42

@Lawyer journalist: you should reach out to the six partners (and ten fee earners) in that team which are set to leave in the coming month, I'm sure they'd love your kind words of support.

Not a happy lawyer 28 January 20 19:37

DAC Beachcroft 4th?! I doubt anyone from the Manchester office voted in that.

Lawyer journalist 29 January 20 07:52

@wielding the axe

“@Lawyer journalist: you should reach out to the six partners (and ten fee earners) in that team which are set to leave in the coming month, I'm sure they'd love your kind words of support.”

Our own article on SPB in December 2019 verified that there are only four partners in the London real estate team to start with - we also understand that there are no fee earner redundancies in that team, let alone 10. You should wield a calculator, not an axe.

Wielding the Axe 29 January 20 13:43

@Lawyer journalist: I used to work at that shop. I think I should know how many partners there were listed on the firm's intranet.

"We also understand that there are no fee earner redundancies in that team" - you might want to check your understanding then, as three people have already resigned, and the remainder are in the pipe to go by spring. The Lawyer doing shocking reporting non-shocka.

Stricken Giant 30 January 20 00:41

Christ the state of these SPB comments. Anybody have any idea what’s going on at that shop ?!