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