Actual chances of podium finish may vary from odds shown.

Thousands of people working in private practice have recorded how satisfied they are in their law firms so far, and the fight to place respectably in RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2024 is now hotting up.

19 firms are doing very well as matters stand: Willkie Farr, Lewis Silkin, Forsters, Brabners, Farrers, Browne Jacobson, Burges Salmon, Royds, Winckworth Sherwood, Birketts, Michelmores, Mills & Reeve, Morrison & Foerster, Shepherd & Wedderburn, Clarke Willmott, Horwich Farrelly, Winston & Strawn, Covington & Burling and Weil are all placing at the upper end of the table.

However, this is as close as some of them will come to the ecstasy of public confirmation that their people actually really like working there. Some of those firms just don’t have the numbers of respondents required to see them survive to the final results (Willkie Farr: fewer than 20 people, so farr). Others have dozens, and they will be contenders for the top spots.

There’s a rump of around 40 firms nipping at their heels and another 40 at risk of being officially branded ‘unsatisfactory to work at’, but it’s bosses of the lowest batch of firms that really need to worry.

These 25 are all collecting write-ups which currently have them placed at the bottom of UK law: Paul Hastings, Sullivan & Cromwell, Baker McKenzie, Gateley, Slater and Gordon, Withers, Slaughter and May, Capsticks, Ashurst, Macfarlanes, Clifford Chance, NRF, Pinsent Masons, Cooley, MWE, Knights, Ogier, Howard Kennedy, Russell-Cooke, Shakespeare Martineau, Burness Paull, Devonshires, Blake Morgan, Dechert, and Morgan Lewis.

Some of those firms won’t be strugglers for long. As happier staff file their reviews in the coming days, they will rise to safety and perhaps even glory. But the Golden Turd could well be lurking within their ranks. 

If you're in private practice and haven't yet done so, please enter below. From the trainees to the partners and the PAs to the PSLs, everyone who works in a firm is free to take the survey.

Simply rate below how satisfied you are with your pay, career development, management, work/life balance, the office and amenities, and the culture.


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Anonymous 01 December 23 10:29

Interesting to see Trowers avoiding the relegation zone… so far.

I imagine that when Phase 2 redundancies leaks that might change.

Anon 01 December 23 10:31

To make this type of survey have any integrity or value RoF needs to confirm how many people responded from each firm or give a range (eg under 20, under 50 etc). Otherwise all it shows is that a small vocal minority can massively distort the conclusions either way.

Anonymous 01 December 23 10:45

1010 am what we do know is Wombles were binned off by BDB Pitmans because of culture and we know how they treat post workers and the courts and from exiting Wombles the toxic culture so if you stay or join I guess you are a certain type of person who leaves their morals and sole at the door oh and marketing are doing a grand job. But Wombles you fool no one but your selves. Stinky Golden Turd.

Womblett 01 December 23 10:56

2023 Award for Best Training Course . Disclosure for beginners. Sponsored by Post Office. Winner Womble Bond Dickinson.

Anonymous 01 December 23 11:23

How are Shoosmiths avoiding the bottom few? People getting no pay rises, redundancies across various departments, and a CEO who acts more like a tech-bro than the CEO of a law firm. 

Plex 01 December 23 11:28

Wonder where Plexus will rank this year, they were pretty high last year, the firm’s going places watch this space

Anonymous 01 December 23 14:36

I had always assumed (perhaps wrongfully) that Cooley was a decent place to work...

Shed chat 01 December 23 15:02

Not surprising about Shakespeare Martineau - all they care about is hours on the clock and bills yet don't share the rewards or progression.

More than happy for lots of shadow boards wasting time and money....

Anonymous 01 December 23 15:16

Maybe the leadership team at Shakespeare Martineau might finally wake up and smell the golden turd

Nottinghamian 01 December 23 15:44

All I know about Shakespeare Martineau is that they recently made a big lateral hire of someone who looks good on paper but is toxic in the office. Expect an exodus from that team.

Anon 01 December 23 15:45

Lewis Silkin - class firm. Would be great to see them get the recognition they deserve this year

ex-Pinsent Masons 01 December 23 15:53

I'm surprised Pinsents isn't a happy ship, it seemed ok when I was there last year. I wonder what's changed.

mergermania 01 December 23 16:35

why are all the firms dancing with a Golden Turd all targets for the Wombles? In the words of BDB Culture.

Alex DeLarge 01 December 23 16:42

LOL Ashurst is chock-full of Hurray Henrys and psychopath flaming assholes. People who stay on long-term are distinctly either the former with no spine, or the latter who then tolchok the rest of the drones.

NorthernPowerhouse 01 December 23 16:51

Surprised DWF isn’t in bottom group. Major uncrystallised problems without pay structure that makes some sense.

Anonymous, Manc

Shmanonymous 01 December 23 16:56

Shakespeare Martineau didn't make the list last year - assume it was lack of votes, so hopefully people vent their spleen this year as there are a lot of unhappy people about. Will it be enough to get the turd? Maybe not. But should be in the bowl for consideration for sure.

Ghost of 2019 01 December 23 18:37

Good old Plexus won’t be in the survey this year as it doesn’t employ anyone

The lead Partners from 2019 saw to that. 

On the plus side they have enormous houses, properties overseas and will enjoy skiing this winter from their homes in the Alps. Probably. 

Not an Ogier lawyer 01 December 23 20:12

How come Ogier are the only offshore firm in the ranking? Don't all the big offshore firms have London offices these days?

Anonymous 01 December 23 23:36

Across the board Shakespeare Martineau is failing spectacularly
- Pay - below average
- Work-Life Balance - non existent for fee earners below partner
- Office Environment - disgusting toilets despite extensive refurbishment. Opening of a frankly pointless client suite whilst staff have a hunger games style contest to get a desk or quiet room. Regional offices feeling abandoned and left out in the cold.
Team morale - frankly non-existent
The living embodiment of the ‘what can we do to boost of staff’s morale and well being? I know… A PIZZA PARTY!’

SHMA 02 December 23 00:50

Shakespeare Martineau - genuinely an embarrassment and they’ll pretend to be super woke. Cringe

Plex 02 December 23 09:22

Looks like Olive off the buses is still active and voting anything anti-Plex down.

What a tremendous job they did.  

Investor 02 December 23 17:00

@NorthernPowerhouse: DWF won’t be in the bottom group this year, but Inflexion has at best six months goodwill. If the problems aren’t fixed around (number of admin tasks put on fee earners, slow IT and bureaucracy around recruitment) then Inflexion may as well have just burned all that money they paid.

STALLONE 02 December 23 21:36

SPB continues to be the utter pits. Hope they circle the proverbial Bogg as they deserve to.

Shed Singer 04 December 23 07:59

Shakespeare Martineau a firm where the reality is the polar opposite of the public spin

Law Society Luncheon Club 04 December 23 12:51

Just imagine if we had a Trade Union that defended us from oppression and demands with menaces. The pathetic Law Society is the worst Union on the planet. It is full of fat white male has been’s who lunch a lot and do nothing to protect its members from the SRA.
We need Unite to protect us, because the Law Society definitely won’t.

Scroogesmiths 04 December 23 12:57

I’m shocked that Shoos aren’t lower down, they’ve really been acting like Scrooge this year. Ending a redundancy consultation less than a month before Christmas, offering only 3 months notice and statutory redundancy too, some people getting 0% pay rises, 3% bonus for people this year - I’m waiting for them to start charging staff for heating used whilst in the office.

Bah humbug!

Shooosfortheturd 04 December 23 15:54

Shoos need to be in the relegation zone this year surely? 

As per above comment re redundancies; only the lucky few got actually got three months notice or 3 percent bonus. 

Try being given two weeks notice, stat redundancy and two percent bonus, only backdated for one month! 

The firm I joined was not the firm that I left sadly. 

Anonymous 04 December 23 17:59

Not a regular visitor to this site - a bit like the daily mail. Two things:

- first world problems?;

- perhaps some people have too much time on their hands to be on here instead of working?  Imagine how much more could be achieved if everyone complained was either honest to their manager / company and offered solutions or left and found something else more suited to their needs.....

Maybe it's just me wondering?

Shma 04 December 23 19:15

Getting rid of experienced heads of office for new generation who don’t have a clue

Too busy building turnover and house of brands - need to look at toxic culture of the original brand first

D and I - non existent.

Over past 4 years all the work winners have

It’s fine as we get Pizza wohooo

Better off having less offices and make them more inclusive

Anonymous 05 December 23 10:32

All the comments here about Shakespeare Martineau are accurate. There is a truly awful toxic culture. The CEO is inspirational and talks the talk but the organisation has become so big, she has no idea what is going on within parts of the firm. Mysoginistic management with unacceptable behaviour brushed to one side. Inequality in pay, progression and treatment. The external rhetoric is just not representative of the reality

S&S 05 December 23 11:22

Are Shearman only escaping the golden turd this year because there is no long left in the London office to do the survey?

Bobbing turd 05 December 23 17:21

Howard Kennedy has been the turd bobbing just below the surface for a while now but they have recently (in the words of Robert Downer Jr) gone the "full retard". Some nice people, but those in positions of seniority and universally horrible.

Shooshits 06 December 23 15:03

Shoos definitely deserves a trip to turd street (again). It's a vanity contest between Brum aand Mancs but in truth, it's all a big cesspit

Anonymous 06 December 23 15:25

I'd put Shoos among the top personally. Flexible approach to working for those that want it (no stipulating everyone has to be in the office a certain number of days) and cost of living payments made (how many other firms did that?) among other things. I am also off to spend my £100 we all got when we won our latest accolade at the BLAs..

OnePontipine 08 December 23 10:20

I wouldn’t hold your breath. DWF have just spoilt the Christmas of a fair few people with the gift of a redundancy notice. They’ll be very lucky not to be in the lower quarter of the table.

Poosmiths 08 December 23 10:47

I am guessing the pro-Shoo comment above is a Partner or Senior Manager? I would agree that the work/life balance is a positive (however there have been recent hints that people should return to the office, with comms around "the benefits of office attendance"). I think many firms made cost of living payments, or they made bigger bonus payments (speaking with friends at other firms this wasn't unique) - Shoosmiths management need to stop giving themselves a round of applause for doing things most of our competitors are doing (the 'record investment' in benefits have brought about pretty mediocre things, which only really help those with families or want families, totally excludes single people).

Whilst the £100 payment made for winning firm of the year at the BLAs is a very nice gesture, it does not help everyone. People who are struggling to pay rising living costs - the cost of living crisis hasn't gone away, it is still very much here. Giving out no pay rises to some people isn't a sign of a firm helping people through that (especially when revenue and profit increased). Redundancies a month before Christmas, isn't a sign of a firm that cares. 3% of salary bonus which will benefit those who earn more, isn't a sign of a firm that cares.

Perhaps POO-smiths could stop investing in shiny new offices in Birmingham and Edinburgh - 'look over here everyone at this shiny new office' - and starting giving their people a slice of the pie. A pie which is growing through collective efforts.

City 08 December 23 12:41

Unsurprising to see Ogier listed. These offshore firms are the preserve of those who have failed onshore and Ogier is the very worst of a tawdry bunch of offshore outfits.

SM for the bin 08 December 23 13:45

Everyone who works at the Slaughterhouse hates their lives right now. Building is practically falling down & overflowing with sewage, BS culture initiatives when all the partners are toxic af with god complexes.

Return of the Turdsmiths 08 December 23 22:43

Shoos are top tier at copying trends and pretending it's ground-breaking stuff!

Twits&Harlots 09 December 23 13:17

Trowers sucks, I'm leaving. Worst firm.  Pretentious firm thinking it's glamourous with a bunch of tax payer funded clients.

Anon 14 December 23 14:21

The profits plunge at BCLP won’t help its standing that’s for sure although the increasing number of exits over the last 12 months should surely reduce the number of people complaining about how turdy the firm is.

Shoopoo 15 December 23 09:22

The anonymous pro Shoosmiths comment is definitely from a partner or someone high up. It's also nonsense, most teams do have a mandatory number of days in the office, with some teams even having to be in every day, as apparently it's necessary for the role. Also, there were two cost of living payments, one a percentage of a persons wage, which is idiotic; those on E100k+ didn't need any help, but got the biggest amount! Honestly, who thinks these decisions are good? Oh yeah, the people with massive pay exploiting those beneath them. The other cost of living payment was a one off amount the same for everyone, but again, how do those on £100k+ need that? It's so obvious that it's just for PR and they don't actually care about helping anyone at the firm struggling with the cost of living.

Bad Wombles 15 December 23 15:11

Surely Wombles has won the turd hands down. No firm can be near their toxic environment where employees run the gauntlet of sexual predators just to get to their desks.

Anonymous 15 December 23 15:56

Surely the worst will be Axiom Ince et al? There has never been a more disgusting case of fraud in decades? Firm prison sentences need to be handed out in 2024 and striking off.

AnonAnonAnon 09 January 24 12:21

From the inside - Shoosmiths HR and partners are all over this which is the BS we are used to

Jamie Hamilton 09 January 24 14:04

That's fine by use anonanonanon! ROF encourages everyone in firms, be they HR or partners or anyone else, to enter, and encourages firms to nudge staff to enter too.

womblesgone 10 January 24 14:55

Will Wombles now be paying back the £60 million they took from the innocent post masters?

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