bestfirms

Finally, it's Rofscars night.


The polls have closed and the votes have been counted - it’s time for RollOnFriday’s Best Law Firms to Work At 2024.

Over eight thousand people working in private practice rated their firm's pay, career development, management, culture, work/life balance and office, and their labour has provided a grateful nation with the definitive guide to where’s pleasant to work in UK law.

Atop the pinnacle, Burges Salmon has clinched victory for the third time in a row, while Bird & Bird, as last year, placed second, and was first among City firms.

While the silver and bronze firms are identical, there’s significant change amongst the rest of the top ten. Mills & Reeve and Clarke Willmott still feature, otherwise there’s a new crop of Very Happy Workforces - at Michelmores, Birketts, Harbottle & Lewis, Blake Morgan, Russell-Cooke and Forsters, all of which make appearances for the first time.

Weil is the US firm with the most satisfied staff. Outgoing Shearman used to do very well, but it didn’t scare up enough entries this year to qualify, nor did Sidley Austin.

Of the Magic Circle, Allen & Overy, Freshfields and Clifford Chance are dead level in joint 40th with 64%. Like last year, Linklaters is fourth of the pack and Slaughter and May fifth. It came 67th, scoring one percentage point higher than 2023 with 53%. At this rate, gold will be achieved in just over 30 years.

It cleared the Golden Turd, however, buffered from the bottom by Kennedys in 69th, Paul Hastings in 70th, Capsticks in 71st and by Knights, which limped in dead last

Here are the overall results. As a guide, any firm scoring in the 70s has done very well, although by ROF’s generous yardstick even firms scoring in the 60s have a lot to be pleased about. 50s and under, less so.


results24

Respondents picked whether they were 'very satisfied', 'satisfied', 'neutral', 'dissatisfied', or 'very dissatisfied' with each of six metrics: their pay, their career development, their work/life balance, the firm's culture, their office and amenities, and the firm's management.  Anyone working in the firm, from a partner to a PA 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. 


RollOnFriday will publish the results for each category in the next couple of editions. Thanks to everyone who voted and contributed to the important task of highlighting where’s lovely, while simultaneously putting the frighteners on Grad Rec teams everywhere. 

 


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Comments

womblebots 26 January 24 08:34

Well done PR and HR Wombles from bumping up your score. But lots more to come out on Post Office and Horizon and how your incompetence and greed contributed to the biggest legal miscarriage in legal history.  Justice is coming your way. Not a nice firm run by not nice people.

Sidley spotter 26 January 24 08:39

Am I blind or have Sidley gone from a slightly improbably 2nd (I think?) last year to not in the list at all this year? Any Sidleyers out there want to explain that one? 

Anonymous 26 January 24 08:41

Sidely spotter: '...but it didn’t scare up enough entries this year to qualify, nor did Sidley Austin.'

ShootyOriginal 26 January 24 08:51

Hang on, where’s Ple…

Oh. Right. 

On a related note, did your gift arrive, BTW, rof?
 

Regional firm trainee recruitment team 26 January 24 08:55

ima need that dislike button back Jamie 

confused.com 26 January 24 09:01

Did BCLP have a complete personality transplant, or have the bots paid off?  I hear from reliable sources that things have not improved

Jamie Hamilton 26 January 24 09:06

I would gladly accept bribes, Shooty, but no-one, not even Prags, has ever offered one. Madness. (The survey is only open to ‘live’ firms otherwise I’m sure Plexus would have featured.)

Wombleshits 26 January 24 09:06

Wombles will be happy with this result. Summarises the firm - content not to be worst but no ambition to be the best - LOL 

Anonymous 26 January 24 09:08

By now I imagine there's a good esprit de corp at wombles as it's asailled by all sides so i can see why staff would vote for it favourably (also only a tiny minority will have acted for the Post Office)

Who even are Birketts 26 January 24 09:28

Where did Lewis Silkin go? Last ROF update said they were doing well!

Anonymous 26 January 24 09:37

The trend shows insurance litigation firms aren'  good place to work! 

Anonymous 26 January 24 10:09

Another PLC, Gateley, likely tobe in the running for the GT next year! 

The Matthew 26 January 24 10:18

Very surprised to see Clyde’s rank so highly. 

Anon 26 January 24 10:34

Why are there so many random firms really high this year? Have never even heard of about 6 or 7 of the top 16 this year, which is very different to the big names which occupied those slots last year.

JFK 26 January 24 10:49

Kennedys. Ouch. Beefing up its insurance offering can also mean meatheads reign supreme. So embarrassing it’s not even clear who leads insurance. I read this as a procurer of insurance services who won’t go near you until you get your people proposition right and clearly identify who your leader is, who takes responsibility for this mess - poor, poor people and clients.

drowningnotwaving 26 January 24 10:59

curious why one or two firms dont make the list. are they so shit that they dont make the list, or is it a long-standing mp blocking participation to keep a facade going ?

HooverSphere 26 January 24 11:00

Kennedys worse than Keoghs?!?!Jesus, that’s gotta hurt. 

Anonymous 26 January 24 11:05

Big drop for Travers. Morale obviously low given the ongoing stealth firings of lawyers in the funds, private equity, pensions, tax and employment teams. as well as  the ongoing partner exodus. 

Anonymous 26 January 24 11:38

@Anonymous 26 January 24 09:37 except for the fact that DAC Beachcroft - a large insurance litigation firm - are sat at 21st which is pretty good.  What are they doing differently to the likes of Kennedy's, DWF, Keoghs and Clydes?!

Surprised 26 January 24 11:43

For all the stories you hear about K&E - they are ranking pretty damn well and a lot better than many of the silver and magic circle firms who position themselves as a warmer option. Interesting that Latham has taken itself out of the running. Laying off a ton of staff in corporate along with not giving offers to half their trainees must of not have gone down well for morale 

Anon 26 January 24 11:50

Plexus was mid-table last year, it was on the up. Shame to see it go. Keoghs coming in hot at 66 though. A strong “buy”, Praggers 

Regional Hack 26 January 24 12:00

What’s going on over at the Shed? 

Anonymous 26 January 24 12:01

DWF only interested in lining the pockets of the former equity partners with a public listing and servicing its horrendous debts with private equity money. As someone inside of this mess I’m surprised it scored as well as that!

Anonymous 26 January 24 12:04

Osborne Clarke sliding down into mid-table mediocrity…

Slaughtered 26 January 24 12:35

Forever LOLing that the elitist, holier-than-thou- Slaughter and May narrowly avoided that hallowed mess, the golden turd. I wish this would knock some sense into the partners to actually DO something. 

Beaten PH associate 26 January 24 12:47

Finally, enough entries to shine a light on this dreadful place

The Vivienne 26 January 24 12:49

Clyde’s is a great place to work…If you are an accountant.  Now where did I leave that missing £600k… ?

Heartbroken 26 January 24 12:50

Why has the dislike button been removed? How else am I supposed to express passive aggressive dismay at a comment I clearly agree with but worry that my firm is tracking my internet usage so have to show a dislike?!

BAC Deachcroft 26 January 24 13:18

I suspect DAC ranks highly because it allows its staff full discretion to work from home whenever they want. Great perk to be fair. Other firms please take note. 

PM Associate 26 January 24 13:28

Pinsent Masons falling way way down the rankings and not a surprise to anyone there (especially the London office). But will management make any changes? Of course not, they’ll slash costs and investment even more.

LondonLife 26 January 24 13:34

Jamie isn't approving my comment on Forsters feedback being submitted by HR. Why?

Anon 26 January 24 13:49

Which firm had the biggest fall from grace in this year's ranking? 

Laughing 26 January 24 13:54

Russell-Cooke is an awful place to work. Methinks the new BD team might have been busy voting during their first months!

s&m 26 January 24 13:54

Giant lol at S&M.Complacency is not a business strategy; behaving like  its 1979 and treating its staff atrociously is obviously having an impact. 

Paul’s mate 26 January 24 14:09

Sad to see Paul Hastings coming in so low, he’s a lovely bloke really. 

goblin lawyer 26 January 24 14:10

RELEASE THE COMMENTS MADE BY WOMBLES LAWYERS IN THEIR SURVEYS

Mr Wise 26 January 24 14:32

The Bolton warehouse only six places off the golden turd, so just a common or garden turd. 

Their vacancies page says "We believe our people are our biggest asset". Well, why not start treating them as though they are?

DB 26 January 24 14:39

I don’t know if ROF is the same as legalcheek, but Sidley pay off or get them to remove anything unfavourable about the firm. This might explain we are not on the list.

Jamie Hamilton 26 January 24 15:44

I’m sure that’s untrue DB, but if Sidley is listening - you CAN pay us (me) to remove negative comments. It’s never been the case with our advertisers before, but I’m willing to listen. (The truth is we simply didn’t get enough responses from Sidley people this year; we require a high number of entries to ensure the result is representative). 

ex PM 26 January 24 15:49

At Pinsent Masons the truth finally comes out. Lip service is all the firm is currently offering. Values and culture went down the drain. Even the profits will suffer from this tragedy.

Anonymous 26 January 24 15:50

OC had a mental health day end of last year. Some of the ‘tips’ from Partners included ‘go for a run’ and ‘drink more water’… it was such a slap in the face. 

Anon 26 January 24 17:21

Gateley better acquire some more non legal consultancies quickly! 

Anonymous 26 January 24 20:29

Out of interest, does anyone have an idea of why Clydes scored so badly? Recruiters have reached out for them, but this doesn’t inspire confidence. 

Anon 26 January 24 21:43

My firm i work for not even listed at all so past number 72 

Anonymous 26 January 24 22:24

Drink coffee! Do stupid things faster with more energy!Now I know why that coffee machine at Plexus went everywhere 😄

anoneena 26 January 24 23:29

I suspect what would have been shown in Sidley’s results would be a sharp drop. It’s  because they’ve fallen behind on market rate for trainee pay whilst some teams expect K&E hours. 

Ex-HF bod 27 January 24 07:44

People discussing insurance litigation firms, just look at HF! Not the behemoth that DAC, Clydes etc is, but a very plum 16th. Clearly making waves and rightly so in my view. V good internal progression opportunities and most people decent. One or two in the regionals who could do with  a personality transplant (or being removed entirely like cancerous organs) but overall it’s good to see it doing well 

The cat is curious 27 January 24 08:28

@Beaten PH Associate: do tell us more! 

Depressed US associate 27 January 24 08:43

Haul Pastings is a truly dreadful sweatshop. The churn rate is high due to burnouts and mental health problems.

@20:29 27 January 24 09:37

I suspect the Clydes results will be skewed by disgruntled ex-BLMers. It’s two firms in one, with enormous pay differences between them. 

Anonymous 27 January 24 11:17

Surprised Keoghs scored 54%. Ever since the Davies Group take over the firm has focussed on “growth”, not in the organic sense, but in the sense of more bodies on HR files and cutting costs (in the form of shutting half of the office for tax purposes). Their record profits last year was there for all to see. The pay is well below industry standard despite the hours targets being higher. The internal surveys have produced very different results and colleagues are voting with their feet. It’s only a matter of time before clients do the year on year math. 

KK 27 January 24 13:45

SIDLEY has had an awful 2023 - the Corporate and Funds (which now no longer exists) shows that. Freezing promotionn of aassociates and stealth lay offs in finance and tax teams

Fed Up OCer 27 January 24 17:59

I'm not overly surprised at OC's slide out of the Top 10. The communication between management and the rest of us is appalling. A video went out the other week mentioning "job evaluations" for Business Services.  People are understandably worried, yet nobody has had the decency to explain what that is. We have utter children whining and tantruming about doing 3 days in the office; some PA's pretending to be in the office when they are not. Enough with the pronoun badges and "you can be yourself with me" lanyards.  Stop wasting money on shyte like that! The MH card is being well and truly milked by some who are using it to their own advantage. Tired of the bullshyte. 

Ex HF bod is right - a good firm deserving 16th. 27 January 24 21:34

HF is a decent firm with cracking people and a sense of its own identity. No dick heads are allowed. Expanding firm too so clearly on the up. Can HF cling on to that as it grows? We’ll find out. Hope so as some of the larger insurance firms (DACB, C&C, DFW) think they are untouchable.

TLT Client 28 January 24 09:00

What’s going on at TLT? The last 3 years have seen them slide from 4th->15th->54th. 

Anonymous 28 January 24 14:41

Clydes affected by those who bully. Know they've had to call in a mediator for at least one dispute involving trainee vs partner. Also know their speaking up policy has been used.

BirkettsFfs 28 January 24 20:22

Wow. Look at all those firms that are better than S&M. They just aren't though. 

Anon 28 January 24 22:50

Surprised that Foot Anstey never appears in these rankings. 

anon 29 January 24 10:51

CMS had. Massive drop because it fired so many people last year; has become super political; and management is widely disliked.

Anon 29 January 24 14:15

Worked at a bottom quarter firm. Soon as I moved to a comparable sized firm, its ranking has fallen to bottom quarter and the former turd massively improved to top  1/4. It’s not me! Key observation was around control and trust in employees, treating people like a tool / piece of equipment doing a job.  My new firm suddenly treating people like Russian conscripts. That’s why it’s crashed. 

Hmmmm 29 January 24 15:44

Gateley one of the worst law firms? Colour me shocked...

crabby 30 January 24 00:57

What happened to Morgan Lewis? They have had an interesting year....

The Lawyer Hot 100 co-chair 30 January 24 06:50

@Beaten PH Associate u haven’t met your 3000 target for the year. Get your ass back to work. 

Insurance firms 30 January 24 09:11

Ahem Ex-HF Bod.  DAC is not just an insurance firm.  In fact, it was in talks to sell its insurance arm which kind of emphasises the point.    

3-ducks 30 January 24 10:36

Good to see some names I've actually heard of, and instructed, in this year's Top 10. 

ABCD/DACB 30 January 24 20:17

Following on from @insurance firms 30 January 24 09:11, it would be interesting to see how the DACB ranking would change if you split the LLP from the Factory. I am sure the LLP are much happier than the Factory is. 

1234567890 31 January 24 13:58

DAC's insurance arm is split across both the LLP and the Factory, which they did think about selling off.  Agree that the LLP is likely to be happier.

DACB watcher 31 January 24 19:04

DACB is two firms. We all know that is true. No one inside the business will admit that publicly, because they would be shot for doing so.  It is however true, and the poor souls in the insurance arm are the poor relations. Partners there probably make less than £150,000 per year. Assistance solicitors in the other half of the firm make more than that after a few years PQe. Says it all.Watch this space. Eventually the Insurance arm will be sold off no matter what they say. The LLP will get a nice payday and it’s down the tubes with private equity (like DWF) for everybody else.

Anonymous 01 February 24 19:28

Agree with “Fed Up OCer” - these sorts of platitudes add insult to injury when staff have to deal with such organisational failings 

DACB insider 01 February 24 21:33

The only thing worse than being an insurance solicitor at DACB is being an auditor / compliance person / whatever. Dead in the water post sale. Half of them are failed Partners from elsewhere anyway. Bye bye. 

Anonymous 02 February 24 08:54

There are a significant number of firms listed that I have not heard of.  

Stoners 02 February 24 10:11

You know Keystone would have been no.1 three years running, right? 

Concerned future OCer 02 February 24 11:05

as an incoming trainee it is worrying to see the negativity about OC 

anon 02 February 24 16:13

Kennedys has dropped down the rankings because the culture has become toxic and the senior partnership are not doing anything about it. Deal with the few partners who think they can behave as they wish.   

Anonymous 02 February 24 16:37

Not surprised TLT have moved to the bottom rankings. Mediocre pay, no concern for welfare of their employees, favourtism, and a certain department within the London office I have no doubt is dragging the ratings down with their total inability to effectively manage anything resulting in MANY resignations. 

Depressedandburnout 04 February 24 01:23

Surprised CMS isn’t even lower - would suggest that if you’d have surveyed just the corporate team, their ranking would have gone through the floor. 

CMesS 06 February 24 21:59

CMS are a mess! Thanks for firing all the good guys. It is a pity the partners can't do their job and bring in some work.

Anon 07 February 24 13:26

Not surprised at TLT doing so poorly. London office seems to be overlooked by senior management and juniors are losing out because of the firms weird recruitment policies. I’d keen an eye on this springs  retention rate as well- word is that they mismanaged the whole process from start to finish! 

East Midlands Health Sector Team of the Year 07 February 24 16:13

S+M are naht magic 

W&I 09 February 24 23:36

Amazed Mayer Brown isn't lower given its fake US persona and certain corporate partners being  the epitome of Napoleon syndrome.

Ex-Birketts 15 February 24 18:59

Birketts, lol. Some offices are known to be toxic, full of unhappy people, poor retention, and partners with power issues Who responds to these? 

Anonymous 18 February 24 08:00

I wrote a glowing review for Foot Anstey but presume I was the only employee to bother! 

Anon 23 February 24 08:02

So which firm has ended up with the most ex Ince employees? They appear to travel in packs.

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