Measuring the satisfaction of staff across the land.
The results of the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2023 survey are in.
Over seven and a half thousand lawyers and non-fee-earners across the UK participated in RollOnFriday's satisfaction survey, which asked them to rate their firm's pay, career development, management, culture, work/life balance, and the office amenities. The results represent the definitive guide to which firms spark joy and which hoard sadness.
Burges Salmon took the top spot out of the 57 firms that made the cut. The firm's scores revealed that the Bristol-headquartered firm has the happiest workforce for a second year in a row, with staff praising the firm's culture and work/life balance.
Also for a second year running, Sidley Austin took second place, exemplifying the lure of US firms that dangle the carrot of a nice pay-cheque for a lot of hours, but can still keep staff very satisfied. Sidley didn't have the transatlantic to itself in the top 10, though: Ropes & Gray placed 7th.
Bird & Bird is top of the City's UK firms, in joint third position. It represents a significant climb up the charts for 2Birds over the last few year, having placed 18th in 2021, and 16th in 2022.
Mid-sized City firms featured heavily in the top 10, with Trowers & Hamlins in joint 5th (an impressive turnaround from 2015 when it claimed the Golden Turd) alongside Osborne Clarke, which has a significant Bristol presence, while Addleshaw Goddard placed joint 8th, and RPC came 10th.
Several regional firms performed excellently - Clarke Willmott took a bronze medal, coming joint 3rd, while national firm Mills & Reeve landed joint 8th.
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Of the Magic Circle, Clifford Chance is the happiest, in 28th place, followed by Freshfields in 32nd, Allen & Overy in 37th and Linklaters in 42nd. Slaughter and May placed 52nd, scraping past half-marks with 52%.
And in a countdown to the very bottom, Squire Patton Boggs came in 55th, Keoghs placed 56th, while BCLP received the Golden Turd.
But what about everyone else? Here are the overall results in all their glory/shame:
In the RollOnFriday Best Law Firms to Work At 2023 survey, 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 reveal the Best Law Firms for Pay, Work/Life Balance, Culture, Career Development, the Office and amenities, and Management in the next few editions, plus a look at some other interesting titbits - making the coming weeks a stat-nerd's dream.
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.
However satisfied you are, don't work in the dark - know who wants you, when, on LawyerUp at the App Store and Google Play.
Keogh. Keogh. Daylight come and I wanna stay home.
It's good to see TS slipping down the rankings as the various cult members emerge from the cellar and realise that saying a firm is wonderful over and over again does not make a firm actually wonderful.
Knights management going to be ecstatic that we are 4th bottom staying up on goal difference and will take this as motivation that the public scrutiny of people’s “4 dials” has boosted morale. Here’s a hint, it hasn’t. Good staff sprinting for the exits, offices empty and share price collapsing yet again. Only positive is not being relegated from the Turd League
FFS! Beaten by 1%.
Will have to consult my overlords to devise ways to be more evil next year.
Golden Turd, I'm coming for ya!!!!!
ROF you have missed the gigantic news of the week. BDB Pittmans calling off its merger with the Wombles. Maybe Pitts looked under the bonnet and didn't like what was hiding there or the whiff of the former golden turd winner still lingers. Given the big Wombles story coming later in the year Pitts will look back and be relieved they are Wombling free.
Womble merger’s on the front page 9.32
Are you the infamous egg smelling partner ?
Delighted with two results here.
One my current shop.
One my previous shop.
Both seem about right :)
Has taking over BLM hurt Clydes? Based on the number of leavers, ex BLM staff and partners don’t seem happy with their new masters.
Thinking about this, how come no ROF reporting on the subject? The dear old LSG reported on BLM’s final accounts. That was an interesting story, but not here apparently.
@Florence Knightingale - they are just jealous, because we are so premium, right?!
There is a massive sigh of relief ringing out over Bolton right now. Talk about dodging the turd by a whisker. Maybe we are not so special, as the partners would have us believe. I’m actually surprised we scored as high as we did. Keogh, Keogh!
Slaughters was so low on this list I thought it had been left off. Checks out
Good to see Weightmans doing well post merger
Ince has done surprisingly well. Hats off to their HR weasels.
It was the free fruit that saved knights
The hours at Sidley are known to be reasonable because they hire three people to do one person’s job.
BDB Pitmans rejecting Womble Bond Dickinsons is covered @
How on earth did we score 30%??
It is a total mystery to me and my colleagues here in Bolton. Presumably our far more intelligent and better paid colleagues down south voted the firm positively as they sit in their shiny offices practising City law. #Keoghs
If you’re not bottom, but you’re close to it, then you’re still sniffing turd and that’s nothing to be proud of.
Seeing Knights in the relegation zone is not really surprising as listed firms don't really help anyone other than those who were equity before the float. Pray tell, where is fellow listed firm Gateley? Do they not even qualify for the survey?
Agree with Bolton Boy. Such a huge relief. Some Easter Eggs and jelly beans should do the trick to pick up morale perhaps?
This is outrageous- I demand a recount. Turn down your dials fellow Knights
ROF, can we get a trophy for the second to last place to fill the cabinet? Perhaps a silver turd?
We need at least a few dozen to enter for the firm to qualify. There were entries for Gateley, but not a sufficient number.
Why are there a couple of hate comments for TS? Honestly it’s not done that Bad.
Harneys is a miserable place. Especially Cayman and Hong Kong. A firm run by toxic partners who couldn’t make it onshore.
I think the issues include
(1) the departure of multiple partners in quick succession over recent weeks doesn't bode well;
(2) the premature promotion of certain partners at 6.5-7 PQE is difficult to understand from a commercial perspective - these partners typically don't (or can't) generate work (why would a client instruct a 7PQE Travers partner when the average junior partner at other city firms, charging a comparable rate, is several years more PQE?), can't justify their hourly rate or internal cost, and are often not capable of performing their managerial role with sufficient competence;
(3) over-hiring in certain departments which now sit idle;
(4) due to (2) and (3), poor partner promotion prospects in certain departments which have realised too late that the market won't simply give you additional work in proportion to/whenever you expand your team;
(5) a bizarre culture which punishes anyone who doesn't blindly praise the firm and everything about it - this is why there is a (in my view undeserved) market perception that Travers is a nice place to work, when in fact it can be pretty unpleasant; and lastly
(6) by way of explanation re (5), examples include: a new discretionary bonus system that appears designed to reduce overall remuneration, an increasing emphasis on non-chargeable work (presumably to compensate for (2)-(4)), recent unpleasantness involving a Senior Associate (reported at high level on this website).
Keoghs just pipped to the turd by an offshore sinker and so close we can smell the prize! Never mind a few DIP and Kudos points will lighten the mood. I’d like to say the only way is up (baby!), but it ain’t. Right, I must get back to my seat in the Bolton settlement shed.
@Bolton Lifer, great idea. Gold, silver and bronze turds must immediately be created and despatched to the stinkers at the bottom.
I will have a go at creating the bronze one shortly.
But tell us how you really feel about it. Tbh none of that sounds like anything that any other law firm doesn’t have to deal with from time to time. People need to chill out a bit. I’m guessing half the partners who have left were probably deadwood anyways based on your point 2.
Statto here. Knights won the Turd last year with 39%. This year’s winner won with 29%.
Knights scored 35% this year.
That isn’t bad when compared with the performance of Knights share price which is 75% lower than its peak and 30% lower than it was 6 months ago.
Statto, in association with Knights management team, hereby declares this to be a hugely successful year and testament to Knights tireless focus on culture, 4 dials, spot check audits of window blinds and good quality leadership.
Glad to see the Boggs bobbing happy in the khazi. Hopefully they will outperform next year and swoop in for the golden prize.
Utterly shocking firm packed with two-bit choppers.
Keoghs is a conveyor belt factory - once an insurance practice, even aviva have booted them off.
Who the **** are Ropes & Gray?!?
Things seem to be picking up at Slater Gordon. Good for them.
TS operates like a really weird cult - no one can criticise the firm and its people spruik the firm like Scientologists with their audit machines.
It has a superior attitude despite financial and market position materially weakening. It’s been hurt by its focus on mid-market PE while ceding the public M&A referral work to S&M and Macfarlanes. Meanwhile, the PE lawyers are being vacuumed up by the US firms. TS then doesn’t have the international reach for the big cross-border regulatory and litigation work, nor the full service capabilities of the likes of HogLove or HSF.
There isn’t much left without corporate, regulatory and litigation save for resting on laurels and being smug/superior. These problems are magnified by a dangerously conservative culture that does not encourage challenge or debate. Frankly, it’s much more culturally old-fashioned then, dare I say it, S&M.
Nowt wrong with Keoghs as far as I can tell. Only one day in the office a week, manageable workload, management are okay, extra holidays granted firmwide this year, all the tea and coffee you can manage and overtime for anything over your chargeable target. Fair enough, the pay is only about average but it was ever thus. If you don't like you can always take the 30 pieces of silver being offered over the road at Bond Turner, see how that works out for you.
Thanks for that, Alison. Well said.
Where's taylor Wessing?
And no reason clarke wilmott should be that high.
Knights share price has gone up today.
Clarke Willmott? Who?
Never met anyone there who wasn't a simpleton. Clearly ignorance is bliss.
When did Keoghs get kicked off the Aviva panel?
Who is doing the Aviva disease and abuse work now? Do Pro still run it prelit?
Can people shut up about dissing Travers.
I see Dentons nicely down near the bottom, as with last year. Satisfaction has improved from 50% to 52%, so knowing management, they will take this as a positive and try to polish the turd...
"With a 2% gain each year, by 2047, we'll be at 100%"
that slater nun gordon have moved up, so maybe the summer nudge nudge wink wink summer boat party will return this year.
Managed to get a Champions League spot this year and improve our league standing on last year. If being able to leave at 5:30 every day and not being crucified if I miss a billing target is ignorance, then I quite like being simple.
Keoghs also suffered a Direct Line Group loss recently. It’s not just Aviva that are tired of school leavers at Keoghs running their legal work for dross money. Bolton is the settlement shed and we all know it. #SpecialK #Kellogs #keogh,Keeeeeee-o
(In most years, 30% as a score would result in a gold trophy for an empty cabinet)
Why is no one talking about plexus ?! Shit is getting real there.
How does Plexus have a score of 70% and Keoghs 30%? They're two cheeks of the same ****. DAC Beachcroft is also suspiciously high...
Another one agreeing with the view on Harneys. Total losers. You wouldn't even want them on your C-team.
They are very, very different cheeks of very, very different ars3s. Having been at both (and still at one) I’m pleased to confirm that each score accurately represents my experience of each firm.
so… nice try, DWF person ;)
Sidley are notable for their cultural diversity where white britons are a minority in some areas. An intriguing scene in the City.
The plexus ranking does seem quite dodgy.
Have they been recruiting social media apprentices to complete the survey repeatedly?
Glad to say I've never heard of any of these firms. #keeplooking
Next year please add a relegation zone and champions league places
Word reaches me that life in the private equity wonderland that is Plexus is not as rosy as this survey would have us believe.
Only a matter of time before it’s all featured in RoF. Countdown to disaster, the asteroid is on course and its impact is assured.
When all your investment eggs are in one basket…….
Several partner exits at Plexus
Does Fergie have a plan
As a BCLP alum who the firm treated terribly (who could I be? There are so many of us), I have taken quite a lot of joy from RoF’s survey outcomes. It appears what goes around comes around after all, and if you treat enough good people like sh*t, eventually it will come back to bite you.
I'm a uni student with eyes set on TC applications and just wondering whether anyone has any intel / explanation they can share as to why S&M have fared the way they have?
I'm sorry but there is no way that Plexus is that high up. Good job by the HR team spamming the website with fake reviews though.
I see lots of people who don’t work at Plexus are having their say again
Haven’t you heard?
Get a life. Please.
I know it wasn’t nice when you were forced out, but seriously, move on for the sake of your health.
Where is Stephenson Harwood?!
So Plexus get a very average score, somewhere in mid-table, and some people simply can’t accept that.
It’s a fix they cry!
Bloody hell, Plexus didn’t win. Didn’t even do particularly well. Just an average sort of score in mid-table.
The problem isn’t the Plexus score, it’s the fact that in the minds of some people Plexus can’t be a place where people go to work and are happy. Well, I’ve got news for you: some people work at Plexus and are happy. I’m one of them. Yes, I’ve said it. And I did the survey and gave top marks and honest comments.
Now move on.
Not sure how Plexus ranked like that…..very suspicious voting activity.
Rumours abound about Plexus losses and no tax being paid. Not sure what to make of it all but does not sound good for people and clients….PE done it again!
Sh!tsmiths? Really? Shockingly bad. Who did they pay to vote for them?
Where are Simmons & Simmons, did they not even make the cut?
What’s going wrong at Baker McKenzie? Seems like a happy shop from the outside
Do we know what the percentage of business services entered the survey?
Not surprised to see Capsticks that low. The firm consistently asks for feedback in staff surveys / meetings / toothless ‘working groups’, and it’s consistently ignored. They’ll do anything for a Twitter grab but the reality is the staff are underpaid, overworked and not given the tools to do their job. Much like their NHS clients.
Congratulations Team SPB!
2% away from Goodwin, close even on the heels of Slaughter and May. These are great, great firms - top tier Cravath US and top tier old school magic circle. They have serious money to throw at both their staff and their culture, and SPB is closing in on that.
BIG POINT: most firms aren't submitting!! Not enough numbers to get included etc. So this is really not saying "SPB is at the bottom", this is saying "SPB is close to the bottom of THE top firms". Consequently the way this table is set out is MISLEADING. 50th out of all of the hundreds of firms not included isn't a bad show at all. How many dozens of other similar US firms aren't included - Simpson Thatcher, Willkie etc.
The fact staff cared enough to contribute is a BIG DEAL. Apathy is the truly cancerous. The more people who contribute, the lower the score will be due to the mean. That's why you have swings based on small sample sizes. Burges Salmon are sitting at the top, OK, but if they had the bulk of staff SPB has, it would drop to probably about 30th or 40th. A few happy staff completely mess up the table, and a heavy contribution of generally happy SPB'ers sees it get punished for it. This website should be publishing number of contributions relative to size of the firm.
How can Plexus be so high? Brain washed employees or have they genuinely improved? I hope they have changed, working there was like working in a factory, not a law firm! Pay was terrible too.
Where will all of those coffee in your lap cases end up if the wings come off at Plexus?
Who will defend those burnt testicles claims?
Where is Smimptons and Bomchik? And why aren’t Lido and Gilchrist on the list?
as a footnote to my above comment about SPB - it was intended as a complete and utter wind up…just in case firm management copy and paste it into an email to everyone and start making people add, “a RoF listed law firm” to email signatures
To Keoghs, DACB, DWF and other Insurance Law Firms,
Come on tell us, those at Plexus are desperate to know which one of you has Origin on their payroll and installed them to run Plexus???
Master stroke, complete and utter genius.
Hats off to whoever it was.
@ BCLP Alum 04 February 23 09:08
There are, indeed, a lot of ex-BLP/BCLP lawyers and bus services out there who have been treated appallingly by the firm post-takeover by that mediocre mid-western shop. I know of at least three who have totally expunged BLP/BCLP from their CVs and LinkedIn in order to try to distance themselves from the firm.
As BCLP Alum notes; what goes around comes around.
To Plexus Fan - 5th Feb @9.18
Are you high?
Did Shearmans HR diarise the wrong date to submit an influx of cheery feedback this year? Not like them to drop the ball all the way to 19th…
@Anonymous 07/02 - don't work for a firm in Wimbledon represnting the NHS and RPs and then bitch about the money. Having said that, if you think you are overworked at Chopsticks you'd be f**ked in the City.
You obviously have a b-b-big brain comrade. SPB is the pits.
Somebody from the SPB gestapo, sorry SPB media team talking up SPB again.
Staff care enough to contribute? Contribute a poor score?
The firm treats all staff poorly and silences them with threatening emails with regards to all poor decisions they make.
I know of several people wanting to leave now as their office move has made them all feel homeless. With no right to reply.
They’ll be bottom next time if they still exist.
So many comments about Plexus that something serious is going on…..
Will all their clients and partners Plexit???
Odds on they will soon ……
watch this space ROF
BCLP news just in; it’s beyond phucked.