Lawyers nationwide have submitted searingly honest reviews of their firm, covering everything from their satisfaction with pay and promotion prospects to the quality of the firm's meeting room biscuits and its bogs. The responses have now been crunched (click here for a full table of results) and it can be revealed that newcomer to the survey Marque Lawyers has emerged victorious with an incredible overall satisfaction score of 92%. Congratulations.

The diminutive six-partner Marque Lawyers batted off numerically superior rivals to pull in stellar scores across the board. And the firm's win seemed to support a general trend emerging from the survey that smaller firms appear to be happier ships.

Most impressive was Marque's 93% satisfaction score for staff development. According to respondents the firm has some "great partners" who are "good at mentoring and supportive of staff" and "everyone is treated as equals". Staff were also very content with their "outstanding" work life balance. But with the excellent compulsory "4pm Pens Down Rule on Fridays" and "lunchtime legends netball", who wouldn't be?

    Marque lawyers celebrating a major netball victory yesterday

Marque staffers lavished praise on the firm's openness: "there's certainly no hierarchy in terms of communication" and the atmosphere is "relaxed, informal and friendly". And apparently that's helped by the open plan offices with "an iTunes server that pumps out 90s trance anthologies all day". That may sound terrible, but it seems to please Marque staff inordinately.

The firm "is not the best payer", but a healthy 89% score for salaries suggests that lawyers are happy to trade the big bucks for working somewhere "that's trying to set a new (better) standard for law firms". Lucky Marquers also enjoy firm drinks every Friday afternoon where they can swill liberal quantities of Asahi (the house beer), which may explain the firm's unprecedented 100% satisfaction score for social life.

Inevitably it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Staff complained that the six partner NSW firm didn't have a Paris office or a cocktail bar and grumbled that sometimes the music in the office wasn't loud enough. Another added, more mundanely, that the  "IT hardware is a bit creaky".

Still, none of that really bothered Marque's managing partner, Michael Bradley, who said "this is the prize every firm wants to win. We thought winning the lunchtime netball comp was the pinnacle, but this is as good as it gets. The most pleasing thing is that the award is the result of what our staff said and in the end the only thing that really matters is what we think of our own firm."

Other firms that excelled in the survey included perennial bridesmaid Mills Oakley, which came second again, but with an improved score of 89% compared to last year's 80%. Happy staffers claimed that the "CEO danced to Barbra Streisand's "Duck Sauce" and the trainees go to the beach for their "own (partner style) retreat". Hot on Mills Oakley's heels with an excellent 84% was Piper Alderman, which makes up for mediocre toilets with a "COO who loves to dress up and has been known to slip into Lycra!!!!" Well, if it works for them.

Click here for the full results table and there'll be a more detailed breakdown of all the firms' performances next week.
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