The results are in for RollOnFriday's Australian Firm of the Year survey. Law firm staff across the country have spilled the beans on topics as diverse as work-life balance, pay, staff toilets and their firm's parties. And while Marque Lawyers basks in glory of being crowned Australian Firm of the Year, bottom-of-the-pack DLA Piper has the ignominy of receiving the Golden Turd with a woeful overall satisfaction score of 31%.

This is the second time in a row that the firm has scooped the least coveted legal award (it came bottom last year in its pre-merger incarnation of DLA Fox Phillips). A tie up with DLA Piper and a new name seem to have done little to mollify dissatisfied staff, who questioned whether the firm's "steady decline" could be reversed.

    The Golden Turd taking pride of place in DLA's trophy cabinet yesterday
 
So where is it going wrong for DLA? Barrel-scraping scores of just 13% for openness and 17% for staff development certainly didn't help. Respondents complained bitterly of senior management who "distinguish themselves with their artful backstabbing and fanatical loyalty cults" and "not much being done to retain talented juniors".

The firm also got a kicking in the work life balance category. A feeble satisfaction score of 33% put DLA at the bottom of the table together with Corrs Chambers Westgarth. And it seems that beleaguered DLA-ers aren't getting the financial rewards to make up for it. Staff awarded the firm a 33% satisfaction score for pay, placing it last within the category by some way. Respondents moaned about the "utter opacity regarding salaries and promotion."

Not even the firm's toilets and social life could drag DLA from the arse-end of the table, with one lawyer complaining that the "men's toilets require clothes pegs on nose for much of the day". The only category in which the firm didn't come last was its meeting room biscuits, which received a score of 38%, propelling DLA ahead of Corrs (22%) and one place from bottom in the table.

To be fair, there were some positive comments to be found. One NQ commented that despite the difficulties the firm was "still generally a nice place to work" and according to another there are "some great views" and "some nice eateries nearby".



Whilst their scores were not in the same league of mediocrity as DLA's, neither Minter Ellison nor Norton Rose fared very well in the survey. Minter Ellison took second from bottom slot with a 56% total satisfaction score, just pipped by Norton Rose (57%) where respondents complain of a "nasty, insidious environment" and "poor morale".

Click here for a table of all the winner and losers and check back next week for a more detailed breakdown of the results.
 
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