The thickness of a lawyer's pay packet is certainly important; after all they need to be able to boast how rich they are. But it does seem that it's not just the number of zeros that counts. Whilst Big Six firm Allens Arthur Robinson took the top spot for salaries, it was the smaller firms that dominated the upper echelons of the table.

Scores were tight at the top of the pay category, with a cluster of firms pulling in stellar scores. But Allens managed to bag the victory in one of the only survey categories that wasn't won by Marque Lawyers. Clearly chuffed with their pay packets, staffers awarded the firm near perfect marks (91%). And the win is not too surprising; Allens has never been afraid to splash the cash. This is the same firm that offered referral fees of $20k to staff who recruited new employees.

Coming a close second with an 88% satisfaction score, was Marque Lawyers. The firm's strong performance in this category may seem surprising, especially as respondents claimed the firm "wasn't the best payer". But lower salaries are far more forgivable when a firm "makes up for it with other stuff", namely "brilliant people, [a] relaxed culture, talented lawyers" and, perhaps more importantly, Friday afternoons spent imbibing Asahi (the house beer).

Marque was joined in second place by Mills Oakley and last year's top firm for pay Gilbert + Tobin, which both scored 88%. G+T's staff praised the firm's "great salaries", accompanied by a culture where "no-one will ever ask why you weren't at your desk at a certain time".

To the bottom of the pack and DLA Piper's staff were the least satisfied by a long way with their salaries. Respondents criticised the "utter opacity" in relation to their pay packets, awarding their firm just 33%. Minters (56%) and Middletons (60%) may have out-scored DLA significantly but still languished at second and third to last place respectively. Mallesons was not too far ahead of this motley crew, scoring 63%. Staff complained unhappily about salaries "significantly below other top-tier firms."

For a full list of this year's winners and losers, click here.
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