Work life balance is a traditionally foreign concept for lawyers, and this seems especially true at DLA Piper where desk-based dinners seem to be the norm. Matters were markedly better at Mills Oakley, which topped the charts with a whopping 93%.



Racing to the top of the table was mid-tier firm Mills Oakley, where lawyers were more than satisfied with their work life balance. This may well have something to do with the firm's banging social scene ("the parties here are still the best"). Apparently it's all Jaegerbombs and dancing CEOs. And the fun seems to continue in the office, with one respondent boasting "my boss makes me laugh so hard I almost pee my pants."

Marque Lawyers may have missed out on the top spot but with its compulsory "4pm Pens Down Rule" the firm still managed an excellent 89%. "It sounds culty" claimed one Marquer "but we honestly have a lot of fun yet do a lot of serious work at the same time." Piper Alderman joined Marque in second place. As there seems to be more ogling than working at the firm ("it's hard to work in an environment with so many hot staff"), it's lucky that there is "not much pressure on the billable hours requirement".

Fourth placed Fox Tucker (76%), was a slightly different kettle of fish. Staff have "heaps on" and some lamented that being busier than their peers meant missed drinking opportunities, but respondents still praised the "great culture of work/life balance" which is positively encouraged by partners. It seems "top notch" work, a "down to earth culture" and "approachable" partners, mean staff are more than happy to work a little harder.

There were no such sentiments shared by staff at bottom of the table firm DLA Piper (42%). The firm, which performed abysmally in every category (embarrassingly 42% is quite a high score comparatively), is certainly not satisfying its staff when it comes to a healthy work life balance. "The firm's a joke" was all one lawyer could say.

Also incurring its staff's wrath was Freehills, where "pretty punishing hours" saw the firm awarded a satisfaction score of only 45%. Mallesons (50%) didn't do much better and was slammed for its "culture of extremely late nights with no recognition" and for having departments where "the work life balance is crap with unsustainable hours all but expected."

For a full table of all the winners and losers, click here.


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