The Firm of the Year survey has revealed that poll measuring lawyers' level of satisfaction with their firm's career development policies reveals that staff at only a handful of firms are untroubled by fears of shrinking prospects or redundancy.

Marque Lawyers is one of the only firms which seemed free of gloom. The firm took first place with a fantastic score of 95%. Employees praised the "stellar work" and "very accommodating" career structures. Mills Oakley and Lavan Legal also posted impressive marks. Lavan came third with 82%, while Mills Oakley came second wth 88%. "There's actually a career path and the firm is growing," sighed one Mills Oakley lawyer. "None of that applies to my uni mates who joined mega firms".

However a few mega firms did pretty well. Baker & Mckenzie came fourth with a very decent 80% and Norton Rose took fifth place with a respectable 77%. Although one associate grumbled that career development actually meant "working to develop partners' careers; Frozen Lite n' Easy meals are the only investments the firm cares to make in Associates".

Further down the table several firms came under fire for a dearth of opportunities for women. Respondents from mid-placed Clayton Utz lambasted its "boys club mentality" which they suggested was responsible for several departures by female partners. Staff at Allens, which came third from bottom with 61%, made similar claims. Lawyers compared the partnership to an "old fashioned gentlemen's club" responsible for making "more part-time women redundant than any other demographic".

Whereas at Ashurst Australia, it's the recent merger which appears to have toxified staff satisfaction. Last year the legacy firm scored a healthy 70% for career prospects. But in the wake of rumoured redundancies it has dropped like a stone to 50%, tying for second last place with DLA Piper.

But bottom place honours go to HWL Ebsworth, which scored a mediocre 46%. Plenty piled in. One frustrated lawyer claimed it "simply hires partners from top tier firms" instead of looking to homegrown talent. Another scoffed at the firm's diversity policy, alleging that the Golden Turd recipient is "very poor for women". Oh dear.

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