The culture category is one of the most important in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey, denoting a firm's feel, its attitude, its flavour. This year joint Firm of the Year 2018 Osborne Clarke received the highest mark, a stunning 94%.

Its culture "genuinely sets it apart" said staff. "Culture is king here", said a partner, "and bad behaviour is not tolerated by management". "It's not just a marketing ploy", said a paralegal, "it truly is friendly and supportive". An NQ said the culture was so good "I would continue to work here if they paid me less".

"I cannot gush more about the great culture at OC", said a senior solicitor, "and that's high praise, given the generally misanthropic bent of most lawyers". She said, "I was previously at a huge firm, and everyone in every team was miserable", whereas "people at OC are genuinely happy (minor gripes aside)". There were "Very few hyper aggressive corporates", said a junior solicitor. A partner agreed that there  was "a spectacularly low number of assholes", who "stand out and then change", which was a disturbing if well-intentioned image.



"I can count the number of arseholes" at second-placed Mills & Reeve (93%) "on a single hand and without using my thumb", said a junior solicitor. "So much effort is put into maintaining a friendly culture that it's almost embarrassing when I talk to friends about their lives at other firms". 

Bird & Bird (92%) continued its run of excellent culture scores down the years, followed by Firm of the Year 2018 Burges Salmon (91%). Burges Salmon's "exceptional" culture "is probably the stand out strength of the firm", said a junior solicitors. It was "genuinely inclusive and friendly". For the most part, said one, there were "no dickheads", and "you don't feel like you spend half your life watching your back". They recruited "a decent stream of people often relocating from good and premium London outfits", said colleagues, and created a "very supportive, open and honest" culture which was "a genuinely lovely place to work".

    This but with dress-down Fridays.

"There are a few oddballs" at Mayer Brown (90%), "but I don't think that is out of the ordinary", said a junior solicitor. "Don't believe the press", said a colleague, "we're not a 'US firm' in the commonly accepted understanding of the phrase. Culture is strong". Several pointed to a "renewed sense of direction" in London with the change in senior management. Their new managing partner, said a staffer, "is what I imagine was like having Obama as your president". Those were the days.
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