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Firm of the Year 2017 results: The worst firms
27 January 2017
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Staff at nine firms out of the 66 in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year 2017 survey scored their workplace lower than 50%. Hold your nose and find out why.

Shoosmiths is evidently plagued with multiple serious toilet issues, which will be covered in a future edition. But the "relentless and blinkered cliff-dive" towards "squeezing more lawyers into an ever-smaller space" in Manchester also attracted criticism. The firm is "supposed to be moving to a swanky new building in Manchester's financial district", but "they are continually pushing back the date for relocation time and time again". In the meantime "we work in a downtrodden has-been building, devoid of air conditioning and infested with mice... and don't get me started on the toilets". 

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis offers colossal, perhaps the most colossal, salaries to lawyers in the UK, and won Firm of the Year in 2013. Yet it has slipped to a desultory 58th place in the table. "I remember voting a few years ago when Kirkland won this award", said an associate. "How things change in just a few years". A trainee wrote that the difference between their vacation scheme experience and first year was "shocking. Different people, different culture and unhappiness has overcome the place". The firm also, according to one respondent, has a "no young attractive secretaries policy to reduce the amount of partner shagging", although the downside is that "they focus on trainees and associates and it happens A LOT". At least they're paid handsomely.

  Ian didn't mind the long hours and he loved payday, he just wasn't sure why they all had to wear pants and dance for it 


BLM staff were more concerned with the managers than monkey business. A new joiner said its "vision to 'future proof' us, aka Project Graphene", is "so sexed up with management speak that it is totally unfathomable". The "amount of times the press releases mention 'progress clusters' makes me want to kill myself". At least the 'cluster' reviewing offices appears hard at work, with BLM Leeds "reduced to a plant pot and a caretaker that will", according to the PR guff,  "challenge the concept of what it means to be a city centre office". Meanwhile, all the promotional photos in the new grad brochure were apparently taken at the "fabulous" new London office, "not in the one kitchen in the Manchester office with no microwave and carpet gaffataped down".

"In 2014, we restructured our business to reflect our customers’ needs. Today, we are more than an insurance and risk law firm - we understand and are firmly embedded into our sector and whatever you do, do not drink that milk." 

And while Clyde & Co staff were forced to work with no mains water, "at least they got a bottle of water!! We got an email saying don't worry, the 300 people who work here, please feel free to use the 1 toilet on the ground floor.  And if you want water, there's a shop round the corner". Despite hiring a Talent Engagement Manager, "clearly the talent didn't feel that engaged given 4/9 trainees in the Manchester office left the firm. Don't even bother asking why we have a Talent Engagement Assistant".

Ince & Co

One-time Firm of the Year Ince & Co was awarded 49%, with a staffer making the unlikely claim that "most of the fee earners are psychopaths, happy to stab anyone in the gums with a screwdriver and piss on them". It even attracted a long poem (verse 1: "I Hate my job, I Hate the pay! / I Hate it more and more each day. / I Hate my boss, she is the worst! / I Hate her boss, and all the rest."


At Capsticks, the partners are apparently "controlling and moody" and "so deluded if they were captaining the Titanic they'd be telling the passengers that it was a submarine as it began to sink". One senior associate said, "Basically all the lawyers who couldn't make it at DACB are here and they've got enormous great potato waffle size chips on their shoulders as a result". Another had a more material complaint: "Renting out the 3rd floor of the office to Theo Paphitas". 

  Very heavy footsteps, that Paphitas. And he bangs the doors.

Slater & Gordon

The PI firm's management received an absolute pasting. It is "shoddily run" by "sightseeing Aussies over in London" who have "gone into hiding after losing over a billon dollars" on the Quindell debacle, said lawyers. Yet despite coming 62nd, its pathetic 39% score was sufficient to beat nemesis Irwin Mitchell, as well as Kennedys and Golden Turd KWM

RollOnFriday will be breaking down the categories in the coming weeks. Pay will go under the microscope next Friday.


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