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The Golden Turd 2016
22 January 2016
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Hill Dickinson has placed last in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey and is the 2016 recipient of the Golden Turd.

The Liverpool-headquartered firm earned a score from its staff of just 20%, with fear of redundancy dominating the responses. "People disappear in the middle of the night", said one associate, but "nothing" is communicated to the staff apart from "some meeting where it is stated that we are doing very well indeed". People used to be "very friendly", but following rounds of redundancies, the morale is "currently at an all time low and everyone is wondering who will go next".

Several staff describe the unfortunate contrast of senior management buying "some very expensive cars" a fortnight before announcing more job cuts, with one suggesting, "They live on a different planet".

    He'd take his revenge on his supervisor in the RoF survey 

Others go further, claiming that the "perma-tanned Scouse mafia" in charge place "total emphasis" on turnover and swish premises, with the head office "rumoured to be the most expensive office block in Liverpool". But behind the smart facade, it is a tale of costcutting. "They stopped serving hot meals in the cafe", says one employee, while "only partners can order tea and coffee for clients", and mineral water in the meeting rooms has been "scrapped and it's jugs of tap water only". It is, says one associate, the "epitome of all fur coat and no knickers".

    To the victor the spoils, to the loser the coil

To Hill Dick's credit, however, and in a sign that it is treating staff seriously, the firm has taken the turd on the chin. In a statement to RollOnFriday, it said, "As a result of changes to the marketplace, we had to restructure parts of our business which inevitably created a degree of instability. Whilst it was a difficult time for us, it was essential to ensure that our business reflected the needs of our clients. This work has now been done and today we are a growing business with a solid financial foundation and a clear strategy for the future. We have been working hard to regain the trust and confidence of our people and these efforts will continue throughout 2016”.


In second-last place, PI monster Slater and Gordon narrowly dodged the glinting shit with an abysmal 24%. Its decision to buy "floundering" Quindell for AUS$600 million when "literally anyone in the industry could have told management that was a rip off" won them a slating, along with its tanking share price. "That and buying numerous other large PI firms in a short space of time and making a piss poor effort to integrate them" (as demonstrated here and here and here).

Sullivan & Cromwell took third place from the stinker. While it scored excellently for pay, the US firm has not quite got the balance right. Management was marked 'very poor' by all respondents, landing the leadership with 0%. "There isn't a single aspect of the firm that is properly organised or structured", said an associate.

Things can only get better. Surely. RollOnFriday will publish the full 2016 results next week.

Comments

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Please keep it nice. Thanks.

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anonymous user
21/01/2016 23:06
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23
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That's why I say never join a firm with "Dickinson" in its name.

Twice in four years the 'Golden Turd' has gone to a firm with "Dickinson" in its name (Dickinson Dees 2012 and Hill Dickinson 2016). Coincidence? Yes, probably.
anonymous user
21/01/2016 23:51
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3% for work-life balance at SullCrom? Far out, looks like they really get those £101.5k out of you. Thank God I didn't jump over when I had the chance.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 07:39
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22
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Thy actually turned the cafe into a partners only tanning salon. Joking aside they have some great facilities in there, teeth whitening, HD brows, etc
anonymous user
22/01/2016 10:13
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14% on biscuits? You monsters.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 12:34
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Hill Dickinson a tale of cutting cost at any cost
No DX
No first class post (urm aren't we a law firm?)
No meeting rooms
No Parking
No pay rises in 3 years
No bonus even if you met target
No secretaries
No typing
No support staff

Difficult decisions taken....... no just very stupid ones
Stressed employees
Anonymous14
22/01/2016 12:59
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21
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There were rumours in 2012/2013 of an email being sent that banned staff from booking dentist appointments between 9:00am and 5:30pm. Holiday requests had to through a Kangaroo Court or were alternatively redirected to outer space. And the Case Management System was allegedly incompatible with several departments computers.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 14:49
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Blatantly only the very few disgruntled employees with a chip on their shoulder are the ones who take part in a satisfaction survey. For the record, the vast majority are very happy at HD, and HD is by far the best law firm I have worked for (I'm an employee not a partner before anyone pipes up).
anonymous user
22/01/2016 15:18
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Anonymous User 14:49. Just to clarify
1) how many other law firms have you actually worked for? and
2) Did you (and the vast majority at HD) complete the survey? If no then you have no right to criticise those that did - its like not voting in an election and then criticising the politicians. If yes then you probably saved HD from an even worse score!
anonymous user
22/01/2016 15:20
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Nerd
Mr. Anderson
22/01/2016 15:43
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Yes I did buy a brand new Audi as seen in the picture above, however, the employee in that picture has had a number of complaints made against him due to his personal hygiene, and, as we did not want to sack him, we merely gave him a quick shower before work. All in all, Hill Dickinson have provided me, and my family, enough money to put a Silver statue of myself on the table, aswell as, a gold mural to my son, Hector, whilst those pesky claims handlers can barely afford their train fare each month...Life IS good!
anonymous user
22/01/2016 17:02
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Hardly a surprising result. It's not a nice place to work in currently. There is no training or investment in staff, constant cost cutting almost down to brass tacks (or other items of stationery that we're no longer permitted to have), lots of people don't know what their job actually is or how it fits in to the firms "vision" (cough). Will be interesting to see if they can turn it around in 2016....
anonymous user
22/01/2016 17:18
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Is the ultra exclusive HD cycling club still operating?
anonymous user
22/01/2016 17:28
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Anonymous @ 14:40.
Using your argument, only the disgruntled employees at all the other firms will have completed the survey, and yet every single one of those other firms still managed to rank higher than HD. In which case and depending upon how the rankings are allocated, there would appear to be more disgruntled people at HD than at other firms.
Or you're implying that only the disgruntled employees at HD completed it, but the other firms must have had a mix of positive and negative participants, unlikely as that may seem.
Or, as seems to be accepted by your spokesperson, HD has simply made a hash of employee engagement over the past few years.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 18:58
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This award is going straight to cash for gold as the trophy cabinet with the family silver in has already been sold.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 19:28
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It was a crap place to work three years ago when redundancies were first starting. I took the money of voluntary redundancy and ran. Everyone I speak to who stayed says the same thing whenever you meet them: "it's gone even more downhill".

They won't turn it round easily, the same crap directors will eventually move them into a cheaper, pokey office somewhere else in the city and more redundancies will follow. I was there five years and at no point did any of the directors engage in friendly conversation with me, or any of my immediate colleagues, unless they needed someone to blame for something.

They think 'staff engagement' is when one of the partners cops off with one of the HR girls at the Christmas party.

Thoroughly deserved for the backwards management and horrible personalities of the directors and senior partners. Those not in a high up legal role should look elsewhere for a much better job, where management might actually listen to you and take you seriously.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 20:02
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As a study in cronyism, underhand tactics, blame tactics, unjustified arrogance and just downright rotten behaviour you can't get much better than HD. A much deserved accolade received here. I hope all hot, young legal talent will bear it in mind.
anonymous user
22/01/2016 20:55
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Obviously Marketing trying a damage limitation exercise with the 14.49 post. No matter how adverse the comments here, the whole story is far worse. HD give lawyers a bad name, and that's not easy!
anonymous user
22/01/2016 22:35
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So many good people still there who do a great job for clients and firm. A great shame that no one has the confidence to go to senior management and tell it how it is and how it has been for some considerable time. Cycling club, cronyism, blame and arrogance are endemic. Employee engagement ha ha ha, take the blinkers off and actually see what is happening right in front of you. Swallow some pride, admit mistakes and get it sorted, continue and sycophant LLP is here to stay!
anonymous user
22/01/2016 23:30
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Hill Dicks Fraud team is an embarrassment to the legal profession and owing to the redundancies we now all know it.
anonymous user
23/01/2016 08:04
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Horrible place to work. Bullying is rife and people turn a blind eye. Its all about the big earners and how much money they can accumulate for themselves. Pay rises abysmal or non existent for support staff. Morale through the floor. The most hierarchical place I've ever worked. They bang on about their 'vision' ... yes tunnel vision. The only vision they have is profit profit profit. Awful place.

anonymous user
23/01/2016 10:35
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08.04, I not sure I agree that the vision is profit, profit, profit. HD have been blindly chasing turnover for the past few years . The confusion that management seems to have is in believing that turnover = profit. Profit has been on the slide for the last couple of years, which is why we keep making cuts. The cost base is bloated as a result of the extravagant spending on the ridiculous offices that we have and turnover is falling as some 40% of it comes from insurance where the fees are cut year on year. The Liverpool office is, for Liverpool, a palace. The London office at the Broadgate Tower was so expensive that we had to take out a £10 m loan afterwards (as the published accounts confirm). The loan appears, from the most recently published accounts, to be costing a fortune and suggests that we are only paying off the capital, with the interest being due at the end of the loan and being accrued for. And it was all for nothing because the 6th floor at Broadgate is having to be sublet with people being packed in three to a room. There are also the ridiculous vanity projects, like "60 at 60", and the costly foreign offices (as well as Jermyn Street - what's that all about?). It is a well deserved award.
anonymous user
23/01/2016 14:59
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Whoa, looks like Hill Dickinson's website is offline. The Golden Turd Award didn't go down too well, methinks...
anonymous user
23/01/2016 16:17
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Anon 2230 - strongly disagree as you are putting the whole team in one basket and its quite simply not true.
Anon 2235 - agree, hope Managing partner takes note and sorts it out but doubt anyone will come forward without cast iron guarantees from the very top!
Tried to stay out of this but its a decent firm with a lot to offer its clients. No axe to grind here and Hope the firm moves forward for the sake of the workforce, their families and its clients.
anonymous user
23/01/2016 17:05
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They've probably stopped paying for website hosting, to cut some more costs!
anonymous user
23/01/2016 20:21
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It has been known for some time that there is trouble at the mill. The actions of management and their behaviour has similarities with the Halliwells bunch. Maybe that's why HD were so desperate to hoover up Halliwells personnel. Those who have caused this mess need to stand aside.
Super Moose
23/01/2016 23:04
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Sad that the staff suffer as a result of poor management. There have been and still are a lot of good people there. They'll sadly rue the day they allowed management to stay a third term, its a revolving door for all of them. The story follows the messages of self denial we saw with Halliwells before it went down. The mid and lower tier Members could be left holding the can.
anonymous user
24/01/2016 09:02
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All part of a bigger plan to merge with Bond Dickinson (& unite the golden turd awards) methinks!
anonymous user
24/01/2016 19:52
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Our 4G marketing plan will save us. Now, what does that 4th G stand for again...on yes Gobsh...
anonymous user
25/01/2016 09:06
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Anon @ 10.35 (23/01) - do you work for HD? If so, you'll know from the 4G meetings that HD have no debt and are in an incredibly strong financial position. We acquired two new London teams just the other week.

I am not in a senior position at the firm, I'm a lowly fee earning minion, and I do think the award is unfair. Yes, some of the cuts have been a little draconian (i.e. the cafe) however we're in the city centre, you don't have to set off on an expedition to buy your lunch. I have had pay rises every year I've worked here, as I've worked hard and hit my target, you know, done my job. I have worked in bigger law firms than HD and can honestly say it's a great place to work. As someone else pointed out, you're only likely to take part in this survey if you were pissed off to start with.
anonymous user
25/01/2016 12:12
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Warning, HD shills incoming. HR team over in Liverpool must be spinning it's wheels twice as hard to pump out some supportive fluff to soften the blow.
anonymous user
25/01/2016 12:56
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I want to know more about the secret cycling club.
anonymous user
25/01/2016 14:38
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To Anon at 9.06 - how nice for you to have pay rises every year, must be nice. I am a lowly secretary, part of a fast disappearing group. I, too, do my job. I come in early, work after time and am conscientious but I haven't had a rise for 3 years. I do a good job and am completely demoralised. HD say they care and we matter but the truth is that we don't. Their only interest is in making money. No wonder people hate the place.
anonymous user
25/01/2016 15:06
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Anon @ 09.06 (25/01) - "I've had a pay rise therefore everyone else must be happy. I'm alright, Jack".

Kinda sums up the HD approach to staff engagement.
anonymous user
25/01/2016 15:15
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Cycling club? Do you mean coffee club?
anonymous user
25/01/2016 20:38
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It's all true. I left a few years ago but even now the management are always in first class to London....
anonymous user
26/01/2016 18:25
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The news may be that there are no more redundancies and the company is growing but this is not true as from April there will be more in the pipeline across all departments and I am sure the staff at Hill Dickinson have not been made aware of this, there is also an office move being discussed right at this moment.
anonymous user
26/01/2016 20:44
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There have been rumours for several years that the restless Marine department in London might split from the firm. If this were to happen they would certainly lose their 'top 50' status (which has been sliding anyway). Maybe the Golden Turd is the catalyst to start their divorce?
anonymous user
26/01/2016 22:22
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Will the last one left switch the lights off please?
anonymous user
27/01/2016 16:23
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They are not that bad!
anonymous user
28/01/2016 08:17
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Gosh, what a lot of bad comments. Whilst I can see all is not great at HD I can think of 15 firms in the top 100 in worse shape and another 15 in the same boat. One of them finished 4th in this survey!
anonymous user
28/01/2016 08:25
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lolz at anon20.44 who thinks this survey could be a catalyst for a mass team move.
anonymous user
28/01/2016 11:59
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I think it's pretty bad. HD already struggle to recruit, but I can only imagine it getting worse after this news. I'm going to update my CV - I'm getting out!
anonymous user
28/01/2016 14:04
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Ask the staff about performance management.......cough.......
anonymous user
28/01/2016 23:25
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another week another turd

now who would implement a live case management system without testing it properly ?
a) a bunch of 5 year-olds
b) hill dickinson
c) hill dickinson

you have agood chance of getting this right
anonymous user
31/01/2016 23:36
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An Associate left and for 3 months HR sent emails saying he was still with the firm. The same emails said saying differently would be treated as a disciplinary offence. When the Associate joined the firm across the street we could see him through the window and HF STILL sent us emails stating he was with the firm and anything to the contrary was punishable.
anonymous user
17/02/2016 20:54
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I don't work at HD, but I do keep hearing this 'cycling' club mentioned. I assume that this is a euphemism for something unwholesome?
anonymous user
19/02/2016 19:58
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A month on from the glory of the turd...... Nothing has changed, the award is well deserved.
anonymous user
19/02/2016 20:05
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Wow no one is turning up for interviews, looks like no one wants to join the turd winning firm. Seriously though major recruitment problems going on. Perhaps increase pay offers and open up membership to the cycling club?
anonymous user
19/02/2016 20:08
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Years of planning for 'transformation' and we have transformed into something worse. Leave now peeps and take the ginger one with you.
anonymous user
19/02/2016 20:26
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Leaders that are normally so visible and vocal have disappeared, no doubt embarrassed by the shenanigans going on. The insurance group heading for oblivion.
anonymous user
25/02/2016 15:36
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Their Wikipedia page makes reference to the Golden Turd, although their PR dept appear to keep trying to remove it.