Royston

"You'll never want to leave"


Thousands of people working in private practice in the UK have been spilling the beans in RollOnFriday's survey to determine the Best Law Firms to Work At 2022.

Lawyers and business services staff have been commenting on what most makes them stay at their firms, and what most makes them want to leave.

A lawyer at Dentons said the "ability to work from home" was their main reason for staying at the firm, while a business services employee at Baker McKenzie said that "a lack of commute for 4 days a week" was "a big bonus".

Conversely, a White & Case employee said that she would consider leaving the firm if it "reduced the current flexibility with hybrid working and forced everyone back into the office." And a Macfarlanes employee said he would leave if the firm made him attend "more days onsite." An Osborne Clarke lawyer said they didn't want to work in the London office as it "is absolutely freezing" and "so uncomfortable to work there." 

A Fieldfisher trainee said he wanted to leave the firm as there was "no flexibility for WFH" and that trainees were expected to be in the office "despite no one else being in."

The collegiate nature at firms was highlighted by several respondents. An Ashurst lawyer praised the firm's "team spirit" and said his colleagues "had each other's backs." A lawyer at Burges Salmon said she felt "valued", unlike her previous stint at a Magic Circle firm.

An "amazing culture of supportiveness" was hailed by a White & Case staffer. And RPC was lauded for its "people" as "everyone, including the partners are genuinely great to work with." An Osborne Clarke lawyer said that "generally the firm still attracts friendly, laid back people who make the more annoying days on the job more bearable."

On the flip side, BLM was criticised for "a lack of real caring" and a "superficial friendliness" among staff, with no meeting ever getting "side-lined by chat for more than about 30 seconds."

Work/life balance was highlighted by many. A Bird & Bird staffer said that he could see his young children for dinner a couple of times a week, which was enough of a reason to stay. However, a Debevoise & Plimpton employee said that he would consider leaving due to the "long hours, impacting on family life". 

A Trowers & Hamlins lawyer said that she would consider leaving due to "the expectation that you will drop everything to work on evenings and weekends when a partner deems it required, without any consideration of what you might have on, and without any thought as to the need for a break, and without thanks." 

For a Linklaters lawyer it was a double-edged sword. He said he would consider leaving in order to have "hobbies and make plans I can keep." But noted that "it's quite hard to leave somewhere that is fundamentally well-run, fair and structured, which is respected and prestigious in the market, where you feel like you're building a career, and which pays you well." 

The quality of work was cited by many as a reason to stay. "We are always at the forefront of the market," said a Freshfields partner, "I have never worked on a transaction where we have been out-gunned by the other side and the quality of the work and clients is second to none." Although a lawyer at the firm said they would consider leaving for "a life which is not full of partners with god complexes."

A Kirkland & Ellis lawyer said he remained at the firm due to "the fact that you're working on the real market leading deals that got you to apply into law in the first place." Although he said he most wanted to leave as there was a "complete lack of any time outside of work - there's no such thing as a protected weekend and the expectation post-Covid is that you're available 24/7."    

A number of respondents mentioned the perks, from private healthcare to office gyms, as a reason to stay at their respective firms. A Clifford Chance employee said the "spin studio and pool" was a big draw. For work-based perks, an Ashurst lawyer highlighted "mini-secondments working from an overseas office, with the firm subsidising travel and accommodation - these allow you to feel like an 'international lawyer' and make the annual leave and travelling options stretch further."

"The cafe has been completely free since the return to the office, and we have been informed this is to be until further notice," said a Travers Smith lawyer. A senior lawyer at Bird & Bird praised the "amazing canteen" with "a free coffee bar that served coffin decorated brownies and witches hat cookies for Halloween - beat that, Magic Circle!" And at Osborne Clarke there is "free fruit in the office and cake on a Monday".

The divide between lawyers and other members of staff was highlighted by some respondents as a reason for wanting to leave. A business services member of staff at Baker McKenzie said there was a "lack of appreciation/value attached to anyone who is not a lawyer."  And at Norton Rose Fulbright, an employee said there was "the very explicit and differentiated fee earner / fee burner culture."       

Salary was raised a key reason to stay or go. A Sidley Austin lawyer said they were happy at the US firm due to the "money per hour ratio." Whereas a Slaughter and May lawyer said of their pay that "out of touch partners are always the last to begrudgingly offer anything offered by other firms." And a Womble Bond Dickinson lawyer said the "uncompetitive pay" was leading to "all the juniors leaving around us" which was "demoralising at best with no real sign of improvement on the horizon."         

A number of respondents highlighted there was a balance to be struck for salary. An Addleshaw Goddard partner said: "I could earn more by decamping to a US outfit to be beasted by ruthless Americans on a series of soulless identikit mega deals, but that isn’t a trade I’m interested in making." A Bird & Bird associate agreed that they "could undoubtedly get better pay elsewhere, but don't fancy being chained to a desk."


Should you stay or should you go? Take the Law Firm Satisfaction Survey below:

 

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Comments

Anonymous 03 December 21 09:05

"I have never worked on a transaction where we have been out-gunned by the other side"

Loving the reality filter!

anonymous 03 December 21 09:25

Wombles many more will be leaving off the back of this weeks news that Wombles have been kicked off the prestigious CCS panel. Client care. When a client tells you it no longer wants to work with you, you don't prove them right by suing them them to keep you on the panel. 

Anonymous 03 December 21 10:18

No mention of Freeths?

Their idea of a good time, until recently, involved Partners getting together and chuckling as they were shown photoshopped images of hot female staff members. 

However that has been killed off by that problematic employment tribunal. So what now? Do they keep their staff happy by dolling out Roy Chubby Brown tickets? 

Anonymous 03 December 21 10:51

I love my firm. I don't tell them that though as it would be suicide on my wallet.

Anon 03 December 21 10:53

Linklaters comment above smacks of an institutionalised mindset: 

“it’s quite hard to leave somewhere that is fundamentally well-run, fair and structured, which is respected and prestigious in the market, where you feel like you're building a career, and which pays you well."

Newsflash - there are numerous other equally good firms in the City. 

Anonymous 03 December 21 10:55

@Anon-9.25am: Classic Wombles! 

Sour 🍇 meets the arrogance of expecting to be automatically selected! 

Anonymous 03 December 21 11:01

I hate Freeths! They're the worst! Everyone there is a brontosaurus! Pamela Anderson! Boo Hoo!

 

Dude... we get it already...  someone at Freeths is dating your ex now, and you kind of realise that their whole thing started way before she actually became your ex, and now she keeps posting loads of happy and sexually suggestive stuff on Insta that she never used to when she was with you, and maybe she wasn't "out with her girlfriends" as often as she said she was, but you're totally not bitter about it.

You definitely don't lay awake at night with images of them together playing over and over on a loop in your head. They don't live there rent free. We understand.

So please, you don't need to prove how totally chill you are with it by posting the same tedious lines about Freeths every week. We all read about them photoshopping the image of Pammie onto the attractive new hire when it got posted the first time, like, months ago. It doesn't bear repeating every sing... 

 

... wait, was that your ex?

Anonymous 03 December 21 11:34

Is that the very same Womble Bond Dickinson that describes themselves on their website as:

• a “proven supplier of legal services to central government departments” and

• delivering “a made-to-measure and seamless service to our clients” 

which is suing the Government because they deselected them from the UK’s largest public sector framework? 
 

Doesn’t sound like a seamless service to me. 

 

Chin up soldier 03 December 21 11:50

Anon @ 11:01 am 

 

Things will get better mate, try and stop thinking about your ex or your insecurity for working at Freeths… 

Has to be one of the two for writing a novel in response to the earlier comment. 

 

lol 03 December 21 12:19

The state of that Addleshaw partner.  Fair enough if that's your career decision, but no need to sound so chippy in justifying it to yourself (and to RoF).  Imagine a partner from a US firm sneering at an Addleshaw partner for their relatively low compensation.

Anonymous 03 December 21 12:35

what's the freeths thing?  I trained there many many years ago when they had about 20 partners.  Enjoyed it and was sad not to be kept on, although in retrospect glad I wasn't

Marketing Bod 03 December 21 12:41

As a very happy law firm marketing bod (not Freeths) I must say how much we enjoy watching you asshats debating who is the least ignominious. Quite how you all balance relatively high IQ with catastrophically low EQ should be noted if nothing else for being beyond coincidence; a good ‘nature or nurture’ debate perhaps?  You keep guessing when we pop up to set things straight and we will keep waiting for the look on your faces when you realise AI will deliver an hours’ advice in 6 seconds and people won’t have to tolerate the hugely overinflated opinion of an insecure trust fund baby at the end of it x

anonymouse 03 December 21 12:41

1134 am You may find the answer in the 2021 Court of Appeal case of Bates v Post Office . Any client reading the comments on the Wombles litigation tactics would run a mile

Anon 03 December 21 13:41

Re: 10:53 Yes, but the point is why would you leave a job somewhere you know that is the case, to go to an unknown quantity somewhere else which, even if it does turn out to be a good gig, is fundamentally the same as where you were? You’ve got to not like something about your current firm (partners or pay, most likely) to make the move really worthwhile.

Anonymous 03 December 21 14:28

This is the Freeths article:

https://www.rollonfriday.com/news-content/exclusive-freeths-chairman-retires-after-damning-judgment

Maybe these are the calibre of men who stole @11.01am’s ex-girlfriend?  My guess is that his ex is actually cavorting with staff from Browne Jacobson.  

Dearie 03 December 21 16:05

Surprised Wombles not paying well; particularly given the fees they're charging my business

Anonymous 03 December 21 18:36

Do Wombles partners ever get jobs elsewhere? Or is it like the Manson Family, you join and that’s it for life…?

Anon 04 December 21 01:04

 Bitter ex wombles losers on here or failed wombles applicants typing nonsense

Anonymous 04 December 21 01:49

Wombles offered me a job. At 9 pqe they suggested 55k to do general comm lit which was dressing up insolvency work and a bit of general insurance work. Lol.

Anon 04 December 21 10:15

@anonymouse 12:41 - see also the Kids Company disqualification case. A disastrous result, at huge expense to the public purse.  

Two bad outcomes in very high profile cases for the government in the same year, and Wombles acted on both…

anon-y-mous 05 December 21 10:45

Anonymous 03 December 21 18:36 Foot Anstey is the go to firm of the ex-Womble.

Anon 06 December 21 13:43

"Work/life balance was highlighted by many. A Bird & Bird staffer said that he could see his young children for dinner a couple of times a week, which was enough of a reason to stay."

What a cuck. Happy to stay somewhere which LeTs mE SeE My ChILdReN a CoUpLe oF tImEs A wEeK

Anonymous 07 December 21 02:11

A business services member of staff at Baker McKenzie said there was a "lack of appreciation/value attached to anyone who is not a lawyer."  And at Norton Rose Fulbright, an employee said there was "the very explicit and differentiated fee earner / fee burner culture."
 

lol bd jokers “adding” value by asking associates to do up the pitch decks  

 

Anon 07 December 21 17:08

Sorry express solicitors is on the survey list but not Arnold & Porter/Goodwin Procter? :(((

Anonymous 08 December 21 11:14

“Womble Bond Dickinson drops challenge over UK Government roster“

I wonder what made them decide that clients should be able to choose their lawyers? 
 

Full story at https://www.thelawyer.com/womble-bond-dickinson-drops-challenge-over-uk-government-roster/ and hopefully this week’s ROF too. 

unable law 08 December 21 22:55

Wombles may have a strange name and be a bit rubbish but can Foot and Mouth and Unable Law part of the ridiculous FootAngry Group stop posting on here. We know you are so unhappy at Foot Angry Unable Law so please ROF can you include them in table next year so these disaffected can comment on their own firm rather than other firms. So many of you want to join the Wombles but we can only take the good ones so sorry we turned a lot of you down but instead of slagging us off on here just accept you unable to get a job at a proper law firm.

anon 09 December 21 09:30

anon-y-mous 1045 Wombles use Foot Anstey  to manage out underperformers and save lots of severance costs

Anonymous 09 December 21 10:31

It’s just absurd of WBD to pretend that launching a Court case equates to simply asking for feedback from a public body following a procurement process. 

🤡 

Anonymous 09 December 21 12:00

1114 what next Wombles issue injunction to stop ROF reporting comments? Then hastily withdraw when become laughing stock?

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