Since the Legal Week Intelligence Employee Satisfaction Survey was first published in 2005, each subsequent report has consistently found that law firms are failing to provide a working environment that motivates and retains many of their assistant and associate solicitors. The result has been that many firms have suffered from crippling turnover rates among their qualified staff, costing them thousands of pounds in recruitment costs and lost management time and indeterminable financial damage from disrupted client relationships.

Each year, Legal Week Intelligence surveys assistant and associate solicitors at the leading commercial law firms, asking them to identify the aspects of their working lives that are most important to them and asking them to rate their experiences across a wide range of factors, from quality of work and their billable hours targets through to more subjective areas such as firm culture and the extent to which they feel valued. This year, more than 3,000 assistants responded, providing a comprehensive snapshot of what makes younger lawyers happy, the major causes of dissatisfaction and the performance of individual firms against that backdrop.

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