They’ve endured a recession, layoffs, deferments, secondments, salary freezes, and even the loss of their spring bonuses. And yet, midlevel associates at the country’s biggest law firms are happier with their jobs than they’ve been in years, according to our annual associates survey. The rising satisfaction level among midlevels showed up in almost every facet of this year’s edition of our annual 85-question survey. Fifty-seven percent of respondents, for instance, described their firms as appropriately staffed, a 7 percent increase from 2011. Seventy-nine percent described their workload as manageable, a 2 percent gain over last year. Ninety-two percent said that if they had the choice to make again, they would again choose to come to their firms, a 2 percent increase from a year ago. Questions about how clearly firms communicate what it takes to make partner, training, and firms’ openness about finances showed big year-to-year gains. The bottom line, according to one legal recruiter: “I think that this group of midlevel associates realizes that any gripes they may continue to have have less to do with any recession-related changes and more to do with whether Big Law fits into the lifestyle they want.”
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