When it comes to Big Law, the Big Apple is typically ahead of the market. But when it comes to midlevel associate happiness, Manhattan is right, smack in the middle.
The average score for 59 law firms surveyed in New York City on The American Lawyer’s 2018 Midlevel Associates Survey was 4.257.
While New York’s score, which was down slightly from last year’s average score of 4.238, was marginally below averages in Dallas (4.443), Houston (4.422) and Los Angeles (4.446), the city’s midlevel associates rated their firms higher than in other major markets like Chicago (4.252), San Francisco (4.237), Washington, D.C., (4.207) and Atlanta (4.157).
Associates scored their law firms in a number of different categories, such as job satisfaction, compensation and benefits, guidance and training, relations with partners and other associates, the potential to make partner, a firm’s policy on billable hours and management’s openness about firm strategy.
Schulte Roth & Zabel took the top spot in New York, as well as The American Lawyer’s overall midlevel associate satisfaction rankings. The firm, which just two years prior had placed 78th on the list, attributed its success to a complete revamp of its associate program to include a more elaborate mentorship network, generous parental leave policies and business development training, among other initiatives.
Paul Hastings came in a close second in New York with an average score of 4.854, up from 4.708 the year prior. O’Melveny & Myers, which took the top spot in New York last year, slipped to No. 3, while Blank Rome and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft jumped several spots to round out the top five for firms in the city.
At the other end of the spectrum, global legal giant Dentons held the bottom spot among large firms in New York. With an average score of 3.713, midlevel associates cited some dissatisfaction with the firm’s openness and communication regarding partnership.
“We take the results of the Midlevel Associate Survey seriously and, in our firm’s spirit of continuous improvement, will factor them into our planning moving forward,” a Haynes and Boone spokesman said.