ATL Career Center Survey, Biglaw, Rankings

ATL Survey Update: Shiny Happy Firms

In the nascent spirit of positivity around here, let’s take a look at where, according to our research, Biglaw’s happiest troopers can be found.

To be sure, lawyers are a notoriously depressive lot. Various studies — and presumably Will Meyerhofer — suggest that the characteristics that make a good lawyer actually correlate with clinical depression. Combine these alleged traits with crushing debt, an oversaturated job market, and an uncertain future, and the industry seems mired in malaise.

But what about those fortunate ones who’ve managed to snag a coveted Biglaw gig? Why, not only are they employed, but they have a realistic chance to pay off their loans. Are they any more upbeat than the industry’s rank-and-file? Our own survey data strongly suggests the answer is definitely maybe.

Respondents to our ongoing ATL School & Firm Insider Survey give their “firm morale” a mean rating of 6.81 out of 10. (By the way, if you haven’t yet, please take the survey here.) For context, lawyers rate morale a bit higher than “hours” (6.55) and bit lower than “training” (6.88). So, generally speaking, firm morale is not conspicuously singled out by lawyers as a negative.

But which are the happiest firms? And the unhappiest? Let’s have a look at the Biglaw shops getting top marks for esprit de corps….

As rated by their own attorneys, below are the top 10 for “firm morale.” Looks like it’s true: beautiful people are happier.

Alexander Leighton defined morale as “the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose.” That idea reverberates in one Davis Polk insider’s assessment of her firm: “The people here are incredibly nice, but also incredibly hard-working, smart, intense and dedicated to the practice of law.” On the other hand, one of her colleagues proclaims: “If models and bottles are your thing, come work for DPW.” As anywhere, happiness at DPW is in the eye of the beholder.

... to take a survey

One firm stood apart with by far the lowest rating for morale (3.4). Dewey even need to specify who it was?

So, what do you think? Has your firm been overlooked in this ranking? Overrated? Please weigh in by taking our brief survey here.

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