Allen & Overy, ATL Career Center Survey, Biglaw, Magic Circle, United Kingdom / Great Britain

ATL Law Firm Ratings: Magic Circle in NYC Edition

Unless you’ve made some deliberate, heroic effort to not know, you are aware that the most feverishly anticipated baby since 0 A.D. is now finally among us. This is a huge deal. People love babies. People love princesses and what not. So: huge deal. Thus, as we await the naming of the boy Windsor and as a flimsy topical pretext, let’s have a look at how the Magic Circle, the UK’s legal royalty, rate in the ATL Insider Survey.

The Magic Circle comprises five venerable London firms: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Linklaters, and the terrifyingly-yet-diffidently named Slaughter and May. Powerhouse “Slaughters” is the only one of this prestigious group lacking a New York office. The other four are among the most truly global firms and are among the top ten firms in the world measured by revenue. S&M is also the only one of the group for which we lack sufficient survey responses to generate ratings based on the ATL Insider Survey. After the jump, see how the others’ New York offices stack up in terms of Compensation, Hours, Training, Firm Morale, and Culture.

Here are how the Magic Circle’s New York City offices compare to one another based on our Insider Survey. Ratings are on a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being best.


1. Freshfields (7.8)
2. Linklaters (7.7)
3. Allen & Overy (7.67)
4. Clifford Chance (5.25)


1. Linklaters (8.8)
2. Freshfields (8.6)
3. Allen & Overy (7.69)
4. Clifford Chance (7.5)


1. Freshfields (7.6)
1. Linklaters (7.6) (tie)
3. Allen & Overy (6.33)
4. Clifford Chance (6.0)


1. Freshfields (8.6)
1. Linklaters (8.6) (tie)
3. Clifford Chance (6.88)
4. Allen & Overy (6.33)


1. Freshfields (9.3)
1. Linklaters (9.3) (tie)
3. Clifford Chance (7.88)
4. Allen & Overy (7.33)

As for Overall Rating, the average of all the separate ratings, the standings look like this. For context we’ve added in a rating for an imaginary “NYC Magic Circle” — the combined average overall Insider Survey ratings for Skadden, Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher, Davis Polk and Cravath. The market for the highest end legal services in the U.S. is much more fragmented than in the UK, but these firms could be considered the closest equivalent of the Magic Circle firms.

Finally, for you wallies and gits who are not hip to the lingo, below is a round-up of Briticisms that appeared at least once in the Magic Circle survey responses and nowhere else. We’re not sure whether the respondents are UK ex-pats or Americans affecting their firms’ folkways:

• Bolshy (adj. meaning something like “difficult” or “argumentative”)
• Chuffed (“pleased”)
• Right (“very”, e.g. “right chuffed”)
• Brilliant (you know this one, your pretentious friends describe everything thus)
• Cracking (all-purpose positive modifier)

If you haven’t yet done so, please take a couple of minutes and take the ATL Insider Survey here. Thanks.

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