The Associates Survey

Associates used to complain about perks and pay. The current crop of midlevels are simply grateful for their jobs.

The American Lawyer

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."



Previous Associates Survey coverage :: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

THE FEATURES

HAPPINESS IS RELATIVE
Their profession may be full of darkness and uncertainty, but midlevel associates at the nation's largest law firms are more content than they've been in years.
WINNERS OF THE HALF-DECADE
Year after year, a handful of firms do well on our associates survey. What's their secret?
THE YEAR'S BIGGEST GAINERS AND LOSERS
A look at which firms on this year's survey rose the highest compared to last year—and which ones fell the furthest.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S SUNNY OUTLOOK
San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County take three of the top five spots when viewing midlevel satisfaction survey by market.
NO GLITZ, NO GLAMOUR
In a year when firms made few flashy technological advances, midlevel satisfaction stalls.
METHODOLOGY
A note on how we tabulate the scores and rankings for our annual survey.

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC:
CITY-BY-CITY SURVEY DATA

   

THE CHARTS

RANKING MIDLEVEL SATISFACTION A national ranking of how third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates rate their firms as workplaces. Drill down for firm-level data on how firms scored in such areas of quality of work, firm culture, and training.
THE LOCAL PICTURE Explore this interactive map to discover how firms fared on a market-by-market basis.
LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD Comparing firms by gross revenue.
THE FIVE-YEAR PERSPECTIVEA look at which firms consistently perform well on our midlevel survey year in and year out.
LEADING THE PACK Associates rate their firms' technology.