The 10 Worst Law Firms To Work For

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Photo: Mr. Juninho/Flickr

The American Lawyer surveyed 5,638 mid-level associates to find out what they really think of their firms. All the firms were ranked on a 5-point scale.

We picked out the bottom 10. 

We then headed over to Glassdoor to see what associates have to say about these law firms.

Dow Lohnes in Washington D.C. sored 3.494 out of 5.

Pro: 'Interesting and challenging legal work--especially for DC.'

Con: 'Partners are not sensitive to associate needs. Firm is focused mainly on compensation--particularly for partners. Associate salaries are high, but I would prefer better work-life balance over more salary.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Kramer Levin in New York scored 3.488 out of 5.

Pro: 'Kramer Levin is populated by exceptionally smart and hard-working attorneys, and as a result, they attract some of the most interesting kinds of cases and clientele.'

Con: 'To be blunt, there are individuals there who are very intelligent lawyers, but who have atrocious people/management skills. Some simply don't manage associates well, others are, basically, petty and mean-spirited bullies.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

White & Case, an international law firm, scored 3.486 out of 5.

Pro: 'Pay for associates is outstanding, the work may involve major, high profile matters, the firm's strong reputation.'

Con: 'Little or no opportunity of advancement to partner, even income partner, profitability is sub-par due to poor management, headquarters office is overstaffed and takes the best work away from other offices, vicious competitive atmosphere among partners.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Dechert, a national firm, scored 3.478 out of 5.

Pro: 'Good exposure to interesting deals, best of the best attorneys in class with top notch clients.'

Con: 'Low pay compared to other law firms. Health benefits are terrible as they are forcing employees to take on a larger portion of their health care plan costs.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Linklaters, an international firm, scored 3.462 out of 5.

Pro: 'Linklaters is a top-ranked law firm, and you do have prestige if you work for them. The benefits and pay (including top-tier health insurance, excellent retirement plans, and noteworthy annual bonuses) are among the best you'll find at a law firm'

Con: 'While a corporate law firm naturally breeds a hierarchical system to a certain extent, not enough is done to ensure that staff and attorneys at lower levels are fairly and equally assigned work, leaving some attorneys and staff desperately swamped, and others literally twiddling their thumbs for days.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Cadwalader Wickersham in New York scored 3.427 out of 5.

Pro: 'Compensation, compensation, compensation, and compensation.'

Con: 'Hours are brutal and the chance of making it to partner are slim.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Stites & Harbison in Louisville, KY scored 3.416 out of 5.

Pro: 'Pay and prestige.'

Con: 'Scraping for work. Partners don't spend enough time teaching young associates to develop clients and create work.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Schulte Roth & Zabel in New York scored 3.374 out of 5.

Pro: 'The firm is involved in many sophisticated legal matters. SRZ's compensation matches the market, and it has market vacation time.'

Con: 'SRZ is an awful place to work. The partnership ranks are not open to internal talent. The firm fancies itself a Cravath lite, but nothing is further from the truth. The support staff is not helpful, and often incompetent. The partners routinely scream at associates and have a well deserved reputation for being among the worst to work for in NYC.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

Stroock & Stroock in New York scored 3.283 out of 5.

Pro: 'For a large law firm, it is relatively informal and there is an ease of communication between attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, word processors and proofreaders.'

Con: 'Administration and human resources departments work in mysterious ways, perhaps in an effort to avoid confrontations. If someone makes a complaint about another employee's work, often the other employee is kept in the dark as to the source and specifics of the complaint, but is only informed in general terms. This makes it almost impossible to defend oneself in the case of false allegations or blame mistakenly placed on the wrong individual.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

White and Williams in Philadelphia scored 3.233 out of 5.

Pro: 'Reasonable 1800 billable hour requirement.'

Con: 'Limited potential for advancement or lateral movement. You work here, keep your head down, pull your moderate salary, and shut up.'

Source: The American Lawyer and Glassdoor

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