‘Open and friendly’ Burges Salmon lands top staff satisfaction title for unprecedented third year running

February 2, 2024

Bristol-headquartered Burges Salmon has become the first law firm to claim legal website RollOnFriday’s prestigious accolade of best place to work for three years in a row.

The survey, which has been running for two decades, is widely viewed as the definitive guide to the firms that are happy places to work, and those which are predominantly misery machines.

Burges Salmon, which also won the title in 2017 having been joint winner the previous year, said its ongoing success was due to its “distinguishable and positive culture, which is deeply rooted in delivering an exceptional service to its clients”.

Last year one employee at the firm praised it for being “run by humans  . . . not psychopaths”.  That was echoed in slightly more measured terms this year with comments such as “everyone is so open and friendly”.

RollOnFriday, regarded as the leading provider of news and views on the UK legal sector, describes its annual satisfaction survey as the most comprehensive of its kind.

Anyone working at a law firm – from a partner to a PA and from its paralegals to the IT team – can take part.

This year more than 8,000 people rated their satisfaction with their pay, work/life balance, career development, management, office, and the culture at their firm.

According to comments by Burges Salmon staff, the firm’s partners are “really approachable” while its management is “excellent”.

One lawyer told the survey: “We are regularly asked our opinion on key topics before firm policies are updated e.g. remote working, and those opinions seem to be taken into account.”

Another said: “Partners are also receptive to concerns about being overcapacity – I’ve never been chastised for turning down work. They also check in with you if you seem overworked or are sending emails late at night”.

A third said they had noticed a shift in the firm’s focus on mental health. It now had a strong support system and partners/fee earners were honest about their own personal experiences.

“It feels like you are allowed to have a wobble and the firm will help you back on your feet,” they added.

Others wrote about the culture at the firm, which employs more than 1,100 people across its offices in Bristol, Edinburgh and London, with one junior solicitor calling it “the best I have experienced anywhere I have worked”.

Burges Salmon managing partner Roger Bull, pictured, said: “To have been named the RollOnFriday ‘Best Law Firm To Work At’ in both 2022 and 2023 was great.

“But to find out that we are the only law firm to have achieved this significant accolade for a third year in a row is simply tremendous.

“These important wins for our firm mean so much and we are thrilled, as this award recognises our collaborative and unique culture, which is reflected through the positive feedback that we receive from clients.”

He said the fact that the results were solely based on its people’s individual opinions made the achievement even more meaningful.

“We take immense pride in this recognition, which is a testament to the commitment and passion that all of our people have for our clients, for supporting one another, and for fostering a wonderful, vibrant firm-wide culture,” he added.

Three firms with major bases in Bristol also appear in the top 20 of the table this year. Michelmores, which employs more than 450 people across its offices in Bristol, London, Exeter and Cheltenham, makes its debut in fourth place while Clarke Willmott, with 650-plus staff in its seven offices, is in seventh.

Osborne Clarke, which employs around 800 people in Bristol and also has UK offices in London and Reading, is in 12th place.

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