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Revealed: 5-year trends for the Legal Firm of Choice Survey

Lawyers Weekly recently announced the BigLaw firms that lawyers would most want to move to if they were to leave their current employers. But how have those firms performed over the last five years?

user iconLawyers Weekly 06 March 2024 Big Law
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What is the Legal Firm of Choice Survey?

Now in its ninth iteration, the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking is a key element of the Legal Firm of Choice Survey, which identifies the most sought-after private legal practices across the country.

This latest survey was conducted between 22 January and 14 February and received 401 responses in total, recording the attitudes, priorities, and perceptions of legal professionals in private practice across Australia.


Every year, some firms rise up the rankings while others slide down the list. As in previous years, the 2023–24 results offer an intriguing insight into how lawyers perceive prospective employers. The results for the 2023–24 survey were released in late February, with a new firm taking the top spot. You can read the findings here.

The methodology

The annual Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking was based on the results from one question in the recent Legal Firm of Choice Survey, which asked: “Which firms would you consider a move to if you ever decided to leave your current organisation?”

Respondents can select up to five firms they would be interested in moving to and are then asked to select the firm they would move to first, if they had the choice, of their selected five.

From this, each of the answers is given a point. The ranking is based on the point system, with the firm with the most points given first in the ranking. In the event of a tie-break, the secondary question was used to delineate between prospective employers.

Respondents to the survey were unable to vote for their own firm – thereby eliminating the possibility of any firm skewing results in its favour.

5-year trends

The performance of Australia’s biggest firms in Lawyers Weekly’s annual Attraction Firms ranking can be seen in the following two graphs:

Graph 1 (source: Agile Market Intelligence):

Graph 2 (source: Agile Market Intelligence):

Looking at the five-year trends, there are some interesting takeaways for some of Australia’s biggest firms:

  • Allens has finally attained the top spot after hovering within the top 10 for the preceding years.
  • MinterEllison is back on the medal podium, having been in the top spot for two years in a row before experiencing a steep decline in its favourability last year (which has now been reversed).
  • Herbert Smith Freehills has experienced a sharp drop in its favourability this year, having been the most preferred firm for a couple of years in a row.
  • King & Wood Mallesons, Hall & Wilcox, Clayton Utz, Lander & Rogers, and Baker McKenzie have maintained consistent showings in recent years, fluctuating only marginally in their favourability in the top 15 spots in the last five years.
  • On the other hand, Mills Oakley, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, HWL Ebsworth and Slater & Gordon have seen more stark fluctuations in their favourability over the five-year period.

Speaking about the trends over five years, Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy mused that lawyers’ preferences will be influenced by myriad factors.

“In the past year, we have seen increased competition for work, an ongoing cost-of-living crisis and high inflation, generational differences of opinion in the need or otherwise to work from the office, and evolving demands and expectations from employees coming through the ranks,” he outlined.

“Every passing year has had its own set of idiosyncratic circumstances for employers to contend with, and – given how small Australia’s legal profession is – word travels fast about workplace culture and the broader firm environment.

“The data over a five-year period offers an interesting insight into how favourably the nation’s biggest firms have been perceived in the years leading up to the pandemic and then during that age.”

Looking ahead, Doraisamy went on, it is possible that lawyers will be swayed by last week’s release of gender pay gap data by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, in which the pay divides between men and women saw a range of up to 50 per cent between different law firms with over 100 employees.

“The potential for pay divides to impact upon the Attraction Firms ranking is something that Lawyers Weekly will be keeping a very close eye on,” he posited.

Since late February, Lawyers Weekly has been publishing insights from the 2023–24 iteration of the Legal Firm of Choice Survey. To read those stories, click below:

If you or your firm have any questions about this year’s Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking and the annual Legal Firm of Choice Survey, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..