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Which BigLaw firms do male and female lawyers most want to work at right now?

Following the recent release of the 2023–24 Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking, Lawyers Weekly has broken down the data by gender to reveal which of the nation’s biggest practices are most appealing to men and women in the profession if they were to leave their current employers.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 07 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.

Breakdown of firm ranking by gender

Looking at the results, Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy said, it is noticeable not just which BigLaw firms appeal to men and women alike but also how disparate those preferences are.

“Hall & Wilcox, for example, is the third-most popular potential destination for female lawyers seeking to move, but for men, it is their 10th-most attractive prospective employer,” he noted.

“Elsewhere, Mills Oakley is in the top six choices for women lawyers, but it doesn’t break the top 10 for men, and Herbert Smith Freehills appears more popular with men contemplating new roles compared to women.”

Further, on this point, he added, while eight firms appear in both top-10 lists, four other practices appear in one list but not the other – highlighting the different metrics of vocational appeal from Australia’s largest legal practices, global players, and NewLaw contenders alike.

“Reasoning for such choices will, of course, differ from respondent to respondent. However, it is fascinating to chart the differences in preferences between major demographics in Australia’s legal profession,” he mused.

Female lawyers’ firms of choice

10. Gilbert + Tobin
9. Herbert Smith Freehills
8. Lander & Rogers
7. Ashurst
6. Mills Oakley
5. Clayton Utz
4. King & Wood Mallesons
3. Hall & Wilcox
2. MinterEllison
1. Allens

Male lawyers’ firms of choice

10. Hall & Wilcox
9. Barry Nilsson
8. Maurice Blackburn
7. Lander & Rogers
6. Herbert Smith Freehills
5. Ashurst
4. Clayton Utz
3. Allens
2. MinterEllison
1. King & Wood Mallesons


Doraisamy added: “If nothing else, breaking down the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking by gender demonstrates how critically important it is for legal employers – firms, in-house teams, and government departments alike – to take a more holistic, idiosyncratic approach to managing individual staff members.

“In the post-pandemic world, legal professionals are more attuned to what they need in order to perform at optimal levels, and employers would do well to remember that what one lawyer wants or values may vary wildly from the colleague who sits in the next office (or is working remotely).”

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..

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