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Male lawyers more satisfied with their firms than female counterparts

On every metric surveyed, men in law firms appear to have greater levels of satisfaction with the performance of their private practice employers than women, according to research from Lawyers Weekly and Momentum Intelligence.

user iconLawyers Weekly 06 March 2023 Careers
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What is the Legal Firm of Choice Survey?

Now in its eighth 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 14 November and 13 December 2022 and received 462 responses in total, recording the attitudes, priorities and perceptions of private practice and in-house legal professionals in Australia.


In the past fortnight, Lawyers Weekly has published the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking for 2022–23, detailing which firms lawyers in private practice would most like to move to. Also revealed last week were findings that one-quarter of lawyers plan to leave their current firms and will do so in the coming months, and which lawyers are most likely to leave in the near future.

Moreover, and for the first time, the Legal Firm of Choice Survey polled in-house respondents, exploring — among other things — which law firms law departments engaged, the volume of law firms utilised by one’s law department in the past year, whether those in-house professionals would recommend their chosen firms to others, and how they would rank the performance of the firms engaged.

Lawyers Weekly has also revealed the firms of choice broken down by gender (and what dictates those choices), as well as the preferred BigLaw employers of those under 30, those aged between 30 and 39, and those aged between 40 and 49.

Satisfaction with private practice employers

On the whole — and, ultimately, to the great credit of BigLaw firms in Australia — the 358 respondents to the survey, male and female alike, are mostly satisfied with the performance of their employers.

Three in four (74 per cent) of respondents said that they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied”, while just 9 per cent were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied”.

When broken down by gender, however, there were slight differences.

While eight in 10 (80 per cent) of male lawyers surveyed expressed satisfaction with their firms, with just 8 per cent dissatisfied, 72 per cent of women are satisfied, and 10 per cent are dissatisfied. Interestingly, a greater number of women appear ambivalent to their private practice employers, with one in five (19 per cent) “neutral” about the performance of their firms.

Breakdown by gender

The difference in the quantum of satisfaction between men and women in law firms may appear inconsequential, given how overwhelmingly lawyers across genders are satisfied with their firms.

However, upon examination of how men and women feel across certain metrics, it becomes more apparent that law firms have some work to do in ensuring that female employees are content with how those firms are taking action to improve the workplace.

When it comes to metrics like firm culture, career progression and pay and reward, men and women are almost equally satisfied with the performance of their employers.

On other metrics, however, there are starker gaps.

There exists a 9 per cent gap in how men and women view their employers’ performance on diversity and equality, as well as on recognition for individual performance.

Elsewhere, there are 8 per cent splits between males and females with regard to perceived support for mental wellbeing and communication.  


Speaking about the findings, Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy said that — ahead of this week’s International Women’s Day — law firms should be wary of ensuring that male and female staff members alike can feel fulfilled in all aspects of their work.

“On the whole, the findings should be encouraging to BigLaw employers, as they are — in the eyes of our respondents — mostly ticking the boxes,” he said.

“However, and especially on metrics such as diversity and inclusion, firms must make sure that they are bringing everyone along for the ride. If certain demographics are less satisfied than others, there will likely be a correlating increased likelihood that the less-satisfied cohort will be more likely to seek out alternate employment.”

To read Lawyers Weekly’s full coverage of the latest Legal Firm of Choice Survey, see below:

If there are particular elements of the Legal Firm of Choice Survey, or the Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking, that you or your business would want to learn about, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..