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What’s keeping lawyers at their current firms?

New findings detail the derived importance of workplace attributes that keep legal professionals satisfied, or otherwise, with their employers. At a time in which burnout is rife and market turbulence is a constant, the results serve as both a surprise and a warning.

user iconLawyers Weekly 20 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, how age influences one’s firm choices, and why men appear more satisfied than women with their firms.


The results of the survey reinforce what professional services employers will already know (or should know): that satisfaction is a marker for retention.

Of those respondents who are satisfied with their employers, 87 per cent plan to stay, with only 6.8 per cent wanting to move to another firm in the next 12 months.

Elsewhere, among those who are dissatisfied, a worrying 69 per cent are planning to move to another firm, while 6 per cent would move in-house or start their own firms, and 12.5 per cent say they will stop practising law altogether.

In order to determine what keeps private practice lawyers satisfied, Momentum Intelligence ran a correlation coefficient test between respondents’ satisfaction levels and their ratings of their employers across various attributes, including culture, communication and career progression.

The correlation coefficient was displayed as a number between -1 and +1 — the higher the number, the more positive the correlation.

“Typically, if the coefficient is above 0.5, there’s a strong correlation,” said Momentum Intelligence director Michael Johnson.

“In this case, we have four variables over 0.7, indicating quite strong correlations.”

Derived importance

Momentum Intelligence produced the following breakdown of attributes, and how satisfied respondents were with their firms’ performance on those fronts:

  • Support for mental wellbeing: 0.727
  • Quality of leadership: 0.719
  • Culture: 0.718
  • Communication: 0.714
  • Recognition for individual performance: 0.684
  • Career progression: 0.671
  • Support for physical wellbeing: 0.645
  • Support for work/life balance: 0.611
  • Pay and reward: 0.597
  • Diversity and equality: 0.580

Speaking about the results, Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy said that what lawyers in firms are most satisfied with right now comes as somewhat of a surprise.

“At a time in which burnout and exhaustion appear more prevalent than ever, coming out of a global pandemic and as we potentially enter a recession, it is pleasing to see what perceived support for lawyers’ wellness is something that such professionals are happy with,” he said.

“Moreover, it is heartening to learn that partners and other decision-makers in firms are providing pertinent, sound leadership and facilitating supportive collegiate cultural environments in which staff can communicate meaningfully.”

This said, Mr Doraisamy added, firm leaders would be wise to heed the warning signs of attributes that employees are less satisfied with.

“Satisfaction levels with pay and reward should not be ignored by firms, particularly if a recession comes to pass. In addition, the holistic benefits of diversity and inclusion should drive businesses to make sounder investments of time and energy,” he said.

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..