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Where lawyers under 40 want to work right now

Following the recent release of the 2023–24 Top 25 Attraction Firms ranking, Lawyers Weekly has broken down the data by age – here, we reveal which of the nation’s biggest practices are most appealing to lawyers in their early-mid careers, if they were to leave their current employers.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 13 March 2024 Corporate Counsel
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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.

Firm choices of lawyers aged under 40

According to the findings, legal professionals under the age of 40 years are keen to work at the following firms, having identified these practices via their primary and then secondary votes:

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

Comparisons to those aged over 40

When comparing this top 10 ranking to that of lawyers who are aged 40 and above, a few things become apparent from a recruitment perspective:

  • MinterEllison is the most popular firm for younger lawyers, while for those aged over 40, it is the fifth-most desired prospective employer.
  • The generational divide for Clayton Utz is even more stark, with those under 40 ranking it third, whereas those over 40 have the national firm outside of their top 10.
  • Barry Nilsson appears similarly popular with lawyers under 40, ranking 10th here but dropping to 19th for the older cohort.
  • Hall & Wilcox and Mills Oakley are slightly less attractive to lawyers aged less than 40, ranking sixth and ninth, respectively, here, compared to their rankings of third and sixth, respectively, for lawyers over 40.

Speaking about the findings, Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy said the choices made by lawyers under the age of 40 years vary notably from those with more years of experience.

“The motivations of early-career lawyers appear noticeably different to their older counterparts, which no doubt is influenced by myriad personal, vocational and financial considerations,” he said.

“What these particular findings suggest is that legal employers, and ultimately recruiters, must ensure that their messaging and targeting of prospective employees must be idiosyncratic and cater to the unique needs of legal professionals, and not just presume that lawyers all fit into a cookie-cutter mould.”

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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