Law firms storm the Sunday Times top places to work

Eleven per cent of The Sunday Times top 100 companies to work for in 2008 are law firms, four more than were on last year’s list.

The only magic circle representative was first time entrant to the list Linklaters, which just nudged in at position 93.

Manchester’s Pannone, however, led the field amongst the legal profession in fifth place, having been ousted from its third place ranking from the previous two years by a jewellery retailer in St Annes on Sea and a Bristolian engineering consultancy.

Pannone’s senior partner Joy Kingsley collected a lifetime achievement award from The Times for her efforts in having made the firm a long-running top 10 ‘company’. Her firm received top marks in all five categories: personal growth, giving back, belonging, wellbeing and leadership.

Kingsley commented: “It was the fifth time we have come into the top ten and it is clear that we’ve found a way of motivating our employees.

“The survey is very wide ranging and not one that you’re able to fiddle in any way because it goes to every third employee in an alphabetic list.”

On the secret of Pannone’s success she said: “Work life balance is a very important feature and has been for the last few years, especially in law firms where part of the people are required to work for years and have no life.”

She added: “Treating people decently and fairly should be commonplace but maybe isn’t.”

The nearest rival to Pannone in the list was Liverpool firm Brabners Chaffe Street in 27th place, having upped its position from 67th and 90th in the previous two years. The firm rated highly in the giving back and wellbeing categories.

Apart from Addleshaw Goddard in 40th place and Trowers & Hamlins in 52nd all other law firms were clustered in the lower reaches of the rankings.

However, Mishcon de Reya, Berwin Leighton Paisner and Freeth Cartwright were notable new entrants in 55th, 74th and 90th positions respectively.

Wragge & Co, Mills & Reeve came in at 66 and 67.

Olswang slipped to just below Linklaters into 95th place, from 53rd in 2007.