A new survey has examined the myths and reality of life at US firms in London.

Third Way Legal quizzed 1,000 lawyers across 43 American firms with offices in the UK capital. It found that 14 per cent of lawyers said their work-life balance had improved since moving from a UK firm to a US one, while 47 per cent said it stayed the same and 39 per cent said it had got worse.

The survey also found that 39 per cent of lawyers surveyed who had previously worked for a UK law firm rated their work quality as better having moved to a US firm, with 20 per cent saying it was worse.

UK firms are at an advantage when it comes to associates’ perceptions of career progression. Nearly half said UK firms were better for career advancement, with only 27 per cent arguing the opposite.

Tom Balmer, Third Way Legal’s head of platform said: “Many of the traditional stereotypes of life at a US law firm were contradicted by the views of the lawyers actually working for them.

“Given the increasing disparity in compensation, this survey highlights the significant challenges for the UK firms to address, if they are to retain their top associate talent.”

Lawyer 2B’s 2014 stress survey previously found that some 70 per cent of lawyers working at US firms in London thought their firm’s senior management “didn’t really” encourage employees to maintain a work-life balance, compared with 29 per cent of magic circle lawyers and 46 per cent of those at other large London firms who felt the same way.