What does it take to cultivate job satisfaction at a law firm? In a new report from BTI Consulting, associates pointed out exactly what they wanted from and valued in their work lives, and which firms were the best at committing to their overall happiness.
According to BTI, Biglaw associates are looking for these eight core activities from their firms when it comes to their professional happiness:
- Commitment to helping associates in their career
- Specific action to help develop a career path
- Access to training they need
- Good mentoring
- Optimism about growing within their firm
- High levels of job satisfaction
- Being well paid
- Having at least one partner watching out for them
After going evaluating 4,000 responses, BTI found that 147 Biglaw firms did the best job when it came to associate satisfaction. Unfortunately, it turns out that women aren’t nearly as satisfied at their Biglaw firms. When separated by gender, women associates ranked just 122 firms as the best for overall job satisfaction. In fact, women rated their job satisfaction as 13.5 percentage points lower than that of their male counterparts, and 62% of them saw their firms imparting “limited or no commitment to helping them in their careers” (compared to 48% of men). Oof.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the thing that makes the world go ’round: money. According to BTI, just 16% of women associates consider themselves well paid; in fact, 50% consider themselves extremely underpaid. Above the Law has tracked raises and bonuses for years, but there’s much more to compensation than just a dollar amount. For women in Biglaw, it’s not just the money — it’s about their workload, the level of respect they receive, predictability, and more. Here’s what BTI evaluated:
Associates rely on a subjective formula to evaluate how well they are paid. This formula includes salary, bonus, competitive norms, hours of work expected, hybrid work policies, perceived control over working hours, treatment by partners, feedback, and the opportunity they see for themselves within the firm. Market rate salaries are minimum expectations.
That said, women associates singled out 46 law firms that were able to offer a “winning comp combination,” but these 13 firms were identified as the best of the best when it comes to all matters of compensation:
- Armstrong Teasdale
- Baker Donelson
- Debevoise & Plimpton
- Faegre Drinker
- Fenwick & West
- Goldberg Segalla
- Greenberg Traurig
- Hunton Andrews Kurth
- Sullivan & Cromwell
- Wilson Elser
Congratulations to each of these firms. When market money is just the baseline, providing women associates with a better quality of life will get your firm a boost when it comes to overall “compensation.” Great work!
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.