LA Biglaw Firm Achieves Perfect Satisfaction Score from Midlevel Associates

The 2023 Midlevel Associates Survey results are in, with O'Melveny, the Los Angeles-based BigLaw firm obtaining an impressive score of 5 out of 5.

LA Biglaw Firm Achieves Perfect Satisfaction Score from Midlevel Associates

In a significant achievement, a prominent Los Angeles-based O'Melveny law firm has achieved a perfect score from its midlevel associates – a testament to its exceptional work environment and commitment to professional growth. The firm, which invited its associates to assess their satisfaction with their work environment, received an impressive average score of 5 out of 5.

Renowned for its demanding work environment, the firm's managing partner attributed the impressive scores to its emphasis on mentorship, training, and dedication to establishing a harmonious work-life balance for its associates.

The American Lawyer Midlevel Associate Survey, now in its 18th year, polls associates who have been practicing between three to five years on matters related to job satisfaction, work environment, training, and work-life balance. More than 4,000 associates from nearly 200 law firms participated in this year’s survey.

The poll provides valuable insights for legal professionals to consider when making career decisions. A comprehensive score across a variety of factors can influence where professionals choose to make their next move. Therefore, law firms with a high score have a competitive advantage in attracting top legal talent.

The 2023 results of this survey suggest that it is possible to create a positive work environment for midlevel associates even in a demanding industry like law. However, the poll also indicates that Biglaw midlevel associates are currently not too happy with their firms’ office culture and mandatory office attendance policies.

Against a tough economic backdrop, law firms across the country are getting stingier about expenses and are hounding associates on billable hours, while seizing a labor market advantage to go back on flexible work policies that previously helped them access national talent. According to the survey, firms’ expectations on billable hours during a "minor recession" are one of the main reasons for dissatisfaction among mid-level associates.

Respondents underlined that firm culture has deteriorated, and many partners have become "rude, dismissive, cruel" as work slowed down. "Every penny spent is scrutinized," a midlevel associate was quoted as saying. “I understand that it’s about the billable hours, but ‘what happened to everything else you valued during the busy times?’ is a question I ask myself lately."

Midlevel associates also complained about changing attitudes regarding office attendance, as many firms have called for a return to the office after previously allowing remote work. The decision has been met with discontent, with respondents mostly complaining about their firms’ lack of effort in making office work worth it. 

To increase satisfaction, firms need to invest in workplace culture, more than free food, and implement more transparency about firm strategies, layoffs, and partnership opportunities, the survey indicates.

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