Regional law firms nudge out global giants in Sunday Times best employers guide

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By Katie King on

National med neg giant is in at expense of international megafirm


The number of law firms featuring in this year’s Sunday Times‘ 100 Best Companies to Work For survey has tumbled by 20% dropping from 10 to eight, leaving up and coming regional firms to bask in the glory left behind by big shot commercial outfits.

Law firms have been a staple feature year in the annual guide which claims to rank “the cream of Britain’s employers” with the City titans dominating — and to some extent that’s still the case. The likes of Kingsley Napley and Mills & Reeve have held strong at positions 23 and 74 respectively, but overall the corporate firms are dropping down the league table. Mishcon De Reya fell a hefty 10 places this year from seven to 17, while commercial superpower Baker & McKenzie — ranked 80 last year — has dropped off the list altogether.

Instead of the City firms, it has been up and coming regional practices that have led the way for the profession, with the likes of Exeter-based full-service practice Stephens Scown coming up trumps as the highest ranked law firm on the list at number 12.

Making its debut, fast-growing Fletchers Solicitors — now the biggest medical negligence firm in the UK — has come in at a respectable number 82. North West-based Fletchers employs 258 staff and is the only law firm in its sector to feature on the prestigious list, an achievement described by its CEO Ed Fletcher as “outstanding”.

When asked why he thinks the number of law firms featured on the list is falling, Fletcher told us:

It could be reflective of the fact the legal industry is renowned for its traditional and challenging work environment, but in order to stay ahead of the competition and recruit the right staff, firms now need to adapt and innovate.

Fletcher added that the ranking will help his firm lure the top graduate talent, explaining that he plans to use the accolade “to go out to the industry to confirm our great work as an employer and attract talented lawyers and promising trainees.”