Slaughter & May (average 8.47 out of 10),  Bird & Bird and Berwin Leighton Paisner emerged as the top rated law firms in the UK top 20 according to the ninth major client satisfaction research project by Legal Week which canvassed the opinions of more than 1,200 clients.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer improved performance to achieve fourth position with a score of 7.83. Every firm in the top 20 scored more than 7.5 with an average grade of 7.83.

Six criteria are used:

  1. Cost/billing practices
  2. Service delivery/responsiveness
  3. Use of IT/knowledge management
  4. Personal/partner relationships
  5. Quality of legal advice
  6. Quality of commercial advice

Overall client satisfaction has increased in all six categories since 2010. Happiness with cost/billing practices reached a new high of 7.2 – up from 6.5 in 2010 against a significant fall in annual legal spend.

Satisfaction ratings fell for Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.

Beyond the UK top 20 to the top 50 and leading US practices US firms Squire Saunders and Latham & Watkins ranked highest, followed by Mishcon de Reya at 8.48.

The 200 page report is available from