Johnson Winter & Slattery
Top shelf work in a boutique environment
Johnson Winter & Slattery, or JWS, as it is primarily often referred to, is an independent Australian boutique law firm established in 1993. It is by no means as large or long-standing as other law firms but has built a footprint larger than its weight class, with over 75 partners spread across offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the most recently opened, Canberra office.
Touted as a firm where “people look out for each other” on their website, we’ve heard that JWS’s culture is one of its strong suits. Partners and senior associates are friendly, approachable and supportive, with leadership placing heavy emphasis on the long-term growth of its staff. There is a “human approach” to how people work here and a genuine open door policy, reflecting a flat and friendly structure. The partners are switched on and any junior lawyer can expect to learn a lot in this environment.
Despite its smaller size, there is plenty of solid work that goes around thanks to the solid reputation that the firm has with its clients. For a firm of this size, its Band 3 ranks in corporate, banking and dispute resolution is impressive. Lawyers here have found the work to be “high value, complex and high-profile”. Whilst you won’t be working on the largest matters in the industry (you’ll have to go to the larger firms for that), JWS still provides a desirable balance between work-life balance and working on interesting matters.
The firm has a lower leveraged model than its competitors, so you can be sure that you will be in the thick of it, if that is something you like. As a result, your days will be varied, with hours varying based on the matter you are involved in. Weekend work may be requested of you but it is certainly not as much as other top-tiers. Management are great at spreading the work nationally, and this helps with easing the load in busy times.
Remuneration is generous and at certain levels, on par with other larger firms. The explanation here could be due to the lack of other cool perks such as gym memberships or other discounts that you might ordinarily find at the top-tiers.
Apart from its smaller size and naturally less access to the top-tier work in the market, there really aren’t too many complaints coming out of JWS. If a great culture and interesting (though more mid-market) work is what you are looking for, then JWS may well be one of your top picks.