Law firm associates know something about drudgery, at least to hear them tell tales of punishing hours, precision work and demanding bosses.

O’Melveny & Myers, showing that top firms can have some heart, has won the “best law firm to work for” in Vault’s 2019 annual quality of life rankings.

L.A.-based O’Melveny grabbed the No. 1 spot in the poll of some 20,000 associates who rate peer firms and their own experiences.

They cover areas like satisfaction and firm culture, as well as compensation, hours and informal training and mentoring.

O’Melveny beat out Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, which remained at No. 2.

Associates described O’Melveny as having a “laid back culture” and “super interesting work,” according to comments.

The results “reflect an ongoing collaboration among our leadership, talent team, and lawyers to enhance the associate and counsel experience at O’Melveny,” firm chair Bradley J. Butwin said

Each year Vault surveys law firm associates who review and comment on several aspects of their experience, including opinions of peer firm performance.

“Prestige and compensation will always be important for law firms, but a stellar work environment is becoming non-negotiable for many attorneys,” said Matt Moody, Vault’s senior law editor, who oversees the survey.

The shift in associate views resulted in a shakeup in which firms won out in a number of different quality-of-life categories this year, said Moody.

O’Melveny took top honors in more than a half-dozen categories, including firm culture and hours, and in satisfaction, associate/partner relations, quality of work, transparency and informal training and mentoring.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz remained at the top in the compensation category.

Kirkland & Ellis, which has been growing in personnel and revenues, was tops for business outlook.

Thompson & Knight cinched No. 1 in career outlook and Williams & Connolly the top place in selectivity.

In the pro bono category, Jenner & Block was No. 1.

After firm leaders O’Melveny and Fried, Frank, the global law firm Clifford Chance made its debut on the list, coming in at No. 3.

Paul Hastings was No. 4 and White & Case made the list for the first time with its No. 5 ranking.

Following them, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe was sixth, followed by Thompson & Knight, Ropes & Gray, and Crowell & Moring. Latham rounded out the list.