How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

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How many hours are you working?

Less than 35
6
8%
35-45
1
1%
45-55
16
23%
55-65
26
37%
65+
22
31%
 
Total votes: 71

ManOurHouseisGreat

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby ManOurHouseisGreat » Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:28 pm

How about spreading the hours out over a couple more weeks (e.g., working 50 weeks instead of 47)? Is that something people do?

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thesealocust

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:05 pm

ManOurHouseisGreat wrote:How about spreading the hours out over a couple more weeks (e.g., working 50 weeks instead of 47)? Is that something people do?


Is "not take vacation" something people do? Absolutely. Many firms even offer "unlimited" yearly vacation because they know associates will be too busy trying to hit hourly targets to take much, if any, vacation.

Plus it can be hard to schedule, and if something important comes up, the firm may not be sympathetic and either require or strongly advise you to modify your plans.

ManOurHouseisGreat

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby ManOurHouseisGreat » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:15 pm

thesealocust wrote:
ManOurHouseisGreat wrote:How about spreading the hours out over a couple more weeks (e.g., working 50 weeks instead of 47)? Is that something people do?


Is "not take vacation" something people do? Absolutely. Many firms even offer "unlimited" yearly vacation because they know associates will be too busy trying to hit hourly targets to take much, if any, vacation.

Plus it can be hard to schedule, and if something important comes up, the firm may not be sympathetic and either require or strongly advise you to modify your plans.

Right. But those three extra weeks should make the hours much more manageable, no?

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IsThisForReal

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby IsThisForReal » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:22 pm

.
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thesealocust

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:23 pm

ManOurHouseisGreat wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
ManOurHouseisGreat wrote:How about spreading the hours out over a couple more weeks (e.g., working 50 weeks instead of 47)? Is that something people do?


Is "not take vacation" something people do? Absolutely. Many firms even offer "unlimited" yearly vacation because they know associates will be too busy trying to hit hourly targets to take much, if any, vacation.

Plus it can be hard to schedule, and if something important comes up, the firm may not be sympathetic and either require or strongly advise you to modify your plans.

Right. But those three extra weeks should make the hours much more manageable, no?


Not really? For starters, you'll go crazy and burn out if you give up your vacation. For another, as I've tried to emphasize, biglaw is about working on cases and deals and projects, not making hours. The partners win work and it gets assigned in some kind of haphazard situation, and you may or may not have any control over how much you wind up working, much less when.

The work generally can't be spread. The case will have a filing or the deal will have to close, you probably can't just smooth your workload out by not taking vacation.

Plus firms have very different policies about hours. Some - especially "top" firms - have no hours requirement at all, but their business model is for everyone to be brutally overwhelmed all the time. Other firms have strict hours requirements and/or bonus cutoffs, but just because you have an hours target doesn't mean you're not at the mercy of the partners and senior associates for getting work.

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Desert Fox

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Postby Desert Fox » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:48 pm

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ManOurHouseisGreat

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby ManOurHouseisGreat » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:14 pm

thesealocust wrote:
ManOurHouseisGreat wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
ManOurHouseisGreat wrote:How about spreading the hours out over a couple more weeks (e.g., working 50 weeks instead of 47)? Is that something people do?


Is "not take vacation" something people do? Absolutely. Many firms even offer "unlimited" yearly vacation because they know associates will be too busy trying to hit hourly targets to take much, if any, vacation.

Plus it can be hard to schedule, and if something important comes up, the firm may not be sympathetic and either require or strongly advise you to modify your plans.

Right. But those three extra weeks should make the hours much more manageable, no?


Not really? For starters, you'll go crazy and burn out if you give up your vacation. For another, as I've tried to emphasize, biglaw is about working on cases and deals and projects, not making hours. The partners win work and it gets assigned in some kind of haphazard situation, and you may or may not have any control over how much you wind up working, much less when.

The work generally can't be spread. The case will have a filing or the deal will have to close, you probably can't just smooth your workload out by not taking vacation.

Plus firms have very different policies about hours. Some - especially "top" firms - have no hours requirement at all, but their business model is for everyone to be brutally overwhelmed all the time. Other firms have strict hours requirements and/or bonus cutoffs, but just because you have an hours target doesn't mean you're not at the mercy of the partners and senior associates for getting work.

There seemed to be a tension between the notions of "not being able to take vacation because you're so busy" (which implies a ton of work all the time) and "taking a vacation to get away from the pressures of firm life" (which implies work stops/diminishes while you're away), but yeah, alright, makes sense.

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jrf12886

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby jrf12886 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:51 am

People do take their vacation. It's just a matter of planning it well in advance and letting people know (and pushing back a little if they try to make you change your plans). If you absolutely do have to change plans, the firm does reimburse any cancellation fees you have to pay (I know people who had it happen).

Personally, I don't use much vacation time. We have the option to sell it back when you leave, so I'm going roll it over up the max reimbursement before I take any. Plus, the more vacation you take, the harder it is to make your hours. I don't feel so bad when I have a 40 hour (billed) week because I know I have the full year to make up for slow weeks.

ebb44

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby ebb44 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:44 am

I see firms with 1800-2000 (minimum?) billable hours on NALP and $140K-$160 starting pay. It seems like some firms count professional development and other work towards the minimum. How does this work in practice? Also, can you be respectable and work the minimum requirement?

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thesealocust

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:35 am

ebb44 wrote:I see firms with 1800-2000 (minimum?) billable hours on NALP and $140K-$160 starting pay. It seems like some firms count professional development and other work towards the minimum. How does this work in practice? Also, can you be respectable and work the minimum requirement?


It's largely out of your control. Firms don't assign work based on hours, they assign it based on what has to get done and who is available to do it. The conventional wisdom is that what a firm publicizes as its billable hour target or minimum or bonus requirement has very little to do with reality. The partners are incentivized to bring in as much work as possible and staff matters as leanly as possible.

As for working the minimum requirement, you can try to coast, decline work, and put in the minimum effort, but you'll definitely not be seen in a positive light while doing so. If the firm is busy and you're not busting your ass, your peers are going to be pulling the weight instead. If you're leaving at 7 each day while they stay until midnight...

Having said all of that, you can definitely research firms and markets and get a sense for what firms will be busier or less busy. I'm certain that the biggest New York corporate law firms, for example, really do work their associates harder than smaller law firms in Ohio. But it definitely doesn't have anything to do with the published billable minimum, and it varies significantly between firms and markets.

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Desert Fox

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Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:31 pm

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whats an updog

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby whats an updog » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:45 pm

thesealocust wrote:When I worked in biglaw, I kept a receipt on my desk from the drug store across the street from the office. It was from 4:30 a.m. and was for a bottle of caffeine pills, a bottle of ibuprofen, a toothbrush and tooth paste.

It was a reminder to seek alternative employment :lol:


So what do you do now then?

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thesealocust

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:50 pm

whats an updog wrote:
thesealocust wrote:When I worked in biglaw, I kept a receipt on my desk from the drug store across the street from the office. It was from 4:30 a.m. and was for a bottle of caffeine pills, a bottle of ibuprofen, a toothbrush and tooth paste.

It was a reminder to seek alternative employment :lol:


So what do you do now then?


To quote Desert Fox, I live in a van down by the river, teach 1Ls how to IRAC, and eat pizza.

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whats an updog

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby whats an updog » Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:58 pm

that's p sweet

DJ JD

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby DJ JD » Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:09 pm

This thread is depressing

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Attax

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby Attax » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:17 am

thesealocust wrote:
whats an updog wrote:
thesealocust wrote:When I worked in biglaw, I kept a receipt on my desk from the drug store across the street from the office. It was from 4:30 a.m. and was for a bottle of caffeine pills, a bottle of ibuprofen, a toothbrush and tooth paste.

It was a reminder to seek alternative employment :lol:


So what do you do now then?


To quote Desert Fox, I live in a van down by the river, teach 1Ls how to IRAC, and eat pizza.


It seems like such a swell life!

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thesealocust

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:28 am

It has its perks. I don't have a BMW or Audi, but I also have free time, which is nice ;)

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DELG

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby DELG » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:01 am

ebb44 wrote:I see firms with 1800-2000 (minimum?) billable hours on NALP and $140K-$160 starting pay. It seems like some firms count professional development and other work towards the minimum. How does this work in practice? Also, can you be respectable and work the minimum requirement?

Taking less money at a firm that has less work and hoping it leads to work life balance is not wise

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rpupkin

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:14 pm

Desert Fox wrote:also 2000 hours blows ridiculously large horse cock

This cannot be stressed enough. I heard so many law students say shit like: "2000 hours is just 40 hours a week, 50 days a year. I don't see what the big deal is."

2,000 honestly billed hours is a tremendous amount of work. You'll have some free time, but you basically have to give up either your evenings or your weekends.

I have no idea how people bill 2,500 to 3,000 hours a year.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby trebekismyhero » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:16 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:also 2000 hours blows ridiculously large horse cock

This cannot be stressed enough. I heard so many law students say shit like: "2000 hours is just 40 hours a week, 50 days a year. I don't see what the big deal is."

2,000 honestly billed hours is a tremendous amount of work. You'll have some free time, but you basically have to give up either your evenings or your weekends.

I have no idea how people bill 2,500 to 3,000 hours a year.


I have a friend that billed over 2800 hours last year doing litigation. I asked him how he did it. He got to work at 7 am everyday and worked in the office until 8 pm. He had dinner with his fiance, then did some work from home until midnight. He said his weekends were mostly free, but he didn't take a vacation

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rpupkin

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:49 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:also 2000 hours blows ridiculously large horse cock

This cannot be stressed enough. I heard so many law students say shit like: "2000 hours is just 40 hours a week, 50 days a year. I don't see what the big deal is."

2,000 honestly billed hours is a tremendous amount of work. You'll have some free time, but you basically have to give up either your evenings or your weekends.

I have no idea how people bill 2,500 to 3,000 hours a year.


I have a friend that billed over 2800 hours last year doing litigation. I asked him how he did it. He got to work at 7 am everyday and worked in the office until 8 pm. He had dinner with his fiance, then did some work from home until midnight. He said his weekends were mostly free, but he didn't take a vacation

Exactly. If you can work from 7 a.m. till midnight Monday through Friday--with your only break being dinner with your finance--for 50 weeks a year, then you're not going to have a problem hitting 2,500 to 3,000 hours. But I would quit if I had to do that for an entire year.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby trebekismyhero » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:01 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
I have a friend that billed over 2800 hours last year doing litigation. I asked him how he did it. He got to work at 7 am everyday and worked in the office until 8 pm. He had dinner with his fiance, then did some work from home until midnight. He said his weekends were mostly free, but he didn't take a vacation

Exactly. If you can work from 7 a.m. till midnight Monday through Friday--with your only break being dinner with your finance--for 50 weeks a year, then you're not going to have a problem hitting 2,500 to 3,000 hours. But I would quit if I had to do that for an entire year.


Yeah, it sounds like hell. He did get a sweet bonus though

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Johann

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby Johann » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:11 pm

DELG wrote:
ebb44 wrote:I see firms with 1800-2000 (minimum?) billable hours on NALP and $140K-$160 starting pay. It seems like some firms count professional development and other work towards the minimum. How does this work in practice? Also, can you be respectable and work the minimum requirement?

Taking less money at a firm that has less work and hoping it leads to work life balance is not wise


This isn't really true. I'm pretty sure I'm profitable around the 1000 hour mark. Firms in small cities don't need associates billing even 2000 hours a year to fire people, let alone NYC hours. If you're billing 1600 hours in NYC, that is problematic because they can find 2 people to do 3 of you and your 1600 hour peeps to replace you. 1600 in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Partner track.

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DELG

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby DELG » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:36 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
DELG wrote:
ebb44 wrote:I see firms with 1800-2000 (minimum?) billable hours on NALP and $140K-$160 starting pay. It seems like some firms count professional development and other work towards the minimum. How does this work in practice? Also, can you be respectable and work the minimum requirement?

Taking less money at a firm that has less work and hoping it leads to work life balance is not wise


This isn't really true. I'm pretty sure I'm profitable around the 1000 hour mark. Firms in small cities don't need associates billing even 2000 hours a year to fire people, let alone NYC hours. If you're billing 1600 hours in NYC, that is problematic because they can find 2 people to do 3 of you and your 1600 hour peeps to replace you. 1600 in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Partner track.

lol okay

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thesealocust

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Re: How many hours are you working in Biglaw?

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:52 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
DELG wrote:
ebb44 wrote:I see firms with 1800-2000 (minimum?) billable hours on NALP and $140K-$160 starting pay. It seems like some firms count professional development and other work towards the minimum. How does this work in practice? Also, can you be respectable and work the minimum requirement?

Taking less money at a firm that has less work and hoping it leads to work life balance is not wise


This isn't really true. I'm pretty sure I'm profitable around the 1000 hour mark. Firms in small cities don't need associates billing even 2000 hours a year to fire people, let alone NYC hours. If you're billing 1600 hours in NYC, that is problematic because they can find 2 people to do 3 of you and your 1600 hour peeps to replace you. 1600 in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Partner track.


lol okay



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