Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

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Kohinoor
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Sep 19, 2010 1:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:But balancing all of the random shit you have to do, you also have HOURS PADDING going the other way.

That is the huge elephant in the room INDEED. I don't know a single attorney who would stop billing for a matter while he grabs a quick cup of coffee.

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Hattori Hanzo
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Hattori Hanzo » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:49 pm

Do smaller, mid-market firms have lower billable hours requirements or is it the same hours but for less money?

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:52 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But balancing all of the random shit you have to do, you also have HOURS PADDING going the other way.

That is the huge elephant in the room INDEED. I don't know a single attorney who would stop billing for a matter while he grabs a quick cup of coffee.


That's straight up fraud and I'm not willing to put my license on the line because I'm trying to eek out .1's on the client. I bill for every goddamn second I spend on a case and let partners write down my time, if they do. But I'm not about start padding. Getting a cup of coffee takes more than 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't bill for it. Maybe I'm a schmuck and I'd never get caught. Maybe everyone does it. But I won't.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But balancing all of the random shit you have to do, you also have HOURS PADDING going the other way.

That is the huge elephant in the room INDEED. I don't know a single attorney who would stop billing for a matter while he grabs a quick cup of coffee.


That's straight up fraud and I'm not willing to put my license on the line because I'm trying to eek out .1's on the client. I bill for every goddamn second I spend on a case and let partners write down my time, if they do. But I'm not about start padding. Getting a cup of coffee takes more than 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't bill for it. Maybe I'm a schmuck and I'd never get caught. Maybe everyone does it. But I won't.


Taking the moral high ground while working for biglaw? LOL!

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Kohinoor
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But balancing all of the random shit you have to do, you also have HOURS PADDING going the other way.

That is the huge elephant in the room INDEED. I don't know a single attorney who would stop billing for a matter while he grabs a quick cup of coffee.


That's straight up fraud and I'm not willing to put my license on the line because I'm trying to eek out .1's on the client. I bill for every goddamn second I spend on a case and let partners write down my time, if they do. But I'm not about start padding. Getting a cup of coffee takes more than 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't bill for it. Maybe I'm a schmuck and I'd never get caught. Maybe everyone does it. But I won't.

Hopefully your reward is in heaven because it's certainly not on earth.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:07 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:That's straight up fraud and I'm not willing to put my license on the line because I'm trying to eek out .1's on the client. I bill for every goddamn second I spend on a case and let partners write down my time, if they do. But I'm not about start padding. Getting a cup of coffee takes more than 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't bill for it. Maybe I'm a schmuck and I'd never get caught. Maybe everyone does it. But I won't.

Hopefully your reward is in heaven because it's certainly not on earth.

--ImageRemoved--

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But balancing all of the random shit you have to do, you also have HOURS PADDING going the other way.

That is the huge elephant in the room INDEED. I don't know a single attorney who would stop billing for a matter while he grabs a quick cup of coffee.


That's straight up fraud and I'm not willing to put my license on the line because I'm trying to eek out .1's on the client. I bill for every goddamn second I spend on a case and let partners write down my time, if they do. But I'm not about start padding. Getting a cup of coffee takes more than 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't bill for it. Maybe I'm a schmuck and I'd never get caught. Maybe everyone does it. But I won't.


WTF are you doing that getting a cup of coffee takes longer than 6 minutes? Does your office ot have coffee machines? Biglaw office amenities fail, if that's the case.

Also, you're getting coffee so you can continue to function and work on that case. Meh.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:19 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But balancing all of the random shit you have to do, you also have HOURS PADDING going the other way.

That is the huge elephant in the room INDEED. I don't know a single attorney who would stop billing for a matter while he grabs a quick cup of coffee.


That's straight up fraud and I'm not willing to put my license on the line because I'm trying to eek out .1's on the client. I bill for every goddamn second I spend on a case and let partners write down my time, if they do. But I'm not about start padding. Getting a cup of coffee takes more than 6 minutes. Therefore, I don't bill for it. Maybe I'm a schmuck and I'd never get caught. Maybe everyone does it. But I won't.


WTF are you doing that getting a cup of coffee takes longer than 6 minutes? Does your office ot have coffee machines? Biglaw office amenities fail, if that's the case.

Also, you're getting coffee so you can continue to function and work on that case. Meh.


Right. That's the way it works. I'll bill the client for the time spent pumping gas in my car, too.

FWIW, it's not about taking the moral high ground, it's about making sure I'm able to put bread on the table for my family and me. If I lost my license due to billing fraud, I'm uber-pwnd. If that means I have to work 40 extra minutes a week, so be it.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:22 pm

If you're traveling specifically for a client (i.e., you're going to court or something) - yes, most people wouldn't stop billing for gas-pumping time. If you're talking about getting to and from work, that is a ridiculous analogy.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:23 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:If you're traveling specifically for a client (i.e., you're going to court or something) - yes, most people wouldn't stop billing for gas-pumping time. If you're talking about getting to and from work, that is a ridiculous analogy.


Why's that, hoss? I'm not getting the cup of coffee specifically for that client.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:If you're traveling specifically for a client (i.e., you're going to court or something) - yes, most people wouldn't stop billing for gas-pumping time. If you're talking about getting to and from work, that is a ridiculous analogy.


Why's that, hoss? I'm not getting the cup of coffee specifically for that client.


Ugh. This is just silly-season. Point me to any documented disciplinary adjudication where a lawyer got billing-pwned for not flipping the switch when he/she was grabbing coffee (or going to the restroom, etc.)

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:33 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:If you're traveling specifically for a client (i.e., you're going to court or something) - yes, most people wouldn't stop billing for gas-pumping time. If you're talking about getting to and from work, that is a ridiculous analogy.


Why's that, hoss? I'm not getting the cup of coffee specifically for that client.


Ugh. This is just silly-season. Point me to any documented disciplinary adjudication where a lawyer got billing-pwned for not flipping the switch when he/she was grabbing coffee (or going to the restroom, etc.)


Wait, I thought the analogy was ridiculous. Now it's not. Now it's about hunting down documented proof? At my firm we're told specifically not to bill this time. Why exactly are your bathroom trips on the client dime again?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:If you're traveling specifically for a client (i.e., you're going to court or something) - yes, most people wouldn't stop billing for gas-pumping time. If you're talking about getting to and from work, that is a ridiculous analogy.


Why's that, hoss? I'm not getting the cup of coffee specifically for that client.


Ugh. This is just silly-season. Point me to any documented disciplinary adjudication where a lawyer got billing-pwned for not flipping the switch when he/she was grabbing coffee (or going to the restroom, etc.)


Wait, I thought the analogy was ridiculous. Now it's not. Now it's about hunting down documented proof? At my firm we're told specifically not to bill this time. Why exactly are your bathroom trips on the client dime again?


The analogy is ridiculous because, when you go to get a cup of coffee, unless you're switching matters, it's no different from taking a 2-minute mental rest - which everyone does, consciously or not (the brain is hard-wired to do this - even if you think you're working constantly, your brain occasionally checks out). On the other hand, if you're on your way to work filling your tank, you aren't momentarily stepping away from a matter that you're already working on. The situations are completely different.

Would you not bill if you were traveling to court for a client matter, and had to stop to fill your tank? You would honestly not bill that .1?

BobSacamano
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby BobSacamano » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:58 pm

Hattori Hanzo wrote:Do smaller, mid-market firms have lower billable hours requirements or is it the same hours but for less money?

The BigLaw firms in the market I'm in (smaller secondary) have billable requirements in the 1800-1900 range. This info comes both from NALP and from current associates. You'll be getting paid under market (even for that secondary market) but 100k for an 1800 billable range is a sweet deal.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:07 pm

BobSacamano wrote:
Hattori Hanzo wrote:Do smaller, mid-market firms have lower billable hours requirements or is it the same hours but for less money?

The BigLaw firms in the market I'm in (smaller secondary) have billable requirements in the 1800-1900 range. This info comes both from NALP and from current associates. You'll be getting paid under market (even for that secondary market) but 100k for an 1800 billable range is a sweet deal.


True. Have to keep in mind though, the work you're going to have is different, too.

There really is a huge difference between the kind of work someone can get in Milwaukee as opposed to Chicago, for example. That is true even at Foley, which is based in Milwaukee, but has a Chicago office. I'm sure the same holds true in other secondary markets.

People tend to think that 'biglaw work is biglaw work.' Probably true for your first year or two - probably not true once you get to a point where you're taking on more responsibility.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby crazycanuck » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:53 pm

Just looked through the Yale link, lol @ 5 weeks of vacation and only 5 day work weeks.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:02 pm

crazycanuck wrote:Just looked through the Yale link, lol @ 5 weeks of vacation and only 5 day work weeks.

It's pretty useless as far as calculators go.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby crazycanuck » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:18 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:Just looked through the Yale link, lol @ 5 weeks of vacation and only 5 day work weeks.

It's pretty useless as far as calculators go.


Clearly written by professors.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:22 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:Just looked through the Yale link, lol @ 5 weeks of vacation and only 5 day work weeks.

It's pretty useless as far as calculators go.


Clearly written by professors.

The calculator they link to is actually more useful but way more time consuming and still not very useful when the defining trait of firm work is fluctuating hours.

http://www.envoyglobal.net/jdbliss/test/calculator2.htm

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:33 pm

The firms at which I'm interviewing have billable averages ranging from 1800-2900. All pay at or above market.

The interesting thing about the high end is that they also have no face time requirement. Offices are typically empty by 5:30 on Fridays, and unless there is an impending trial, no one is in the office on weekends. That might take some of the "death" off of being worked to death.

Also, once you figure out the billing system, it's really not that hard to bill 50 hours a week (or ~2500 if you take into account two weeks off). When I was a summer (granted, most of it was being written off rather than being billed to clients), I decided to take a week to see how much I could bill and not feel like I was being worked to death. I had an hour commute each way, and I liked having some free time before bed. I managed to do 54 hours (6 AM-6 PM in the office + 6 hours at home spread out over the week).

If you're doing work you like, it probably wouldn't be that bad. I actually disliked a lot of what I was doing and it didn't kill me.

You just have to be creative. I ate at my desk. I brought things I needed to read to the bathroom with me or when I needed to walk somewhere else or when I had a personal appointment and had to be in a waiting room.

Granted, this was only 1 summer, so maybe others can chime in, but I get the sense that "worked to death" is different depending on 1) how much you like your work and 2) what kind of face time is expected.

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Kohinoor
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The firms at which I'm interviewing have billable averages ranging from 1800-2900. All pay at or above market.

The interesting thing about the high end is that they also have no face time requirement. Offices are typically empty by 5:30 on Fridays, and unless there is an impending trial, no one is in the office on weekends. That might take some of the "death" off of being worked to death.

Also, once you figure out the billing system, it's really not that hard to bill 50 hours a week (or ~2500 if you take into account two weeks off). When I was a summer (granted, most of it was being written off rather than being billed to clients), I decided to take a week to see how much I could bill and not feel like I was being worked to death. I had an hour commute each way, and I liked having some free time before bed. I managed to do 54 hours (6 AM-6 PM in the office + 6 hours at home spread out over the week).

If you're doing work you like, it probably wouldn't be that bad. I actually disliked a lot of what I was doing and it didn't kill me.

You just have to be creative. I ate at my desk. I brought things I needed to read to the bathroom with me or when I needed to walk somewhere else or when I had a personal appointment and had to be in a waiting room.

Granted, this was only 1 summer, so maybe others can chime in, but I get the sense that "worked to death" is different depending on 1) how much you like your work and 2) what kind of face time is expected.
I maintain that its only unmanageable for people that have never held a real job.

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:47 pm

My math was actually off re: 6 AM-6 PM. That would have put me at 60 hours for the week. There were a few days in there I left early, some significantly so (I think I left the office at 2 PM at some point that week).

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby crazycanuck » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:58 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The firms at which I'm interviewing have billable averages ranging from 1800-2900. All pay at or above market.

The interesting thing about the high end is that they also have no face time requirement. Offices are typically empty by 5:30 on Fridays, and unless there is an impending trial, no one is in the office on weekends. That might take some of the "death" off of being worked to death.

Also, once you figure out the billing system, it's really not that hard to bill 50 hours a week (or ~2500 if you take into account two weeks off). When I was a summer (granted, most of it was being written off rather than being billed to clients), I decided to take a week to see how much I could bill and not feel like I was being worked to death. I had an hour commute each way, and I liked having some free time before bed. I managed to do 54 hours (6 AM-6 PM in the office + 6 hours at home spread out over the week).

If you're doing work you like, it probably wouldn't be that bad. I actually disliked a lot of what I was doing and it didn't kill me.

You just have to be creative. I ate at my desk. I brought things I needed to read to the bathroom with me or when I needed to walk somewhere else or when I had a personal appointment and had to be in a waiting room.

Granted, this was only 1 summer, so maybe others can chime in, but I get the sense that "worked to death" is different depending on 1) how much you like your work and 2) what kind of face time is expected.
I maintain that its only unmanageable for people that have never held a real job.


Isn't this a large portion of law school grads?

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ResolutePear
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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby ResolutePear » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:18 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Why's that, hoss? I'm not getting the cup of coffee specifically for that client.


Ugh. This is just silly-season. Point me to any documented disciplinary adjudication where a lawyer got billing-pwned for not flipping the switch when he/she was grabbing coffee (or going to the restroom, etc.)


Wait, I thought the analogy was ridiculous. Now it's not. Now it's about hunting down documented proof? At my firm we're told specifically not to bill this time. Why exactly are your bathroom trips on the client dime again?


The analogy is ridiculous because, when you go to get a cup of coffee, unless you're switching matters, it's no different from taking a 2-minute mental rest - which everyone does, consciously or not (the brain is hard-wired to do this - even if you think you're working constantly, your brain occasionally checks out). On the other hand, if you're on your way to work filling your tank, you aren't momentarily stepping away from a matter that you're already working on. The situations are completely different.

Would you not bill if you were traveling to court for a client matter, and had to stop to fill your tank? You would honestly not bill that .1?


Are you guys seriously talking about fractions of billable hours?

Does a mechanic charge you for labor while he goes to jack off in the restroom after finding a women's sock in the trunk? Of course. Why would it be any different for lawyers?

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Re: Firm Hours: What Counts as Being "Worked to Death"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:59 pm

If you want to make yourself feel better about billing while getting a cup of coffee, bring a document that needs reading with you.




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