ruski wrote:so i dont think someone who bills 3000 is really spending 4500 hours in the office, assuming a 66% efficiency level. that would be spending 90 hours a week in the office every single week with a 2 weeks vacation.

How about some actual statistics?

On the Avery Index website (

http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms.php ), law firms are ranked by hours worked and hours billed per week. According to the survey of 161 firms, WLRK ranked #161 or dead last for lowest work hours; real shocker, there. Associates

averaged billing 62.5 hours per week, and to do so they averaged 71.1 hours of work per week. Assuming 2 weeks of vacation, that means in the remaining 50 weeks they billed 3,125 hours by working 3,555 hours.

And these are averages, but how much more can you already work when you're already averaging 70 hours per week? If you put in 80 hours one week, that means you can get away with "only" 60 hours another week. There's no way to get so far ahead that you have under-40-hour "down" weeks and still keep that average, unless there are also weeks where you worked over 100 hours to offset them.

Think about that for a minute. 70+ hours per week,

every week. That's a 12-hour workday every day Monday-Friday and 10 hours left over for the weekend. I've worked real jobs that had long hours, and they suck. The longer you work the more mentally fatigued you get. After continuous 12-hour days you'll barely have enough energy to get yourself home and into bed.

The same list also adds up reported salary+bonus for midlevel associates, and converts it to a realistic $/hr figure. At WLRK, you're making $71.69/hr. But you can make nearly that much on a per-hour basis without killing yourself. At Debevoise, #132 on their list, people worked 57.6 hours to bill 47.5 hours on average, and did so at an effective $68.92/hr. Now, that's only a couple dollars an hour short of what you get for your time at WLRK, and your hours will on average be much more survivable. You could have the same weekday schedule, 12-hour days, but your weekends would be free. Or you could work the same 10 hours per weekend and need less than 10 hours per workday to do the rest. Either way, you're much less likely to burn out because you're working a less unreasonable number of hours.

And you're still getting paid almost as richly for each hour you're putting in. You're just not having to put in quite so many.