What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

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Glock
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Glock » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:56 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nealric wrote:As to whether 2,000 hours is acceptable, it depends on the firm, the office location, and the practice area. You will be shown the door pretty quickly billing 2,000 at Cravath, but 2,000 would be considered a very solid performance at a lot of secondary market offices or in a practice area like trusts and estates.

I'd say this is true, based on what I have heard from attorneys in my secondary market. Most firms have minimums around 1800-1900, and most associates will put in between 2000-2200, and some real workaholics will do 2,400ish.



Secondary markets and medium firms often offer much relaxed billing requirements. They also generally pay less. 1800 is pretty normal in a lot of places.

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reasonable_man
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:19 am

I'm at a small boutique firm in NYC. I'm on track for 2400 hours this year. That will put on target with the other associates. 2400 is not insane. I'm pretty sure I could do 2000 with my eyes closed.

I tend to take about 3 weeks of vacation a year and work pretty reasonable hours...

Kochel
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Kochel » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:19 am

In four years in Biglaw, which my friends and family refer to as my "lost years," I billed 2400 only once. It was the worst year of my life. I probably took only two weeks of vacation, worked at least part of almost every weekend, and had many post-midnight stints. That said, I was a junior corporate associate at the time, and I must have had several hundred non-billed hours on top of the 2400 billed. Those unbilled hours weren't just hours spent websurfing; they consisted of department meetings, summer lunches, and innumerable hours cooling my heels outside partners' offices waiting for a chance to consult.

In my experience, corporate associates were less "efficient" from a billing perspective than litigation associates. I suspect that's because corporate associates are more likely to be staffed on numerous clients/matters (and, accordingly, working for numerous different partners) simultaneously. Constantly shifting back and forth between matters costs time.

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vanwinkle
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:39 am

imchuckbass58 wrote:People talk about billing 2000 hours as if it's hard, or as if it's a decision you make. Except in downturns, very few people need to make an effort to hit their hours. At my SA firm, nobody even thought twice about it. The reason is unless you want to get pushed out, you will do everything you're asked to do, unless you are totally, absolutely slammed and can legitimately say you have no time to do what the partner is asking you to do. Most associates at my firm hit 2200-2500 hours, not because they made a deliberate decision to bill that much, but because that's how much work there is, and by doing everything they were asked, that is how much they billed.

rayiner wrote:When you're busy (in Corp) you're billing nearly all your time. The inefficiency comes from when you have a lull in work but have to come in anyway.

This is what I've gathered, especially on the corporate side. I spoke to a corporate associate this summer and asked about hours, and his response was basically, "I don't worry about hitting hours. If I do what I need to do, I end up with far more hours than I need. I've never had to worry about hitting a minimum."

However, I think what OP was trying to ask is what your days at a firm look like if you're hitting your targets. Some days you put in minimal face time and go home, because you don't have any assignments that are moving. Some days you literally work all day and all night. I summered at a firm that provided you a Seamless account and covered your dinner if you ordered delivery to your office after 8PM. The fact that they have such a setup should tell you how often you might end up working that late. That's not "staying until after 8PM" late, that's "staying so late that even after 8PM it makes sense to get food delivered so you don't have to leave the office" late. It can vary a lot from what I could tell, depending on the stage of your current projects. A lot of projects have lull times and horrifically busy periods, and it's the latter where you're at the office all night for days at a time.

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Ernert
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Ernert » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:52 am

0L here. Just wanted to say despite 2389423 threads on this topic already, I found some of the perspectives in this one particularly interesting. Thanks for beating a dead horse?

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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:39 pm

Old thread, but Yale updated this just this month, here is the link:

https://law.yale.edu/student-life/caree ... lable-hour

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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Old thread, but Yale updated this just this month, here is the link:

https://law.yale.edu/student-life/caree ... lable-hour

This is still stupid as shit. No one takes a one hour lunch. No one takes that many coffee breaks.

If you have work, you can bill pretty much from the second your ass hits your chair in the morning to the second you leave it at night. If you take subway/bus to work, you can probably bill a bit on there reading over some shit (although be careful as to not look at anything privileged/confidential/sensitive).

Most places let you plug in a bit from home. It's pretty easy to veg out on the couch while doing some doc review/editing a draft/doing some research if you need to while your SO watches "Say Yes to the Dress" for the millionth time. If you have steady workflow, there's no reason you should be working 10 hours to bill less than 8 unless you just want to spend an hour dicking around on TLS.

Not to say Biglaw isn't soul-crushing. A lot of it sucks. Billing every 6 minutes you're at work is annoying. The issues with Biglaw isn't the hours you work, it's the being on call 24/7 and when your workflow is inconsistent (nothing to do one week, getting dumped on the following week).

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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:09 pm

Since this is back, can someone be more specific about the difference between corp and lit? It seems like most of the posts on this thread deal with corporate hours (wildly unpredictable cycles, 20 hour days followed by nothing, etc.). I was under the impression that litigation ultimately works the same amount of time but at a steadier pace. How accurate is that impression?

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barkschool
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby barkschool » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Old thread, but Yale updated this just this month, here is the link:

https://law.yale.edu/student-life/caree ... lable-hour


Having someone else do the math Is such a comforting thing

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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:41 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Since this is back, can someone be more specific about the difference between corp and lit? It seems like most of the posts on this thread deal with corporate hours (wildly unpredictable cycles, 20 hour days followed by nothing, etc.). I was under the impression that litigation ultimately works the same amount of time but at a steadier pace. How accurate is that impression?

There are fire drills in Lit too, but generally you have an idea of where your time pressures are going to be, and it's generally easier to schedule vacations and the like. Depositions/trials/etc. are going to be those 20 hour days situations, but otherwise the schedule isn't too bad.

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Raiden
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Raiden » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:10 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:30 minutes of non-billable correspondence? 2.5 hours of non-billable correspondence per week? I truely don't even know what that could mean.

And the "vacation" gets eaten up by coming in at noon or leaving at 2 every now and then - and when you hit a lag in your work load, and when you do your "non-billable correspondence."


How does your vacation get eaten up that way? Do you have to sign in when you are at work that lets HR know? I figured for most firms it's an honor system of when you come and leave from work, besides the fact that others notice when you come/leave.

cavalier1138
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:28 pm

Raiden wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:30 minutes of non-billable correspondence? 2.5 hours of non-billable correspondence per week? I truely don't even know what that could mean.

And the "vacation" gets eaten up by coming in at noon or leaving at 2 every now and then - and when you hit a lag in your work load, and when you do your "non-billable correspondence."


How does your vacation get eaten up that way? Do you have to sign in when you are at work that lets HR know? I figured for most firms it's an honor system of when you come and leave from work, besides the fact that others notice when you come/leave.


I assume that it's not "eaten up" in the literal sense that you lose vacation time. If you come in at noon, you obviously can't bill as many hours that day. Do that enough, and you won't be able to take a 2-week vacation and still hit your billable target.

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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby lolwat » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:57 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Since this is back, can someone be more specific about the difference between corp and lit? It seems like most of the posts on this thread deal with corporate hours (wildly unpredictable cycles, 20 hour days followed by nothing, etc.). I was under the impression that litigation ultimately works the same amount of time but at a steadier pace. How accurate is that impression?


I haven't worked in both but everything I read on TLS suggests your impression is generally correct. I'm in lit and generally know my current deadlines and can foresee most of my upcoming work. I mean I know when depos are being scheduled, I know when trial is scheduled, and so on... If the amount of work is likely going to take me 180-200 hours for the next month, I'm going to try to turn down more work (which leaves me open to taking emergencies no one else can take). If it's only going to be 150-160, then I'll either ask for some more work or just try to enjoy a slower month.

Now sometimes there's a pile of emergency work for whatever reason or another, or the firm suddenly picks up more cases than we have capacity to handle, but as a very, very general matter upcoming work in lit is relatively foreseeable.

Seffer15
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Seffer15 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:01 pm

2000 hours could look totally different depending on the type of work you're doing (i.e. whether it's steady with longer deadlines or a mid-week firedrill after being totally slow). I've had 40 billable hour weeks that are WAY worse than 60 billable hour weeks. Just look at this 40 billable hour week example below:

2 hours Monday (but still in the office 9:30-6), 2 hours Tuesday (but still in the office 9:30-6), 2 hours Wednesday until staffed on an emergency deal 4pm and bill an additional 12 hours (4pm - 4am), 15 hours Thursday (9am - 1am with 1 hour non-billable time), 7 hours Friday for a 5pm signing (9am - 5pm with 1 hour non-billable time).

Yeah, 40 billable hours in a week seems totally manageable, but more often it's going to look like the example above than 8 billable hours each day during relatively normal business hours. Especially for corporate folks. THAT's why it sucks. It's not the number of hours but how those hours end up being allocated.

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Raiden
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Raiden » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:15 pm

Seffer15 wrote:2000 hours could look totally different depending on the type of work you're doing (i.e. whether it's steady with longer deadlines or a mid-week firedrill after being totally slow). I've had 40 billable hour weeks that are WAY worse than 60 billable hour weeks. Just look at this 40 billable hour week example below:

2 hours Monday (but still in the office 9:30-6), 2 hours Tuesday (but still in the office 9:30-6), 2 hours Wednesday until staffed on an emergency deal 4pm and bill an additional 12 hours (4pm - 4am), 15 hours Thursday (9am - 1am with 1 hour non-billable time), 7 hours Friday for a 5pm signing (9am - 5pm with 1 hour non-billable time).

Yeah, 40 billable hours in a week seems totally manageable, but more often it's going to look like the example above than 8 billable hours each day during relatively normal business hours. Especially for corporate folks. THAT's why it sucks. It's not the number of hours but how those hours end up being allocated.


So when you are billing for only two hours a day, is it acceptable to just be browsing the internet or hanging out or whatever in the office? Or do partners expecting you to be doing something else?

Seffer15
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Re: What does it really mean to bill 2,000 hours?

Postby Seffer15 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:43 pm

Raiden wrote:
Seffer15 wrote:2000 hours could look totally different depending on the type of work you're doing (i.e. whether it's steady with longer deadlines or a mid-week firedrill after being totally slow). I've had 40 billable hour weeks that are WAY worse than 60 billable hour weeks. Just look at this 40 billable hour week example below:

2 hours Monday (but still in the office 9:30-6), 2 hours Tuesday (but still in the office 9:30-6), 2 hours Wednesday until staffed on an emergency deal 4pm and bill an additional 12 hours (4pm - 4am), 15 hours Thursday (9am - 1am with 1 hour non-billable time), 7 hours Friday for a 5pm signing (9am - 5pm with 1 hour non-billable time).

Yeah, 40 billable hours in a week seems totally manageable, but more often it's going to look like the example above than 8 billable hours each day during relatively normal business hours. Especially for corporate folks. THAT's why it sucks. It's not the number of hours but how those hours end up being allocated.


So when you are billing for only two hours a day, is it acceptable to just be browsing the internet or hanging out or whatever in the office? Or do partners expecting you to be doing something else?


At my firm, you could get away with doing that stuff (internet surfing, fucking around with other people in your class, etc.) while in the office. We also didn't have strict facetime requirements, so when you're slow, you can get away with coming in later, taking a gym class in the middle of the day, or leaving the office early (although this was usually riskier since it's much more likely to get staffed on something or given work later in the day).

My point is that if every week was like that, my quality of life would be horrible and I wouldn't even be billing that much from an hours perspective. That's why it's hard to say what 1800, 2000, 2200, etc. hours "looks like" because you can't predict how those hours are going to come, especially in corporate.

As many say, litigation is more predictable, but you still have your share of really busy weeks/months and down periods.




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