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

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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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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...

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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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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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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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