Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

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Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:58 pm

Obviously everyone has heard the horror stories about Biglaw and how as a junior associate you have to work 90-100 hour weeks. Is that actually how it is, though?

Most of the Biglaw firms in the Atlanta area I've spoken to have a 1900 or 2000 hour minimum. Assuming you work 50 weeks in a year, that is 40 billable hours per week. I would assume that, even considering how green a junior associate is, they could bill 40 hours a week in about 60-65 hours, right? I mean 60 hours ain't bad at all. 7-7 M-F and a half day Saturday.

Obviously I'm sure people are motivated to do more than just the minimum, but even if you bump it up to 2200 hours a year, I just don't see why you have to work 100 hours a week to get there?

Is my math way off on the ratio between hours worked and how it correlates to typically how much you bill in relation?

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zozin
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby zozin » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:00 pm

You're not going to consistently work 60 hrs/week for the entire year. When your hours dip in the 40s some weeks, you make it up by working 80+ other weeks when something needs to get done.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:03 pm

zozin wrote:You're not going to consistently work 60 hrs/week for the entire year. When your hours dip in the 40s some weeks, you make it up by working 80+ other weeks when something needs to get done.


So the AVERAGE is gonna be about 60-70 hrs (WORKING, not billing)/week? Is this true even at super elite firms?

That's actually not bad to deal with at all

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bk1
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby bk1 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:06 pm

This is old data (2006), but it gives an idea: http://www.averyindex.com/longest_hours.php

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:07 pm

zozin wrote:You're not going to consistently work 60 hrs/week for the entire year. When your hours dip in the 40s some weeks, you make it up by working 80+ other weeks when something needs to get done.


You're right zozin, and I should have said in my post that is how I understood it to be. But I mean averaging out to 60 hrs/week for $135,000 isn't bad at all.

I guess people mostly exaggerate how miserable it is to work in Biglaw. I think I've heard in places like NYC, it's more like 3000 billable hours, but doing 2000 doesn't seem like it would ruin your life.

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Lawl Shcool » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:08 pm

If it's on the internet its true, duh.

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bk1
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby bk1 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:09 pm

I'm skeptical whether people who claim that averaging 60-70 hours is "not bad" have ever worked those kind of hours (especially when you factor in that it often spikes above the average).

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:13 pm

bk1 wrote:I'm skeptical whether people who claim that averaging 60-70 hours is "not bad" have ever worked those kind of hours (especially when you factor in that it often spikes above the average).


You're probably right, bk. 60-70 hours is not a walk in the park, I didn't mean to make it sound like that. I meant "not bad" relative to what most people say about working at these places. And considering how much you get paid.

60-70 is a whole heck of a lot different than 90-100.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Renzo
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Renzo » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:13 pm

First, at some of the worst horror-story firms, 2000 hours is just not going to cut it.

See, e.g. this story (LinkRemoved), about how anyone billing less than 200 hrs a month is not busy, and needs to take on more.

But, for most firms, it's not the total amount of hours that's the killer; it's the unpredictability. You might sit around all day with no work, only to be pulled into an all-nighter right before you go home. Or you may be on your way to a hot first date, and someone will drop a bunch of shit on your desk that needs to be turned around by morning. Oh, and that vacation you've been looking forward to and planning for six months? Yeah, sorry. Something came up, and we need you here--but don't worry, we're not heartless, the firm will reimburse you for the nonrefundable tickets. If you really value your time away from work, that shit can get old.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby sunynp » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:14 pm

The hardest thing for me is working all night, or almost all night and through the next day. I really suffer if I don't get any sleep or only an hour or two. And then it is hard to catch up because you still have long days. After three days without much sleep I'm really done.
Last edited by sunynp on Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:14 pm

bk1 wrote:I'm skeptical whether people who claim that averaging 60-70 hours is "not bad" have ever worked those kind of hours (especially when you factor in that it often spikes above the average).


How busy is this time though?

I know last summer I worked in finance, and my hours were probably 70-80 on average, but we really didn't have that much to DO, we were just AT WORK all the time.

Is biglaw much more actual work?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby eandy » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:I'm skeptical whether people who claim that averaging 60-70 hours is "not bad" have ever worked those kind of hours (especially when you factor in that it often spikes above the average).


You're probably right, bk. 60-70 hours is not a walk in the park, I didn't mean to make it sound like that. I meant "not bad" relative to what most people say about working at these places.

60-70 is a whole heck of a lot different than 90-100.

12hrs a day is shitty in any context.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby IAFG » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:I'm skeptical whether people who claim that averaging 60-70 hours is "not bad" have ever worked those kind of hours (especially when you factor in that it often spikes above the average).


You're probably right, bk. 60-70 hours is not a walk in the park, I didn't mean to make it sound like that. I meant "not bad" relative to what most people say about working at these places.

60-70 is a whole heck of a lot different than 90-100.

I think there's a disconnect. I don't know anyone currently at a firm who says it's ALWAYS 100 hour weeks. They say it will be 100 hour weeks, and a few all-nighters for good measure, some of the time. Which is wretched. Pulling an all-nighter at 27 is not what it was at 20. A month of 100 hour weeks will put you through the wringer. And biglaw associates have the health problems to prove it.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:20 pm

There's also this fiction that you can choose how many hours to bill in a year. If your firm is really busy and everyone is on 2 deals, you can't just say no if they ask you to do a third. The people who bill 2500+ by and large aren't just huge gunners, but rather that's just how much work they're assigned.

Also, especially in corporate, you can't really choose when you bill your hours. Even if you have a 60 hour week (which is rare - more likely 80+ or 40), it's not going to be 9-9 M-F and half a day saturday. More likely it will be 9am-2am two days, then 9-5 another day, 9-midnight, etc. It all depends on workflow.

I don't think it's the absolute number of hours that people complain about. More it's the unpredictability and bad periods. It's not unheard of to bill 300+ hours in a month if you have two active deals.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Agent » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:22 pm

Keep in mind that this is a survey of midlevels.

This is old data (2006), but it gives an idea: http://www.averyindex.com/longest_hours.php

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:25 pm

Agent wrote:Keep in mind that this is a survey of midlevels.

This is old data (2006), but it gives an idea: http://www.averyindex.com/longest_hours.php


Do they work more or less than juniors? (I would guess more)

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby PMan99 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:I'm skeptical whether people who claim that averaging 60-70 hours is "not bad" have ever worked those kind of hours (especially when you factor in that it often spikes above the average).


How busy is this time though?

I know last summer I worked in finance, and my hours were probably 70-80 on average, but we really didn't have that much to DO, we were just AT WORK all the time.

Is biglaw much more actual work?


NY Corporate heavy firms (the ones that dominate the list above) are heavily dependent on finance work, so instead of being a banking associate's bitch with the title of analyst @ bulgebracket you're a banking associate's bitch with the title of junior associate @ xyz law firm. The hours should be a little better but you've seen how it's like, just in a different context.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby sunynp » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Agent wrote:Keep in mind that this is a survey of midlevels.

This is old data (2006), but it gives an idea: http://www.averyindex.com/longest_hours.php


Do they work more or less than juniors? (I would guess more)


NO. If you are on a deal and a person above you is working late, you better be there or you better make sure to confirm with them that they don't need you or want you. Even if all you have to do is help put stuff together or finish little things, you never leave them to do the work without you.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby ruski » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:04 pm

its not really the number of hours that is the killer, its the unpredictability. if you told me i need to build 45 hours this week, that's fine, i'll take a look at my schedule and plan accordingly, coming in early some days, etc. the problem is thats not how it works. most likely you'll have some work in the morning, be twittling your thumbs all afternoon, then all of a sudden u get a phone call at 5pm and your night is ruined. so more realistically, it's like someone saying "hey 3 nights out of this week you're going to be here till midnight. but i'm not going to tell you which nights until the day of; i'm also going to ruin 2 of your weekends this month, but won't tell you which until that friday." this is what gets really tough, as it keeps you from making any plans ever.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:16 pm

I agree that people who say 60-70 hours a week isn't bad probably haven't had full-time jobs before. That is enough work to seriously cut into socializing, relationships, sleep, hobbies, chores, or some combination of all of them. And that is even before accounting for the unpredictability, which as others have pointed out can be the real killer. But, $160k is also a ton of money.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:36 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I agree that people who say 60-70 hours a week isn't bad probably haven't had full-time jobs before. That is enough work to seriously cut into socializing, relationships, sleep, hobbies, chores, or some combination of all of them. And that is even before accounting for the unpredictability, which as others have pointed out can be the real killer. But, $160k is also a ton of money.


I worked closed to 60 hours a week for years, it isn't that bad. That said, it was a lot easier when I could log 10 hours from home. So If I'm going to a firm that will let me log about 15 hours a week from home, 60-65 hours should be the fine. I mean I am probably doing 60 - 65 hours a week now at school between school work and work.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:38 pm

The point many have made that unpredictability of workload is far worse than the aggregate hours is well taken.

Which areas of practice are typically the most predictable from time standpoint? Or are they all just about the same?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby IAFG » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:43 pm

r6_philly wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I agree that people who say 60-70 hours a week isn't bad probably haven't had full-time jobs before. That is enough work to seriously cut into socializing, relationships, sleep, hobbies, chores, or some combination of all of them. And that is even before accounting for the unpredictability, which as others have pointed out can be the real killer. But, $160k is also a ton of money.


I worked closed to 60 hours a week for years, it isn't that bad. That said, it was a lot easier when I could log 10 hours from home. So If I'm going to a firm that will let me log about 15 hours a week from home, 60-65 hours should be the fine. I mean I am probably doing 60 - 65 hours a week now at school between school work and work.

"Close to" 60 hours on average and 60-70 averaged over an erratic schedule are very different things, you know?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:45 pm

IAFG wrote:"Close to" 60 hours on average and 60-70 averaged over an erratic schedule are very different things, you know?


I was on-call 24/7 for almost 10 years. close to 60 means sometimes 40, sometimes late night for a week at a time, depending on which system is not working and how urgent it is to get it fixed.

I am working right now. lol

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:47 pm

I don't get the "work with no sleep" part. Who would want to rely on that work product?




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