Billable Hour Q

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Anonymous User
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Billable Hour Q

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:43 pm

What is the practical difference between having to work 1800, 1950 or 2000 billable hours in a year? I'm looking at firms in a couple of markets that have these requirements, but I'm not sure what the practical difference is in terms of lifestyle or actual hours. I found the Yale Law billable hour thing to be relatively unhelpful. Thanks!

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a11 1n
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby a11 1n » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:47 pm

.

071816
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby 071816 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:54 pm

a11 1n wrote:.

I hate when people do this. Just delete the fucking post next time.

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bruinfan10
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby bruinfan10 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:07 pm

chimp wrote:
a11 1n wrote:.

I hate when people do this. Just delete the fucking post next time.

u mad bro?

OP, I imagine it means you need to work a few hundred hours more per year? Although apparently partner-track attorneys routinely bill way above the guideline minimum (2400, 2600, etc), and first year associates tend to have more unpredictable billables often skewing a little lower than the guideline.

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pjo
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby pjo » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What is the practical difference between having to work 1800, 1950 or 2000 billable hours in a year? I'm looking at firms in a couple of markets that have these requirements, but I'm not sure what the practical difference is in terms of lifestyle or actual hours. I found the Yale Law billable hour thing to be relatively unhelpful. Thanks!



I would love to hear some other ppl's thoughts on this, but IMO, the difference is going to depend largely on your efficiency. How much do you anticipate your billable hours to worked hours will be? If you can bill 80-90% of your time (which is actually possible so long as your firm has the work), then the difference between 1800 to 2000 will be pretty true to form (i.e. the difference will be appx. 4 extra weeks of work; billing 50 hours a week). If your efficiency rate is down at 50-60%, then you're looking at maybe 6-8 additional work weeks.

Generally speaking, the difference between 1800 and 2100 is probably pretty substantial. The difference between 1800 and 1900 is probably not that noticeable, assuming your firm has enough work to keep you busy.
Last edited by pjo on Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

071816
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby 071816 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:10 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
chimp wrote:
a11 1n wrote:.

I hate when people do this. Just delete the fucking post next time.

u mad bro?

OP, I imagine it means you need to work a few hundred hours more per year? Although apparently partner-track attorneys routinely bill way above the guideline minimum (2400, 2600, etc), and first year associates tend to have more unpredictable billables often skewing a little lower than the guideline.

Image

Anonymous User
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:14 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
chimp wrote:
a11 1n wrote:.

I hate when people do this. Just delete the fucking post next time.

u mad bro?

OP, I imagine it means you need to work a few hundred hours more per year? Although apparently partner-track attorneys routinely bill way above the guideline minimum (2400, 2600, etc), and first year associates tend to have more unpredictable billables often skewing a little lower than the guideline.


does this apply to non-nyc markets like atlanta and dc? so if the billable requirement is 1900, you'd have to hit 2100-2200 to be on partnership track? I'm not thinking top-flight firms, i'm thinking lower vault 100.

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pjo
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby pjo » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:
chimp wrote:
a11 1n wrote:.

I hate when people do this. Just delete the fucking post next time.

u mad bro?

OP, I imagine it means you need to work a few hundred hours more per year? Although apparently partner-track attorneys routinely bill way above the guideline minimum (2400, 2600, etc), and first year associates tend to have more unpredictable billables often skewing a little lower than the guideline.


does this apply to non-nyc markets like atlanta and dc? so if the billable requirement is 1900, you'd have to hit 2100-2200 to be on partnership track? I'm not thinking top-flight firms, i'm thinking lower vault 100.


Yes, most firms stated billable hour is the bare minimum required. Some firms are not like this, however most require at least an additional 200 hours or so above the stated requirement to be in line with partnership prospects. If you don't have aspirations of making partner, I have heard of some secondary market firms that don't even require you to hit the target, so long as you're fairly close to the target and you're ok with not getting a bonus.

The other thing you haev to be careful about, especially with secondary market firms is how they do allotments. I've heard of some firms telling a client that a specific project would take an associate 4 hours to do. If the associate takes more than that time, then they may not get credit towards their required yearly billable hour for the time in excess of the estimation by the partner (which is often too low). At other firms, you may still get credit towards your billable hour requirement but they wouldn't count it toward your bonus.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:19 pm

I will add just for comparison that in my large Detroit firm, going above the hours requirement seems to be meaningless for partnership prospects. Instead, its entirely about developing business. Shoot, I WISH all it took was billing mad hours.... However, the upside is fiscal health of the firm - partners are all bringing in money, and you don't have many dead-weight partners.

But we do get full credit for all hours we bill vis-a-vis bonuses, even if the billing partner writes off some time for whatever reason (usually to keep the bill in line with expectations rather than because it took someone too long than it should have). I've never been told I took much time on anything. Better to be right and produce a good product than watch the clock.

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gyarados
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby gyarados » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:23 pm

Yeah, anyone who thinks you make partner just by billing a lot is kidding themselves. I honestly don't think the star associate I know who is a sure bet for partner bills any more than anyone else.

letsdoit
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby letsdoit » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:46 pm

gyarados wrote:Yeah, anyone who thinks you make partner just by billing a lot is kidding themselves. I honestly don't think the star associate I know who is a sure bet for partner bills any more than anyone else.


Can you elaborate?

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gyarados
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby gyarados » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:04 pm

letsdoit wrote:
gyarados wrote:Yeah, anyone who thinks you make partner just by billing a lot is kidding themselves. I honestly don't think the star associate I know who is a sure bet for partner bills any more than anyone else.


Can you elaborate?

Moving up in a law firm is about a) building a skill set; and b) building a book of business. If you're still doing work as a sixth year that junior associates do, you're not making partner. Those feed off each other - if your skills are great, you'll get client contact sooner, and you'll get results, which makes clients use you next time. The guy I know has a skill set as a third year that's way beyond the other third years. So instead of doing some stuff they normally handle themselves, the partners send him to do it. Which makes it obvious he's going to make partner.

anon168
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:07 am

gyarados wrote:
letsdoit wrote:
gyarados wrote:Yeah, anyone who thinks you make partner just by billing a lot is kidding themselves. I honestly don't think the star associate I know who is a sure bet for partner bills any more than anyone else.


Can you elaborate?

Moving up in a law firm is about a) building a skill set; and b) building a book of business. If you're still doing work as a sixth year that junior associates do, you're not making partner. Those feed off each other - if your skills are great, you'll get client contact sooner, and you'll get results, which makes clients use you next time. The guy I know has a skill set as a third year that's way beyond the other third years. So instead of doing some stuff they normally handle themselves, the partners send him to do it. Which makes it obvious he's going to make partner.


Ditto this and add that you have to kiss ass, and kiss the right ass, and kiss it the right way.

NotMyRealName09
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:09 am

Well, kiss ass, or be a genuinely likable person person that people can get along with. That works too.

anon168
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:What is the practical difference between having to work 1800, 1950 or 2000 billable hours in a year? I'm looking at firms in a couple of markets that have these requirements, but I'm not sure what the practical difference is in terms of lifestyle or actual hours. I found the Yale Law billable hour thing to be relatively unhelpful. Thanks!


Generally -- and I stress generally -- if you are super efficient and honest (i.e. no padding), you will need to work about 3 hours to bill 2.

That ratio will not apply, generally, in two instances: (1) when you are traveling or (2) when you are in trial.

But if you are just at your desk research and writing a memo, motion, etc., expect a ratio of 3:2 for hours worked to hours billed.

anon168
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:34 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:Well, kiss ass, or be a genuinely likable person person that people can get along with. That works too.


I don't think being likeable helps, it may not hurt, but it doesn't help.

Being likeable just means that when they decide to let you go because you aren't partnership material, they'll give you 6 months instead of 3.

There are plenty of partners that maybe "likeable" but they aren't partners because they are genuinely likeable.

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gyarados
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Re: Billable Hour Q

Postby gyarados » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:33 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What is the practical difference between having to work 1800, 1950 or 2000 billable hours in a year? I'm looking at firms in a couple of markets that have these requirements, but I'm not sure what the practical difference is in terms of lifestyle or actual hours. I found the Yale Law billable hour thing to be relatively unhelpful. Thanks!


Generally -- and I stress generally -- if you are super efficient and honest (i.e. no padding), you will need to work about 3 hours to bill 2.

That ratio will not apply, generally, in two instances: (1) when you are traveling or (2) when you are in trial.

But if you are just at your desk research and writing a memo, motion, etc., expect a ratio of 3:2 for hours worked to hours billed.

I've heard this, but I've also had a lot of attorneys tell me they bill 80-90% of their time at work.




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