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BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:31 am
by Anonymous User
One thing that always intrigued me was how flexible firms are with associates that work much more efficiently during the middle of the night when there are much less distractions (sidenote-do BigLaw firms usually have 24hr access or does it vary?).

Even with 80 hour weeks, what if someone wanted to hypothetically work 16-20 hour days by doing all nighters (maybe taking a couple power naps during the day) and thereby still accumulating enough billables to accomodate only working 4-4.5 days per week and taking 2.5-3 full days off during the week? I would definitely prefer that over working 6-7 days a week at 12 per.

I've always wondered this because that is the study/work environment I have grown accustomed to ever since UG and it has worked for me fine thus far.

All thoughts and comments appreciated!

Re: BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:59 am
by ryanmot
Depends on the firm; each is different. Of course, the work product better not be lacking.

Re: BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:12 am
by sunynp
I don't think you understand how work actually happens at firms. It isn't that you are just billing the hours. You have to get the work done when it is needed. You have to be there for meetings which are scheduled for the clients.

The easiest way to describe this is that you have almost no control over when you need to work. One thing that frustrates people the most is the inability to even make and keep dinner plans because of having to be a available 24/7. It isn't like every dinner plan gets cancelled but a noticeable number will.

You don't work 12 hours a day 7 days a week all the time. The work varies depending on what is happening.

Re: BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:28 am
by sophie316
You're also completely at the mercy of other people. If someone gets you comments on a document and says edit accordingly and get it back to me within two hours, when those two hours are are completely out of your control.

Re: BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:37 am
by crit_racer
As others have said, the problem is that you have to be available when partners/clients need you. I think that a slightly unconventional working schedule would work better in litigation than in transactional, though.

Re: BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:14 am
by Kochel
As a client (in-house counsel), what matters most to me is that the outside lawyer is available to talk to me during the day, which is when I work. When I need a memo or research done, I guess I don't care what time of day or night the lawyer does the work, so long as I'm able to actually discuss the work with him when I'm in the office.

No associate is going to be able to actually take weekdays off other than for vacation, even if he works all-nighters. The best you'll probably be able to do is show up mid-to-late morning, so long as you don't have client calls/meetings scheduled.

On the other hand, it seems like every firm has "that guy" who seemingly never is in the office during the day and appears to work only at nights. "That guy" doesn't usually make partner, probably because eventually the firm realizes that he's not available for clients.

Re: BigLaw for Night Owls

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:39 am
by dingbat
Kochel wrote:As a client (in-house counsel), what matters most to me is that the outside lawyer is available to talk to me during the day, which is when I work. When I need a memo or research done, I guess I don't care what time of day or night the lawyer does the work, so long as I'm able to actually discuss the work with him when I'm in the office.

No associate is going to be able to actually take weekdays off other than for vacation, even if he works all-nighters. The best you'll probably be able to do is show up mid-to-late morning, so long as you don't have client calls/meetings scheduled.

On the other hand, it seems like every firm has "that guy" who seemingly never is in the office during the day and appears to work only at nights. "That guy" doesn't usually make partner, probably because eventually the firm realizes that he's not available for clients.

And even on vacation you must be available, if needed.
I used to be on the client side as well, and if I needed something right away, I expected it to be done right away (we would indicate if we needed an immediate turnaround, same day, or low priority).
Hell, we'd sometimes call the attorneys and tell them we'd be sending stuff and calling in a little bit, and woe if the associate happened to go to the bathroom and didn't answer when I called 30 minutes later.