Big Law Hours

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Murphy1022
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Big Law Hours

Postby Murphy1022 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:27 pm

Working at a big firm is notorious for resulting in working long hard hours. My question is whether it is required that these hours go late into the night. Is it possible to show up at the firm by 6am and stay until, say, 7pm?

Also, how do the number of hours for attorneys at big law firms change as they advance to Junior Partner and Senior Partner?

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mephistopheles
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby mephistopheles » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:29 pm

cots in the office, bro.

Murphy1022
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby Murphy1022 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:32 pm

mephistopheles wrote:cots in the office, bro.



Wow, thanks for providing a completely worthless answer.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby BeenDidThat » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:36 pm

Murphy1022 wrote:Working at a big firm is notorious for resulting in working long hard hours. My question is whether it is required that these hours go late into the night. Is it possible to show up at the firm by 6am and stay until, say, 7pm?

Also, how do the number of hours for attorneys at big law firms change as they advance to Junior Partner and Senior Partner?


Hours are very group-specific. From what I've heard, transx people generally come in later and stay later. People in M&A can have pretty terrible hours as some deals start popping right when markets close, and the time frames can be really tight.

Your hours will have to comport with what the partners above you do. Litigators have slightly more regular hours, generally closer to normal business hours, as a lot of what they do revolves around a court being open (or more properly, the court's clerk being available). But if a big hearing or trial is about to pop, shit hits the fan and you have no control over when you come in. As to the exact question you posed, we can't really answer it. It's group-by-group.

I believe junior partners work their asses off. No idea on big shot partners.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby rad lulz » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:37 pm

Just generally:

If you're doing corporate, the work is gonna be driven by deal flow and deal dynamics. You can spend a few days doing almost nothing then pulling some monsters 18 hour days or all nighters or whatever to wrap the deal up. That's client driven, so it's hard to plan for that.

In lit, lawyers largely create the scheduling, but that doesn't mean you're not pulling some massive days around when your summary judgment motion/motion to dismiss/whatever is due.

Basically what I'm saying is that hours are long, but also unevenly distributed.

Also as a jr associate, havin an idiosyncratic schedule from the other members of your team is probably not gonna be looked upon faborably.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:38 pm

From what I understand, it's more typical to arrive in the 8-10am range and work well past dinnertime. Coming in early might look bad in that nobody was there to see you working early, but they see you leaving at 7. Plus you're not there when everyone else is working late, if they need to talk to you.

(1L speculation)

idelosix
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby idelosix » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:39 pm

Murphy1022 wrote:Working at a big firm is notorious for resulting in working long hard hours. My question is whether it is required that these hours go late into the night. Is it possible to show up at the firm by 6am and stay until, say, 7pm?

Also, how do the number of hours for attorneys at big law firms change as they advance to Junior Partner and Senior Partner?


During a callback lunch I asked a junior something along these lines. "I'm an early riser, would evening hours be shorter if you showed up at like 630am?" The response from both of them was that it's pointless to do so because the long hours invariably come from being handed something at 5-6pm that absolutely needs to get done "tonight". So you can show up at 7am if you want, but it won't affect the likelihood of staying late. Still, ymmv, I'm sure that's pretty dependent on practice group/partners/timeline of the deal or litigation

target
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby target » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:51 pm

BeenDidThat wrote:Litigators have slightly more regular hours, generally closer to normal business hours, as a lot of what they do revolves around a court being open (or more properly, the court's clerk being available). But if a big hearing or trial is about to pop, shit hits the fan and you have no control over when you come in. As to the exact question you posed, we can't really answer it. It's group-by-group.

I believe junior partners work their asses off. No idea on big shot partners.


Is this from your experience or guess? Since you file most paperwork using online system now, it's more about when they are due than when the court is open/closed.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:04 pm

u can to a degree. what was said above was true. a lot depends on deal flow, and since a lot of people prefer the 10am - 9pm schedule ur kinda stuck. however, i wake up early and am always the first one here on my floor. when i can i get ahead on work. this results in me not staying as late as the other associates a lot of times. but again, only to a degree. a lot of time it doesnt work out. also, ud be surprised how much time associates waste during the day. its kinda like the mentality that if i know im gonna stay late no matter what, why rush through during the day. which leads to everyone just staying late. making it harder for one individual to just leave his team to go home. but u can still try. maybe ull go home late 10-15% less often than other guys.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:06 pm

target wrote:
BeenDidThat wrote:Litigators have slightly more regular hours, generally closer to normal business hours, as a lot of what they do revolves around a court being open (or more properly, the court's clerk being available). But if a big hearing or trial is about to pop, shit hits the fan and you have no control over when you come in. As to the exact question you posed, we can't really answer it. It's group-by-group.

I believe junior partners work their asses off. No idea on big shot partners.


Is this from your experience or guess? Since you file most paperwork using online system now, it's more about when they are due than when the court is open/closed.

I think the difference really comes from the fact that you generally know your deadlines fairly far in advance as a litigator, whereas you don't if you're doing corporate. Thus in corporate it can suddenly happen that the client NEEDS task X completed NOW to get a deal done by [pick whatever short-notice deadline is appropriate]. Whereas you generally know when the various stuff for trials are due well ahead of time. (Motions/responses/replies/whatever.) It doesn't mean there won't be long nights, especially as you get closer to trial, or that no surprises occur in litigation (guess what? your star witness got hit by a bus! you accidentally disclosed the smoking gun! etc.), but it's generally more predictable than corporate.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:11 pm

I rarely have projects that take me more than, say 5 hours to complete. Rather I have a number of discrete tasks that crop up for a number of deals.

This morning, my first email from a client came at 7:47 am (and required action this morning). The last email I got from a partner I'm working with was at 8:37 pm, and I got comments from our tax team at 10:29 pm.

While big law has long hours, it also has unpredictable and uncertain hours. It's not like school where you know you have a lot of tasks to accomplish and get them done as you see fit. Your schedule has to accommodate the lawyers you work with, your client, your opposing counsel/counter-party, and - most importantly - sudden unplanned emergencies.

Sometimes things stack up and you're working for 16+ hours at a time just to get things done in a timely fashion. Other times you have to work at odd hours, but due to odd timing and not volume. Other times you have tremendous flexibility, and can accomplish most or all of your work from home or the road.

But the brutal hours come from the drive for client service and team work, not from too many pages of assigned reading, if you know what I mean.

desertlaw
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby desertlaw » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:22 pm

Go back a few pages in this forum and you'll see good discussions/Q&A/AMAs from BigLaw attorneys about what their lives are really like. But yeah, it's going to depend on your practice group, partners, etc.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:30 pm

V20 corporate associate here. The answer to your question is "it depends."

I hear people claim litigators have more steady hours and I hear people claim corporate attorneys do. Litigators can get hit with motions to dismiss or for summary judgment or for an injunction or for new discovery. Sometimes the opposing side will do this on Friday afternoon just to make your side miserable. A corporate associate could be on a deal closing on Friday and then the deal falls apart and takes all weekend to renegotiate. In both cases the associate unexpectedly loses their weekend. Also you will work weekends and evenings and even late into mornings. It happens. If the closing needs to happen by 9AM tomorrow then you will work straight through until 9AM if that's what it takes. Hours can be random. You can go one week with nothing to do and then work 80 hours the next week. You work when the client needs you to work. The worst thing about a firm is not that the hours are long but that they are not steady. If coming in at 6AM meant I could leave at 7PM every day I would do it. But it doesn't matter when you come in because you will work until everything is done.

wildhaggis
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby wildhaggis » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:44 pm

I've heard tales of biglaw's wildly uneven hours from multiple sources - really slow weeks followed by really busy weeks followed by really slow weeks, and so on.

That said, I've also heard it's nearly impossible to appreciate the downtime in between busy periods because of natural anxiety that comes from not constantly billing as one does during a busy week.

Can anyone attest to this? If that is the case, is it generally credited to just relax during down periods rather the scurrying for more work that could eventually make your schedule way too crowded when things pick up again?

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drmguy
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby drmguy » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:57 pm

I'll throw this in here because I don't want to start a new thread.

I want to know if people raised by parents that worked absurd hours find the big law schedule as bad as everyone else does. My dad worked hours worse than most of the big law stuff I hear about, and I didn't know that it wasn't normal until around high school. I don't think I'm as intimidated by it because I wasn't raised in a 40 hour work week household.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:09 pm

drmguy wrote:I'll throw this in here because I don't want to start a new thread.

I want to know if people raised by parents that worked absurd hours find the big law schedule as bad as everyone else does. My dad worked hours worse than most of the big law stuff I hear about, and I didn't know that it wasn't normal until around high school. I don't think I'm as intimidated by it because I wasn't raised in a 40 hour work week household.


My parents worked all the time and I was still very intimidated by biglaw hours. I don't think having parents who are workaholics changed my perspective on this at all. Working all day and night sucks. Period. What sucks even more with biglaw is that you're *actually* working, unlike other jobs when you can sort of chill out and put your brain on cruise control. Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby bizzybone1313 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:20 pm

I use to work in Big Four consulting. Sometimes I would work 60+ hours. The problem becomes that your mind and body at some point just can't take it anymore. You can't think clearly; you get pissed off because you are missing out on that NBA game that you had planned for a month; you aren't getting exercise, because you don't have time. I have recommended in the past that a lot of people go K-JD, because you are just wasting time not building a career in what you really want to do. However, one of the main benefits you get from working before attending law school is that you see what kind of grind work really is.

A few years ago, I was quitting my first job out of college and transitioning into my consulting gig. My consulting company wanted me to leave my other job on a Friday and begin the following Monday. I told them no way no how-- I have some other stuff I have to take care. When in reality, I just wanted a vacation of not doing anything for 2 or 3 weeks. At my former company, I only had 2 weeks of vacation. Working is just a continuous loop of work that you rarely get a real break from. That is life in America in the 21st Century. Until you have experienced it, you cannot really understand how much it really blows. One of the only ways to be somewhat less miserable is to find what you truly have a passion for and figure out a way to make good money off of it.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby rad lulz » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:26 pm

,
Last edited by rad lulz on Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby bizzybone1313 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:31 pm

rad lulz wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:One of the only ways to be somewhat less miserable is to find what you truly have a passion for and figure out a way to make good money off of it.

Yeah I don't think there's a lot of money to be made in going to bars, listening to country music, driving my pickup around, and playing video games.


You could make money off any one of those past times. But your path to get there wouldn't be assured or easy.

This guy in my undergrad dorm has a country band that is starting to become a big deal in Texas and could possibly breakout nationwide.

As far driving your pickup around, you could become a truck driver for the oil and gas industry; they make a killing. Word of advice to any of you-- if you are ever stuck in a real big bind and cannot find work, come to West Texas in the Odessa/Midland region. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country. The oil and gas industry is booming here. I know a former UCLA law grad that is working here.

As far as playing video games, you could go get a computer science degree from a semi-elite undergrad and go be a programmer for a video game company. That would be a sweet gig. Build the next Zelda for Nintendo.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:32 pm

With regard to the half of the question that concerned partner hours:

I'm not sure if your impression and/or hope is that if you make partner you get to work more reasonable hours, but just to be clear, that is absolutely not the case. At top law firms it is typical for the partners to bill more hours on average than the associates. Junior partners as a group are probably the hardest working, highest billing people in a law firm (although there are legendary tales of named/managing partners who bill 3K+ hours a year).

Making partner is not liking getting tenure at a university.

rad lulz
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby rad lulz » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:53 pm

,
Last edited by rad lulz on Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mephistopheles
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby mephistopheles » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:54 pm

rad lulz wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:
rad lulz wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:One of the only ways to be somewhat less miserable is to find what you truly have a passion for and figure out a way to make good money off of it.

Yeah I don't think there's a lot of money to be made in going to bars, listening to country music, driving my pickup around, and playing video games.


You could make money off any one of those past times. But your path to get there wouldn't be assured or easy.

This guy in my undergrad dorm has a country band that is starting to become a big deal in Texas and could possibly breakout nationwide.

As far driving your pickup around, you could become a truck driver for the oil and gas industry; they make a killing. Word of advice to any of you-- if you are ever stuck in a real big bind and cannot find work, come to West Texas in the Odessa/Midland region. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire country. The oil and gas industry is booming here. I know a former UCLA law grad that is working here.

As far as playing video games, you could go get a computer science degree from a semi-elite undergrad and go be a programmer for a video game company. That would be a sweet gig. Build the next Zelda for Nintendo.

By far the least sure of those is being a video game developer.

I'm not musical

I could drive a truck though

Also lot lizards

Oh baby



baby, we've got a stew cooking

imchuckbass58
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby imchuckbass58 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:With regard to the half of the question that concerned partner hours:

I'm not sure if your impression and/or hope is that if you make partner you get to work more reasonable hours, but just to be clear, that is absolutely not the case. At top law firms it is typical for the partners to bill more hours on average than the associates. Junior partners as a group are probably the hardest working, highest billing people in a law firm (although there are legendary tales of named/managing partners who bill 3K+ hours a year).

Making partner is not liking getting tenure at a university.


This matches my experience, but I'd also point out that as a partner you have more control over your hours (though still not complete control). You only have to respond to the demands of clients, not clients and senior associates / partners. Short of a client request or a hard timeline for a task has to be done by a certain point, you're not answerable to someone higher up on the food chain who wants something from you immediately.

That doesn't mean you work less though. But I knew partners (in New York, no less) who managed to have dinner with their kids most days. But immediately afterwards they were back working remotely.

LSATNightmares
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby LSATNightmares » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:30 pm

I would just add that West Coast hours tend to start earlier, from what I have heard. Associates I talked with mentioned 5 AM conference calls doing corporate work.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law Hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:06 pm

LSATNightmares wrote:I would just add that West Coast hours tend to start earlier, from what I have heard. Associates I talked with mentioned 5 AM conference calls doing corporate work.

I worked on a deal this past summer as an SA on the East Coast, and the closing call was run by the buyer's counsel, based in LA. The call started like 7:45 AM, East Coast time. At least everyone out in Cali was getting an early start on billables for the day :?




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