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billables247
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Postby billables247 » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:06 pm

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Last edited by billables247 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:29 pm

Lit associate here working on a high profile case (i.e., front page of the WSJ on at least one occasion).

I work like a slave when there's work, and I worry about finding enough work when there's no work.

I have never had a "typical" schedule. It varies dramatically week by week and depends on so many factors that it would be impossible for me to include all of them in one Internet post. I think it's particularly bad for junior associates (like me) because you have no one you can pass off work to, unless you beg your senior associate to get you more help (but people inevitably do a shitty job if they're forced to help on a case they're not interested in/have no stake in).

I work seven days a week, usually fewer hours on the weekend but still at least a half day on Saturday and Sunday. As soon as discovery ends, however, things should calm down significantly for me. But perhaps that's just wishful thinking. I usually get up around 8, but I may not go to work immediately if I have early morning conference calls (because I can just join them from my apartment). I leave work around 6-7 and eat dinner. If I'm really slammed, I'll work from home until 1 or 2 in the morning and then wake back up at 8am again and do it all over again.

How long I work intensely on something varies dramatically depending on the deadline, the complexity of the task, how much more complex it gets as I unravel what actually needs to be done, how long it takes for paralegals/my secretary/discovery people to get back to me, etc. Biglaw work is not a series of discrete tasks that you can look at ex ante and make an accurate judgment about how long it will take you. You work until the task is done. Period. If that means all-nighters, so be it. Granted, I'm at a firm that staffs leanly and doesn't hire and fire people based on the economy, so when we're busy, we're busy as fuck.

When I'm not working intensely, I do quite a bit of fantasizing about not working in biglaw, tits, steaks, etc. I'd say this kind of thing comprises about 15-25% of my time when I'm not in a rush. It actually improves my work product to chill out and take breaks as far as I can tell.

I have no fucking idea how people with families can do this job and not get divorced/hated by their kids. Maybe it's better at other firms?

Anonymous User
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:34 pm

My fiance has already made it clear that we won't be having any kids until big firm time is over (and I sincerely hope she holds me to that). I'm not going to be an absent father, and I don't see how one can be anything but an absent parent when working big firm hours.

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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:03 pm

So, I'm just a summer at a firm ranked very highly by Vault for quality of life. My impression is that as you move up the chain, the hours get more and more intense. It seems rare for junior or mid-level associates to continuously work seven days a week, and most associates that I have talked with seem to have enjoyable weekends where they don't have to work all the time. I've been around the office at 7 AM, 8 PM, and the weekend, and while there may be a person or two, the vast majority of the office is gone.

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homestyle28
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby homestyle28 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:59 pm

Biglaw in NY =/= Biglaw in Chicago. There's a WORLD of difference between billing 2000 and billing 2500+ as far as quality of life.

09042014
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:18 pm

homestyle28 wrote:Biglaw in NY =/= Biglaw in Chicago. There's a WORLD of difference between billing 2000 and billing 2500+ as far as quality of life.


Factoring in some inefficiency, we are talking nearly 2 hours extra work M-Sat, 50 weeks a year.

run26.2
Posts: 896
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby run26.2 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:35 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Lit associate here working on a high profile case (i.e., front page of the WSJ on at least one occasion).

I work like a slave when there's work, and I worry about finding enough work when there's no work.

I have never had a "typical" schedule. It varies dramatically week by week and depends on so many factors that it would be impossible for me to include all of them in one Internet post. I think it's particularly bad for junior associates (like me) because you have no one you can pass off work to, unless you beg your senior associate to get you more help (but people inevitably do a shitty job if they're forced to help on a case they're not interested in/have no stake in).

I work seven days a week, usually fewer hours on the weekend but still at least a half day on Saturday and Sunday. As soon as discovery ends, however, things should calm down significantly for me. But perhaps that's just wishful thinking. I usually get up around 8, but I may not go to work immediately if I have early morning conference calls (because I can just join them from my apartment). I leave work around 6-7 and eat dinner. If I'm really slammed, I'll work from home until 1 or 2 in the morning and then wake back up at 8am again and do it all over again.

How long I work intensely on something varies dramatically depending on the deadline, the complexity of the task, how much more complex it gets as I unravel what actually needs to be done, how long it takes for paralegals/my secretary/discovery people to get back to me, etc. Biglaw work is not a series of discrete tasks that you can look at ex ante and make an accurate judgment about how long it will take you. You work until the task is done. Period. If that means all-nighters, so be it. Granted, I'm at a firm that staffs leanly and doesn't hire and fire people based on the economy, so when we're busy, we're busy as fuck.

When I'm not working intensely, I do quite a bit of fantasizing about not working in biglaw, tits, steaks, etc. I'd say this kind of thing comprises about 15-25% of my time when I'm not in a rush. It actually improves my work product to chill out and take breaks as far as I can tell.

I have no fucking idea how people with families can do this job and not get divorced/hated by their kids. Maybe it's better at other firms?

Are you in NYC?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:13 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:Biglaw in NY =/= Biglaw in Chicago. There's a WORLD of difference between billing 2000 and billing 2500+ as far as quality of life.


Factoring in some inefficiency, we are talking nearly 2 hours extra work M-Sat, 50 weeks a year.

I'm not sure if you mean 2 hours a day or 2 hours a week. Either way lolno.

run26.2
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby run26.2 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:16 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:Biglaw in NY =/= Biglaw in Chicago. There's a WORLD of difference between billing 2000 and billing 2500+ as far as quality of life.


Factoring in some inefficiency, we are talking nearly 2 hours extra work M-Sat, 50 weeks a year.

I'm not sure if you mean 2 hours a day or 2 hours a week. Either way lolno.

He means 2 hrs/day. 2*6*50 = 600.

I work about 10 hours to bill 9, so DF is probably not far off.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:18 pm

I'm not going to say which market I'm in, but it's a major market for my practice area.

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Homelandsagreatshow
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Homelandsagreatshow » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:20 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:I'm not going to say which market I'm in, but it's a major market for my practice area.


cough SV/SF

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dood
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby dood » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:23 pm

billables247 wrote:I've always heard that Biglaw hours are bad, but could somebody who is currently working at a BigLaw firm break down how these hours are distributed?

A few factors I'm interested in are:

1) When you wake up and leave for work?
2) When you get out?
3) How long do you spend working intensely vs how long you socialize/have lunch/surf the web?
4) How often do you work on weekends and for how many hours?
5) How many hours do you work after you get home?
6) ... any other relevant data points

I would love to know how things differ for the above items for a good, average, and crazy week.

Thanks!


Same answer to all your questions. You need to bill 2000 hours, which is roughly 40-45 a week. The good firms care less about how you do it, when you come in and leave. No one is looking over your back so you can surf the web all day, walk around socializing, as I do frequently. But you still have to bill one way or another. You'll be expected to work whenever necessary - which may include weekends and literally every waking hour of the weekend. But sometimes when not busy I don't even go into the office at all. Sometimes I workout at 6PM then bill a few more at night. Sometimes I take Fri, Sat off and make up Friday on Sunday night. It really varies from firm to firm, but no matter what - you just need to bill those 2000 hours a year.

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dood
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby dood » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:28 pm

I think me and Biglaw_Associate_V20 are on the same page, although I'm at a lower V100. The biggest fucking joke is that efficiency is not rewarded. No clear definite goals - besides bill.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:30 pm

run26.2 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
homestyle28 wrote:Biglaw in NY =/= Biglaw in Chicago. There's a WORLD of difference between billing 2000 and billing 2500+ as far as quality of life.


Factoring in some inefficiency, we are talking nearly 2 hours extra work M-Sat, 50 weeks a year.

I'm not sure if you mean 2 hours a day or 2 hours a week. Either way lolno.

He means 2 hrs/day. 2*6*50 = 600.

I work about 10 hours to bill 9, so DF is probably not far off.

Ahh damn my bad wasn't thinking good.

Of course it isn't really normal to bill 2500+ in NYC but maybe 2000 in Chicago is also high.

run26.2
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby run26.2 » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:40 pm

dood wrote:I think me and Biglaw_Associate_V20 are on the same page, although I'm at a lower V100. The biggest fucking joke is that efficiency is not rewarded. No clear definite goals - besides bill.

This statement should be qualified a bit. It is unlikely that a young associate will see some direct benefit of being efficient, so in that regard, your statement is probably accurate. However, whether it is valuable for the firm will depend on a few factors, including the client, the liability, and the billing arrangement for the particular matter.

MoonDreamer
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby MoonDreamer » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:42 pm

run26.2 wrote:
dood wrote:I think me and Biglaw_Associate_V20 are on the same page, although I'm at a lower V100. The biggest fucking joke is that efficiency is not rewarded. No clear definite goals - besides bill.

This statement should be qualified a bit. It is unlikely that a young associate will see some direct benefit of being efficient, so in that regard, your statement is probably accurate. However, whether it is valuable for the firm will depend on a few factors, including the client, the liability, and the billing arrangement for the particular matter.


efficiency is incredibly important. what really matters is how you "efficiently" you "bill" that work.

Anonymous User
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:01 am

dood wrote:I think me and Biglaw_Associate_V20 are on the same page, although I'm at a lower V100. The biggest fucking joke is that efficiency is not rewarded. No clear definite goals - besides bill.


This is not entirely true. It's accurate that total volume of hours is the most important variable, but in certain types of fast-paced corporate work (M&A, finance, etc.), it is absolutely important how quickly you can turn a draft or respond to a client query. Maybe for certain types of work (doc review, diligence, assembling a closing binder, etc.), efficiency is less important, but doing good work fast is something people will notice.

Note that I realize I might be conflating two potentially distinct skills-- efficiency and ability to meet tight deadlines-- that might not necessarily match perfectly (insofar as the partner might not care whether you finished a task in an hour and a half or whether you stayed up all night to finish it). But if it regularly takes you longer to do something than the partner/senior associate thinks it ought to take you, they're going to be annoyed both because they'll have to write down your hours but also because they're going to be regularly waiting on your work.

Anonymous Associate
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Anonymous Associate » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:05 am

There is no norm, as people work differently.

I am in litigation at a smaller V100 firm. If I generalize about my habits, I like to get in early and work constantly throughout the day so I can nearly bill the entire time I am in the office, aside from about 30min to an hour per day. I typically get in around 8-8:30, and leave around 6:30. I end up having to stay later than that 1 night a week or so. I've found I need to work a few weekend days a month, usually because of a brief being due.

The exception to this is the ~2 months before and encompassing trial. That's crazy times.

Jimbo_Jones
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:45 am

lol @ thinking getting into work at 8AM is "early"

Anonymous Associate
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Anonymous Associate » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:55 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:lol @ thinking getting into work at 8AM is "early"


:wink: Compared to the other attorneys I work with, this might as well be the middle of the night. The office is unlit when I arrive and very few people are there. I like the 1.5-2 hours of "quiet time" I get in the morning to get my thoughts together, wrap up something with a fresh pair of eyes, have my coffee and breakfast without stressed out attorneys calling me, etc.

Anonymous User
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:53 am

Everything varies. If big law were a consistent 60 hours per week I don't think it would be that bad. But it's not. Some weeks there won't be much going on, which means I'll be in the office from 9-5 and spend a lot of that time socializing and browsing the Internet. Other weeks will be super busy and I'll bill well over 80 hours. Unfortunately, especially as a junior associate, you often have no idea when the slow and busy times will occur.

NYstate
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby NYstate » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:58 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:lol @ thinking getting into work at 8AM is "early"


Most people get in at 930 or 10.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:47 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:lol @ thinking getting into work at 8AM is "early"


In NYC, a lot of attorneys get in at around 10am and I know plenty who get in at 11-1130. 8am is extremely early (and a great way to get in and get work done without being disturbed by others, I might add).

Jimbo_Jones
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:14 am

I just think it's funny that many attorneys will complain about not having a life outside of work because they're in the office until 8-9PM every night. Well, if you got into the office at 7AM, you could get out at 5-6PM and still have plenty of time for family/life after work.

Obviously this is all dependent upon the normal business hours your employer and clients require you to keep.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:17 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:I just think it's funny that many attorneys will complain about not having a life outside of work because they're in the office until 8-9PM every night. Well, if you got into the office at 7AM, you could get out at 5-6PM and still have plenty of time for family/life after work.

Obviously this is all dependent upon the normal business hours your employer and clients require you to keep.

lol. yes, biglaw hours interfere with family life because the attorneys get into work too late.




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