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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:53 pm

I'm a NYC V10 litigation associate, on pace to bill ~2000 this year (I was on pace for 2200+ before I started slacking due to impending clerkship). I've had months of 150 hours, and months of 225 hours. The former are total cake, and the latter are bad but not the worst thing ever.

Hours are what you make of them. If you need your weekends to be work-free and unpredictability in your schedule will wreck your mood, you'll find the hours intolerable. If you're someone who can take advantage of down time when you have it, then it's not that bad. A busy day for me might be getting up at 8, snuggling with the wife, hauling my ass into work at 10:30, getting home at 10:30, and watching TV/interneting furiously until midnight or 1 am. If you're in litigation and not a fuckstick, that 11 hours worked will be 9-10 hours billed. I could bill a 250 hour month with that schedule, and a few days off, and not really feel bad about life.

EDIT: To respond to some of the things I see in this thread:

1) You're a fuckstick if you don't bill "thinking time."
2) You're a fuckstick if you think getting in early means you'll be able to peace out at 6pm uninterrupted.
3) You're a fuckstick if you're in the office on the weekend. When I do come in on a weekend to get away from my wife, I walk around in my socks because my floor is fucking empty.

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

Postby Bronte » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1) You're a fuckstick if you don't bill "thinking time."


Yeah I was gonna say...

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:09 am

unlicensedpotato wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I think it really depends on what kind of assignment you're working on. For doc review, it's just billing time. Every minute you spend on the documents counts. For writing/motion practices/reports/contentions, you have to think, and very often you won't bill the thinking time, since you aren't doing anything. But without the thinking time, you get no writing done. Hard to say.


Why don't you bill the thinking time?
Meaning, start the timer when you start thinking to write the document. It's not like you stop the timer when you stop typing to think of another sentence. To me, it seems like this is what would be expected?

Not trying to be a smart ass, I genuinely didn't know this was how time was kept.


It's a billable hour. Not a billed hour. I don't see why that time wouldn't be billed by the associate. If the partner thinks it's too much he can trim it.

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

Postby TTRansfer » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:10 am

Whoops, ^^^ was me.

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

Postby Anonymous Associate » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It's a billable hour. Not a billed hour. I don't see why that time wouldn't be billed by the associate. If the partner thinks it's too much he can trim it.


Yes, yes, yes. You are punishing yourself otherwise. If the partner continually has to trim because she thinks you are overbilling, she'll let you know. But trimming may happen because a client is cost-conscious, or your firm may have a policy that younger associates' time can be written off without penalty to the partner. Regardless, the time that got trimmed should still count towards your billable requirement, unless someone thinks it was unreasonable.

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20160810
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby 20160810 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:03 pm

I have had numerous attorneys at larger firms tell me - uniformly - the same thing: If you're an associate, log every billable hour you actually work, even if you don't feel like you're being efficient enough. Don't trim it down out of some misguided sense of altruism, because you'll just end up running yourself ragged for nobody's benefit. As people have said, if the partners think you took too long (and they know better than you if you did), they can trim the bill before it goes to the client, but it's better for the firm and you to just write down all of the hours you actually spent working.

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

Postby MoonDreamer » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:55 pm

No biglaw associate can work long or hard enough to justify the salary they're getting.

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

Postby Borhas » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:04 pm

So TCR is to do minimal work, maximally bill any conceivably work related hours (rounding up, always) and try to slip between the cracks of the giant machine?

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

Postby run26.2 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:13 pm

Borhas wrote:So TCR is to do minimal work, maximally bill any conceivably work related hours (rounding up, always) and try to slip between the cracks of the giant machine?

Probably not, at least not at all firms. You have to generate some value to the clients. If your firm is billing the client from 400-750/hr for your time, the client will begin to notice if it is not getting commensurate value from their service.

Partners will begin to notice the associates that bill a lot of hours and simultaneously efficient at what they do. This does not mean that simply billing a lot of hours is not rewarded in some cases, but to say that those that can bill a lot of hours and accomplish a lot of tasks will be highly regarded. That will allow you to stick around at the firm for longer than simply billing lots of hours, IMO. That is one way you will at least put yourself in position to be considered for partner.

Think about it. A firm can get any number of people to sit in a chair and overbill lots of hours while collecting a large paycheck. But eventually, that person is going to be found out and/or priced out of the work. The reason that more senior people can charge more is that they can do the same task more quickly, and likely with higher quality.

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

Postby MoonDreamer » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:16 pm

run26.2 wrote:
Borhas wrote:So TCR is to do minimal work, maximally bill any conceivably work related hours (rounding up, always) and try to slip between the cracks of the giant machine?

Probably not, at least not at all firms. You have to generate some value to the clients. If your firm is billing the client from 400-750/hr for your time, the client will begin to notice if it is not getting commensurate value from their service.

Partners will begin to notice the associates that bill a lot of hours and simultaneously efficient at what they do. This does not mean that simply billing a lot of hours is not rewarded in some cases, but to say that those that can bill a lot of hours and accomplish a lot of tasks will be highly regarded. That will allow you to stick around at the firm for longer than simply billing lots of hours, IMO. That is one way you will at least put yourself in position to be considered for partner.

Think about it. A firm can get any number of people to sit in a chair and overbill lots of hours while collecting a large paycheck. But eventually, that person is going to be found out and/or priced out of the work. The reason that more senior people can charge more is that they can do the same task more quickly, and likely with higher quality.



Are you a law student or solo because you sound like you have no idea how it really works

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

Postby run26.2 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:27 pm

MoonDreamer wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
Borhas wrote:So TCR is to do minimal work, maximally bill any conceivably work related hours (rounding up, always) and try to slip between the cracks of the giant machine?

Probably not, at least not at all firms. You have to generate some value to the clients. If your firm is billing the client from 400-750/hr for your time, the client will begin to notice if it is not getting commensurate value from their service.

Partners will begin to notice the associates that bill a lot of hours and simultaneously efficient at what they do. This does not mean that simply billing a lot of hours is not rewarded in some cases, but to say that those that can bill a lot of hours and accomplish a lot of tasks will be highly regarded. That will allow you to stick around at the firm for longer than simply billing lots of hours, IMO. That is one way you will at least put yourself in position to be considered for partner.

Think about it. A firm can get any number of people to sit in a chair and overbill lots of hours while collecting a large paycheck. But eventually, that person is going to be found out and/or priced out of the work. The reason that more senior people can charge more is that they can do the same task more quickly, and likely with higher quality.



Are you a law student or solo because you sound like you have no idea how it really works

Neither. BigLaw associate.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:28 pm

Billing many hours is not the end goal. The end goal is getting the required tasks done in the least amount of time possible while still getting all the details correct and turning out work product as close to perfect as possible. Time entries are regularly reviewed and if people appear to be billing excessively they become less and less likely to be staffed on matters. No one wants to have to write off hours on a bill and hurt their realization rate.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a NYC V10 litigation associate, on pace to bill ~2000 this year (I was on pace for 2200+ before I started slacking due to impending clerkship). I've had months of 150 hours, and months of 225 hours. The former are total cake, and the latter are bad but not the worst thing ever.

Hours are what you make of them. If you need your weekends to be work-free and unpredictability in your schedule will wreck your mood, you'll find the hours intolerable. If you're someone who can take advantage of down time when you have it, then it's not that bad. A busy day for me might be getting up at 8, snuggling with the wife, hauling my ass into work at 10:30, getting home at 10:30, and watching TV/interneting furiously until midnight or 1 am. If you're in litigation and not a fuckstick, that 11 hours worked will be 9-10 hours billed. I could bill a 250 hour month with that schedule, and a few days off, and not really feel bad about life.

EDIT: To respond to some of the things I see in this thread:

1) You're a fuckstick if you don't bill "thinking time."
2) You're a fuckstick if you think getting in early means you'll be able to peace out at 6pm uninterrupted.
3) You're a fuckstick if you're in the office on the weekend. When I do come in on a weekend to get away from my wife, I walk around in my socks because my floor is fucking empty.


Wait...are you me?

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

Postby Anonymous Associate » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Billing many hours is not the end goal. The end goal is getting the required tasks done in the least amount of time possible while still getting all the details correct and turning out work product as close to perfect as possible. Time entries are regularly reviewed and if people appear to be billing excessively they become less and less likely to be staffed on matters. No one wants to have to write off hours on a bill and hurt their realization rate.


I couldn't have said this better.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:34 pm

So:

Do good, efficient work and don't bill frivolous hours. Don't omit billable hours that you're doing that type of work.

So, basically, don't be a schlub?

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20160810
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby 20160810 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So:

Do good, efficient work and don't bill frivolous hours. Don't omit billable hours that you're doing that type of work.

So, basically, don't be a schlub?

If you're capable of honest self-evaluation, then yeah, this. A lot of high-achieving biglaw types are insecure about their work product and think they're wasting time when they're actually more or less doing things correctly. The point, I think, was that people shouldn't be afraid to bill the hours they actually worked because a lot of times they're more efficient than they give themselves credit for.

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

Postby 09042014 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:16 pm

I can't imagine why a partner would rather have a better realization rate than a higher overall billed hours. Obviously, if your shit is constantly cut down, you aren't worth it because you aren't actually billing real hours. But I'd imagine you'd want to error on the side of more billables.

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20160810
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Re: Can anyone give me a breakdown of Biglaw hours?

Postby 20160810 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:36 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I can't imagine why a partner would rather have a better realization rate than a higher overall billed hours. Obviously, if your shit is constantly cut down, you aren't worth it because you aren't actually billing real hours. But I'd imagine you'd want to error on the side of more billables.

Pretty much my thinking. Obviously you never pad, but I don't get why so many associates don't bill for time they honestly spent working.

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

Postby itbdvorm » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:24 pm

SBL wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I can't imagine why a partner would rather have a better realization rate than a higher overall billed hours. Obviously, if your shit is constantly cut down, you aren't worth it because you aren't actually billing real hours. But I'd imagine you'd want to error on the side of more billables.

Pretty much my thinking. Obviously you never pad, but I don't get why so many associates don't bill for time they honestly spent working.


partners get in trouble at many firms if they "waste" associate time. not always clear whether it's the associate's fault or the partner's

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

Postby bah-humbug » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:44 pm

I think the point about realization was not that you shouldn't bill real hours. Always bill real hours. I think it was a response to the thread generally. The title of the thread, and perhaps a poster or two?, implies that hours is the goal, it's not. The goal is get you work done well and bill whatever it takes to do the work right.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:58 am

bah-humbug wrote:I think the point about realization was not that you shouldn't bill real hours. Always bill real hours. I think it was a response to the thread generally. The title of the thread, and perhaps a poster or two?, implies that hours is the goal, it's not. The goal is get you work done well and bill whatever it takes to do the work right.


Strike a balance. You want them to know you're working, but you also don't want them to know that you're still shitty at certain aspects of your job (you're a baby lawyer, it happens). You want to look like a fucking all-star.

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

Postby run26.2 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:23 pm

Some of the responses may make more sense when understood form the perspective of the number of billable hours per assignment v. yearly totals.

If we are talking about a particular assignment, yes, that needs to be done efficiently so the partner can justify the bill to the client. In that sense, it is not all about the billable hours.

If we are talking about a yearly total, then the overall number of hours do become more important. Attorneys that can consistently bill 2800+ hours of excellent quality work are going to be rewarded by most (if not all) firms.

The second point reinforces the first, though, from the associate's perspective. If the associate wants to bill lots and lots of hours, and maintain some semblance of a life outside the firm, that associate needs to not be "writing off" his or her own time.




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