1800 vs 2000 Hours

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cdelgado
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1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby cdelgado » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:03 am

For those of you in the field, is there any serious difference (enough that it should factor into my decisions) between Firm A with 1800 minimum hours or Firm B with 2000 minimum hours?

I know the obvious answer is "yeah, 200 hours" but how much of a difference does this make over the course of a year?


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20160810
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby 20160810 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:29 am

Considering that the minimum may have no relation to the amount of time you bill, who knows.

ejlions84
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby ejlions84 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:32 am

iplulzer wrote:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.annaivey.com%2Fsystem%2Ffiles%2FBillable_Hour.pdf&ei=dTUvUr3BELix4AP3zIDwDw&usg=AFQjCNEi6qBmu0-y23M9QxTgU9vcQCrl-w&sig2=rB1QLuaKc0r4qXLbtJz4LQ&bvm=bv.51773540,d.dmg


That was depressing

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splitsplat
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby splitsplat » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:46 am

iplulzer wrote:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.annaivey.com%2Fsystem%2Ffiles%2FBillable_Hour.pdf&ei=dTUvUr3BELix4AP3zIDwDw&usg=AFQjCNEi6qBmu0-y23M9QxTgU9vcQCrl-w&sig2=rB1QLuaKc0r4qXLbtJz4LQ&bvm=bv.51773540,d.dmg

thanks for that, was informative

Anonymous User
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:00 pm

My firm has no requirement, no minimum, and doesn't regularly give us targets or practice reports. I'll probably bill at least 2,500 this year, maybe as many as 2,800, and I haven't requested additional work since January.

Basically, I'm not sure I'd put too much stock into what a firm "officially" expects, but know that there is a pretty big difference. Maybe not as big as you would think though, because as hours ramp up so does efficiency. Somebody billing 1,500 hours per year can't just say no when new work comes in that has to get done over night or on a weekend, and still has to be in their chair during office hours, so the total amount of extra time spent "working" isn't nearly as large as the total number of extra hours billed when people have very high numbers.

On the flip side, the higher your billing gets the larger of a percentage of your free time you give up. In my experience, each hour you lose per day/weekend is more valuable than the last...

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Old Gregg
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:07 pm

iplulzer wrote:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.annaivey.com%2Fsystem%2Ffiles%2FBillable_Hour.pdf&ei=dTUvUr3BELix4AP3zIDwDw&usg=AFQjCNEi6qBmu0-y23M9QxTgU9vcQCrl-w&sig2=rB1QLuaKc0r4qXLbtJz4LQ&bvm=bv.51773540,d.dmg


Yeah, that PDF is from the YLD career site originally. It was bullshit then, and it is bullshit now.
IMO there's no real difference between 2000 and 1800 hours. Bad is around 2300, and it starts to hurt your insides after 2400.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:32 pm

4 hours a week could be a small but real quality of life difference, BUT you should be more concerned with what the associates are actually billing, not what the stated minimums are. Minimum hours means different things at different firms. At some it is real and people hit around it, and at others it is theoretical because everyone is way over it.

Mount Elbrus
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby Mount Elbrus » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:51 pm

The Yale paper also assumes people are being absolutely ethical and not inflating their hours even the slightest bit. Rounding up can net some big returns if done consistently.

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mephistopheles
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby mephistopheles » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:30 pm

Mount Elbrus wrote:The Yale paper also assumes people are being absolutely ethical and not inflating their hours even the slightest bit. Rounding up can net some big returns if done consistently.



:lol:

Anonymous Associate
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby Anonymous Associate » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:27 pm

iplulzer wrote:https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.annaivey.com%2Fsystem%2Ffiles%2FBillable_Hour.pdf&ei=dTUvUr3BELix4AP3zIDwDw&usg=AFQjCNEi6qBmu0-y23M9QxTgU9vcQCrl-w&sig2=rB1QLuaKc0r4qXLbtJz4LQ&bvm=bv.51773540,d.dmg


I hate this thing so much. A few things:
*Doesn't take into account ebb and flow type work (i.e. trial). Easy months (i.e. billing 125 or less) after a really hard month or so feels like a vacation and gets you refreshed.
*An hour lunch break and all these 15-min coffee breaks? Who does that? Every day? Whoever you are, stop taking so many breaks so you can get out of the office faster.
*This person has a lot of unbillable time, at least from my experience.
*Don't commute. It is a waste of your time. Barring circumstance where you can avoid it (i.e. having to live between 2 cities because of your partner's job or whatever), live where you work.

Rant done. Back to the question. I don't think there is a meaningful difference between the two. My firm has two options for full-time attorneys: 1800 and 1950. I went with the 1800 option, but I actually reached that target with 3 months left in the fiscal year. So I am switching over to the other track. Honestly, 1800 isn't very much at all. If you have anything major going on that year (i.e. trial or a giant deal), you'll end up with a crazy billing month or two (i.e. 300+ hours). I really think the 1800 target is artificial for people with a full caseload.

iplulzer
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby iplulzer » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:10 pm

Anonymous Associate wrote:I hate this thing so much. A few things:
*Doesn't take into account ebb and flow type work (i.e. trial). Easy months (i.e. billing 125 or less) after a really hard month or so feels like a vacation and gets you refreshed.

chill. how could they take that into account? you can only really deal with averages on something like this.

*An hour lunch break and all these 15-min coffee breaks? Who does that? Every day? Whoever you are, stop taking so many breaks so you can get out of the office faster.

2 x 15 min coffee breaks. think of it as a placeholder for breaks during the day. watercooler/hallway chat, bathroom breaks, etc. if you think 30 mins of unproductive time a day is too much, you must be some kind of machine or slave. in any event i wouldn't want to work there.

*This person has a lot of unbillable time, at least from my experience.
*Don't commute. It is a waste of your time. Barring circumstance where you can avoid it (i.e. having to live between 2 cities because of your partner's job or whatever), live where you work.
sorry but this is just silly. do you think a half-hour commute only occurs when one travels from outside a city? have you ever lived in or even visited a large city? Even going from midtown to downtown manhattan can easily take you 30 mins door to door.

i'd like to hear more about why that pdf is so awful. but the above isn't it.

Sup Kid
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby Sup Kid » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:09 am

iplulzer wrote:i'd like to hear more about why that pdf is so awful. but the above isn't it.

The pdf grossly overestimates the following line items:
1) 1 hour for lunch
2) 30 minutes reading legal updates and reviewing general correspondence
3) 30 min for department meetings, occasional conferences and do CLE

Here's why:
1) Everyone I work with (NY Biglaw) goes out to grab lunch at place within 2 blocks of the office and eats at their desk, while working. Total time for lunch should be 15-20 minutes, not 60 minutes.
2) "Reading legal updates" doesn't happen for junior associates and what is "general correspondence"?? -- you do what your told, ask questions, and learn on the go. Nobody spends 30 minutes/day doing this stuff, maybe 30 minutes per week.
3) We have department meetings once every couple weeks, if that (normally once a month or less). Never been to a conference, and as a junior there probably isn't any reason you need to be. CLEs have to be done, but not at the rate of 2.5 hours/week. Over the course of the year, it's probably about 30 minutes/week (around 25 hours total).

Therefore, adding that all up, if you act like a normal associate, you can save 7.5 hours per week from what that PDF proposed. Over the course of the year, that's more than 375 hours.

Note that I'm not arguing with the 30 minutes/day for "coffee breaks". You might not be getting coffee for 30 minutes, but you're probably on facebook/gchat/etc for 30 minutes/day.

run26.2
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby run26.2 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:03 am

Mount Elbrus wrote:The Yale paper also assumes people are being absolutely ethical and not inflating their hours even the slightest bit. Rounding up can net some big returns if done consistently.

It's not even that you need to round up. Some lawyers fill in their hours much later. I wonder how people that do this can be close to accurate.

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thesealocust
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:27 am

run26.2 wrote:
Mount Elbrus wrote:The Yale paper also assumes people are being absolutely ethical and not inflating their hours even the slightest bit. Rounding up can net some big returns if done consistently.

It's not even that you need to round up. Some lawyers fill in their hours much later. I wonder how people that do this can be close to accurate.


It's obviously an impressionistic system anyway - time gets written off, rates get adjusted, discounts get applied, etc. Time is sometimes billed for block units (i.e. deal/case related travel) but other times people feel the need to neurotically subdivide between tasks during the day. Some questions have easy answers (Q: "Can you bill for lunch if you didn't work on a project?" A: "No.") while others are nearly intractable (Q: "While on the subway ride and thinking about the case, the attorney decides on a new strategy and revises documents accordingly upon arrival to the office. How much, if any, of that commute was billable? If not why not? What if he was in the office and thinking while watching the morning news? What if he was in the office thinking while typing an email about the case? Typing an email about another case? Talking to the partner? Talking to the partner about something else? BUT WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?).

Billing time in 1/10th hour intervals based on the attorney's memory is the worst way to account for attorney time & to bill clients... except for all the other ways? It provides some - often rough - way for firms to know how their resources are (or aren't) being used and to charge clients based on how heavily those resources are used. Even when clients get anxious, its usually over things like entries that sound overly secretarial (life pro tip: avoid using phrases like "printed" - "ran blacklines" - etc. in your time entries) and not quibbling over the hours and minutes.

It's not a problem unique to law either - mechanics with hourly rates will assign time values to projects and then adjust only if they go (substantially?) over pretty routinely. Lawyers billing time in a corporate context may actually be one of the most accurate and robust means of accounting for time billed on an hourly basis outside of parking meters.

run26.2
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Re: 1800 vs 2000 Hours

Postby run26.2 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:41 am

thesealocust wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
Mount Elbrus wrote:The Yale paper also assumes people are being absolutely ethical and not inflating their hours even the slightest bit. Rounding up can net some big returns if done consistently.

It's not even that you need to round up. Some lawyers fill in their hours much later. I wonder how people that do this can be close to accurate.


It's obviously an impressionistic system anyway - time gets written off, rates get adjusted, discounts get applied, etc.

Billing time in 1/10th hour intervals based on the attorney's memory is the worst way to account for attorney time & to bill clients... except for all the other ways?

Here's an example of how it could be abused. Client says no associate may bill more than 150 hours per month on its matter. All associates do work in the 100 hour range every month but bill the client 145 hours every month. There are other ways it can be abused, such as billing for surfing the web, going to the bathroom, or billing extra time on a task on which you were extra-efficient.

I think there are many attorneys that make a concerted effort to be accurate in their billings, and their reported figures are passed directly on to their clients (with possible discounts or rate adjustments negotiated at the outset of the matter).




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