110 hour week

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby rpupkin » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:35 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Also, 2800 is not "barely humanly possible." That's billing less than 60 hours per week for 48 weeks. That's relatively mild compared to some of the shit strivers do around here.

And what is it that some of the shit strivers do around here that's worse than billing 2800 hours a year?

Billing 2800 hours a year (without padding) would be really, really hard. Yes, it's "just" an average of 60 hours billed per week. But no associate will have a steady stream of 60-hour weeks for months on end. Billing that much likely means billing (not just working, but billing) 80+ hours 10-20 weeks a year. And those weeks take it out of you.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:43 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But I don't think effective billing rates can explain the entire gap in RPL. Ours is 430 for first years / 630 4th / 725 6th / 1050 ish for partners on average with leeway, with 81% realization rate.

What does a V10 look like.


Feel free to PM me if you want to know our rates, but I've probably dropped enough identifying information for one thread. Realization is >90% though. That 10% difference is, at the scale of our firms, potentially %90-100M right there.

That 10% is significant but it's probably only a third of the difference between a decent V50 (950k) and a V10 (1,250k). And stated billing rates don't appear to be all that different from what I can see in billing rates in BK docs.

I'm guessing around half the difference is just more hours billed per lawyer. Word of mouth and hours surveys seem to corroborate.

KidStuddi
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:05 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:Nice job. In the same post of trying to claim your firm doesn't sweatshop you (Life is chill here mane. Just don't look at those guys billing 3k hours a year!), you also note that 2800 is "relatively mild" and there are strivers far exceeding this. You are sociopath and your firm is full of sociopaths. Sorry you have low standards for what life should be like.


Okay I guess I'm talking over your head, but I'll try again. The point I've been making from the start is that how much you work in BigLaw is pretty much your responsibility to manage. As I said in my first post in this thread, OP's decision to work 110 hours in a single week was the likely the result of his poor management of expectations, considering he went on to admit that he had way too much work and "no one else appreciated or knew how hard" he was working, implying that his practice group isn't all underwater while he was basically bottoming out.

I went on to say that I have first hand experience to back up my assertion that extreme hours are largely a function of choice because I work at what is regarded as a "demanding" firm and yet the actual data shows the average associate only bills ~2,000 hours a year. Despite that relatively sane average, I am fully aware of and acknowledge the relatively few associates at the firm who, by choice, act as if the world will end if they don't stay in the office until 11:00 every single night and bill 3,000+ a year. The rest of us work relatively sane hours and no one pressures us to do otherwise. Again, this was the point of citing the averages and median.

See how that works? Everyone here works hard. Some people choose to take it to extraordinary levels because, for whatever reason, they think it is in their best interest. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but that's not the thrust of this thread. The question here is whether people are "expected to" put in 110 hour weeks in BigLaw, and the answer to that question is no, they are not. You're expected to do the work you say you can do. If you say you can do 110 hours worth of work in 1 week, well, that's your fault.
Last edited by KidStuddi on Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

masque du pantsu
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:38 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby masque du pantsu » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:20 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:Nice job. In the same post of trying to claim your firm doesn't sweatshop you (Life is chill here mane. Just don't look at those guys billing 3k hours a year!), you also note that 2800 is "relatively mild" and there are strivers far exceeding this. You are sociopath and your firm is full of sociopaths. Sorry you have low standards for what life should be like.


Okay I guess I'm talking over your head, but I'll try again. The point I've been making from the start is that how much you work in BigLaw is pretty much your responsibility to manage. As I said in my first post in this thread, OP's decision to work 110 hours in a single week was the likely the result of his poor management of expectations, considering he went on to admit that he had way too much work and "no one else appreciated or knew how hard" he was working, implying that his practice group isn't all underwater while he was basically bottoming out.

I went on to say that I have first hand experience to back up my assertion that extreme hours are largely a function of choice because I work at what is regarded as a "demanding" firm and yet the actual data shows the average associate only bills ~2,000 hours a year. Despite that relatively sane average, I am fully aware of and acknowledge the relatively few associates at the firm who, by choice, act as if the world will end if they don't stay in the office until 11:00 every single night and bill 3,000+ a year. The rest of us work relatively sane hours and no one pressures us to do otherwise. Again, this was the point of citing the averages and median.

See how that works? Everyone here works hard. Some people choose to take it to extraordinary levels because, for whatever reason, they think it is in their best interest. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but that's not the trust of this thread. The question here is whether people are "expected to" put in 110 hour weeks in BigLaw, and the answer to that question is no, they are not. You're expected to do the work you say you can do. If you say you can do 110 hours worth of work in 1 week, well, that's your fault.


Right, except that in M&A (which I believe the OP said is his/her practice), it is 100% possible to have 100+ hour weeks even if 80% of your time is only on one deal without it really being a judgment/choice issue.

Say someone comes to you and says "hey we're doing a deal, please review the data room, we're trying to have diligence done next week", and you open the data room and there are 2,500 documents, then yes, that would be your fault for not saying to them "please assign another associate to help."

But say you've reviewed those documents already over a more reasonable time frame, you write the diligence report, perform any termination fee or whatever analyses are needed, write up some sort of structure wherein you can avoid whatever at the subsidiary level or some such, the parties decide to go ahead with it and everything then starts going full speed ahead. At that point, in negotiating and finalizing deal documents, schedules (oh the schedules), subsidiary documents (I've worked on an M&A deal that had ~1,000 pages of total documentation), etc., the senior associate, partner and specialists will rely on you because they didn't read all the diligence documents, you did. You end up with a value/expertise of sorts where no one can easily step into your shoes or replace you and aside from saying "no I won't do it" (which, obviously, is a career limiting move once the deal heats up), you are not left with many options and it's hard to see how that is anyone's fault. (Also, sometimes it's exciting anyway so you wouldn't want to say no.)

I agree you need to learn how to say no (for instance, if two deals heat up at once, you have to just let the partners figure out who's work gets done), but sh*t happens.

That said, 100+ hour weeks have happened like twice for me. Monthly hours have ranged from 300+ to 75 for the whole month, so it's not like a 100 hour week means you're going to have 3000 or some ungodly amount of hours.

Curious, do you do a non-M&A corporate practice? I did a capital markets rotation and there, it felt like there were more possibility of heading that off before hand.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:25 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:Nice job. In the same post of trying to claim your firm doesn't sweatshop you (Life is chill here mane. Just don't look at those guys billing 3k hours a year!), you also note that 2800 is "relatively mild" and there are strivers far exceeding this. You are sociopath and your firm is full of sociopaths. Sorry you have low standards for what life should be like.


Okay I guess I'm talking over your head, but I'll try again. The point I've been making from the start is that how much you work in BigLaw is pretty much your responsibility to manage. As I said in my first post in this thread, OP's decision to work 110 hours in a single week was the likely the result of his poor management of expectations, considering he went on to admit that he had way too much work and "no one else appreciated or knew how hard" he was working, implying that his practice group isn't all underwater while he was basically bottoming out.

I went on to say that I have first hand experience to back up my assertion that extreme hours are largely a function of choice because I work at what is regarded as a "demanding" firm and yet the actual data shows the average associate only bills ~2,000 hours a year. Despite that relatively sane average, I am fully aware of and acknowledge the relatively few associates at the firm who, by choice, act as if the world will end if they don't stay in the office until 11:00 every single night and bill 3,000+ a year. The rest of us work relatively sane hours and no one pressures us to do otherwise. Again, this was the point of citing the averages and median.

See how that works? Everyone here works hard. Some people choose to take it to extraordinary levels because, for whatever reason, they think it is in their best interest. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but that's not the trust of this thread. The question here is whether people are "expected to" put in 110 hour weeks in BigLaw, and the answer to that question is no, they are not. You're expected to do the work you say you can do. If you say you can do 110 hours worth of work in 1 week, well, that's your fault.

This is laughable. Please share your practice group, whether you are actually at a large law firm and how many years you have been there. No seasoned corporate lawyer at a sophisticated practice would agree with you. For fuck's sake, I know many partners that would disagree with you (probably all partners in my group).

User avatar
Desert Fox
Progressively loosing literacy
Posts: 14376
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:33 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:Nice job. In the same post of trying to claim your firm doesn't sweatshop you (Life is chill here mane. Just don't look at those guys billing 3k hours a year!), you also note that 2800 is "relatively mild" and there are strivers far exceeding this. You are sociopath and your firm is full of sociopaths. Sorry you have low standards for what life should be like.


Okay I guess I'm talking over your head, but I'll try again. The point I've been making from the start is that how much you work in BigLaw is pretty much your responsibility to manage. As I said in my first post in this thread, OP's decision to work 110 hours in a single week was the likely the result of his poor management of expectations, considering he went on to admit that he had way too much work and "no one else appreciated or knew how hard" he was working, implying that his practice group isn't all underwater while he was basically bottoming out.

I went on to say that I have first hand experience to back up my assertion that extreme hours are largely a function of choice because I work at what is regarded as a "demanding" firm and yet the actual data shows the average associate only bills ~2,000 hours a year. Despite that relatively sane average, I am fully aware of and acknowledge the relatively few associates at the firm who, by choice, act as if the world will end if they don't stay in the office until 11:00 every single night and bill 3,000+ a year. The rest of us work relatively sane hours and no one pressures us to do otherwise. Again, this was the point of citing the averages and median.

See how that works? Everyone here works hard. Some people choose to take it to extraordinary levels because, for whatever reason, they think it is in their best interest. Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong, but that's not the trust of this thread. The question here is whether people are "expected to" put in 110 hour weeks in BigLaw, and the answer to that question is no, they are not. You're expected to do the work you say you can do. If you say you can do 110 hours worth of work in 1 week, well, that's your fault.


I totally agree that doing 110 hours weeks when nobody knows you are that slammed is a mistake the associate is making. But you are expected to do 110 hours of work if you have to. 110 hours billed is getting to the edge of absurdity(or this guy bills like a fatman), but 110 vaguely working isn't during huge deals or trials. If it's legit, everyone else will be working insane hours too. If you are by your lonesome, you fucked up.

But lets not bullshit that partners aren't trying to squeeze you dry. Turning down work when you are averaging 160 hours a month = ur done here. You can't hand off a project because you already billed 60 hours this week. And 60 hours in a week isn't uncommon and it really fucking sucks. I'm headed towards 70 this week and that is after I was taken off a case to make my load better.

KidStuddi
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But I don't think effective billing rates can explain the entire gap in RPL. Ours is 430 for first years / 630 4th / 725 6th / 1050 ish for partners on average with leeway, with 81% realization rate.

What does a V10 look like.


Feel free to PM me if you want to know our rates, but I've probably dropped enough identifying information for one thread. Realization is >90% though. That 10% difference is, at the scale of our firms, potentially %90-100M right there.

That 10% is significant but it's probably only a third of the difference between a decent V50 (950k) and a V10 (1,250k). And stated billing rates don't appear to be all that different from what I can see in billing rates in BK docs.

I'm guessing around half the difference is just more hours billed per lawyer. Word of mouth and hours surveys seem to corroborate.


Have to look at the relative headcounts for those numbers to mean anything more. All I can say is I'm pretty damn sure my firm isn't lying to me and that everyone around me isn't ninja billing 2500 a year.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:00 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But I don't think effective billing rates can explain the entire gap in RPL. Ours is 430 for first years / 630 4th / 725 6th / 1050 ish for partners on average with leeway, with 81% realization rate.

What does a V10 look like.


Feel free to PM me if you want to know our rates, but I've probably dropped enough identifying information for one thread. Realization is >90% though. That 10% difference is, at the scale of our firms, potentially %90-100M right there.

That 10% is significant but it's probably only a third of the difference between a decent V50 (950k) and a V10 (1,250k). And stated billing rates don't appear to be all that different from what I can see in billing rates in BK docs.

I'm guessing around half the difference is just more hours billed per lawyer. Word of mouth and hours surveys seem to corroborate.


Have to look at the relative headcounts for those numbers to mean anything more. All I can say is I'm pretty damn sure my firm isn't lying to me and everyone around ninja billing 2500 a year.


That's RPL, not total revenue. Headcount shouldn't matter.

How much did you bill last year? How much of that could you have avoided?

At my firm, over half got bonuses for doing 2000+ (or prorated to 2000+), yet average hours were well under 1800. Part timers, women who miss 15 weeks on maternity leave, people taking their 6 month "severance" period, people who give up, first years who don't have work yet, burned out guy just coasting til her gets to be severance guy, etc. etc. have a major impact on average and median.

I'm sure 2500 is high, but I'd be shocked if for people who worked the entire year, aren't first years, and are still trying to work at the firm are billing like 2200-2300.

shock259
Posts: 1737
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:30 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby shock259 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:38 pm

Pushing back on the victim blaming too. I just billed 65 hours this week on 1 deal (thanks 4AM night). Add in some miscellaneous post-closing work on other deals and I had about 80 billables. It was a shitty fucking week. But none of it was my fault. I got staffed on the current deal 4 weeks ago, and there was no way of knowing it would be so shitty. And on what grounds could I have turned it down?

Also, turning down work from partners can be extraordinarily difficult. Some people won't accept no, particularly when you are very junior. A partner came into my office about 2 months ago and told me I was staffed on a new deal of hers. I told her politely that I was already on 3 active deals, shit was hitting the fan, and that I couldn't meet any of her deadlines. I asked if we could talk to the assigning partner. She said that wasn't necessary and that the associates on my other deals would just have to pick up the slack. What are you supposed to do then..?

Some people definitely are workaholics, and some people need to learn to say no. But most junior corporate associates have little say over the matters they work on and little ability to control their workflow/hours.

User avatar
mmelittlechicken
Posts: 4680
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:34 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby mmelittlechicken » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:40 pm

shock259 wrote:Pushing back on the victim blaming too. I just billed 65 hours this week on 1 deal (thanks 4AM night). Add in some miscellaneous post-closing work on other deals and I had about 80 billables. It was a shitty fucking week. But none of it was my fault. I got staffed on the current deal 4 weeks ago, and there was no way of knowing it would be so shitty. And on what grounds could I have turned it down?

Also, turning down work from partners can be extraordinarily difficult. Some people won't accept no, particularly when you are very junior. A partner came into my office about 2 months ago and told me I was staffed on a new deal of hers. I told her politely that I was already on 3 active deals, shit was hitting the fan, and that I couldn't meet any of her deadlines. I asked if we could talk to the assigning partner. She said that wasn't necessary and that the associates on my other deals would just have to pick up the slack. What are you supposed to do then..?

Some people definitely are workaholics, and some people need to learn to say no. But most junior corporate associates have little say over the matters they work on and little ability to control their workflow/hours.

LJL

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:59 pm

.

User avatar
JohannDeMann
Posts: 13830
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:Feel free to PM me if you want to know our rates, but I've probably dropped enough identifying information for one thread. Realization is >90% though. That 10% difference is, at the scale of our firms, potentially %90-100M right there.

That 10% is significant but it's probably only a third of the difference between a decent V50 (950k) and a V10 (1,250k). And stated billing rates don't appear to be all that different from what I can see in billing rates in BK docs.

I'm guessing around half the difference is just more hours billed per lawyer. Word of mouth and hours surveys seem to corroborate.


Have to look at the relative headcounts for those numbers to mean anything more. All I can say is I'm pretty damn sure my firm isn't lying to me and everyone around ninja billing 2500 a year.


That's RPL, not total revenue. Headcount shouldn't matter.

How much did you bill last year? How much of that could you have avoided?

At my firm, over half got bonuses for doing 2000+ (or prorated to 2000+), yet average hours were well under 1800. Part timers, women who miss 15 weeks on maternity leave, people taking their 6 month "severance" period, people who give up, first years who don't have work yet, burned out guy just coasting til her gets to be severance guy, etc. etc. have a major impact on average and median.

I'm sure 2500 is high, but I'd be shocked if for people who worked the entire year, aren't first years, and are still trying to work at the firm are billing like 2200-2300.


Yep exactly. Kid Studdi - if your averages are at 2000, everyone serious is at a minimum at 2200. I suggest you TLS less and focus on your job.

KidStuddi
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:28 pm

masque du pantsu wrote:Right, except that in M&A (which I believe the OP said is his/her practice), it is 100% possible to have 100+ hour weeks even if 80% of your time is only on one deal without it really being a judgment/choice issue.

Say someone comes to you and says "hey we're doing a deal, please review the data room, we're trying to have diligence done next week", and you open the data room and there are 2,500 documents, then yes, that would be your fault for not saying to them "please assign another associate to help."

But say you've reviewed those documents already over a more reasonable time frame, you write the diligence report, perform any termination fee or whatever analyses are needed, write up some sort of structure wherein you can avoid whatever at the subsidiary level or some such, the parties decide to go ahead with it and everything then starts going full speed ahead. At that point, in negotiating and finalizing deal documents, schedules (oh the schedules), subsidiary documents (I've worked on an M&A deal that had ~1,000 pages of total documentation), etc., the senior associate, partner and specialists will rely on you because they didn't read all the diligence documents, you did. You end up with a value/expertise of sorts where no one can easily step into your shoes or replace you and aside from saying "no I won't do it" (which, obviously, is a career limiting move once the deal heats up), you are not left with many options and it's hard to see how that is anyone's fault. (Also, sometimes it's exciting anyway so you wouldn't want to say no.)

I agree you need to learn how to say no (for instance, if two deals heat up at once, you have to just let the partners figure out who's work gets done), but sh*t happens.

That said, 100+ hour weeks have happened like twice for me. Monthly hours have ranged from 300+ to 75 for the whole month, so it's not like a 100 hour week means you're going to have 3000 or some ungodly amount of hours.

Curious, do you do a non-M&A corporate practice? I did a capital markets rotation and there, it felt like there were more possibility of heading that off before hand.


I don't think we disagree about anything other than where the line is drawn. You seem to agree you should push back if you're about be obviously oversubscribed with two active matters going simultaneously, so you recognize there're some threshold at which you have to say something or risk fucking up.

I'm just saying wherever you choose to put your "say something" threshold is your own choice. I think the text in bold is a large part of the problem with people who end up working 3,000 hours and never take vacations. It's like you guys really do think you're the pillar holding up every deal and that everything would crumble without you and so you decide that your thresholds are going to be so that the only time you'll say no is when you're at the point of literally running out of hours in the day even without sleeping. I tend to think I'm not that irreplaceable. If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, I know no deal I'm on is going to implode or probably even be delayed. Someone more senior than me might have to roll up their sleeves and fill in for me, or someone lateral might get pulled in to help out, someone more junior might have to take more responsibility, or whatever.

Desert Fox wrote:But lets not bullshit that partners aren't trying to squeeze you dry. Turning down work when you are averaging 160 hours a month = ur done here. You can't hand off a project because you already billed 60 hours this week. And 60 hours in a week isn't uncommon and it really fucking sucks. I'm headed towards 70 this week and that is after I was taken off a case to make my load better.


Right, I believe I said earlier I'm not advocating trying to limit yourself to 40 hour weeks or trying to duck a request that comes in at 8pm on a Saturday or whatever. Partners are in the business of selling our time, they're always going to want as much as you can give. But if I bill 60 hours in the first half a week, it's about a 95% chance that I made that happen by putting off other things I'm responsible for. I'm not saying you turn down new work because you've already billed 60 hours in a week and want to check out (unless you're using vacation / sick days), you turn down new work because you're backed up from billing 60, you've got at least X more on your plate, and you need to keep overhead in place so that you can manage priorities and remain relatively responsive to follow-up requests other things you're already engaged with.

As a practical matter, when I tell a partner or senior associate "I'm not sure I have the capacity to take this on right now, I've got X, Y, and Z on my plate," I've never once gotten anything remotely approaching "well how late are you going to be staying up each night??!!?" If I tell someone I'm at capacity, that's just how it is. They move on and find someone with more bandwidth or split the task (sometimes), adjust their timing expectations (vast majority of the time), or, if it's something they think I really need to do personally and the deadline is actually hard, they'll work with other people above me to do decide whose work isn't getting done promptly (handful of times).

KidStuddi
Posts: 465
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:Have to look at the relative headcounts for those numbers to mean anything more. All I can say is I'm pretty damn sure my firm isn't lying to me and everyone around ninja billing 2500 a year.


That's RPL, not total revenue. Headcount shouldn't matter.

How much did you bill last year? How much of that could you have avoided?

At my firm, over half got bonuses for doing 2000+ (or prorated to 2000+), yet average hours were well under 1800. Part timers, women who miss 15 weeks on maternity leave, people taking their 6 month "severance" period, people who give up, first years who don't have work yet, burned out guy just coasting til her gets to be severance guy, etc. etc. have a major impact on average and median.

I'm sure 2500 is high, but I'd be shocked if for people who worked the entire year, aren't first years, and are still trying to work at the firm are billing like 2200-2300.


re: headcount, you need to know how many associates versus partners there are. I guess leverage might have been the more precise term. If you're comparing a firm with a 6.0 ratio against a firm with a 3.0 ratio, realizing 10% more of those billables is going to have a disproportionate impact. Why do you think Wachtell's RPL is in a different league from everyone else? What's your theory there, that they work 1.5x harder than the Cravaths/S&Cs/Quinns/STB/DPWs/etc. of the world who work 1.5x harder than the rest of the pack?

Re: hours

Yes, that's how averages work. Do you know how medians work? If at your firm half over half got bonuses for doing 2000+ hours, the median would be over 2000. As I've already stated, the median and mean were very close to each other and both under 2100.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:11 am

OP here: Look Kidstuddi, yeah, you have a point, if you oversubscribe for work and get busy without communicating, that's your own fault. But even your initial post left open the scenario of extreme or unique circumstances, which in NY M&A happen all the time. The NYC firms are distinct because they meet crazy client demands. And when your deal team commits to do it, and everyone else on your team is working super hard, it's not like you can say, "Excuse me, I'd rather not work 80 hours this week!"

Your point on the fungibility of junior associates also is an over-simplification. Could I be replaced on a deal? Yeah, but it would be a huge pain in the ass for everyone because I've been working practically solo on a work stream for a month, and it would take a lot of time and hassle to bring someone in, even to assist.

Your posts also assume that a person billing 100+ is working in a silo, but on an M&A deal, the opposite is the case. Everyone is freaking busy on the deal, there is a flood of email and phone calls, and I sure as hell am not going to tap out when other people are still working.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:37 am

KidStuddi wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
KidStuddi wrote:Have to look at the relative headcounts for those numbers to mean anything more. All I can say is I'm pretty damn sure my firm isn't lying to me and everyone around ninja billing 2500 a year.


That's RPL, not total revenue. Headcount shouldn't matter.

How much did you bill last year? How much of that could you have avoided?

At my firm, over half got bonuses for doing 2000+ (or prorated to 2000+), yet average hours were well under 1800. Part timers, women who miss 15 weeks on maternity leave, people taking their 6 month "severance" period, people who give up, first years who don't have work yet, burned out guy just coasting til her gets to be severance guy, etc. etc. have a major impact on average and median.

I'm sure 2500 is high, but I'd be shocked if for people who worked the entire year, aren't first years, and are still trying to work at the firm are billing like 2200-2300.


re: headcount, you need to know how many associates versus partners there are. I guess leverage might have been the more precise term. If you're comparing a firm with a 6.0 ratio against a firm with a 3.0 ratio, realizing 10% more of those billables is going to have a disproportionate impact. Why do you think Wachtell's RPL is in a different league from everyone else? What's your theory there, that they work 1.5x harder than the Cravaths/S&Cs/Quinns/STB/DPWs/etc. of the world who work 1.5x harder than the rest of the pack?

Re: hours

Yes, that's how averages work. Do you know how medians work? If at your firm half over half got bonuses for doing 2000+ hours, the median would be over 2000. As I've already stated, the median and mean were very close to each other and both under 2100.


Yes I know how medians work, but I'm not sure if you do. The 2000 is based on pro-rated 2000 for people at half time, on maternity leave, etc. If you took them out the median would move quite a bit baring some very improbable distribution on hours.

I agree that distribution of partners has an effect, but most biglaw are very similarly structured. If anything V10 firms (other than WLRK) are pretty highly leveraged. Which means their proportion of partner hours is lower.

WLRK is an outlier that doesn't even use the billable hour. So RPL isn't a great metric.

User avatar
JohannDeMann
Posts: 13830
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:47 am

kid studdi doesn't deserve anymore responses. everyone in the thread knows he's wrong.

User avatar
Desert Fox
Progressively loosing literacy
Posts: 14376
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:50 am

JohannDeMann wrote:kid studdi doesn't deserve anymore responses. everyone in the thread knows he's wrong.


I'm not going to defend his weird V10 isn't a sweatshop trolling, but he's pretty much right about 110 hours being this guys fault if he didn't speak up. I think I did a 90 hour month once, but my partner did 100.

Pulsar
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:32 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Pulsar » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:17 am

These "oh it's not so bad" people remind me of the Milgram electric shock experiment. Some drones will justify anything if it ingratiates them to authority figures or keeps the realization that their lives are dark and empty out of their minds. Turn that shock up baby; turn it up.

User avatar
JohannDeMann
Posts: 13830
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:17 am

im new and havent done a month over 200 but done 2 80 hour weeks. after an 80 hour week i took a whole week of vacation and the other 80 hour week i didnt really have anything going on the next week so i just did some stuff here and there in the office. at the same time i have no relationships with 80% of the partners in my group because ive passed on work and told them i couldnt meet deadlines. and as far as bigger projects go, there is only 1 partner ive done any work for. so ive tied my ship to him and i wouldnt recommend this strategy for anyone trying to build an actual career in biglaw.

User avatar
Big Shrimpin
Posts: 2468
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Big Shrimpin » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:26 pm

IME (patent lit at V30), misery is directly proportional to the level of organization within the team and/or whether the partners are full-blown workaholics.

Sure, deadlines and hot garbage fires happen, but a well-oiled machine run by partners who like to see their family a few times a week can mean consistent 40-50 hr/wks with some 60-80s sprinkled in.

User avatar
sinfiery
Posts: 3308
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:55 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby sinfiery » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:59 am

OP, how many hours have you billed as an associate at your firm this year/other years?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273107
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:40 pm

I tend to agree with KidStuddi in some ways, and also with Big Shrimpin. I'm v20 litigation.

no one is going to look out for you, so you have to do it for yourself. I think there is a mentality of scarcity from some of the older associates, who, e.g., joined in 2009 and have this idea that if you bill south of 2400 for a year you're on the chopping block. a lot of the younger associates, IME, are happy billing 2000 or whatever. and I think that's great.

it's somewhat in your hands -- it's your task to cultivate a relationship with your bosses where you can say, I have too much work right now and it isn't going to get done unless we rearrange it. it's also somewhat not in your hands -- you have to do what you agreed to do, and the work we do takes a long time to get right sometimes. It happens to me that I'll have dinner plans get ruined fairly frequently, but it's also exceptionally rare that I bill 70+ hour weeks. Personally, if I'm billing to the extent of destroying my health, I'm doing a worse job at work. And our clients pay a shit load to get the best lawyers in the world, so I try my best not to give them a tired zombie lawyer.

sometimes a 110 hour week like OP's happens. my biggest reaction to this thread is, 'sorry man, that sucks. hope it goes better.' it's too bad this tangential philosophical conversation is happening in his thread but it's definitely an interesting topic.

User avatar
TFALAWL
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:48 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby TFALAWL » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:33 pm

Naive Question from a 2L:

Is it possible to front-load your work (i.e. kill yourself mon-wed. and then take it a little easier thuds-sat.)

Like in law school and college I've always busted my chops for the first three days of the week, and then try to coast. It's a routine that works well for me, and I would love to do that in big law (I'm totally fine with staying in the office 'til 2AM twice a week, so long as I get my friday nights with the homies, and my saturday to sleep)

User avatar
Desert Fox
Progressively loosing literacy
Posts: 14376
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:36 pm

TFALAWL wrote:Naive Question from a 2L:

Is it possible to front-load your work (i.e. kill yourself mon-wed. and then take it a little easier thuds-sat.)

Like in law school and college I've always busted my chops for the first three days of the week, and then try to coast. It's a routine that works well for me, and I would love to do that in big law (I'm totally fine with staying in the office 'til 2AM twice a week, so long as I get my friday nights with the homies, and my saturday to sleep)


Sometimes yes, mostly no.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.