110 hour week

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:54 pm

Cicero76 wrote:On balance, I'd say the perspectives in this thread seem in balance.


has anyone linked to that video yet? im poasting on phone and too lazy

im a midlevel and i def like the work/job, just dislike workaholics

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Desert Fox
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:56 pm

I think corp bros probably have the most ability to push back. So you work 1800 hours a year. What are they going to do? Replacing you is hard as fuck right now.

wildhaggis
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby wildhaggis » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:08 pm

OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?

muskies970
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby muskies970 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:30 pm

wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


thank you for this

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:31 pm

wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


this is so sad and so true

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Desert Fox
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:38 pm

and it doesnt even have to be someone else just taking a long time.

Students, honestly reflect on this question, when was the last time you worked on studying, outlines, reading for 8 hours straight. No facebook, no chatting, no TLSing. You'll all day 16 hour finals cram? How much did you actually work MAYBE 10 hours.

notgreat
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby notgreat » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:45 pm

Desert Fox wrote:and it doesnt even have to be someone else just taking a long time.

Students, honestly reflect on this question, when was the last time you worked on studying, outlines, reading for 8 hours straight. No facebook, no chatting, no TLSing. You'll all day 16 hour finals cram? How much did you actually work MAYBE 10 hours.


Can't remember. Certainly not since I started law school.

FSK
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby FSK » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:51 pm

(Only a 2L) Reading this, I would normally have no desire to do biglaw. Money isn't important to me, prestige barely maters. But I went to law school for a kind of job that, though not a unicorn, you basically have to go through biglaw to get to. The whole system is so fucked.

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rpupkin
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:13 pm

Desert Fox wrote:and it doesnt even have to be someone else just taking a long time.

Students, honestly reflect on this question, when was the last time you worked on studying, outlines, reading for 8 hours straight. No facebook, no chatting, no TLSing. You'll all day 16 hour finals cram? How much did you actually work MAYBE 10 hours.

This folks. Do you know how it feels in the two weeks before finals, when all you're doing is reading and outlining? Work is like that all the time. The difference is that, when you finish your finals, you usually get to take two or three weeks off completely, and then you don't really have to work hard again until half a year later. At a firm, by contrast, your reward for finishing a busy two weeks is....another busy two weeks. Rinse and repeat until you quit/are forced out/have a nervous breakdown.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:54 pm

wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


This is one of the best posts in the history of TLS. Bravo man, bravo.

Students need to read this and tattoo this into their brain. This is real talk, this is how its going to be at the vast majority of firms. Most firms don't have a well oiled machine of constant medium volume streams of work. I have had entire days where I am flying from one partners office to the other literally begging for work cause I've billed like 1 hour (likely just cheated the client out of an hour) and have nothing to do. The at 6 pm when I'm ready to call it a day a partner comes in and all of a sudden something really important is up and it needs to get done by tomorrow morning. Or worse, 4 partners come up and everyone has a huge thing all due by the end of the week cause, you know, "you asked for work so here you go." Worse yet, you get these partners who come into your office on Friday at 3 pm and say they noticed your hours were light so they will "help you out" and they will assign a 9 issue memo due first thing Monday morning. Awesome, no weekend for me at all. During the day you gotta put in facetime so you gotta be in the office even if you don't have anything to do, but as soon as you wanna leave all of a sudden urgent things come up and now you need to stay in the office to do them. Hours billed for the day will say 5-6, but really I was in the office 8 am to 10 pm. Then at the end of the week partners start asking if you have enough work cause the hours seem light and they've been "taking it easy on you" while in reality you've been at the office an average of 14 hours each day.

Not all firms are like this, but students need to understand the very real difference between billable ours and hours physically present in the office. No partners cares about the latter, but the latter is what ultimately screws your life up.

KidStuddi
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:54 pm

wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


Your perspective is heavily colored by your firm being slow, your partners being shitty, and the fact that you apparently compound it all by losing sleep of it. Maybe your experience is more reflective of typical BigLaw, but it certainly doesn't come anywhere close to describing any week I've ever had.

Perhaps it's a fair criticism to say my experience doesn't represent all of BigLaw or every practice group, because I will admit my firm is just about never slow. That was, however, exactly why I felt pretty confident in saying that since 110 hour weeks aren't expected here, where virtually no one is ever "slow," they probably aren't expected anywhere.

You've described what your firm is like, here's where I'm coming from:

I haven't asked for work in at least 6 months and the last time I remember doing so was because two deals blew up in the same week. All time, it's at least a 90/10 split saying no vs asking for work. Probably closer to 95/5. Despite the constant barrage of work thrown at me, no one has ever demanded that I work 110 hours in a week. No one has ever looked at my sideways when I say I need help to make a hard deadline. No one has ever written me a scathing review or even a remotely negative review because I said I had other commitments that would keep me from working on their matter.

If I ever do "need" work, there's pretty much an endless supply of it. The danger at my firm is taking on extra work and over committing yourself, not getting in trouble because you don't have enough hours. We have a pool of 100+ staff attorneys to deal with overflow and pretty much any of that work could easily be given to a junior-midish associate. It's why people can bill 2,800 hours a year regularly around here while the average is still right around 2,000.

I don't have days where I sit around "working" but not doing jack shit and only bill 2 hours because if such a day every presented itself, I'd either A) work on one of my "whenever you can get to it" pro bono matters (of which an unlimited amount of hours count the same as billables for me, but I think most places give you at least 50-100) or B) answer any important e-mails and then go/stay the fuck home if I didn't feel like working that day. Either way, that doesn't sound like a stressful day to me. I certainly wouldn't be losing sleep over it.

And you can think whatever you want, but 2,800 hours being "barely humanly possible" is just plain inaccurate. Averaging my last six months (including pro bono because I can't separate it out), I'm on track for about 2,500 this year, and I didn't work the last two weeks of December. I leave by 7-7:30 most nights (though I sporadically work from home after dinner if required), and I tend to be one of the later leavers on my floor. I'm also an early riser and so tend to get in before almost everyone most days. I also work from home on weekend mornings regularly, which is also atypical but I front-run work wherever I can because I like to have the flexibility to go out weeknights. And it tends to work for me: I have season tickets to the NBA in my city and I've only missed 2 games this season because of work. Maybe once or twice going meant coming back to the office after the game, but I'll take that trade-off most any night.

The point of all this is to emphasize that while I could be working a lot less than I choose to and be in line with the norms around here, I consider my work schedule very manageable. Still, I would end up pretty close to 2,800 this calendar year without changing much anything if I just continued at my current pace and did not take any vacation in 2015 (remember my 6 month sample pace includes 2 weeks of vacation, so equivalent to about 4 full as extrapolated to the year). And I know it's feasible to do even more than that, because there are try-hard nutjobs around here who are here when I get in and when I leave pretty much every day, so they're almost certainly doing more.

I'm of course not going to actually hit 2,800 by foregoing my vacation because I goddamn well earned it and I'm using it. That and there's nothing to be gained by it other than making more money for a bunch of partners that already have 3.4M+ PPP. Even 2,500 is dumb and I'd have a lot fewer if I hadn't said yes to a few matters solely because I have a man crush on the senior associate.

Here are my hours for February and March through today. Couple of mid-week all nighters here and there, but didn't miss a single game during this stretch and went out pretty much every Friday and Saturday. Even took two weekends off in a row this month to go looking for a new place to live. Keep in mind these hours reflect turning down work at least twice a week; I could consistently have more if I wanted to join the gunner club.

Edit: realized that my screenshots cut off the totals. 259 for feb and 229 through March 24.

Edit 2: Realized not everyone follows the NBA. There are 41 home games in a season and the season is about 75% over. Most teams have played ~30 home games by this point and I've been able to attend all but 2 without much difficultly.
Last edited by KidStuddi on Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:14 pm

Cool time sheet bro.

TTTooKewl
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby TTTooKewl » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:18 pm

Wondering how you have the energy. If I get to bed past 2 on a Wednesday, that pretty much means I'm not going out that weekend.

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

Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:26 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Cool time sheet bro.


Eh, whatever. People are being sold some tall tales that strike me as fairly fucking dramatic. I'm trying to discredit the sob stories based on actual experience and numbers publicized by peer firms and being called a flame for it. Guess that's about right for this forum though.
Last edited by KidStuddi on Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nickelanddime
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby nickelanddime » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:27 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
Your perspective is heavily colored by your firm being slow, your partners being shitty, and the fact that you apparently compound it all by losing sleep of it. Maybe your experience is more reflective of typical BigLaw, but it certainly doesn't come anywhere close to describing any week I've ever had.

Perhaps it's a fair criticism to say my experience doesn't represent all of BigLaw or every practice group, because I will admit my firm is just about never slow. That was, however, exactly why I felt pretty confident in saying that since 110 hour weeks aren't expected here, where virtually no one is ever "slow," they probably aren't expected anywhere.

You've described what your firm is like, here's where I'm coming from:

I haven't asked for work in at least 6 months and the last time I remember doing so was because two deals blew up in the same week. All time, it's at least a 90/10 split saying no vs asking for work. Probably closer to 95/5. Despite the constant barrage of work thrown at me, no one has ever demanded that I work 110 hours in a week. No one has ever looked at my sideways when I say I need help to make a hard deadline. No one has ever written be a scathing review or even a remotely negative review because I said I had other commitments that would keep me from working on their matter.

If I ever do "need" work, there's pretty much an endless supply of it. The danger at my firm is taking on extra work and over committing yourself, not getting in trouble because you don't have enough hours. We have a pool of 100+ staff attorneys to deal with overflow and pretty much any of that work could easily be given to a junior-midish associate. It's why people can bill 2,800 hours a year regularly around here while the average is still right around 2,000.

I don't have days where I sit around "working" but not doing jack shit and only bill 2 hours because if such a day every presented itself, I'd either A) work on one of my "whenever you can get to it" pro bono matters (of which an unlimited amount of hours count the same as billables for me, but I think most places give you at least 50-100) or B) answer any important e-mails and then go/stay the fuck home if I didn't feel like working that day. Either way, that doesn't sound like a stressful day to me. I certainly wouldn't be losing sleep over it.

And you can think whatever you want, but 2,800 hours being "barely humanly possible" is just plain inaccurate. Averaging my last six months (including pro bono because I can't separate it out), I'm on track for about 2,500 this year, and I didn't work the last two weeks of December. I leave by 7-7:30 most nights (though I sporadically work from home after dinner if required), and I tend to be one of the later leavers on my floor. I'm also an early riser and so tend to get in before almost everyone most days. I also work from home on weekend mornings regularly, which is also atypical but I front-run work wherever I can because I like to have the flexibility to go out weeknights. And it tends to work for me: I have season tickets to the NBA in my city and I've only missed 2 games this season because of work. Maybe once or twice going meant coming back to the office after the game, but I'll take that trade-off most any night.

The point of all this is to emphasize that while I could be working a lot less than I choose to and be in line with the norms around here, I consider my work schedule very manageable. Still, I would end up pretty close to 2,800 this calendar year without changing much anything if I just continued at my current pace and did not take any vacation in 2015 (remember my 6 month sample pace includes 2 weeks of vacation, so equivalent to about 4 full as extrapolated to the year). And I know it's feasible to do even more than that, because there are try-hard nutjobs around here who are here when I get in and when I leave pretty much every day, so they're almost certainly doing more.

I'm of course not going to actually hit 2,800 by foregoing my vacation because I goddamn well earned it and I'm using it. That and there's nothing to be gained by it other than making more money for a bunch of partners that already have 3.4M+ PPP. Even 2,500 is dumb and I'd have a lot fewer if I hadn't said yes to a few matters solely because I have a man crush on the senior associate.

Here are my hours for February and March through today. Couple of mid-week all nighters here and there, but didn't miss a single game during this stretch and went out pretty much every Friday and Saturday. Even took two weekends off in a row this month to go looking for a new place to live. Keep in mind these hours reflect turning down work at least twice a week; I could consistently have more if I wanted to join the gunner club.

Edit: realized that my screenshots cut off the totals. 259 for feb and 229 through March 24.


To add my 2 cents:
I believe anyone that thinks that they can bill 2800 hours without breaking a sweat is overbilling or has a massively greater capacity to work than I do. I worked at a firm that was also not slow, and in a litigation practice, meaning that my hours were presumably more regular than yours. I mostly knew my deadlines in advance and never had one-off projects that came up out of the blue.

Anytime my hours approached the 250-300 range, I was staying at work until the wee hours once or twice per week and using the weekends to sleep and hastily take care of all the life errands that I had neglected (and work, of course). I cancelled plans all the time and did not have the energy for a social life. When I wasn't working, I was thinking about how I should be working. A number of my coworkers who kept schedules similar to mine developed or exacerbated serious health problems. In addition, after a few months working at that pace, my ability to focus vanished --meaning I was at work correspondingly longer to accomplish the same amount of work. I don't think my coworkers' experiences were dissimilar to mine.

It is possible, of course, that there are people that have higher energy levels than I do, and that these people could have handled my workload without problem. I just don't think that they're common.

Cogburn87
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Cogburn87 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:27 pm

JFC. This dude actually posted screen caps of his fucking time sheets. This profession is so fucking pathetic.

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mmelittlechicken
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby mmelittlechicken » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:33 pm

KidStuddi wrote:Here are my hours for February and March through today. Couple of mid-week all nighters here and there, but didn't miss a single game during this stretch and went out pretty much every Friday and Saturday. Even took two weekends off in a row this month to go looking for a new place to live. Keep in mind these hours reflect turning down work at least twice a week; I could consistently have more if I wanted to join the gunner club.

Edit: realized that my screenshots cut off the totals. 259 for feb and 229 through March 24.

I cannot believe someone posted timesheet. I love this place.

sparty99
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby sparty99 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:35 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


Your perspective is heavily colored by your firm being slow, your partners being shitty, and the fact that you apparently compound it all by losing sleep of it. Maybe your experience is more reflective of typical BigLaw, but it certainly doesn't come anywhere close to describing any week I've ever had.

Perhaps it's a fair criticism to say my experience doesn't represent all of BigLaw or every practice group, because I will admit my firm is just about never slow. That was, however, exactly why I felt pretty confident in saying that since 110 hour weeks aren't expected here, where virtually no one is ever "slow," they probably aren't expected anywhere.

You've described what your firm is like, here's where I'm coming from:

I haven't asked for work in at least 6 months and the last time I remember doing so was because two deals blew up in the same week. All time, it's at least a 90/10 split saying no vs asking for work. Probably closer to 95/5. Despite the constant barrage of work thrown at me, no one has ever demanded that I work 110 hours in a week. No one has ever looked at my sideways when I say I need help to make a hard deadline. No one has ever written me a scathing review or even a remotely negative review because I said I had other commitments that would keep me from working on their matter.

If I ever do "need" work, there's pretty much an endless supply of it. The danger at my firm is taking on extra work and over committing yourself, not getting in trouble because you don't have enough hours. We have a pool of 100+ staff attorneys to deal with overflow and pretty much any of that work could easily be given to a junior-midish associate. It's why people can bill 2,800 hours a year regularly around here while the average is still right around 2,000.

I don't have days where I sit around "working" but not doing jack shit and only bill 2 hours because if such a day every presented itself, I'd either A) work on one of my "whenever you can get to it" pro bono matters (of which an unlimited amount of hours count the same as billables for me, but I think most places give you at least 50-100) or B) answer any important e-mails and then go/stay the fuck home if I didn't feel like working that day. Either way, that doesn't sound like a stressful day to me. I certainly wouldn't be losing sleep over it.

And you can think whatever you want, but 2,800 hours being "barely humanly possible" is just plain inaccurate. Averaging my last six months (including pro bono because I can't separate it out), I'm on track for about 2,500 this year, and I didn't work the last two weeks of December. I leave by 7-7:30 most nights (though I sporadically work from home after dinner if required), and I tend to be one of the later leavers on my floor. I'm also an early riser and so tend to get in before almost everyone most days. I also work from home on weekend mornings regularly, which is also atypical but I front-run work wherever I can because I like to have the flexibility to go out weeknights. And it tends to work for me: I have season tickets to the NBA in my city and I've only missed 2 games this season because of work. Maybe once or twice going meant coming back to the office after the game, but I'll take that trade-off most any night.

The point of all this is to emphasize that while I could be working a lot less than I choose to and be in line with the norms around here, I consider my work schedule very manageable. Still, I would end up pretty close to 2,800 this calendar year without changing much anything if I just continued at my current pace and did not take any vacation in 2015 (remember my 6 month sample pace includes 2 weeks of vacation, so equivalent to about 4 full as extrapolated to the year). And I know it's feasible to do even more than that, because there are try-hard nutjobs around here who are here when I get in and when I leave pretty much every day, so they're almost certainly doing more.

I'm of course not going to actually hit 2,800 by foregoing my vacation because I goddamn well earned it and I'm using it. That and there's nothing to be gained by it other than making more money for a bunch of partners that already have 3.4M+ PPP. Even 2,500 is dumb and I'd have a lot fewer if I hadn't said yes to a few matters solely because I have a man crush on the senior associate.

Here are my hours for February and March through today. Couple of mid-week all nighters here and there, but didn't miss a single game during this stretch and went out pretty much every Friday and Saturday. Even took two weekends off in a row this month to go looking for a new place to live. Keep in mind these hours reflect turning down work at least twice a week; I could consistently have more if I wanted to join the gunner club.

Edit: realized that my screenshots cut off the totals. 259 for feb and 229 through March 24.

Edit 2: Realized not everyone follows the NBA. There are 41 home games in a season and the season is about 75% over. Most teams have played ~30 home games by this point and I've been able to attend all but 2 without much difficultly.


If i'm in the office not doing shit, then I just add those "lost hours" to the future billable work that I get. Done and done.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:40 pm

Cadwalader? Looks like their software.

Anyone can bill 250 if they are padding.

smallfirmassociate
Posts: 386
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby smallfirmassociate » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:45 pm

It's not really about what you can tolerate with flourish and self-congratulation.

It's about the other parts of your life being fruitful, interesting, and healthy enough that you don't want to work as much as you can tolerate.

Obviously for a person who has no other life whatsoever and loves work more than sex, the beach, and funnel cakes combined, you might as well work 3000 hours per year. Yet that position is neither anything to brag about nor anything applicable to most others. I wouldn't judge and say a person whose life is so devoid of other pleasure that working 3000 hours seems fine other than to say that I'm glad I'm not that person. Out of all the things that add richness to my life, work is but a small portion.

TL;DR: In a way, I can respect the "I can tolerate a lot, and I can work a lot, and this is all fine, so stop whining" viewpoint, but I'm glad I'm not the one holding it.

KidStuddi
Posts: 465
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby KidStuddi » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:48 pm

This is an 8 page long thread about hours where multiple people have described their horrible weeks and you guys are salty that I took screenshots rather than describing what my week to week fluctuations look like?

How does that even make sense to you?

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rpupkin
Posts: 3864
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:57 pm

KidStuddi wrote:This is an 8 page long thread about hours where multiple people have described their horrible weeks and you guys are salty that I took screenshots rather than describing what my week to week fluctuations look like?

How does that even make sense to you?

It doesn't make sense. I don't see what was so horrible/embarrassing about you anonymously posting your screenshots of your timesheets.

My only complaint is that it made me feel lazy by comparison. I don't bill as much as you!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273120
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:00 pm

KidStuddi wrote:This is an 8 page long thread about hours where multiple people have described their horrible weeks and you guys are salty that I took screenshots rather than describing what my week to week fluctuations look like?

How does that even make sense to you?


I like the screenshots

Cogburn87
Posts: 467
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:26 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Cogburn87 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:02 pm

KidStuddi wrote:This is an 8 page long thread about hours where multiple people have described their horrible weeks and you guys are salty that I took screenshots rather than describing what my week to week fluctuations look like?

How does that even make sense to you?

No one is "salty." You just have aspergers.

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Danger Zone
Posts: 7300
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Danger Zone » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:15 pm

Just further proof that lawyers are still law students at heart




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