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
lacrossebrother
Top 17 consensus poster
Posts: 6856
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:15 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby lacrossebrother » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:36 am

"La la la. Everyone wants my job but they can't have it because I'm the best and I'm a douchey douche douche." -hutz and goodouche

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby 03152016 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:54 am

lacrossebrother wrote:"La la la. Everyone wants my job but they can't have it because I'm the best and I'm a douchey douche douche." -hutz and goodouche

how did you get so funny

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

Re: 110 hour week

Postby mmelittlechicken » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:09 am

Brut wrote:
lacrossebrother wrote:"La la la. Everyone wants my job but they can't have it because I'm the best and I'm a douchey douche douche." -hutz and goodouche

how did you get so funny

I thought jim jones told you to be more chill and less crazy, burt.

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby 03152016 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:11 am

i'm a work in progress

User avatar
JohannDeMann
Posts: 13831
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:12 am

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:Dude but you made almost $2k this week after taxes!!! That's almost $20 an hour!!


lmao


98% of Americans would kill to make $30 an hour pretax on a bad week, $40-60 per hour on a normal week.


huntz and goodouche - that dude in elementary school that ate playdoh with boogers on it when 3 friends pooled their piggy banks and paid him $2.67 in nickels and pennies to do.

User avatar
dabigchina
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby dabigchina » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:19 am

0L so i'm probably going to get banned for this, but i've billed 32 hours straight as a staff at an accounting firm making 53k a year. shit like this is par for the course for professional services.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3139
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:32 am

dabigchina wrote:0L so i'm probably going to get banned for this, but i've billed 32 hours straight as a staff at an accounting firm making 53k a year. shit like this is par for the course for professional services.

No it's not. It's almost never actually necessary and is almost always the result of someone else's poor management.

BeenDidThat
Posts: 704
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:18 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby BeenDidThat » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:33 am

dabigchina wrote:0L so i'm probably going to get banned for this, but i've billed 32 hours straight as a staff at an accounting firm making 53k a year. shit like this is par for the course for professional services.


But accountants are known for enjoying slavery. Lawyers at least have a bit of fight left (okay not much in NYC).

ajax
Posts: 278
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:33 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby ajax » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:09 am

lacrossebrother wrote:29% of moms don't work.

Only 63% of Americans even are in the labor force.
I think if you take 37% unemployed-7% unemployment rate, that equals 30% of Americans don't want to work.

Sure that number includes some who have given up searching. But some people who do work are also content with their modest salaries for their non 110 hr workweeks you elitist fuck. Or maybe they do like non profit work they dig. You stink.



Given a choice to make 30 an hour pretax on a bad week and 40-60 an hour on a normal week, more than 63% of Americans would be in the labor force. If the other poster is an "elitist fuck," you are a dumb fuck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:36 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
dabigchina wrote:0L so i'm probably going to get banned for this, but i've billed 32 hours straight as a staff at an accounting firm making 53k a year. shit like this is par for the course for professional services.

No it's not. It's almost never actually necessary and is almost always the result of someone else's poor management.


OP here. +1

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:43 am

ajax wrote:
lacrossebrother wrote:29% of moms don't work.

Only 63% of Americans even are in the labor force.
I think if you take 37% unemployed-7% unemployment rate, that equals 30% of Americans don't want to work.

Sure that number includes some who have given up searching. But some people who do work are also content with their modest salaries for their non 110 hr workweeks you elitist fuck. Or maybe they do like non profit work they dig. You stink.



Given a choice to make 30 an hour pretax on a bad week and 40-60 an hour on a normal week, more than 63% of Americans would be in the labor force. If the other poster is an "elitist fuck," you are a dumb fuck.


OP here: The money discussion is so irrelevant. I have enough to meet my needs and it is far more than I have ever had before and I'm grateful for it. If I were that concerned about my take home pay per hour, I'd lateral to Texas, like immediately.
The more intriguing question is why I'm not doing that. What future event or payout do I think is out there in the future that might make this worth it, and would be unobtainable without working far beyond the point of exhaustion? I really don't know.

cmscott12
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:05 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby cmscott12 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:43 am

Not an attorney, but I've been working as a paralegal for the past 4+ years. We are a small plaintiff's med mal firm so I don't bill, but I've worked 90-100+ hour weeks countless times. I nearly had a nervous breakdown the first time I was in the office past 2am for like 12 days straight. The first thing to think about is the degree to which this 110 hour week is an aberration versus an expectation. For example, I only have to pull those crazy weeks when we go to trial and occasionally with a big project. My week usually runs somewhere in the 45 hour range. Keep an eye on how your yearly billable total is looking. If this is just one week and the other 51 weeks are 35-hours, then I'm not very sympathetic. However, if you are consistently putting in 250-300 hour months, then you're really in the territory where you have to pay attention to your physical and mental health or else you won't make it. You need to realize that you will never physically be able to sustain that kind of work load for more than 4-6 weeks. Maybe 6-8 weeks if you are in peak physical fitness. After that, your efficacy as an employee drops so much that you're likely to start making mistakes that will negatively effect the client and/or get you fired.

I guess my point is four-fold. (1) No matter where you work, you will always have to deal with these kind of work weeks from time to time. It comes where the territory and it's what separates the men from the boys. (2) Make sure you stay healthy. It make a BIG difference in terms of how taxing and stressful the work becomes. No joke, I developed stress induced gout in my left big toe while preparing for my first trial. It was the worst pain of my entire life and it was solely induced by stress. (3) Understand that efficiency and experience make a big difference. You will get WAY better and tasks won't take you nearly as long and what you can accomplish in X billable hours will increase significantly. Certain things that used to take me all day I can now do in an hour but I had to grind it out to get there. (4) Make sure you are doing work that you like. Even though I get slaughtered by work from time to time, I love what I do and that's why I continue to bust ass when I have to. Having a jury return a verdict for your client (especially a big one) makes it all worth it for me and the hard work is just a means to that end.
Good luck.

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

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Cogburn87 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:01 pm

cmscott12 wrote:After that, your efficacy as an employee drops so much that you're likely to start making mistakes that will negatively effect the client and/or get you fired.

This assumes that his work serves some kind of purpose, and OP already said he does corporate in NYC, so I think he's safe.

User avatar
rpupkin
Posts: 3864
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:32 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby rpupkin » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:12 pm

Cogburn87 wrote:
cmscott12 wrote:After that, your efficacy as an employee drops so much that you're likely to start making mistakes that will negatively effect the client and/or get you fired.

This assumes that his work serves some kind of purpose, and OP already said he does corporate in NYC, so I think he's safe.

The worst part would be to look at the actual bill to the client and find that all but 30 of the 110 hours were written off by the billing partner.

NEdelton1987
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:57 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby NEdelton1987 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just billed a 110 hour week (junior assoc., NYC, corp, V15).
I ended the week by billing 35 hours straight.
I'm not here to brag - I couldn't care less. I'm just really freaking tired and don't know what to do. I don't want to seem like a pansy if I push for a little down time. I mean, someone has to do the work, so if I bail, that leaves someone else stuck with the responsibility, and I'm not down with allowing that to happen.
Also curious as to how much of an outlier this is. If this is just like, a common recurrence for some people, I'll just toughen up and grind it out. But for some reason it is hard to get an objective picture beyond "that's crazy" or "that's corporate".
So, I welcome any thoughts.


OP, follow these steps:
1. don't bitch about it
2. don't feel entitled
3. reflect on all the mistakes you made over the past week (I'm sure there are many)
4. think about how you can avoid making similar mistakes again
5. repeat these steps for your next project

If you do all of these steps well, in 5 years, you will not only become a pretty good corporate lawyer but also a professional who has more control over his work and life.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kaiser
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby kaiser » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just billed a 110 hour week (junior assoc., NYC, corp, V15).
I ended the week by billing 35 hours straight.
I'm not here to brag - I couldn't care less. I'm just really freaking tired and don't know what to do. I don't want to seem like a pansy if I push for a little down time. I mean, someone has to do the work, so if I bail, that leaves someone else stuck with the responsibility, and I'm not down with allowing that to happen.
Also curious as to how much of an outlier this is. If this is just like, a common recurrence for some people, I'll just toughen up and grind it out. But for some reason it is hard to get an objective picture beyond "that's crazy" or "that's corporate".
So, I welcome any thoughts.


OP, follow these steps:
1. stop bitching
2. stop feeling entitled
3. reflect on all the mistakes you made over the past week (I'm sure there are many)
4. think about how you can avoid making similar mistakes again
5. repeat these steps for your next project

If you do all of these steps well, in 5 years, you will not only become a pretty good corporate lawyer but also a professional who has more control over his work and life.


Completely inane response (and shouldn't have been anon)

User avatar
dabigchina
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby dabigchina » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:31 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
dabigchina wrote:0L so i'm probably going to get banned for this, but i've billed 32 hours straight as a staff at an accounting firm making 53k a year. shit like this is par for the course for professional services.

No it's not. It's almost never actually necessary and is almost always the result of someone else's poor management.


Poor management is par for the course in professional services. Thank your lucky stars you are at least well compensated.
Last edited by dabigchina on Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:33 pm

5th year corporate associate in major market here: I am honestly sorry you had to put in those hours. I've done it (maybe not 110, but close) and it sucks. Thankfully, the partners that I have done it for all appreciated and recognized the sacrifice. It still sucked but it's a lot worse if no one cares and they treat you like a robot.

Try to stick it out and it should pay off. Keep your eye on an exit. Firm life sucks long term. In the short term, you can learn a lot if people give you the opportunity to take on increasing responsibility and gravitate towards those people who value your development (I.e., give you responsibility to draft increasing complicated deal docs, manage associated and appreciate when you work late/weekends). Don't complain at work though.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:56 pm

Can OP or people with experience doing this please give more specifics and the breakdown of how things like this go?

Do you go home at 3 am and sleep some, or do you just stay in the office and sleep on the floor? Do you immediately get to go home after the closing of everything, i.e. the end of the 35 hours straight and take the rest of the day off.

People say that this is corporate, but how frequent is this?

There's a few "typical day" threads, but can anyone with experience please detail the actual hours your day unfolds for the weeks like this.

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

Re: 110 hour week

Postby masque du pantsu » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:03 pm

NYC big firm corporate associate here. OP, your experience sounds about right: the ~110 hour weeks happen sometimes but I wouldn't expect them to be the norm. I've had two weeks that big since starting in 2013, the biggest weekly number I generally see is around 75 hours and the average is probably closer to 50 to 55.

But I echo what some reasonable people here have said: you gotta stick it out when it's happening and you should be rewarded for it (sometimes the first step in getting more responsibility is to show that you can gut it out and do what it takes to get things done), but at the same time it's a marathon and not a sprint and if you keep getting staffed on transactions that will force you to keep up that work rate, you'll have to learn how to say "no" to people or you won't last long.

Partners, etc., are generally more amenable to it than you expect. Sometimes they just don't know that you're putting in 110 hours, especially if your group doesn't have a centralized system of staffing.

notgreat
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:24 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby notgreat » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:Dude but you made almost $2k this week after taxes!!! That's almost $20 an hour!!


lmao


98% of Americans would kill to make $30 an hour pretax on a bad week, $40-60 per hour on a normal week.


Idk. My wife's a nurse, in some parts of CA they make like $80/hr a few years out of school. That's close to $2k net per week for a 36 hour work week where you never take work home.


Woah. I should have been a murse.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:5th year corporate associate in major market here: I am honestly sorry you had to put in those hours. I've done it (maybe not 110, but close) and it sucks. Thankfully, the partners that I have done it for all appreciated and recognized the sacrifice. It still sucked but it's a lot worse if no one cares and they treat you like a robot.

Try to stick it out and it should pay off. Keep your eye on an exit. Firm life sucks long term. In the short term, you can learn a lot if people give you the opportunity to take on increasing responsibility and gravitate towards those people who value your development (I.e., give you responsibility to draft increasing complicated deal docs, manage associated and appreciate when you work late/weekends). Don't complain at work though.


Former 3rd year biglaw nyc corporate associate who went in-house a year ago. I agree you shouldn't complain at work but you should make it known to everyone how busy you are. Especially if you're the kind of person who doesn't cry wolf every time you work late - people will notice and lay off you. I've had brutal weeks like that (not 110, that's inhumane, but I've billed 300+ hour months on multiple occasions) and if I didn't speak up for myself I would've burned out before finding my in-house gig.

Yes you're replaceable, but there's a switching cost and it's in the firm's interest to lay off you for a bit so you can get back on the grind rather than chewing you out and tossing you to the side (at least that was true at my firm).

I was routinely billing 200-250 hours on average before I had a kid. After I had my first kid and spoke with some of the partners - subtly hinting at how hard it is to balance work and being a father (i.e., "how did you manage it when your baby was born; last night s/he would not go to bed/is teething and crying/is colicky etc." - my hours went to ~150/month on average and I was no longer being staffed on 4-5 active matters and instead 2-3. It made my life more manageable and I'm glad I spoke up. I'll never make partner but that wasn't my goal anyway - biglaw was always just a stepping stone to a more sustainable career.

TTTooKewl
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:03 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby TTTooKewl » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:5th year corporate associate in major market here: I am honestly sorry you had to put in those hours. I've done it (maybe not 110, but close) and it sucks. Thankfully, the partners that I have done it for all appreciated and recognized the sacrifice. It still sucked but it's a lot worse if no one cares and they treat you like a robot.

Try to stick it out and it should pay off. Keep your eye on an exit. Firm life sucks long term. In the short term, you can learn a lot if people give you the opportunity to take on increasing responsibility and gravitate towards those people who value your development (I.e., give you responsibility to draft increasing complicated deal docs, manage associated and appreciate when you work late/weekends). Don't complain at work though.


Former 3rd year biglaw nyc corporate associate who went in-house a year ago. I agree you shouldn't complain at work but you should make it known to everyone how busy you are. Especially if you're the kind of person who doesn't cry wolf every time you work late - people will notice and lay off you. I've had brutal weeks like that (not 110, that's inhumane, but I've billed 300+ hour months on multiple occasions) and if I didn't speak up for myself I would've burned out before finding my in-house gig.

Yes you're replaceable, but there's a switching cost and it's in the firm's interest to lay off you for a bit so you can get back on the grind rather than chewing you out and tossing you to the side (at least that was true at my firm).

I was routinely billing 200-250 hours on average before I had a kid. After I had my first kid and spoke with some of the partners - subtly hinting at how hard it is to balance work and being a father (i.e., "how did you manage it when your baby was born; last night s/he would not go to bed/is teething and crying/is colicky etc." - my hours went to ~150/month on average and I was no longer being staffed on 4-5 active matters and instead 2-3. It made my life more manageable and I'm glad I spoke up. I'll never make partner but that wasn't my goal anyway - biglaw was always just a stepping stone to a more sustainable career.


Did you go in-house in NYC? How is it? How do hours, compensation compare? Upward mobility?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273186
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can OP or people with experience doing this please give more specifics and the breakdown of how things like this go?

Do you go home at 3 am and sleep some, or do you just stay in the office and sleep on the floor? Do you immediately get to go home after the closing of everything, i.e. the end of the 35 hours straight and take the rest of the day off.

People say that this is corporate, but how frequent is this?

There's a few "typical day" threads, but can anyone with experience please detail the actual hours your day unfolds for the weeks like this.


OP here.
First of all, to the associates who have chimed in with substantive responses - thank you. I'll certainly survive, but like with lots of things, I just needed a little bit of time to take a deep breath and consider the situation. So I appreciate the perspective.

I'll answer the question above, with some detail, because I asked this question often as a law student or summer and got either vague or bullshit answers about how accommodating everyone is.

The issue is that there is too much work to possibly be done, and "it all has to be done urgently", so every waking moment possible is allocated to doing the work. So yeah, you churn and churn until 3 or 4 am. Take a car home, sleep like crap because you're body is so fucked, wake up at 8 or whatever, get back to the office and keep churning at 9:30am or so. As you do that for a number of days in a row, you get pretty loopy. So, maybe once a night you lay down on your crappy office floor and try to sleep for just 20 minutes, but that sucks too because your email keeps chiming and your phone ringing and you're body is so fucked that it is impossible to relax.
Also, tons and tons and unhealthy tons of caffeine. I honestly think with an endless supply of good caffeine, I could continue working at a decent level for much longer, but I won't have a heart attack for this job, so I have to draw a line somewhere. But I couldn't do it without caffeine pills. (At least it's not adderall.)
Also, I've learned to avoid eating much. a) you don't have time to eat b) it makes you lethargic c) you get fat really fast downing 3000 calorie Seamless meals while not moving all day.
So I eat like one meal and spread it out throughout the day and snack here and there.
For the 35 hour stretch - first you work 70 hours in 4 days. Then you start at 10am, it gets urgent, and you just keep churning and churning until 4am. Then you realize you still have a ton to do and the idea of taking 3 hours away would really throw you off, so you're like whatever, let's keep going. More caffeine.
You keep driving at a frantic pace, you're visibly physically wrecked but you're so hopped up on caffeine and adrenaline that somehow you're cranking out decent work product (at least decent enough to not get yelled at) and then eventually, thankfully, the deal signs or closes or whatever.
No relief. Almost as soon as it ends, there are urgent wrap-up tasks. So emails keep buzzing, you politely excuse yourself and head home, while responding to email and phone calls. Eventually shit quiets down long enough to take sleeping pills and you fall asleep for 12 hours.

You wake up. Feel like shit. And get staffed on other stuff with people who have no idea or appreciation for how hard you've been working.

That's where I'm at. And listen, writing this out, I know how terribly unhealthy it sounds. But I do it as a caution because this is like the real expectation, and this is what really happens.

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: 110 hour week

Postby JJDancer » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:10 pm

I think anything over 100 hours is an outlier, even for corporate. If you have more than one week like that in a row, then I would discuss it with someone/make sure people giving you work know what you are currently handling. If this a 2-3 week thing and you know it will end soon at the closing of a deal then I would suggest sucking it up but taking it easy in the week following - maybe a long weekend where you are fairly unreachable (camping etc.)




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.