Average # of pro bono hours

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How many pro bono hours for 2000+ billable hours is normal?

0-25 Hours
4
21%
26-50 Hours
5
26%
51-75 Hours
2
11%
76-100 Hours
2
11%
101-125 Hours
0
No votes
126-150 Hours
2
11%
151-175 Hours
2
11%
176-200 Hours
2
11%
 
Total votes: 19

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abitaman6363

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Average # of pro bono hours

Postby abitaman6363 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:16 pm

I will have ~80 pro bono hours this year. My firm states that it recognizes pro bono hours as billable hours but, in reality, I believe there is a limit to their generosity.

What is the average number of billable hours for those with a 2000+ billable hour requirement? This can either be 2000+ straight billables or 2000+ billable + pro bono.

Jchance

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby Jchance » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:45 pm

If your firm is busy and understaffed, 0
If not, then up to 100 pro bono hours / 2000 billable hours seem to be the norm (aka acceptable to the partners).
Last edited by Jchance on Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:49 pm

My firm policy is to count unlimited pro bono hours but I'm not sure about when you start to get to 300, 400, 500. Certainly if you're at that level you shouldn't be turning down anything billable or even underperforming on billable stuff (and probably need to be a junior).

I think it also depends on the significance of your cases in terms of how the firm can publicize them and whether you sought them out or were assigned them.

The normal is probably 0 or close to it. Firms typically want like 50 hours per associate on average though so other people are doing more than 50.

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:47 pm

It really depends on firm. At my firm I know several people who do nothing but pro bono and it's fine. I'm about 50/50 pro bono/paying work. Then some people do 100% paying work.

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cron1834

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby cron1834 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:At my firm I know several people who do nothing but pro bono and it's fine. I'm about 50/50 pro bono/paying work.

Seriously?

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smokeylarue

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby smokeylarue » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:It really depends on firm. At my firm I know several people who do nothing but pro bono and it's fine. I'm about 50/50 pro bono/paying work. Then some people do 100% paying work.


This is impossible unless everyone is getting fired.

JusticeJackson

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby JusticeJackson » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:35 am

.
Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:43 am

Most the other junior associates I talk to in my group at my V10 are over 100 hours, some well over 200 hours. My group has been slow this year. I think the firm tolerates it because the group has fairly high attrition.

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unlicensedpotato

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby unlicensedpotato » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:48 am

JusticeJackson wrote:My advice to super junior lawyers at firms is to avoid pro bono like the plague until you get a sense of how your firm actually looks at it. I started at a firm that gave lip service to pro bono, but if you were doing pro bono they figured you didn’t have enough billable work. I made the mistake of taking on a pro bono case thinking “we count pro bono toward your total billable requirement” meant “we treat those working on pro bono the same way we treat those working on billable work and of course you can turn down billable work if you’re swamped with pro bono.” lol at my life that first year.

My current job is way more predictable so I can pick up pro bono when I’m in a stretch that I know will be slow.


This is very true -- you will not be able to turn down billable work due to pro bono responsibilities, other than maybe like the day of a trial. This is particularly true if you've been slow at other points during the year, which puts you in a bind because that was probably the precise reason you thought you could take a pro bono case.

If you take on pro bono matters like active litigation that can heat up, staff it with 3 or 4 people to increase the chances you can cover for each other.

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:57 am

I'm a mid-level in NYC and I expect my pro bono hours to be around 25% of my total hours this year (500+). That's due to a trial. It's probably not ideal, but I also work at a firm where people are sufficiently passive aggressive that no one will bring it up, and sufficiently busy that they aren't going to fire me in the near term, and I don't want to make partner anyway. So under those circumstances, whatever.

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:28 pm

My firm expects you to hit 100-150 and would be thrilled with more, as long as you have around 1850/1900 billable hours to back that up. Once you hit 1850 billable, all of your pro bono counts for bonus purposes. We also have a small minimum pro bono hour requirement (20 per year) so you aren't allowed to solely do billable work all year. They publish the associate average hours every year and it's always over 100.

gregfootball2001

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Re: Average # of pro bono hours

Postby gregfootball2001 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:51 pm

My firm will count 50 hours of pro bono work towards the billable requirement. I'd be extremely surprised if any associate did over 50.



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