How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

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BradyToMoss
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby BradyToMoss » Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:59 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
ggocat wrote:
SolarWind wrote:How many V100 firms have targets of only 1800 hours though?

None, even if the NALP survey says otherwise.

Emphatically false. Several DC firms have 1800 billable hour tracks (see, e.g., Hogan & Hartson; Wiley Rein). Those tracks tend to pay 130k or so--maybe a shade less now, with no bonus, but they are actually a pretty sweet gig.

As for 2200 billable hours, that may well be the norm in NYC, but it isn't in DC, where 1950 or so is pretty much par for the course based on what I've seen and read. One key, which you usually won't find on NALP, is the # of hours required for a bonus. ATL often has this info, though it is sometimes buried in stories, etc. The 200 to 250 hour difference between DC and NYC is one reason why the seemingly higher pay in New York is actually, when you consider the hours & COL, a pretty bad deal.


It still boggles my mind that so many firms decided to match the NY market in cities like DC, Boston, LA and Chicago, and especially Houston.

NYto190!

tengorazon
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby tengorazon » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:10 pm

TTT-LS wrote:
tengorazon wrote:
TTT-LS wrote:Emphatically false. Several DC firms have 1800 billable hour tracks (see, e.g., Hogan & Hartson; Wiley Rein). Those tracks tend to pay 130k or so--maybe a shade less now, with no bonus, but they are actually a pretty sweet gig.


Very few people take the lifestyle track. I personally don't think it makes financial sense....you're going to give up $30k + bonus over 150 hours? I will take my $200 per marginal hour and laugh all the way to the bank.

I don't deny that the 1950 or 2000 hour track at firms that offer an 1800 hour track is more lucrative. But I'm not sure the choice is as clear as you make it out to be. Bonuses are usually much lower in DC than NYC, such that a junior associate seldom sees a bonus of more than 10 or 15k as far as I can tell. ITE, those numbers might be even lower. If I'm wrong about that, def. say so, as I won't claim my understanding is perfect in this area. Assuming a 15k bonus and 2000 hours billed, the pay difference would be $40 to $45k (I recall that at least some 1800 hour programs pay 135). Splitting the difference, we have a $42.5k pay difference and a 200 hour billable difference. Those 200 hours billed likely equate to about 300 hours worked. 42500/300= $141/hour pre-tax. Given our system of increasing marginal income tax rates, those extra dollars are actually going to be taxed at a higher rate than the other 135k. But I'll ignore those effects for now, since they complicate the calculus.

Around $140/hour is a lot of money. On the other hand, those 300 extra hours worked equates to 12.5 DAYS at home or on vacation. On a 12 hr/day schedule, that's 25 DAYS at home rather than at work. If you aren't out to always grab the last marginal dollar, then these days are a big deal--whether you take them as whole days off or just partial days where you work til 6:30 rather than 8. When you consider the fact that (1) you are already making a very solid salary at 130 or 135k, and (2) that many firms with 1800 hour tracks will bump you up to the 160k pay scale with a lump sum payment at the end of the year if you do end up working 2000 hours, the deal sounds worthwhile to at least some people.


Obviously it is worth it to some people. Perhaps that's the difference between a manageable and an unmanageable work schedule for those people. I note only the following: First, a 1.5:1 ratio of hours worked to hours billed is quite inefficient. It's probably more like 1.25:1. Second, you're not taking into account reputation and the extent to which people like to be seen as a "hard worker" or someone who can "get the job done." In order truly to work only 1800 hours, you're going to have to tell some people "no." If the managing partner calls you with an urgent matter that requires several hours of work, are you going to say, "Sorry, Partner. I've reached my 1800 hours. Peace." Most people aren't. Therefore, the 1800 goal is somewhat illusory. In response, you might say, sure, perhaps you'll have to go a bit over 1800, but at least you won't be breaking your neck trying to reach 2000. Perhaps that's true, but the person on the 2000 track is getting paid $170 per marginal hour to do what you're essentially doing for free.

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reasonable_man
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby reasonable_man » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:15 pm

I bill close to 200 a month.

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Kohinoor
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby Kohinoor » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:18 pm

This entire discussion has taken place in an alternate universe without billable padding.

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Drake014
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby Drake014 » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:33 pm

Kohinoor wrote:This entire discussion has taken place in an alternate universe without billable padding.


Just insert into 45 minutes for that full hour look
--ImageRemoved--

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jrwhitedog
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby jrwhitedog » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:58 pm

So basically,does it mean that you can make a secure progress by reaching minimum billables or do the partners actually mean like 2200 when they set the standard to 2000?

bahama
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Re: How many hours do you actually work to get 1 billable hour?

Postby bahama » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:04 pm

M51 wrote:
I thought most firms didn't have bonuses tied to salaries, or the min req was an extreme low bound like 1600. Are there many firms that actually require 2000+ hours to get your bonus?


A couple years ago, 1950-2000 were the most common minimums for bonuses. Sometimes they might have been 1800 billable plus 150 pro bono.

Keep in mind these are MINIMUMS. If you wanted to do well (or get a bigger bonus since some firms did graduated bonuses based on hours) you needed to bill more. A lot of people billed 2400 back in '06 '07.

Today it's more like make the numbers to keep your job. Which is tough since a lot of firms don't have 2000 hrs of work per associate.




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