Hours

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Vincent Vega
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Hours

Postby Vincent Vega » Sun Nov 15, 2009 7:54 pm

Looking at the thread on here that references http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/C ... e_hour.pdf I wondered what law firms expect from associates in terms of hours.

The Yale article suggests that a 2200 billable hour job typically results in that lawyer working 8-8 with an hour each for lunch and dinner. Considering 10-11 working hours, though, would most firms be flexible with working hours? Such as, if I wanted to come in at 6 and work through lunch, would it be acceptable to get off at 5-6? I'd rather even come in at 4 or 5 in order to get off earlier. My career will be important to me, but so is my home life. Making $30K more per year won't be worth a divorce and not watching my kids grow up.

What I am really asking is what do firms have for flexibility, in top firms and the rest of biglaw?

yabbadabbado
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Re: Hours

Postby yabbadabbado » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:11 pm

Some firms have whats called "face time" which means you are expected to be there for a certain time frame per day no matter what, even if you're done with your work and have nothing else to do. Wouldn't work there.

Another reason your plan probably wouldn't work is because you'd be making yourself stick out and big firms demand conformity. That means you come in and leave when all the other associates do. A bigger problem is one of logistics - if senior associates and partners are working past 6pm, and feel like giving you work, they're not going to like it when they stop by your office and they see you've already gone home. And you never really leave the office anyway at a lot of firms since you are on call via your Blackberry 24-7.

Note that I don't work at a big firm, but based on what I've heard from people who work at them who are at different levels in their careers, I've never heard of anyone leaving by 5 or 6pm routinely.

tengorazon
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Re: Hours

Postby tengorazon » Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:13 pm

Lol another thread on this? I mostly agree with the poster above. My firm doesn't require face time, and I'm a morning person, so my preference would be to come in around 7 a.m. and leave around 5 rather than come in at 9 and stay until 7. I tried this for a few days, but the problem is, like the above poster said, no one else does it (unless it's a partner who gives you an assignment on his way out the door). One time I left at 6 and returned the next morning to see that a partner had called at 6:30. It wasn't a big deal b/c he e-mailed me right after he called...but of course, that meant that I was doing the same work at home that I would have been doing at the office. Another example: I was ready to leave one day around 6 p.m. when a (very) senior partner called and wanted me to participate in a 7 p.m. conference call about some issues that I'd researched. Another time, a senior associate wanted me to help push out a rush overnight shipment by the FedEx deadline. The list goes on. That said, I do know some people with small kids who manage, more often than not, to leave fairly early (6ish). But just realize that your schedule isn't really your own and be prepared to stay later if you have to.

bahama
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Re: Hours

Postby bahama » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:29 pm

For BigLaw money they own you 24/7. It's not like there aren't tons of people who would gladly sacrifice their time for that job if you won't.

Not to say there aren't ways to make it work. I have a friend who works worse hours than most lawyers. He gets up early with his kids and sees them for about an hour before they have to get ready for school. And I know another who leaves work for an hour in the evening to go home and put his kids to bed and then comes back and works until midnight or 1am.

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Vincent Vega
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Re: Hours

Postby Vincent Vega » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:21 am

I really appreciate your replies, and like I said, I would give up biglaw money to have a happy home life - working at a small firm isn't a poverty sentence, especially since my current strategy is to go to a mid-range T1 with a significant scholarship instead of a 15-20 school at sticker, meaning I will likely emerge with very little debt. Plus, my wife will likely be making close to six figures within a couple years.

Thanks again for your insight.

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NewHere
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Re: Hours

Postby NewHere » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:56 am

I think it depends on the firm, but it's true that it's generally not entirely up to you at what hours you put in your hours. But there's also some flexibility. I'm just a 3L, so I can only talk about what I've seen at the firm where I worked last summer, but:

It seemed to me that if a partner wants an associate nearby (e.g., because they are working on a project that requires a lot of back-and-forth communication), the associate doesn't have a choice but to adjust his schedule to that of the partner. If the partner's routine is to come in at 10 and leave at 8, the associate might come in at 7 a.m., but may still have to stay until 8.

On the other hand, on projects where there was less constant communication the associate's time seemed more flexible, so long as the partner knew where the associate was in case s/he needed him. And I imagine that in case where the associate and the partner have been working together for a while, and the partner knows that the associate is dependable, it may be OK for an associate to say "Look, I came in at 7 this morning, is it OK if I go home at 6? If you need me, I'll be available by e-mail.")

Then again, the firm where I worked is relatively strict on working from home. I know there are other firms that are a lot more flexible when it comes to allowing associates to work from home. Those kinds of firms are also likely to be more flexible when it comes to leaving early.

But there will always be times when your presence in the office is just required at a particular time -- conference calls with a client, team meetings, etc. Since everyone is busy during the day, many of these meetings are by necessity planned at the end of the workday. So while, depending on the firm, it may be possible to get home relatively early most of the time, I think it's virtually impossible to work at a large law firm and be home early every single day of the year.

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kittenmittons
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Re: Hours

Postby kittenmittons » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:20 am

Halibut6 wrote:I really appreciate your replies, and like I said, I would give up biglaw money to have a happy home life - working at a small firm isn't a poverty sentence, especially since my current strategy is to go to a mid-range T1 with a significant scholarship instead of a 15-20 school at sticker, meaning I will likely emerge with very little debt. Plus, my wife will likely be making close to six figures within a couple years.

Thanks again for your insight.


TITCR

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underdawg
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Re: Hours

Postby underdawg » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:47 pm

kittenmittons wrote:
Halibut6 wrote:I really appreciate your replies, and like I said, I would give up biglaw money to have a happy home life - working at a small firm isn't a poverty sentence, especially since my current strategy is to go to a mid-range T1 with a significant scholarship instead of a 15-20 school at sticker, meaning I will likely emerge with very little debt. Plus, my wife will likely be making close to six figures within a couple years.

Thanks again for your insight.


TITCR

awesome man!

but yeah some firms will be better than others. check vault surveys, word of mouth, atl's career link, etc




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