Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

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marqban
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Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:11 pm

The average number of hours worked in BigLaw firms varies by geographic region. For example, in NYC, I hear it's common to work 80-100 hours per week, whereas in South Florida, the average is about 50-60. Of course, salaries are lower in South Florida.

Since I haven't found a list on the internet to make these types of cross-legal market comparisons, I figured we should start one.

So please post:

(1) Name of geographic region (could be a city, a region, a state, etc.)
(2) Average number of hours worked by BigLaw attorneys
(3) Average starting salary for recent JDs (if you know it)
(4) Any sources used to formulate your opinion (if you have any)

and I will get this list going.

Alternatively, if such a list already exists, please post the link so I can stop wasting everybody's time.

Cheers!

What TLSers are saying:
THESE ARE ONLY ESTIMATES!!!


Atlanta - 50-60 hours/week
NYC - 60-65 hours/week
Miami - 45-50 hours/week
Last edited by marqban on Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:49 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Goliadkin_Jr
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby Goliadkin_Jr » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:30 pm

NALP compiles this data by firm/office...

http://www.nalpdirectory.com/

06072010
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:36 pm

The nalp data is worthless and most firms either selectively report or don't report. I agree billable hours differs by market (and I guess by proxy geography, but I don't think it's a product of latitude and longitude).

However, claiming you've heard that NYC is 80-100 hours a week is just ridiculous dude -- this happens only at ridiculous sweat shops and for very limited periods of time. Where do you hear this crap? If you worked 100 hours a week you would bill over 80 a week. 80 billable hours a week is like 3800+ a year. DO YOU KNOW ANY FIRMS THAT HAVE ASSOCIATES BILLING 3800+????

Seriously, stop the hysteria. You gotta do your homework by talking to actual practioners and asking what their work / life balance is. It's not hard to do. Email some associates at the firms you are looking at -- you'll find some people willing to talk to you.

I know that you're trying to create a thread which captures this information, but there is ONE attorney on here that posts.

LSATahhhh
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby LSATahhhh » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:39 pm

PKSebben wrote:The nalp data is worthless and most firms either selectively report or don't report. I agree billable hours differs by market (and I guess by proxy geography, but I don't think it's a product of latitude and longitude).

However, claiming you've heard that NYC is 80-100 hours a week is just ridiculous dude -- this happens only at ridiculous sweat shops and for very limited periods of time. Where do you hear this crap? If you worked 100 hours a week you would bill over 80 a week. 80 billable hours a week is like 3800+ a year. DO YOU KNOW ANY FIRMS THAT HAVE ASSOCIATES BILLING 3800+????

Seriously, stop the hysteria. You gotta do your homework by talking to actual practioners and asking what their work / life balance is. It's not hard to do. Email some associates at the firms you are looking at -- you'll find some people willing to talk to you.

I know that you're trying to create a thread which captures this information, but there is ONE attorney on here that posts.



LOL!!!

06072010
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:48 pm

http://abovethelaw.com/2008/11/associat ... me_mac.php

Obviously suspect because it's a straw poll, but it's better than anything you're likely to see posted here.

Percentage of posters reporting 2400+ billable hours in NYC?

2007: 12.36%
2008: 9.42%

80-100 hours a week in NYC. Where do you people hear this stuff? Are you critical consumers of information?

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:54 pm

It was just an example and what I heard from two different associates at two different top 5 firms according to Vault's top 100 rankings. I obviously wouldn't be starting a forum on this topic if I completely trusted two disgruntled associates.

So again, what are some average number of hours worked at BigLaw firms per regions that you know of? Please state your source if you have one.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:58 pm

PKSebben wrote:http://abovethelaw.com/2008/11/associate_life_survey_time_mac.php

Obviously suspect because it's a straw poll, but it's better than anything you're likely to see posted here.

Percentage of posters reporting 2400+ billable hours in NYC?

2007: 12.36%
2008: 9.42%

80-100 hours a week in NYC. Where do you people hear this stuff? Are you critical consumers of information?


This doesn't talk about size of firm. Lawyers at smaller firms work considerably less hours, which skews these results. What would these percentages look like at the big firms?

06072010
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:03 pm

ATL is most certainly polling most if not all of it's readers from biglaw. Ever see a story on ATL about your local personal injury firm?

The truth is that any billable data out there is bullshit. Ever check out the NALP directory? Ever wonder why some firms don't report? Ever wonder if they count part timers, of counsel, or partners?

The best source of information is to talk to associates inside / outside of recruiting. While what they say is still suspect, there is less incentive for them to give you a line of BS.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:10 pm

PKSebben wrote:ATL is most certainly polling most if not all of it's readers from biglaw. Ever see a story on ATL about your local personal injury firm?


You're citing the other extreme but that has nothing to do with the thousands of firms in NYC that are neither BigLaw or injury lawyers. You mean to tell me those guys don't answer surveys or read ATL?

And while I do agree that the best we can do is ask people in these firms what their lives are like, did it ever occur to you that not everyone has such connections? Sure they could be developed but wouldn't it be nice if there were a list somewhere that gave you an idea?
Last edited by marqban on Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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IcedTeaWinter
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby IcedTeaWinter » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:18 pm

I spoke with an associate in the tax group at one of the top biglaw firms in Atlanta this weekend and she said 50-60 hours was normal.

06072010
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby 06072010 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:27 pm

And while I do agree that the best we can do is ask people in these firms what their lives are like, did it ever occur to you that not everyone has such connections? Sure they could be developed but wouldn't it be nice if there were a list somewhere that gave you an idea?


Step 1. Go to firm website.
Step 2. Look up random bios, preferrable of alumni of your LS / UG.
Step 3. Hi, my name is marqban and I'm attending University of TLS law school. I am interested in knowing more about your firm and practice area, and wonder if you would be willing to answer some questions for me by email? Thanks for your time. Marqban.
Step 4. ???
Step 5. Profit.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:37 pm

PKSebben wrote:
And while I do agree that the best we can do is ask people in these firms what their lives are like, did it ever occur to you that not everyone has such connections? Sure they could be developed but wouldn't it be nice if there were a list somewhere that gave you an idea?


Step 1. Go to firm website.
Step 2. Look up random bios, preferrable of alumni of your LS / UG.
Step 3. Hi, my name is marqban and I'm attending University of TLS law school. I am interested in knowing more about your firm and practice area, and wonder if you would be willing to answer some questions for me by email? Thanks for your time. Marqban.
Step 4. ???
Step 5. Profit.


True, but people really want to:

Step 1. Go to list on website where all this information is recorded by people who have done steps 1-5 in list above.

Do you not see any value in this? Sure, this list wouldn't be 100% accurate (and I never claimed it would be) but at the very least people would have a clue before setting up the meetings you are recommending. Or would you prefer that people re-invented the wheel each time they thought, "Hmmmm... I wonder how many hours do recently-hired associates work in X city/state/region?"

huckabees
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby huckabees » Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:21 pm

Interesting thread.

What I'm wondering re: hours is whether the hours on the west coast are substantially less than in NYC, and how much the pay differential is given a potential hours differential.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:48 pm

bump.

AmicusCuriae
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby AmicusCuriae » Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:06 pm

Checkout the AmLaw Midlevel surveys. Seems associates at most NYC firms report working 50-65hrs/week.

1981be
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby 1981be » Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:06 pm

I have heard that working a 10 hour day will generally afford 7-8 hours of billing depending on efficiency.

bigben
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby bigben » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:37 pm

marqban wrote:True, but people really want to:

Step 1. Go to list on website where all this information is recorded by people who have done steps 1-5 in list above.

Do you not see any value in this? Sure, this list wouldn't be 100% accurate (and I never claimed it would be) but at the very least people would have a clue before setting up the meetings you are recommending. Or would you prefer that people re-invented the wheel each time they thought, "Hmmmm... I wonder how many hours do recently-hired associates work in X city/state/region?"


You are really insistent on being wrong. Did you miss the part where he said there is one attorney on this whole website? Whatever anecdotes this group of 0Ls and a few law students can come up with is more likely to distort reality than represent it at all.

Not to mention that this breakdown by region would be fairly unhelpful even if you could somehow determine it, since it varies widely from firm to firm.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:03 am

bigben wrote:
marqban wrote:True, but people really want to:

Step 1. Go to list on website where all this information is recorded by people who have done steps 1-5 in list above.

Do you not see any value in this? Sure, this list wouldn't be 100% accurate (and I never claimed it would be) but at the very least people would have a clue before setting up the meetings you are recommending. Or would you prefer that people re-invented the wheel each time they thought, "Hmmmm... I wonder how many hours do recently-hired associates work in X city/state/region?"


You are really insistent on being wrong. Did you miss the part where he said there is one attorney on this whole website? Whatever anecdotes this group of 0Ls and a few law students can come up with is more likely to distort reality than represent it at all.

Not to mention that this breakdown by region would be fairly unhelpful even if you could somehow determine it, since it varies widely from firm to firm.


I'm looking for a proxy here -- not something exact. There is obviously going to be variance across firms, as there is with every kind of chart that tries to approximate something within any given set of parameters (in this case geographic and size of law firm).

But there is value in a list that gives you an approximate idea of what life is like across legal markets. It's valuable for someone deciding which law school to attend as well as for someone mulling over law firm offers. It also has to do with personal preferences: some of are born to work 80 hours/week (e.g. NYC bankers), some of us are looking for a 60 hour gig (NYC lawyers), and some of us want work-life balance and don't want to work every weekend but still want to make a decent income (Miami BigLaw attorneys). If relocating is not out of the question, this kind of list would be helpful to people making such decisions.

So I disagree with you that I'm "being insistent on being wrong." I'd be wrong if I actually believed the information TLSers can give me is 100 % accurate, but that's NOT what I'm claiming here. What I want to do is record the information out there in the TLS ether regarding hours worked per week by region in BigLaw firms. WTF is wrong about recording what people think may be true?

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TTT-LS
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:50 am

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:17 am

marqban wrote:
bigben wrote:
marqban wrote:True, but people really want to:

Step 1. Go to list on website where all this information is recorded by people who have done steps 1-5 in list above.

Do you not see any value in this? Sure, this list wouldn't be 100% accurate (and I never claimed it would be) but at the very least people would have a clue before setting up the meetings you are recommending. Or would you prefer that people re-invented the wheel each time they thought, "Hmmmm... I wonder how many hours do recently-hired associates work in X city/state/region?"


You are really insistent on being wrong. Did you miss the part where he said there is one attorney on this whole website? Whatever anecdotes this group of 0Ls and a few law students can come up with is more likely to distort reality than represent it at all.

Not to mention that this breakdown by region would be fairly unhelpful even if you could somehow determine it, since it varies widely from firm to firm.


I'm looking for a proxy here -- not something exact. There is obviously going to be variance across firms, as there is with every kind of chart that tries to approximate something within any given set of parameters (in this case geographic and size of law firm).

But there is value in a list that gives you an approximate idea of what life is like across legal markets. It's valuable for someone deciding which law school to attend as well as for someone mulling over law firm offers. It also has to do with personal preferences: some of are born to work 80 hours/week (e.g. NYC bankers), some of us are looking for a 60 hour gig (NYC lawyers), and some of us want work-life balance and don't want to work every weekend but still want to make a decent income (Miami BigLaw attorneys). If relocating is not out of the question, this kind of list would be helpful to people making such decisions.

So I disagree with you that I'm "being insistent on being wrong." I'd be wrong if I actually believed the information TLSers can give me is 100 % accurate, but that's NOT what I'm claiming here. What I want to do is record the information out there in the TLS ether regarding hours worked per week by region in BigLaw firms. WTF is wrong about recording what people think may be true?


Except that the list you want would be made up of information that is just made up. Seriously, what is the point of this? Either actually research it yourself or talk to someone who does know. I think attorneys in Chicago work 70 hours a week and attorneys in Minneapolis work 60. Does that help your list? Because I just pulled those numbers out of nowhere. Apparently that's what you want.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:48 am

worldtraveler wrote:
marqban wrote:
bigben wrote:
marqban wrote:True, but people really want to:

Step 1. Go to list on website where all this information is recorded by people who have done steps 1-5 in list above.

Do you not see any value in this? Sure, this list wouldn't be 100% accurate (and I never claimed it would be) but at the very least people would have a clue before setting up the meetings you are recommending. Or would you prefer that people re-invented the wheel each time they thought, "Hmmmm... I wonder how many hours do recently-hired associates work in X city/state/region?"


You are really insistent on being wrong. Did you miss the part where he said there is one attorney on this whole website? Whatever anecdotes this group of 0Ls and a few law students can come up with is more likely to distort reality than represent it at all.

Not to mention that this breakdown by region would be fairly unhelpful even if you could somehow determine it, since it varies widely from firm to firm.


I'm looking for a proxy here -- not something exact. There is obviously going to be variance across firms, as there is with every kind of chart that tries to approximate something within any given set of parameters (in this case geographic and size of law firm).

But there is value in a list that gives you an approximate idea of what life is like across legal markets. It's valuable for someone deciding which law school to attend as well as for someone mulling over law firm offers. It also has to do with personal preferences: some of are born to work 80 hours/week (e.g. NYC bankers), some of us are looking for a 60 hour gig (NYC lawyers), and some of us want work-life balance and don't want to work every weekend but still want to make a decent income (Miami BigLaw attorneys). If relocating is not out of the question, this kind of list would be helpful to people making such decisions.

So I disagree with you that I'm "being insistent on being wrong." I'd be wrong if I actually believed the information TLSers can give me is 100 % accurate, but that's NOT what I'm claiming here. What I want to do is record the information out there in the TLS ether regarding hours worked per week by region in BigLaw firms. WTF is wrong about recording what people think may be true?


Except that the list you want would be made up of information that is just made up. Seriously, what is the point of this? Either actually research it yourself or talk to someone who does know. I think attorneys in Chicago work 70 hours a week and attorneys in Minneapolis work 60. Does that help your list? Because I just pulled those numbers out of nowhere. Apparently that's what you want.

You pulled these numbers out of nowhere cuz you, in particular, don't know shit, but that doesn't mean that others on TLS are as ignorant as you. I myself know Miami BigLaw lawyers that work 45-50 hous a week. I called them to confirm this and that's why I posted this number on my list. I also facebooked a friend working for Davis Polk and Wardwell in NYC and he mentioned he works about 70 hours per week but that most of his friends that graduated in his class work about 60-65. Of course, these are only a couple of data points but people are not idiots and will know to take this list with a grain of salt.

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OutofBako
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby OutofBako » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:27 pm

Not a lawyer, but work with many. One attorney in LA with a top multi-national firm said associates working 80-90 hours was common in their LA office. I have also received emails from partners and counsel within the same firm at 2 and 3 am.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:19 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

marqban
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Re: Average # Hours Worked in BigLaw By Geographic Region

Postby marqban » Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:33 pm

I give up on this venture. Thought it was a good idea but obviously very few support it. Cheers!




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