Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

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jcl2
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby jcl2 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:37 am

BigFatPanda wrote:
audrey hepburn wrote:Hello everyone,

Recently, everyone that I know and even on this forum have been warning me that as a lawyer I would have to work at least 70-80 hours/week. I know to make the most money you would have to, but do you guys know anyone or know if it's possible to work only 40 hours a week and make a decent living (70K +)? I'm looking to go into patent law but I really don't want my life to revolve around my work only. I'm willing to give up the 160K salary for a better quality of life.

Thanks in advance to everyone who responds.


I know three particular patent examiners who went to law school and remain with the patent office to become Patent Attorney for the BPAI. They are basically telling me that they averaged around 40-50 hours of work each week. Also, patent attorney is a GS15 employee with a patent office adjusted pay rate of around $130k (GS15 step 1) to $155k (GS15 Step 10) depending on the number of years worked for the Federal government.

Bear in mind, however, two of the three were former Primary Examiners and Supervisory Examiner (GS14 and GS15 respectively) and the third was a GS12 examiner.

To sweeten the pot, one of them is hoteling from his Palm Beach mansion (or some where close by) in Florida starting this biweek....talk about quality of life if you don't want to make partner at a law firm.

And from what i heard, most JAG attorneys do work 40 hour week because most of them are not litigating the heck out of themselves. However, you will need to run 3 miles in 18 minutes and do 20 pull ups to qualify for it :mrgreen:


I'm pretty sure it's 3 miles in 28 minutes, if it were 18 there would only be competitive distance runners in the military :lol: You are right though, that working as an attorney for the federal government, military or civilian, will give you relatively reasonable hours and pretty competitive pay. For most federal attorney positions you start as a GS 11 (around 70k per year), and have pretty much automatic promotion to GS 15 (initially somewhere around 120k) over a few years, not bad for 40-50hrs per week, especially given the benefits, leave time, and job security.

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audrey hepburn
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby audrey hepburn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:25 pm

How many years does everyone think you have to work the long hours before you can switch to an inhouse position?

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby BigFatPanda » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:28 pm

audrey hepburn wrote:How many years does everyone think you have to work the long hours before you can switch to an inhouse position?


at least four years

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Drake014
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby Drake014 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:33 pm

JOThompson wrote:JAG attorneys are known to have less intensive schedules, about 40-50 hours per week.


Pretty much all government lawyer jobs are going to be 40-50 hours a week.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby BigFatPanda » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:37 pm

jcl2 wrote:I'm pretty sure it's 3 miles in 28 minutes, if it were 18 there would only be competitive distance runners in the military :lol:


Sweet, there is hope for me.....now, i need to work on doing 20 pull-ups.

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legalease9
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby legalease9 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:40 pm

Drake014 wrote:
JOThompson wrote:JAG attorneys are known to have less intensive schedules, about 40-50 hours per week.


Pretty much all government lawyer jobs are going to be 40-50 hours a week.



This. Government work is the way to go if you want low hours. Just be wary of certain jobs like Public defender, where they are notoriously understaffed. Best thing about government work, VERY hard to get fired, even if you fail to meet expectations.

By the way, I am a 0L so take it for what its worth, but from lawyers I've talked to, billables are a more variable thing week to week. So you won't work 80 hrs a week, every week. You will work 60 one week, 40 another, and then you may not have time to sleep come crunch time (say maybe a 100-120 hour week). The part that is challenging is limited control.

Check this one out for more info.
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=115709
Last edited by legalease9 on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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legalease9
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby legalease9 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:42 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/cdo-billable_hour.pdf


Great post! Thanks!

b.dale.flat
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby b.dale.flat » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:46 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/cdo-billable_hour.pdf


wauh waaauuuuhhhhhh
debbie downer

:-P
jk, we all kind of expect that, but it's hard to see it done out like that!
reduce the commute (ie live closer) and things get much better! especially for working saturdays...

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legalease9
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby legalease9 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:53 pm

b.dale.flat wrote:
pleasetryagain wrote:http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/cdo-billable_hour.pdf


wauh waaauuuuhhhhhh
debbie downer

:-P
jk, we all kind of expect that, but it's hard to see it done out like that!
reduce the commute (ie live closer) and things get much better! especially for working saturdays...


One of the nice things about Big law is you have the $$$ to pay to live where you want to, hire a maid etc.

after you pay of your crushing debt...

Flanker1067
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby Flanker1067 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:56 pm

These gov't and JAG jobs sound pretty f'ing sweet actually. Never really thought about doing one, but I could run 3 miles that fast pretty easy.

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audrey hepburn
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby audrey hepburn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:01 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/cdo-billable_hour.pdf


thanks for posting this but i was wondering, can we really get a total of 5 weeks off per year to go take a vacation & for holidays? that would be great :)

Flanker1067
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby Flanker1067 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:06 pm

audrey hepburn wrote:
pleasetryagain wrote:http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/cdo-billable_hour.pdf


thanks for posting this but i was wondering, can we really get a total of 5 weeks off per year to go take a vacation & for holidays? that would be great :)


Yea, I thought that was pretty shady myself. Someone who had done biglaw posted on TLS (sometime about two months ago) that they had struggled to make time for a one week vacation every year, and that it was unheard of really to take longer then that per year. He/She said a person could simply not make the billable hours if they did that. I cannot remember who or what thread that was, and I can't confirm that it was true.

Add: I think it comes back to the efficiency thing that people have already brought up. Seems in reality your billing:working ratio is not as high as it appears here.

sissyclark
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby sissyclark » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:08 pm

Look, going into this profession means you're going to have to make sacrifices. It seems like you're trying to find ways to get out of working more than 40 hours a week. While I'm sure some of this 70-100 hour week claims are exaggerated, it's definitely not gonna be an easy walk in the park. If you want to transfer to doing in house counsel, you're probably gonna have to bust your ass at that firm for at least 5 years and build up your resume, definitely putting in tons of hours. So either way you go, there are going to be huge sacrifices. Law isn't really a 9 to 5 job, and most people go into this wanting to put in way more hours than that anyways.

Law isn't the only one. I have tons of friends who are doctors who had it so much worse or at least as bad. Investment banking the same way. You could always just go work at the bank as a teller, and I'm sure they'd give you a 9 to 5 job.

If you decide to go into it, be ready to work. Don't try and find ways to work get around it. If you really don't want to do that, then work at a less demanding job. Simple as that

tesoro
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby tesoro » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:09 pm

BigFatPanda wrote:
audrey hepburn wrote:Hello everyone,

Recently, everyone that I know and even on this forum have been warning me that as a lawyer I would have to work at least 70-80 hours/week. I know to make the most money you would have to, but do you guys know anyone or know if it's possible to work only 40 hours a week and make a decent living (70K +)? I'm looking to go into patent law but I really don't want my life to revolve around my work only. I'm willing to give up the 160K salary for a better quality of life.

Thanks in advance to everyone who responds.


I know three particular patent examiners who went to law school and remain with the patent office to become Patent Attorney for the BPAI. They are basically telling me that they averaged around 40-50 hours of work each week. Also, patent attorney is a GS15 employee with a patent office adjusted pay rate of around $130k (GS15 step 1) to $155k (GS15 Step 10) depending on the number of years worked for the Federal government.

http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx? ... %3a39%3a00

Bear in mind, however, two of the three were former Primary Examiners and Supervisory Examiner (GS14 and GS15 respectively) and the third was a GS12 examiner who left the patent office to work in the industry for nearly 10 years.

To sweeten the pot, one of them is hoteling from his Palm Beach mansion (or some where close by) in Florida starting this biweek....talk about quality of life if you don't want to make partner at a law firm.

And from what i heard, most JAG attorneys do work 40 hour week because most of them are not litigating the heck out of themselves. However, you will need to run 3 miles in 18 minutes and do 20 pull ups to qualify for it :mrgreen:

For those who cares, i was pleasantly surprised that the USAF recently went looking for patent attorney (found it on USAJOB and I think its civilian) that is substantially an in house counsel but they require at least three years of practice in the private sector.


Working for the government maximizes quality of life expectation. Working for the USPTO maximizes the QoL expectation one would find in the government. The USPTO is second to none as far as work-life balance goes. Seriously, any work function you could find there is the win. You'll never be rich, but you'll be upper middle class from day one with all the leisure time one could hope for, and if you're an examiner you could work from home and only have to report monthly. No salary can trump that.

And after 3 years you get a month off every year to do as you please. Paid. Nevermind flex scheduling so you can take a 4- or 5-day weekend every other week. If you work for the BPAI it's likely slightly less flexible, but much more interesting and with all the other perks.

Kochel
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby Kochel » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:15 pm

A typical trajectory (e.g., mine) involves Biglaw from 3-5 years, then in-house at a junior level (depending on the size of the company), with promotion or upward-lateral in-house moves possible within a few years after that.

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sundevil77
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby sundevil77 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:16 pm

I work for a solo practicioner at a small office building. There is a solo practicioner patent lawyer who offices in the same building. The guy shows up to work in short, shirt, and sneakers everyday. He must work roughly 35-40 hrs./week and probably brings in $100K or more. The salary is an estimate. His lifestyle is pretty chill. I'm not sure what he did before transitioning to a solo practice.

Flanker1067
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby Flanker1067 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:17 pm

sissyclark wrote:Look, going into this profession means you're going to have to make sacrifices. It seems like you're trying to find ways to get out of working more than 40 hours a week. While I'm sure some of this 70-100 hour week claims are exaggerated, it's definitely not gonna be an easy walk in the park. If you want to transfer to doing in house counsel, you're probably gonna have to bust your ass at that firm for at least 5 years and build up your resume, definitely putting in tons of hours. So either way you go, there are going to be huge sacrifices. Law isn't really a 9 to 5 job, and most people go into this wanting to put in way more hours than that anyways.

Law isn't the only one. I have tons of friends who are doctors who had it so much worse or at least as bad. Investment banking the same way. You could always just go work at the bank as a teller, and I'm sure they'd give you a 9 to 5 job.

If you decide to go into it, be ready to work. Don't try and find ways to work get around it. If you really don't want to do that, then work at a less demanding job. Simple as that


What happened that all the douches are out today? You are an idiot. How about you let people control their own lives and worry about yourself.

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audrey hepburn
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby audrey hepburn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:17 pm

tesoro wrote:
BigFatPanda wrote:
audrey hepburn wrote:Hello everyone,

Recently, everyone that I know and even on this forum have been warning me that as a lawyer I would have to work at least 70-80 hours/week. I know to make the most money you would have to, but do you guys know anyone or know if it's possible to work only 40 hours a week and make a decent living (70K +)? I'm looking to go into patent law but I really don't want my life to revolve around my work only. I'm willing to give up the 160K salary for a better quality of life.

Thanks in advance to everyone who responds.


I know three particular patent examiners who went to law school and remain with the patent office to become Patent Attorney for the BPAI. They are basically telling me that they averaged around 40-50 hours of work each week. Also, patent attorney is a GS15 employee with a patent office adjusted pay rate of around $130k (GS15 step 1) to $155k (GS15 Step 10) depending on the number of years worked for the Federal government.

http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx? ... %3a39%3a00

Bear in mind, however, two of the three were former Primary Examiners and Supervisory Examiner (GS14 and GS15 respectively) and the third was a GS12 examiner who left the patent office to work in the industry for nearly 10 years.

To sweeten the pot, one of them is hoteling from his Palm Beach mansion (or some where close by) in Florida starting this biweek....talk about quality of life if you don't want to make partner at a law firm.

And from what i heard, most JAG attorneys do work 40 hour week because most of them are not litigating the heck out of themselves. However, you will need to run 3 miles in 18 minutes and do 20 pull ups to qualify for it :mrgreen:

For those who cares, i was pleasantly surprised that the USAF recently went looking for patent attorney (found it on USAJOB and I think its civilian) that is substantially an in house counsel but they require at least three years of practice in the private sector.


Working for the government maximizes quality of life expectation. Working for the USPTO maximizes the QoL expectation one would find in the government. The USPTO is second to none as far as work-life balance goes. Seriously, any work function you could find there is the win. You'll never be rich, but you'll be upper middle class from day one with all the leisure time one could hope for, and if you're an examiner you could work from home and only have to report monthly. No salary can trump that.

And after 3 years you get a month off every year to do as you please. Paid. Nevermind flex scheduling so you can take a 4- or 5-day weekend every other week. If you work for the BPAI it's likely slightly less flexible, but much more interesting and with all the other perks.


The USPTO is only located in DC, correct?

sissyclark wrote:Look, going into this profession means you're going to have to make sacrifices. It seems like you're trying to find ways to get out of working more than 40 hours a week. While I'm sure some of this 70-100 hour week claims are exaggerated, it's definitely not gonna be an easy walk in the park. If you want to transfer to doing in house counsel, you're probably gonna have to bust your ass at that firm for at least 5 years and build up your resume, definitely putting in tons of hours. So either way you go, there are going to be huge sacrifices. Law isn't really a 9 to 5 job, and most people go into this wanting to put in way more hours than that anyways.

Law isn't the only one. I have tons of friends who are doctors who had it so much worse or at least as bad. Investment banking the same way. You could always just go work at the bank as a teller, and I'm sure they'd give you a 9 to 5 job.

If you decide to go into it, be ready to work. Don't try and find ways to work get around it. If you really don't want to do that, then work at a less demanding job. Simple as that


I know what you're saying is true for most people who want to make a lot of money but I don't think it's necessarily true for everyone, especially people who are going into law not only to make the big bucks...

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audrey hepburn
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby audrey hepburn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:19 pm

Flanker1067 wrote:
sissyclark wrote:Look, going into this profession means you're going to have to make sacrifices. It seems like you're trying to find ways to get out of working more than 40 hours a week. While I'm sure some of this 70-100 hour week claims are exaggerated, it's definitely not gonna be an easy walk in the park. If you want to transfer to doing in house counsel, you're probably gonna have to bust your ass at that firm for at least 5 years and build up your resume, definitely putting in tons of hours. So either way you go, there are going to be huge sacrifices. Law isn't really a 9 to 5 job, and most people go into this wanting to put in way more hours than that anyways.

Law isn't the only one. I have tons of friends who are doctors who had it so much worse or at least as bad. Investment banking the same way. You could always just go work at the bank as a teller, and I'm sure they'd give you a 9 to 5 job.

If you decide to go into it, be ready to work. Don't try and find ways to work get around it. If you really don't want to do that, then work at a less demanding job. Simple as that


What happened that all the douches are out today? You are an idiot. How about you let people control their own lives and worry about yourself.

+1

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romothesavior
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:20 pm

Corporate in-house is close, but I don't know if it would quite be 40 hours a week. The in-house lawyers I've spoken with say they usually pull 50 or so, but it can be in the 40s for slower weeks and closer to 60 during busier weeks. They usually spend about 45-50 in the actual company offices though, and do a little work at home if they need to.

Granted, my knowledge comes from a pretty small sample size, so other in-house counsels may be different.

tesoro
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby tesoro » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:20 pm

audrey hepburn wrote:
The USPTO is only located in DC, correct?



Alexandria, VA.

For most positions, though, you work on-site for two years and then can enroll in a "hoteling" program. Once enrolled, you may work anywhere in the united states or domestic territories, and report to headquarters once a month. Many people find "suffering" the two years in VA to be a bargain if they're early in their careers.

r6_philly
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby r6_philly » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:24 pm

sundevil77 wrote:I work for a solo practicioner at a small office building. There is a solo practicioner patent lawyer who offices in the same building. The guy shows up to work in short, shirt, and sneakers everyday. He must work roughly 35-40 hrs./week and probably brings in $100K or more. The salary is an estimate. His lifestyle is pretty chill. I'm not sure what he did before transitioning to a solo practice.


That sounds like me in about 7 to 10 years. I did this for the previous 10 and I am not about to throw my shorts out. I must say that when self-employed I worked some 80+ hour weeks but it was enjoyable because I was making myself money.

I will be looking for one of those small-mid size firms that care about quality of living, even if I have to give up 20-30% pay for it. Then transition to solo, start a new firm, in-house, or law professor. Ya that's my plan.

I may also start a chain of personal injury/general practitioner shops and hire local T3/4 grads to staff it. :wink:

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby BigFatPanda » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:25 pm

tesoro wrote:
audrey hepburn wrote:
The USPTO is only located in DC, correct?



Alexandria, VA.

For most positions, though, you work on-site for two years and then can enroll in a "hoteling" program. Once enrolled, you may work anywhere in the united states or domestic territories, and report to headquarters once a month. Many people find "suffering" the two years in VA to be a bargain if they're early in their careers.


As of this month, if you live within 50 miles of Alexandria Campus, you are no longer require to report in one hour per week because per OPM rule, your duty station is now your home address, not alexandria campus any more.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby BigFatPanda » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:26 pm

r6_philly wrote:I may also start a chain of personal injury/general practitioner shops and hire local T3/4 grads to staff it. :wink:

and i thought you were cool..... :(

Kochel
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Re: Is there such a thing as working 40 hours a week as a lawyer

Postby Kochel » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:27 pm

audrey hepburn wrote:
pleasetryagain wrote:http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/CDO_Public/cdo-billable_hour.pdf


thanks for posting this but i was wondering, can we really get a total of 5 weeks off per year to go take a vacation & for holidays? that would be great :)


Biglaw standard is 4 weeks paid vacation. Nobody takes 4 weeks. When you're working on several matters at once, each supervised by a different partner, it's very difficult to set aside the time without incurring the wrath of at least one of the partners. And that's a problem regardless of the need to meet billable targets.

And forget about 2-week vacations--definitely frowned upon, at least at my old Biglaw firm.




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