8:00-8:30am - wake up
9:00-9:30am - check/respond to emails from home, put out minor fires if necessary, take the occasional call or two once in a blue moon
10:00am - go into the office, check emails, get ready for call
10:30am - scheduled call
11:00am - try to draft something
11:38am - unscheduled call
12:06pm - write/draft some more
sometime between 12:30pm and 2pm - grab lunch, read the news for 15-20ish minutes, go back to whatever substantive work i was doing after reading the news
2:00pm - scheduled call/meeting
2:30pm - go back to whatever substantive work i was trying to get done earlier in the morning
2:42pm - unscheduled call
3:00pm - go back to whatever substantive work i was trying to get done earlier in the morning
3:36pm - stretch my legs, go grab coffee
3:54pm - prep for 4pm call
4:00pm - scheduled call
4:45pm - now no longer scheduled call
5:00pm - this call took way longer than expected
5:15pm - post-call follow-up call
5:30pm - go back to whatever i was working on in the morning
7:00pm - oh, it's time for dinner, pull up ubereats/seamless/doordash/grubhub
8:00-8:30pm/8:45pm - dinner break, read news
8:30pm-11:00pm/1am/3am - work, go home
subtract 1-3 additional hours of nonbillable putzing around time per day. some days, i am very efficient; some days, i am not. if i need to focus, i ask my assistant to field all my calls for me.
i do a good chunk of nonbillable work (business development, firm initiatives, etc.), so I'm not billing 3,000 hours a year. closer to 2,400-2,500 billable hours. i usually work one full weekend day (8+ billable hours) and take the other one off. sometimes i don't work either weekend day, sometimes i work both.
the more managerial/case strategy responsibilities you have, the less time you have to actually work on stuff. it's hard for me to work on major pieces of writing during the day - my best brief-writing hours are from 7pm to 2am or so. the workday is full of interruptions - you have to meet with other associates to give them directions on things, review their work; meet with partners to talk case strategy, etc.
i take private lessons about 2x a week for my hobby; on those days, i leave at 6 or 7 and log back on at 10 or 11, do a couple of hours of work, and go to bed. if there's nothing urgent, sometimes i just leave at 6 or 7 and call it a night.
unless i have an event to go to (dinner/drinks with friends, actual events, concerts, theatre shows) or classes, i usually don't leave the office before 8. once you get senior enough, you usually have enough work to keep you busy all the time, but you have periods where things are manageable enough that you don't have to put in 12-15 hours a day.
i also travel a lot more often for work now. those days usually start at 4am. i've gotten very good at sleeping on planes. airport lounge access is clutch, too - need it to get work done while you're traveling.
Anonymous User wrote:V50 mid-level litigation associate, non-NYC
8:00am - wake up (don't judge me)
8:15am - respond to emails and such that have come in during the morning while i've been asleep
8:30am - get ready for work, skip breakfast (usually), starbucks if desperate for caffeine
9:30am - get into the office (I live nearby) -- 9am once a week for a team call (i get ready earlier in the day obv)
10:00am - more emails, phone calls with partners who've left me voicemails in the morning, administrative tasks
10:30am - finally start working, usually writing a brief or a motion or whatnot
12:30pm - pick up lunch nearby if the weather's nice, otherwise ubereats/postmates
12:45/1pm - read the news for 15-20ish minutes while eating lunch
1pm/1:15pm - start work again
3:00pm - call with client/partner/co-counsel/opposing counsel on some matter that isn't what i've been working on during the day
3:15pm - start putting out fire on other matter
7:00pm - go back to drafting whatever it was i was trying to draft at 10:30 this morning
7:45pm - order seamless
7:50pm - resume working
8:30pm - eat dinner, read news about donald trump, cry in corner for a little bit about the notion of president trump
9:00pm - get back to writing whatever it was i was trying to draft at 10:30 this morning
anywhere between 11pm-2am, depending on how busy things are - take uberhome, go to bed
anywhere between 11:30pm-2:30am, depending on what time i get home - buzzfeed/youtube/other timewasters for like 30 minutes or so
if things aren't busy, i'll usually go home at 7:30 or 8, nix seamless and taking an uber home. depending on the day, add in anywhere between half an hour and an hour and a half of nonbillable time. could be anything from bathroom breaks, to talking about fantasy football with another associate, to a firm meeting. i am not a model of efficiency. i can be if necessary, but i really don't like sitting in my office with the door closed trying to shut out everything that's happening around me in an effort to get home just a little bit earlier.
you work social events around the schedule -- it's not that you can't go to dinner with your friends or go to a baseball/basketball/football game, etc., it's that you have to work those things around your existing schedule.
busy-ish weekends (weekends to play catch up) look something like:
10:00am - wake up
12:00pm - lunch at hole-in-the-wall that i like going to on weekends
1:30pm - go into office
7:00pm - go home
8:00pm - eat dinner, get ready to go out with friends (saturdays)
8:30pm - start work again (sundays)
10:00pm - watch ballers
10:30pm - watch vice principals
11:00pm - watch last week tonight
11:30pm - think "damn, i wish i was as smart and funny as john oliver"
12am - start working again or go to bed, depending on how busy/tired i am
i've billed 12-13 hour weekend days, but that's really not normal, at least in my practice.