Big Law Hours in Europe?

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svkclvk

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Big Law Hours in Europe?

Post by svkclvk » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:16 pm

Just curious if anyone knows what BL hours are like in Europe. Given that European law stipulates employers can’t have staff work more than 48 hours a week, do BL lawyers in Europe have normal work schedules? Thanks!

aussieattorney

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Re: Big Law Hours in Europe?

Post by aussieattorney » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:39 pm

When you sign your employment contract in Europe (which is a much more detailed document than the two-pager you get in the US), you typically sign a disclaimer that says that any limits on your working hours do not apply to you. I know this from personal experience working at two firms in Europe. In my experience, the hours can be every bit at brutal as in the US. There is, however, a different attitude to time off. When you're out of the office, you really are out, and no one expects you to be checking your emails every five minutes. You get 25-30 vacation days per year, depending on location, plus public holidays and sick leave. That, to some extent, makes up for it.

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Re: Big Law Hours in Europe?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 01, 2021 4:27 pm

aussieattorney wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:39 pm
When you sign your employment contract in Europe (which is a much more detailed document than the two-pager you get in the US), you typically sign a disclaimer that says that any limits on your working hours do not apply to you. I know this from personal experience working at two firms in Europe. In my experience, the hours can be every bit at brutal as in the US. There is, however, a different attitude to time off. When you're out of the office, you really are out, and no one expects you to be checking your emails every five minutes. You get 25-30 vacation days per year, depending on location, plus public holidays and sick leave. That, to some extent, makes up for it.
When I was in biglaw in Europe (at an American firm), the hours were not better than biglaw in the States, and in fact it was actually a bit harder, since our Euro clients were much more bill conscious and consequently there was more attention to working efficiently and occasionally writing off time. For what it's worth, my European colleagues really did seem to respect vacation a lot more, but the Americans didn't care and would still bother you on vacation, so your milage may vary, and in practice I didn't find taking vacation in Europe better than in the States.

aussieattorney

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Re: Big Law Hours in Europe?

Post by aussieattorney » Mon May 03, 2021 10:02 am

That's unfortunate. I worked for UK-headquartered firms when I was in Europe (on both sides of the Channel). Perhaps that's the key!

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Re: Big Law Hours in Europe?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 11:50 am

aussieattorney wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 10:02 am
That's unfortunate. I worked for UK-headquartered firms when I was in Europe (on both sides of the Channel). Perhaps that's the key!
May well be the case! I remember having a UK colleague who would go to multi-day festivals and literally not have his phone on at all, which sounded glorious. I also had a US colleague who was skiing in Switzerland and was only able to actually get on the slopes for two days of a weeklong trip because of all the fire drills. He wasn't happy about it. Experience can vary a lot!

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