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Author Topic: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours  (Read 4993 times)

JohnnyAwesome

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Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« on: June 13, 2007, 10:06:26 AM »
Does anyone know the formula you would use to estimate the amount of weekly hours an associate would need to work to maintain their yearly requirement. Say for example a firm requires 1950 hours in a year. How many hours a week does that translate to. I know every hour a lawyer works is not billable, but what is the ratio from non-billable to billable an average attorney spends in a day?

thanks

DaRaiders

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 11:32:22 AM »

LegalLatin78

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 12:51:27 PM »
A lot of it just depends on how efficient you are. 

Typically, I'd say I bill between 7 to 8 hours in a 10 hour day.  If I want to take a vacation, I have to bank some hours by working later nights, or taking work with me.  One trick I found, is to get on a team that is going to trial.  During the trial prep period, you are working incredibly long hours.  There have been times I slept in the office.  The upside to this is, you can bill 16  hours in a day.  The trial can go on for a long time, and you will have the billable hours of a superstar.  Last trial, I was able to average about 12.5 hours a day for about 6 weeks.  A few weeks,  came out with over 90 billable hours.  In a matter of 6 weeks, I had about 525 billable hours under my belt.  This allowed me to take a few vacations and still be on pace to hit my quota.  There are periods where you are grinding it out, and you will have awesome time/service reports.  During the slower weeks, you have to make sure you are having projects fed to you so you don't fall behind.  Last year, I billed about 1800 hours, and managed to take two vacations of 9 days each.  Went home at 5:30 plenty of days, didn't go home at all on others...

JohnnyAwesome

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2007, 05:42:26 PM »
The yale link was extremely helpful as was the personal experience. thanks a lot.

xferlawstudent

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2007, 06:01:48 PM »
The Yale thing was helpful.  I've always heard a good estimate is 2/3 of your work time is billable at the beginning when you are less efficient and when you become more efficient with your time you can bill about 3/4 of your office time.

GA-fan

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2007, 08:23:41 PM »
Keep in mind that you still bill all of your research time even if you're not very efficient at researching or writing simply because you're new. Your inefficiency at writing, for example, is already factored into your bill rate. I've been working 8 to 6 or 7 and billing 7 to 9.5 hours per day, depending on if I work through lunch. NEVER CUT YOUR OWN TIME because you think you're spending too much time completing an assignment. The partner will write down your time on the client's bill, and at most firms you'll still get credit for whatever time it takes you to complete it. And NEVER rush through and do a half-ass job just to get it done on time. If you are going to be late or turn in unfinished product, talk to the partner. I know this all seems like common sense, but they've been drilling it into our heads.

Strong

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2007, 09:18:19 PM »
What hours are the buildings open? Is that a constraint as far as what time you can arrive/leave?

roygbiv

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Re: Billable Hours to Weekly Work Hours
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2007, 11:46:00 PM »
Most people I talk to say the ratio is about 1.5-1.7 to 1.

So 1950 billables = 2925 hours worked.

2925 / 50 work weeks = 58.5 hours worked / week

58.5 hours worked / week = 12 hours / day (5 day work week)

Also understand that the 1.5 includes non-billable time like lunch, meetings, "face time", etc. The more of that kind of stuff you have to do the longer you have to work. My friend worked at a firm where his partner always wanted him at the office when he (the partner) was at the office, even if he (my friend) didn't have anything to do. He was pushing the 1.7 mark at about 10 hours / day, 6 days a week to generate 1900 billables.

I'm doing about 1.6 as a summer associate not including after hours events. I am billing around 30-35 hours a week and work 10-11 hours a day (8am - 6pm)
Does anyone know the formula you would use to estimate the amount of weekly hours an associate would need to work to maintain their yearly requirement. Say for example a firm requires 1950 hours in a year. How many hours a week does that translate to. I know every hour a lawyer works is not billable, but what is the ratio from non-billable to billable an average attorney spends in a day?

thanks