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Author Topic: Real deal on law firm life  (Read 19210 times)

Mr. Roe

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2007, 02:59:30 PM »
Yes, I am speaking from experience, I work at a V50 law firm, billed 2000 last year, and didn't work "60-70 hours" every week.  It is understood at many firms that associates will "overbill," and it is true as Mr. Galt said that the hours can be cut, but most partners are either to busy, or just flat out don't care to do it.

Remember, you aren't literally working 100% of the time on a client's matter in order to bill 100% of it.  Nobody I know stops billing a client when they go to the bathroom, or take a 5 minute coffee break.  You just bill it all together, after all, you could be thinking about the work when you are chilling on the toilet, right?

And trust me, I'm not the biggest loser at my firm, and I didn't burn out after a couple months, simply because of the fact that I don't freak out over 10-20 minutes/day of overbilling.

The biggest losers are those who do.

Oh, and one last thing...nobody takes an hour for lunch every single day at my firm...

jacy85

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2007, 05:36:16 PM »

Also just because you bill 2.5 on a project does not necessarily mean you will get credit for the full 2.5. A partner is going to approve the amount that will actually be billed. Different firms treat unrealized billables differently, thay may count for perfomrance reviews but not bonus requiremets. 

The effect "cutting" billable hours will have on your yearly total depends on the firm.  The firm I'll be working for may cut hours, but in terms of looking at who qualifies for a bonus, those hours still count toward your total.  Other firms aren't as generous, and if the client never pays for your hours, you don't get credit for them come bonus time.

marsilni

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 09:07:25 PM »
Exactly what happens if you don't meet the billable requirement?  What hours (from when to when), on a typical day, do you work?

vaplaugh

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 09:42:52 PM »
Exactly what happens if you don't meet the billable requirement?

Depends on the firm, but someone I know had a meeting with a few partners about getting the hours up.  They probably won't fire you off the bat - most likely give you a warning.  This, of course, assumes you're not meeting the hours simply because you're not getting enough work and haven't spoken up and said "Hey, I'm only working 40-50 hours a week, should I be working more?"  (Not because you're slacking off and not getting assigned work done).  She didn't speak up, so about 8 months passed until they realized she "needed" the hours.  They put her on a trial team that worked 6.5 days a week and allowed her one night at home with her husband (5 p.m. Saturday to 2:00 p.m. Sunday) because the 1.5 hour round trip commute was worth more in billable hours than the cost of a hotel room and food.

jacy85

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2007, 10:07:59 PM »
As vap said, it depends on the firm.  I think generally, if you don't meet the min, first and most immediate, you won't get your bonus.  Next, if you miss your billable goals on a more "regular" basis, then you'll likely be meeting with the partners to figure out what you're doing wrong.  Finally, if you fail to get your hours up, you'll eventually be fired.

marsilni

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2007, 11:03:23 PM »
If you work 50 hour weeks 48 weeks out of the year (2400 hours), why is it so unthinkable to bill 1900?  Is everything okay so long as you hit 1900 (if that is the minimum) or are they expecting those who want to make partner to bill a lot more than the minimum?  I got no problem with working for a few years at a firm to pay back my school debt and then bolting for a less hectic job with better hours if that is the case.

themanwithnoname

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2007, 11:05:22 PM »
If you want to make partner you have to work a lot more than the minimum.

jacy85

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2007, 07:35:03 AM »
If you work 50 hour weeks 48 weeks out of the year (2400 hours), why is it so unthinkable to bill 1900?  Is everything okay so long as you hit 1900 (if that is the minimum) or are they expecting those who want to make partner to bill a lot more than the minimum?  I got no problem with working for a few years at a firm to pay back my school debt and then bolting for a less hectic job with better hours if that is the case.

When you work 50 hours a week, you're not BILLING 50 hours a week.  Some weeks, you have more non-billable hours than you do billable.  For a 2000 minimum, the "budget" is to bill something like 166 hrs a month.  That works out to about 40 hours a week, but some weeks you'll work 50 hours, and not hit 40 billables, depending on what your firm allows you to count as billable and what's going on during the week, the workload, etc.

vaplaugh

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2007, 08:35:39 AM »
If you work 50 hour weeks 48 weeks out of the year (2400 hours), why is it so unthinkable to bill 1900?  Is everything okay so long as you hit 1900 (if that is the minimum) or are they expecting those who want to make partner to bill a lot more than the minimum?  I got no problem with working for a few years at a firm to pay back my school debt and then bolting for a less hectic job with better hours if that is the case.

That's what one poster suggested as billing 80% of your time.  (1900/2400 = .79).

Which would mean billing 8 hours in a 10-hour work day.  I've never had to work for billable hours, but my understanding is that obtaining 80% billables is extremely unlikely unless you are a machine or overbilling.  It's a lot easier to do "on paper" than in real life.

Bob Loblaw Esq.

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2007, 04:18:41 PM »
Yes, I am speaking from experience, I work at a V50 law firm, billed 2000 last year, and didn't work "60-70 hours" every week.  It is understood at many firms that associates will "overbill," and it is true as Mr. Galt said that the hours can be cut, but most partners are either to busy, or just flat out don't care to do it.

Remember, you aren't literally working 100% of the time on a client's matter in order to bill 100% of it.  Nobody I know stops billing a client when they go to the bathroom, or take a 5 minute coffee break.  You just bill it all together, after all, you could be thinking about the work when you are chilling on the toilet, right?

And trust me, I'm not the biggest loser at my firm, and I didn't burn out after a couple months, simply because of the fact that I don't freak out over 10-20 minutes/day of overbilling.

The biggest losers are those who do.

Oh, and one last thing...nobody takes an hour for lunch every single day at my firm...

if you

(1) are a law school graduate,
(2) working at a V50 firm, and
(3) spend your time bashing lsd posters in almost all of your previous posts

you are most likely one of the biggest losers at your firm.  sorry.