Law School Discussion

Perspective- RE: Salary/ Jobs

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Perspective- RE: Salary/ Jobs
« on: May 13, 2009, 10:25:24 AM »
I think this is probably the best place to post this topic because the majority of you guys are in law school and looking at careers.  I'm not interested in Big Law in NYC or Chicago- I would be much more comfortable in a city such as Lexington, KY (where I am going to law school).  In a small/ mid-size town like this, what is the significant difference between the big law firms, as opposed to big city law firms?

For example, one of the firms that really appeals to me lists the following through the NALP:

Entry-Level Salary: $90,000
Average hourly billable associate hours: 1,596
Minimum billable hour expectation: 1,900

That salary for the area would be excellent.  However, I'm confused as to the billable hours statistics.  Does this mean that most of the attorneys are not making the cut, or is there some reason I'm not seeing for the disparity in expectations and actual hours?  Also, to achieve 1,900 billable hours, how much could one realistically expect to work?

Thanks in advance for any comments.


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Re: Perspective- RE: Salary/ Jobs
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 10:33:51 AM »
I'm in a secondary market and most of the bigger firms here have like 1800-1900 billing req. and most of the average hours are like 1700.  I think that's probably normal. 

I'm not sure the NALP gives you the kind of detailed information that you need.  For one thing, different practice groups sometimes have a different # of min. hours.  I know at the firm I summer at litigation has like 300 more hours required.  Are they averaging all the practice groups together?  For another thing, some firms allow people who want to work less to voluntarily take a pay decrease to lower their minimum billable hours (especially for mothers, etc).  I know a good handful of people who do this.  Are these people being lumped in with the average # of hours billed?  Lots of stuff like that could account.

Re: Perspective- RE: Salary/ Jobs
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 10:50:05 AM »
I don't know if you saw this when it was previously posted, but here's a document that breaks down the billable hour thing (re: how much to work to achieve certain billable hour targets).