A lot of it is the nature of the business. Biglaw clients are CEOs and Investment bankers- groups of people that work long hours and expect help at any time of day or night.
Because they are biglaw lawyers.Although it would be kinda sweet if you could work part time at one of these firms at make $80K and work 40 hours a week (I guess technically that would be around half the hours they actually work).
All of the above, plus the fact that time literally equals money.I understand your point that if, say, a specific case requires a finite amount of work, then staffing 20 associates on it instead of 10 should allow everybody to work half as hard. But in reality, with a good case (/deal) flow, the 20 would finish early but then just go to work on something else. Either way, if you're sending lawyers home early, you're wasting money.(Also, firms aren't economies of scale necessarily. The overhead for each new lawyer (beyond salary) is pretty significant. You want to hire some more people to make Nikes or whatever, great, stick them in a corner somewhere. But you want to hire some more biglaw associates, you're going to need to find them their own offices (in your swanky building) (cubicles are for paralegals), their own secretaries, their own gold-plated benefits packages, and so forth. All this stuff makes perfect sense if you can bill a guy out for $700k every year; not quite so much if he's generating half that.)