Friday, January 4, 2013

Market Check: Billable Hours

So yes, I've had a slow year. Who hasn't??  I guess it hasn't been that uneventful...Gotham nearly averted nuclear catastrophe, which seems like peanuts compared to the Mayan's proselytized cataclysm being thwarted by the avengers...but it was kind of for me.

For those wondering about how much we really work in this type of environment, here are my hours for the past two years, rounded (just in case).

If you're curious, my hours in 2010 topped 2400, so market hasn't been that active, let's say.  In other words, I'm almost ready to join the Tour (any of them).

what i'd pay buckets to see: Gogeta vs. Avengers


  1. How is it possible to bill 360 hours in a month?

    1. extremely possible, and nothing compared to, say, what associates at Wachtell might bill (3000+ hours / year). and i've personally known some people billing 400 hours a month. part of may be inadvertent overbilling (see the post about my ex-colleague who once accidentally tried to put in over 24 hours in a day after he tallied up his time) part of it may just be how it is. if you have meetings every day including weekends from 8am til 8pm. throw in a few late nights. mayeban all nighter. u r tehre

  2. Let's be honest - it's been documented that people who bill over 300 hours are just lying. I'm guilty of it too frankly. If you bill honestly, only a Herculean effort would get you up to 300 (yes, that means don't count the break you took between drafting docs to take a shit, grab a drink from the fridge, oh and stop by and talk to the cute associate down the hall for half an hour and then head back to your work to pick up right where you left off).

    But, this brand of fraudulent activity has become so rampant in the industry that it's now deemed acceptable.

    Congrats, by the way, on the awesome numbers for 2012, and I mean that. Billing like shit and getting paid like a champ. Attaboy!

  3. Well, I never said I was actually working 300 hours in a month for each second. I think the conventional wisdom is, it is a completely inexact 'science' - per my previous post about billing generally. You ask two lawyers to do the same task, they will not only give you different quotes, they will bill and spend two different amounts of time. If you were to measure the exact amount of time working that two different lawyers spent doing a similar task for which they billed the same amount of time, you would undoubtedly getting different numbers. There are lots of reasons for this. Some is just technical - some people use timers, some people don't. Even if you use timers, do you count the time you stopped to sip water, or the time it takes your brain to recover from the distraction, or the time it takes to scratch your nose or whatever. (And similarly you may not count the time you take to respond to the email from the shitter at home or constantly stare at that flashing light on your blackberry all night long in bed as you fall asleep.) Not saying this can all add up to a difference in a 100 hours, but 10 hours, 20 hours or more in a month, sure. I think in the end, billable hours tracks what I would say is the amount of time one is "plugged in". If you spend 10 hours a day thinking about work, plugged in, or otherwise having the lifeblood sucked out of you for the sake of someone else, you should by all means pass that fucking buck along. And on that basis, I think a 300-hr month is very realistic - being plugged in say 13 hrs/day on weekdays, 5 hrs/day on weekends. I still think one can be extremely efficient and bill high numbers - part of why I got away with such low hours last year was because I was very efficient. And if you are inefficient, that's probably where you get even higher hours - probably in part due to the fact that you are so sleep deprived and busy at work that you don't bother to put in your time.

  4. This is really an excellent blog as well as its content.Joe Tacopina


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