By - pat_vinch
Big law might not be it. Even if they say 1900 billable, more seems to expected.
Yeah, some people are surely making biglaw pay with a reasonable work-life balance but it's not like there's a magic bullet, is there?
I think that no one is going to pay a starting lawyer $200k per year *just* for being the smartest cookie from their law school - the firm is going to get their money's worth, and that generally means working associates like animals. Otherwise, you simply don't bring enough added value as a junior associate to justify paying 4x the average U.S. household income. Honestly, though, BL hiring is such a bizarre market, so who knows.
Your billable hour requirement only matters when you don't meet it. If you're assigned 2200 hours worth of work in a year, you're going to be expected to bill those hours, even if your target is 1900.
and what if you decline those additional 300 hours?
You wouldn't really be in a position to decline the work. At best you could try to claim you were at capacity, but that wouldn't work unless you were significantly exceeding your billable hour targets consistently. Even if you were, they'd still probably make it out to be an efficiency issue. For example, if they've written off any of your time for any reason, that's all time you could be putting towards the additional work if you were more efficient. Or maybe they'd say you didn't properly delegate certain work to your staff. In other words, if you're ever at capacity it's mostly likely going to be blamed on you unless you are absolutely crushing it and by then you'd be well on your way to accepting those additional hours, anyway. It'd be more likely that you'd be assigned the work and if you merely met your target hours, you'd develop a reputation for having an awful turnaround time, coming too close to deadlines, etc.
Sounds awful. And I'm guessing a few months of this, and you'd get fired?
It's not that awful. If you're employed as an attorney and make an obnoxious amount of money, the expectation is you're going to do as much work as they give you. Most people will view anything less than that as a lack of work ethic or incompetence. It's not always fair or reasonable, but that's the job. If you don't want to work those kinds of hours, you can always go in house or transition to a smaller firm. Many do.
You most likely wouldn't lose your job if you're meeting your billables, are generally doing good work, and aren't missing deadlines. But once you earn a reputation, it can be hard to shake. This kind of stuff would be taken into consideration when you're up for partnership, bonuses, and the like. Plus if you're consistently handing a partner something for review at the 11th hour because you're not managing your workload properly, that can cause more stress than it's worth. Better to just put your head down and do the work, IMO.
Possibly firms that are towards midlaw that pay biglaw. I.e. I have 2 friends that just lateraled you Strook NYC and they’re schedule is vvvvvv lax and they’re paid the same as big law
Strook NYC can be just as bad as any other NYC biglaw office from what I’ve heard. There are midlaw places with 1,800 hr targets where you actually have a shot at only billing that (definitely not guaranteed), but they don’t pay close to biglaw market.
Lol big law pay don’t come for free. Gotta work
I’d like one of those megayachts Russian oligarchs have.
You won’t be able to find an international firm with “low” billable requirements. Some are more reasonable for sure, but still high.
Cast a wide net and if you get offers eventually, you can assess what you think will fit your goals. It probably won’t be biglaw though if you feel you do not want to consider a high billable requirement.
Down market firms in secondary markets are your best bet.
If you don't care about making partner, you can choose to bill low. It's possible to coast in big law.