Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

How many hours of work a week would you consider reasonable?

I've seen attorneys that think 50 hours is a big week, I've shikes03/04/18
40 hours a week. Nothing more. Life is too short. lawyer197203/04/18
I'm a 9-5'er normally and put in extra hours when I have a h isthisit03/04/18
This is a solid thread. 40-45 hours is part time work in ambulancechaser201303/04/18
I have no clue how the BigLaw lawyer pulls off a 70-80 hour ambulancechaser201303/04/18
When people say “I work 60 hours per week” (or whatever) defectoantesto03/05/18
Anything over 50 is too much. Not worth it. I agree with p therover03/05/18
I also think the bragging about # of hours worked is a lame therover03/05/18
Pretending to work should not count as hours worked for brag triplesix03/05/18
45-50/week from walking in the office door to walking out th lilgub03/05/18
40 hours a week is plenty. Anything more doing something you fettywap03/05/18
40 per week is all, life is indeed to short. Now if you v jdcumlaude03/05/18
40 is the credited response. Any more and you're just slavin flyer1403/05/18
60 hours is normal for me. But I live alone, my nephews are khazaddum03/05/18
At times even 40 is too much, remember when we were told tha mtbislife03/05/18
37.5 But we need to shift to 4 day/30 hour work week to i triplesix03/05/18
For me to be working over 55 hours a week I’m going to nee t3success03/05/18
If you don't have anything better to do, find something. The fettywap03/05/18
60-65 for me, most closer to 60 than 65, and I agree that's inho2solo03/05/18
I generally work 45-60 hours a week depending on work load, bucwild03/05/18
I think when you are under 30, you can definitely afford to pisces21303/05/18
Well it depends on how you count: Way1: you count every m cantimaginenocountry03/05/18
I can honestly say that I have worked a solid 70 hours per w uknownvalue03/05/18
I probably average 30. Maybe a few less. Solo. But I only ma dakotalaw03/06/18
35-40. 45 should be a rare bad week. Every hour you work sillydood03/06/18
I’ll take $70k for a 35 hour week over $180k for a 60-70 h triplesix03/06/18
You mean eating at Zagat rated restaurants and taking the an mtbislife03/06/18
I have no loans. If I had better business sense and a st dakotalaw03/06/18
The problem is that you must stay involved in a rural settin khazaddum03/06/18
Yeah. The underling would eventually leave. Good for him or dakotalaw03/06/18

shikes (Mar 4, 2018 - 9:33 pm)

I've seen attorneys that think 50 hours is a big week, I've seen others who think anything under 70 is solid. Whats your take?

I personally feel like 55 is pretty reasonable and can come with a decent lifestyle. Anything over 60 seems unbearable. I truly don't know how folks in big law do it. I've worked a few 70+ weeks in my life and felt like I could barely remember my name and had steam coming out of my ears. The biglaw lawyers I know think 70 is a "light" week.

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lawyer1972 (Mar 4, 2018 - 11:16 pm)

40 hours a week.

Nothing more.

Life is too short.

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isthisit (Mar 4, 2018 - 9:54 pm)

I'm a 9-5'er normally and put in extra hours when I have a hearing coming up or a submission deadline. Another attorney in my office sometimes works weekends and after hours during the week. It depends on the individual.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Mar 4, 2018 - 10:34 pm)

This is a solid thread.

40-45 hours is part time work in my opinion for lawyers.

45-50 is nothing much.

50-55 is manageable.

55-60 begins to take a toll.

Anything over 60 is tough.

It all comes down to whether you are willing to work the weekends.

If you insist and can indeed have your weekends, which is impossible in BigLaw from what I hear, and you want to work 60 hours then you need to crank out 12 hour days in 5 weekday. A real 12 hour day is not 12 hours at the office and 1 hour at lunch, 30 minutes in the bathroom and another 45 minutes shooting the breeze with coworkers.

So you are looking at at least 13 and half hours in the office, if you are not allowed to do the work from home. That will take its toll.

It means working from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday to put in a "real" 60 hour work week. In other words it's rough, but you still have your weekends. I have pulled off 55-60 hour work weeks without any or very little weekend time, but by Thursday you feel wiped out.

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ambulancechaser2013 (Mar 4, 2018 - 10:37 pm)

I have no clue how the BigLaw lawyer pulls off a 70-80 hour work week. That would require 6 days or possibly 7 days a week. Read this article.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/concerned_about_lifestyle_and_balance_you_probably_wont_amount_to_much_in_t/

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defectoantesto (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:05 am)

When people say “I work 60 hours per week” (or whatever) does that count commuting time? I always assumed not but I want to see what the JDU think tank thinks.

P.S. anything north of 40-45 (not counting commuting time) quickly becomes unbearable. Someone above said life is too short for anything more and I completely agree. Also I think there have been some studies which show that actual productivity dramatically drops off anyway at a certain point so the extra hours don’t come with a tangible gain—other than billibles of questionable worth I guess.

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therover (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:12 am)

Anything over 50 is too much. Not worth it. I agree with people above. Life is too short and they are way too many other things I want to do besides being chained to a job for 50-60+ hours a week.

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therover (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:13 am)

I also think the bragging about # of hours worked is a lame boomer trend that should die.

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triplesix (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:25 am)

Pretending to work should not count as hours worked for bragging rights, only for fleecing clients and employers. But boomers being boomers, they can't help themselves.

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lilgub (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:30 am)

45-50/week from walking in the office door to walking out the office door at the end of the day.

As others have said, life is too short. One of the biggest sources of the boomer mantra is that people (like my old man) were paid hourly, so if you worked 60 hours in a week, you did it because those extra 20 were time + 1/2 or more. It was smart to sacrifice a Sunday for double the salary because it was still 6 hours of work with an hour lunch and an hour of BSing.

Lawyers don't operate like that.

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fettywap (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:34 am)

40 hours a week is plenty. Anything more doing something you don't enjoy is torture. Lawyers who say they work 60+ are lying. Maybe every once in awhile they stay late at the office to meet a deadline on a brief. They don't do it every week or very often. I had this one opposing counsel who wanted me to come by his large downtown law firm on a Saturday to finish up some things. You know who else was there? Nobody. Not one single person was working in that law firm on Saturday.

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jdcumlaude (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:35 am)

40 per week is all, life is indeed to short.

Now if you view your job as a passion 60hrs is totally normal. I have family members that love their job and spend a lot of time doing it. Oddly enough, they also have no hobbies. It seems that their vocation is something that they love, and they have no need for hobbies or outside escapes.

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flyer14 (Mar 5, 2018 - 9:54 am)

40 is the credited response. Any more and you're just slaving your life away working for someone else.

Go home at 4 PM. Enjoy evening activities such as family, friends, church, little league games, etc. Life is too short to spend it all in a cube farm.

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khazaddum (Mar 5, 2018 - 10:18 am)

60 hours is normal for me. But I live alone, my nephews are in college, and I am too old to party or have hobbies. If I had children, 60 would be too much.

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mtbislife (Mar 5, 2018 - 11:29 am)

At times even 40 is too much, remember when we were told that technology was going to shorten the work week? In reality when the tech improvements came all that happened was employers laid off half their work force and made the remaining workers do all the work while posting record profits.

I agree with the posters above, this is a boomer trend that needs to stop. People are literally bragging about their slavery. Even if you spend 9hrs in office 5 days a week and commute 45mins to an hour each way there is not much to your life besides working and drinking.

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triplesix (Mar 5, 2018 - 11:33 am)

37.5

But we need to shift to 4 day/30 hour work week to increase consumption.

Capitalist are so good at making wage slaves produce, that the only issue is people having money and time to consume.

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t3success (Mar 5, 2018 - 12:07 pm)

For me to be working over 55 hours a week I’m going to need at least 120,000 to 150,000 a year in a low cost of living area.

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fettywap (Mar 5, 2018 - 12:21 pm)

If you don't have anything better to do, find something. There are better ways to spend your time than sitting at a desk typing briefs for 12 hours a day. That's not a life. Also, if you are working 60 hours a week, there's no way you're taking care of your house. Grow up and start taking care of yourself. Spend some time with your wife, or get rid of her and find someone you want to spend time with.

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inho2solo (Mar 5, 2018 - 12:48 pm)

60-65 for me, most closer to 60 than 65, and I agree that's too much. Shooting for 10-15 hpw "soon", which means as soon as I get past "one more year" syndrome.

Current is 10/day in-office (almost never take lunch), usu 1.5-2 at night after everyone's in bed, and 4-8 hours here/there over weekend.

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bucwild (Mar 5, 2018 - 1:00 pm)

I generally work 45-60 hours a week depending on work load, and I find that very reasonable. However, I am allowed to set my own schedule and work from home, within reason, and can pretty much take vacation whenever I want, assuming my billable quota is met. The ability to set my own schedule makes working a lot of hours so much easier. Working from 6-4 or 7-5 is so much easier than working from 9:30-7:30. If I need to leave the office at 1pm to run an errand, nobody asks where I'm going.

I would find working more than 60 hours per week, on a consistent basis, to be very draining, but if someone offered me significantly more $, I'd seriously consider it.

Edit: Given that I get to work before 7, and live close to work, my combined daily commute is no more than 30 minutes. 50+ hour weeks would be hell if I had to commute 45 minutes each way.

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pisces213 (Mar 5, 2018 - 1:56 pm)

I think when you are under 30, you can definitely afford to work 50-60 hours a week, excluding commute, lunch, etc. You are likely still in decent shape, don't have to watch your diet as much, and your peers will often party later into the night so you can still have a social life as long as you can handle 5-6 hour sleep days.

Once you hit mid 30s though, anything above 50 is going to eat away your life, even if you don't have or intend to have kids. You also have to spend a little more time maintaining fitness, be it merely slowed down metabolism, or controlling the damage you did during your 20s. GERD is common, and there'll be other aches and illnesses you'll become aware of that require you to put the work hours on your body not in your office.

Also, you need to take care of yourself and the family for the occasional 60 hour week that will happen.

So yeah, if you're 30+ years old, anything more than 50 is probably detrimental long term.

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cantimaginenocountry (Mar 5, 2018 - 5:34 pm)

Well it depends on how you count:

Way1: you count every moment on the clock at work as a billable hour. Step out for lunch, step out for happy hour, step out for dinner, step out to bank, step out to dry cleaner etc etc. Pay your bills and on and on.It is easy to do 70 hr weeks like this especially when you are single. I have seen associates clock in on Saturday mornings, send out a few emails or submit some work to WP, then go golf for 6 hrs, then come to the office to proof WP work, send out a few more emails and go out on a Saturday night all the while billing a 10hr day that day.

Way2: you only count hours actually worked for a client. It is difficult to do even 50 hr weeks like this.

Alot of what people mean when they say 70-80 hr weeks is way 1.

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uknownvalue (Mar 5, 2018 - 6:48 pm)

I can honestly say that I have worked a solid 70 hours per week these last 3 weeks - actual time in my office is around 75 - 76. I get very short on patience and my life is generally miserable. Once my damn student loans are paid off I am quitting and never looking back. Most of the time I work around 50 hours a week (but I have a 5 minute commute) and it still sucks.

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dakotalaw (Mar 6, 2018 - 1:59 pm)

I probably average 30. Maybe a few less. Solo. But I only make about 50k.

If you factor in networking, reading legal articles in the evening, etc., then I’m at 40.

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sillydood (Mar 6, 2018 - 2:22 pm)

35-40. 45 should be a rare bad week.

Every hour you work over 40 is worse than the hour before, and your quality of life goes down exponentially. If you’re working 45-50 hours per week, you don’t have meaningful time for family/friends/hobbies and your life generally sucks. Biglaw/finance zombies who work 60-70 hour weeks regularly are shells of human beings and not living a good life. The rare people who thrive in that sort of environment have antisocial/sociopathic personalities.

I’ll take $70k for a 35 hour week over $180k for a 60-70 hour week.

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triplesix (Mar 6, 2018 - 2:28 pm)

I’ll take $70k for a 35 hour week over $180k for a 60-70 hour week.

---

Credited but can't have any loans.

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mtbislife (Mar 6, 2018 - 7:02 pm)

You mean eating at Zagat rated restaurants and taking the annual Vegas trip dont count as hobbies?

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dakotalaw (Mar 6, 2018 - 4:09 pm)

I have no loans.

If I had better business sense and a stable underling, I could probably make 100k on 25 hours a week.

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khazaddum (Mar 6, 2018 - 5:34 pm)

The problem is that you must stay involved in a rural setting. The underling gets to know clientd and the court, creating a much more serious opportunity to open shop across the street and put you under (unless there are no other lawyers in town to handle the other side of a divorce).

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dakotalaw (Mar 6, 2018 - 6:13 pm)

Yeah. The underling would eventually leave. Good for him or her.

But I’d try to pick a book worm with no people skills. All research, simple appearances, pleadings, discovery, appeals, etc.

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