Originally Posted by Piobaire
Hmm, I think 3k hours per year is nothing to bitch about. An FTE (full time equivalent) is 2080 hours. So basically, this lawyer making big cash is working less than 1.5 x usual hourly employee's time. Given the average rate of pay for hourly employees vs. that of Big Law types, seems a reasonable trade off. Truly, 60 hour weeks are nothing to overly complain about, given the probably compensation and career path. Now, 80 is worth bitching about. IMO, the energy drain at anything over about 60 hours increases at a log rate.
I don't think it's that simple. The usual hourly employee is not actually spending 40 hours per week working, because they're also checking e-mails, chatting with colleagues, checking espn.com, posting on styleforum, etc. throughout the day. The usual biglaw lawyer has to do all of this in addition to actually working for 8 hours of the day. On top of that, other issues come up: you have to make up for any missed time (e.g., time missed for sickness, personal reasons, etc.), yeah you get your 3 or 4 weeks vacation, but there are no "sick days" no "personal days," etc. Also, it happens from time to time that you don't have any work or you are waiting for work, but you still have to be in the office (and still have to look like you are doing something), and you have to make up for that non-billable time too. There is also the issue of "face time," you have to be seen at the office by partners and senior associates. You are not going home until the senior associate and partner in your group have already gone home no matter how much work you've done that day. I billed 2000+ hours in all of my years in "biglaw," and it sucked a whole lot of ass. There is pretty much no time in your life to do anything other than work. There is no chance to even see the light of day.