Naive question: How many yearly billable hours are reasonable for a good balance of work and home. I have a young child and don't want to miss out on important moments. I had one firm state that their yearly quota is 1900 hours and I don't have a frame of reference as to whether this is reasonable or if it means 12 hour days. I am coming from public service so billables are 100% new to me. Any insight is appreciated.

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1900 was my requirements at Nelson Mullins. It was actually the equivalent of 1900 of collected hours, not billable hours. Way different. It was a tough lifestyle.

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Yikes yea, that tough.

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Though I have no kids….My billable hour requirement is 1800 and if I’m focused I can hit with my weekends free, we are strictly in-office. At my precious firm our requirement was 2000 but we could work remote, I found with that flexibility I had more WLB.

Do your best to get a real idea of any prospective employer’s actual expectations (which may differ from the hour requirement). Ask to speak with associates and reach out to your own contacts informally. You can also just ask around town (but beware the game of telephone that leads to broad misconceptions about firms based on a single associate’s one brutal month in the past 2 years). I think 2000 is comfortable enough and 1800 is chill if you have the right type of work. For example, I’ve had 200 hour months where I had plenty of fun, worked very little over the weekend, and took trips. But I’ve had 170 hour months that were a slog. Not all billable hours are created equal though. And obviously the lower the number the better.

I think 1750 would be ideal but 1800 is good if you focus each day you can do it without nights/weekends. The problem with young kids is they get sick all the time lol and cause you to miss time you wouldn’t otherwise. That being said, I’ve never hit my hours goals at various firms ranging from 1800-2000… no one ever cared. It really depends o the firm. My previous firm had a 1850 requirement (amlaw 100) and only 40% of associates hit that

I don’t have kids and can’t speak to that, but I did recently go into billable work after years of government work. That in itself is a huge transition with a steep learning curve—it took me a few months to get to where I needed to be, and even still have issues capturing my time.

Also confirm whether it’s a hard requirement or not. When I interviewed at my firm I was told you set your own “goal” and it’s typically around 1900. When it was time to set my 2022 goal (after only being there for six months) I was told 1900-1950 was too low and it needed to be at least 2000. They have forced my friend who has been there since graduating to increase her “goal” by 50-100 every year (she’s currently at 2150) and it’s just not sustainable.

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