{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "What the most outrageous billable hours you can confirm at your firm? Just learned from a partner that the highest billers at my firm came in at 3600, 3500 and 3200. Seems fishy to me.", "post_id": "601dfb4885d6d0002194647f", "reply_count": 32, "vote_count": 6, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law" }

What the most outrageous billable hours you can confirm at your firm? Just learned from a partner that the highest billers at my firm came in at 3600, 3500 and 3200. Seems fishy to me.

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I know a partner and a counsel who each billed 3300+ during the first year of a major investigation and 6000+ over the first two years. It’s miserable, but entirely possible.

I mean, I’m not them and I have no way of confirming it, but I do know they were working far more than I did (2400+ myself) and they aged like old crones over those couple of years.

Heard rumors of the Kirkland 3000+. Talked with an ex partner who said the person who billed it stood by the hours, but the partner didn't believe it. There was a story a while back about some partner I think in Michigan in some niche IP practice who billed 3000+. Yeah...a partner.

The Kirkland bankruptcy associate I know who billed over 3000 in 2020 told me he was only able to do it due to WFH. He said he’d just roll out of bed, go to his desk, sit there all day, and then shower and go back to bed some time around 1 am. He did this basically every day from April until December.

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Hot take: anyone over 2600 is running their timers through lunch and bathroom breaks.

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Serious question. What is the policy for billing timing for instances like going to the bathroom, grabbing coffee, etc.?

I’m smelling salmon.

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Totally do-able, but painful hours. Just wake up at 6 am, work till 2 am, 7 days a week for the entire year.

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I mean, there’s more than 8,500 hours in a year. All time that can be spent billing!

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I never understood how or why people did this. There are actually better ways to advance your career than killing yourself like that.

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I know someone at Kirkland who billed 3000+ doing bankruptcy in 2020. Other than that, I’ve never heard of anyone billing more than 2600-2700.

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I also worked in billing before law school and there was a bankruptcy partner who was well on his way to 3600, though I don’t know if he actually kept up 300-hour months through the whole year.

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I looked it up after I made that comment (bankruptcy fee applications are public), and he “only” wound up with about 2800 hours on the year.

Sorry, I wanted to get something straight. What is “average” billable hours. These numbers seem outrageous, but I could see someone reasonably billing 24–2700 if they’ve got a super busy year. Is 2400 average? Is 2100 average?

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I’d guess somewhere between 1900 and 2100 depending on the shop you’re in. My highest year was just under 2450 billables, and that was fucking miserable but I was the lazy one in the group. Staffed overseas, corporate apartments right next to the office, endless supplies of “emergency” work and pressure from all sides to bill. You’d be surprised what you can get used to.

multiple attorneys including partners and counsel billed 3000+ in 2020

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What firm?

I have been averaging a little over 2300. I think consistently averaging around 2400 is doable, but not fun. I would get suspicious of anyone averaging much higher than that. But, if the client pays, does it really matter?

"value billing"

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Average at my shop varies yearly and by group. Our corporate group averages just under 2k/year.

What’s normal for a V10 corporate group?

2k is the bonus threshold and is really the minimum. If you don't hit that consistently you're on the way out

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