Biglaw, Billable Hours, Reader Polls

The Hours Open Thread: How Much Did You Bill In 2012?

The year 2012 draws to a close under decidedly moribund circumstances. It’s hard to feel a lot of holiday cheer when kids are shot to death at school and the response from nearly half the country is “I better buy some more guns.”

Still, time waits for no one, and as we approach the end of the year, “time” is always on the minds of Biglaw lawyers. How much time did you bill, and how much of that billed time can you collect? The billable hour retains its potency because it is an objective, even if imperfect, measure of a lawyer’s yearly productivity. And the annual reckoning is at hand.

So how did you do?

We ask this question twice a year. In June, we found that people were on track for a fairly normal year: a quarter of associates were billing a lot, a quarter were billing very little, and half of them were right in the middle of 1800 – 2200 hours.

The presidential campaign sucked a lot of oxygen in the fall, and Barack Obama’s comfortable reelection suggests that the status quo will be maintained for at least a little while. Some transactional attorneys complained of slowness earlier in the year, but the prospect of falling off the fiscal cliff appears to be triggering some last-minute deal work (and encouraging firms to shift potential tax burdens to their associates).

Luckily, we don’t have to speculate about what might have happened; the objectivity of the billable hour is its strength. We don’t know how many of these hours will get written off when it comes time to bill the client, but take our poll and give us a sense of how many hours you worked this year.

(And law students, just click on the results button instead of voting — your time to be ground under the yoke of billables will come soon enough.)

Click through to take the poll….

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