Surveys

We received over 1,300 responses to this week’s Career Center survey on whether you made MLK Day “A Day On, Not A Day Off” — for your employer. The majority of respondents, 66 percent, reported working on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Not surprisingly, the top reason for putting in extra billable hours was that people just had work that needed to get done, even though no one specifically asked them to work.  But it likely also had something to do with the fact that 32% of respondents who worked said their firm does not recognize MLK Day as an official firm holiday.  Instead, some of these firms consider it a “floating holiday,” meaning that attorneys can either choose to take a day off on MLK Day or on another floating holiday.

What were some other reasons given for working on MLK Day?

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When it comes to working on holidays, we all know that Biglaw attorneys are some of the worst offenders. In today’s Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, tell us if you were off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if it was just business as usual. Then check back later this week for the survey results.

In a previous post, we revealed that 73% of respondents to our survey met their minimum billable requirements last year.  Today, we find out whether associates were satisfied with receiving 2009-level bonuses for a busier 2010.

Let’s see what the survey says….

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After a year like 2009 (aka the worst year ever for Biglaw), 2010 was bound to be better.  According to the nearly 1,000 survey responses we received, 2010 did in fact turn out to be a busier year for most associates.  An impressive 73% of respondents hit their firm’s minimum billable hours requirements or unofficial billable hours expectations, which ranged from 1,600 to 2,200 billable hours.  You can find a breakdown of the results by minimum billable hours required or expected, as well as by practice area, after the jump. 

Stay tuned for our next post, addressing associate satisfaction with 2010 bonus payments.  In the meantime, you can learn more about billable hours and bonuses at the nation’s top law firms on the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link

Now, on to the survey results….

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Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s short survey — just two to four questions, depending on your responses — focuses on what you do and where you do it.

The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, both business and editorial (e.g., figuring out which stories to cover).

One short explanatory note. For the question about where you’re based geographically, the four domestic regions — Northeast, Midwest, South, and West — are based on the U.S. Census Bureau designations (which you can review here).

Please take the survey by clicking here. Thanks!

Above the Law 2011 Reader Survey [Survey Monkey]

By most accounts, law firms had a stronger year in 2010 than in 2009 (although you wouldn’t know it from the disappointing bonuses that many of them paid out). Did a busier year translate into plenty of billables for all associates? In this week’s survey, we want to know whether you met your firm’s minimum billable hours requirement (or unofficial billable hours expectation), and how happy you are with your bonus for the amount of hours you billed.

Please take our short survey below (we keep responses completely confidential), and we’ll bring you the results next week. In the meantime, you can compare billable hours requirements between the leading law firms at the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link.

Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s survey, aimed at practicing lawyers, seeks information about your practice area.

The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, some of them business-related and some of them editorially oriented (e.g., figuring out which practice areas we should cover more).

Please take the survey by clicking here. Thanks!

ATL Practice Area Survey [Survey Monkey]

A small law-firm bonus, or a small-law-firm bonus?

It was almost two weeks ago that I, still fat from Thanksgiving turkey, wondered publicly about the status of bonuses at small law firms. Well, it’s time to get the results of that status check.

I recall Elie using the term “anemic” to describe Cravath’s bonus numbers (which were looking like the standard for Biglaw bonuses this year — at least until Cahill came along). Given that, I can only think the term “uber-anemic” is in order here.

Results and charts, after the break.

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With just about six weeks to go in 2010, it’s time to check in on how people are doing with their billable hours.

At the start of the recession, hitting your hours could mean the difference between having a job and emailing Above the Law about stealth layoffs at your firm. This year, there hopefully isn’t that kind of pressure (at least not to the same degree). This year, hitting hours targets should be all about your bonus.

Of course, the difference in total compensation between a fourth-year associate who bills 1920 hours and a fourth-year who hits 2050 could be significant. The early buzz is that bonuses will be substantially bigger this year than last year, but the drop-off from one hours level to the next could be significant. Some firms might make bank-busting payments that will generate sweet headlines, but not all associates will hit the hours mark necessary for the top payment.

Still, with a month and a half to go, there’s time to “juke your stats,” as they say on The Wire. If finding an extra 80 billables between Thanksgiving and Christmas makes a huge difference, clients should be prepared for their attorneys to drag out any assignments they get. Sorry clients, associates gotta eat too.

So how are people doing? Take our poll, and get a sense of how many hours your peers are on pace for….

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If you’re in Biglaw, chances are that not all of the first-year associates currently working at your firm are of the fresh-out-of-law-school-and-still-tan-from-post-bar-trip variety. With many firms just now welcoming back some Class of 2009 associates after a yearlong deferral, Class of 2010 associates have to wait their turn to start work in 2011 or 2012. But now that the great recession is over, surely business has picked up enough so that there is plenty of doc review and due diligence to go around for first-year associates, right? Or is work still so slow that the more senior associates have to hoard all the grunt work?

In this week’s survey, we want to know whether the first-year associates at your firm are being welcomed with open arms, or viewed as the competition…

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