Law Firm News Stories

Exclusive: Lawyers at Baker & McKenzie to work an extra 100 hours a year
18 January 2013
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Baker & McKenzie's associates will be expected to work even harder this year, after the firm increased its target hours for 2013 from 1,600 to 1,700 for 2013.

RollOnFriday mathematicians have bashed their calculators to try and put that into perspective:
  • Taking away weekends, 25 days' holiday and eight bank holidays: associates will be working roughly 227 days.
  • With 1,600 hour targets this works out at 7 billable hours per day, and with 1,700 that's 7.48 billable hours per day.
  • So that means associates will need to spend an extra of 29 minutes per day fee earning.
So half an hour's extra billing a day. And how much extra pay for that? Errr, nothing obviously.

    Some cost / benefit analysis yesterday

1700 is a fairly hefty target. Berwin Leighton Paisner asks its associates to bill 1500, Ashurst 1600. Hogan Lovells has a target of 1700 and Magic Circle power house Allen & Overy expects its lawyers to bill 1750, so Bakers is edging towards platinum City hours.

But it's not just an issue for B&M, as major law firms are generally increasing their billable hour targets. As clients focus on getting more value from their lawyers and put more pressure on fees, so law firms have to respond. This means both cutting costs (hence the recent slew of redundancies) and demanding more from the lawyers that remain (another example being Scots firm Maclay Murray & Spens).

A spokesman for Bakers said "we aim to have a world class, high performing culture at every level of our business and this move is consistent with that".

But what about that lack of a pay rise? The firm said "we will review salary bands in July and will work hard to ensure that our salaries are competitive and that our trainees and associates are well-rewarded for the work they do". So definitely nothing then.



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