US -v- city law firms- any real difference in working hours

an acquaintance is thinking about moving to a US firm, but wonders if he will get beasted more than he does currently at a MC type firm.

i said you can only be beasted so much and if you are doing 9-12 minimum, most days then surely US firms can’t graft you anymore than that .

and there is the near 50% increase in base pay . Anyone got any experience of working in US firms 

No difference probably, might even be better hours - a survey in The Lawyer about 5 years ago now showed that people at MC actually worked more than at US.

I saw that . The only thing the MC firms can try to do to reduce their associates likelihood to moving to US firms for 50% more cash is to  talk about better support, better work, better hours , better partnership prospects , all of which is nonsense, apart from the support bit.

former flat mate was a litigator at Debevoise he loved it .

that said can’t get my head round the crazy NQ cash being paid at US firms , which is more than salaried partners at firms like DWF. If I were a client I would be fuming 

Yes - the only thing US came out worse in than MC in that survey was that at MC the associates felt that the partners had more of their interests at heart when it came to wanting people to have a W/L balance - but the reality was that whether they actually did have it in mind, in the end they ended up working far more hours...


Well Tom it was Slaughter and May, where many including them don’t view themselves as a MC firm , hence my saying MC type firm .

Why would a Debevoise litigator need a flatmate?

I think The Lawyer survey is probably right and you don't work harder at a US firm than an MC one, but I do think the progression prospects are better outside US firms.  Many of them hire laterals rather than promoting from within in London.

Exception probably being Kirkland where almost everyone gets to be a partner

What Nex said - only 24 in a day...

Would suggest that (bar a few) work is likely to be more lumpy - feast or famine.  when it's feast, you aint attending that bah mitzvah.

Why would a Debevoise litigator need a flatmate?

To look after the normally vacant premises like one of those property guardians

Why would a Debevoise litigator need a flatmate?

I had a flatmate for many years.  Nice girl, old friend, doing a degree then job in arts admin. so not long hours.  

I charged her far less than the going rate.  I was practically never there.  She organised everything, included me when she cooked occasionally, introduced me to her friends if they came round, was in for deliveries and parcels and generally made it possible for me to live without really having to do anything more than she would have done anyway.  

And it was lovely to come home occasionally to a friendly face who knew my Mum.  

She moved out to marry someone in comfortable circs but idiotic, who left her on her own with three small children about eight years later.  Sad.  



I would say the only difference is that there is less know how infrastructure, but that can be overcome by ensuring you leave with a thumb drive full of know-how and hope that all the partners have done the same. Also if you are shit you will get found out quickly and binned faster than a UK firm would do as there are few other associates to carry you. 

My former US firm had a period of 6 years in which not a single person who wasnt a lateral hire became a partner in the London office.