I practise securities law and am a partner at a downtown Toronto firm. My typical weekday is:
a) wake up at 7/7:30, answer urgent emails for half an hour and then shower
b) get to the office by 8:30/9, answer urgent emails and delegate tasks to associates and clerks to get them moving on minor items that have arisen and need to be handled that day. This usually takes me to about 10/10:30.
c) between 10 and 6PM, I will do a mix of responding to emails, calls with clients and other lawyers, drafting or reviewing documents that don’t require significant levels of concentration (eg subscription agreements, press releases, information circulars, closing documents, etc...)
d) between 6 and 10-12 (usually I will start my week with longer days and then gradually fewer as I lose stamina), handle a variety of more complex matters (eg drafting definitive agreements for a variety of M&A transactions, complex information circulars, prospectuses, correspondence with securities commissions and stock exchanges, etc..)
I also work about 2 hours Saturday and that is generally exclusively dedicated to responding to emails. I work between 5-12 hours every Sunday (I have maybe taken 10 off in the past 4 years), and those hours are a mix of the stuff in (d) above, “client development” items (I will think of how I can add value to various files and/or brainstorm ideas to generate additional clients), plan my and my associates and clerks’ schedules for the week, and will also try to squeeze in some reading about recent developments in securities law or articles and other materials on a topic that came up in my recent work.
I bill between 200-250 hours per month and there is likely about another 50 non-billables as well. I also rarely have months that are less than about 180 hours, and have nowhere near the type of variation in hours that @theycancallyouhoju is describing (which sounds nice, as working the odd 10 hour week, even in a sea of 70+ hour weeks, seems more appealing than my schedule).
I also genuinely love my job. I enjoy the work, genuinely don’t mind the hours 90% of the time, and the money is very good. I don’t have kids though and part of the reason I’m working so much now is to hopefully build a foundation that will be somewhat self sustaining so I can work a bit less in the future.