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Typical Big Law Work Hours (Vancouver)

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Hi, I am just wondering what the typical expected hours for either a summer student or junior associate are in Vancouver --  especially large national firms. Having a finance background where I worked in both BC and QC/ON, I definitely noticed a cultural difference such that BC'ers wouldn't place so much value in 'burning the candle on both ends' unless it was necessary. Ie. if you have you stuff together you no one begrudges you for taking off at 5, in fact it shows that you have a handle on your work. This was not the case east of Hope -- you really needed to be demonstrating that extra mile. 

Essentially I am asking two question: one is factual (what hours) and one is cultural. 

 

What are your thoughts/experiences? How much after-work night skiing can I expect to get in? :D

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I'm a junior associate at a large national firm in downtown Vancouver. I'd say typical hours for people in my group of 10-15 transactional solicitors are 9/9:15 am to 6/6:30 pm, with occasional longer hours when deals are closing and occasional shorter hours when you're ahead of target. My group is pretty good at letting people come and go as they please, work from home, and taking vacation whenever possible (as long as you're getting your work done). FWIW I've taken about 30 business days off this year for vacations and conferences.

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I think it really depends on your firm for summer student hours. Some friends worked roughly 9 to 5 at firms who want summer students to have a chill summer since you’ll have long hours for the rest of your life.

 

For firms that want to treat you like articling students, it was more like 8am to 8pm on average. They went into the office several times on the weekend throughout the summer and had a few nights where they were working until 1am or so. 

 

Of my friends who were in the second situation, they were at boutiques or large firms who didn’t have enough articling students and they were warned ahead of time what the summer would be like. 

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I'm an articling student at a large national firm in Vancouver. On a typical day I come in around 8:45, get to work at 9:00 and usually take off around 6:00 or 6:30. At least one day a week I'll be staying later than that or bringing my laptop home with me and putting in another hour or two at home. I've had to work a few weekends, but for the most part my colleagues are very good at not jamming me with things to do on Friday evening. 

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20 hours ago, Starling said:

For firms that want to treat you like articling students, it was more like 8am to 8pm on average. They went into the office several times on the weekend throughout the summer and had a few nights where they were working until 1am or so. 

Of my friends who were in the second situation, they were at boutiques or large firms who didn’t have enough articling students and they were warned ahead of time what the summer would be like. 

Does anything change once you graduate to being an associate in these firms, i.e. do the hours stay 8am-8pm, does it get better, or worse? 

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On 11/10/2019 at 4:09 AM, levin said:

Does anything change once you graduate to being an associate in these firms, i.e. do the hours stay 8am-8pm, does it get better, or worse? 

Seems to really depend on the practice areas! In general, a lot of the securities or M & A lawyers seem to do 8am to 6pm-ish. Unless they have a deal closing, then they work more. Corporate or commercial litigators seem to vary between 70 hours a week (or more) when they’re in a complicated trial or 30-40 when a trial has just ended. But most them seem to take a healthy amount of vacation. 

Everyone else seems to average like 50 hours a week, but it depends on the practice area. 

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