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maybemaybe

What is a typical day in your life like?

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9 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

I think you’re doing the right thing by asking people from different practices to weigh in. I really can’t tell you with any certainty what the hours are like for people other than those in practices like mine or a few friends in other areas, and with them I have no reliable way to gauge how normal their hours are for their area. I have a good friend in crim defense in Toronto and he seems to work a lot, though I don’t think his worst case scenarios approach mine. But I’d be a totally unreliable source for figuring out how much an estates lawyer in Toronto works, for example.

I’d be surprised if many biglaw lawyers in Toronto work less than an average 55-60 hours a week in effect, with some weeks closer to 35 and some closer to 70. As you're piecing that together, remember that hours billed is not the same as hours worked. So I might bill 2200+ hours one year but my actual hours attending to my career are going to be a material chunk higher than that. Same goes for a bay lawyer billing 1900+ or whatever. The gap between Toronto and NY from what I can see is material, but not so material that it means your life is of a different sort.

Ive also definitely had weeks where I bill 10 hours, yet the annual average still ends up about the same each year. So there’s a ton of variation throughout for me. That’s not true in every type of practice even within a big firm. 

The pay gap is certainly material but everything else seems pretty similar lately. You get a certain joie de vivre when working with NY counsel, putting in the same hours, timelines and deliverables but knowing they make close to double the salary.

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2 hours ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

One thing some people don't understand is that avoiding having to think really hard is like, 80% of the job.

There's something wrong with our culture. It's almost like the term "easy money" is slipping out of the vernacular.

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18 hours ago, Viszlaw said:

No one is accounting for the time you spend drafting snarky e-mails to other counsel and/or clients and then the time it takes to re-write them with more composed language.

Or time spent on emails in general, whether the time spent was constructive or not.

One of my bosses can sneak in all sorts of clever puns into his emails with no effort. He knocks them out of the park just like that. Last time I tried, it took me 5 hours and I ended up borrowing a "precedent" from Google.

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15 minutes ago, Tamago said:

Or time spent on emails in general, whether the time spent was constructive or not.

One of my bosses can sneak in all sorts of clever puns into his emails with no effort. He knocks them out of the park just like that. Last time I tried, it took me 5 hours and I ended up borrowing a "precedent" from Google.

My old boss was well known for his ability to sneak movie quotes into his cross-examinations.

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8 hours ago, bernard said:

The pay gap is certainly material but everything else seems pretty similar lately. You get a certain joie de vivre when working with NY counsel, putting in the same hours, timelines and deliverables but knowing they make close to double the salary.

Agreed. It’s great.

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On 3/4/2021 at 9:54 AM, maybemaybe said:

What area do you practice in? This seems like a nice schedule

I practice administrative/regulatory law in an in-house capacity. My schedule is definitely more relaxed compared to those who are in private practice since I don’t have billable hours. 

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2 hours ago, Yuna said:

I practice administrative/regulatory law in an in-house capacity. My schedule is definitely more relaxed compared to those who are in private practice since I don’t have billable hours. 

Not in house but same areas of law! Maybe we'll cross paths one day. Or worse yet, maybe we have already!!!!!

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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.

 

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I can’t imagine looking at work emails before even showering, let alone having coffee...

I wake up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:15 depending on what the little one decides on that day. Shower, play with them, have breakfast and get them to child care at 8:30.

Start work just after 8:30 (child care is super close to home luckily).

Work is a mix of emails, scheduled and unscheduled calls, and dealing with whatever fire is burning hottest at the moment. I rarely get a chance to do much drafting during the week because of all the other stuff that comes up and gets in the way.

Finish work at 5:30, pick up the little one, play with them, give them dinner and get them to bed by 6:30. 

Open up the laptop again and do some drafting until 7:30 or 8, then TV until bed.

I work at a large downtown firm.

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@WannaBeLaw99 For my own curiosity, a few questions. When you say you handle drafting, as a partner, are you still taking the first stab at any document? For the more complex documents, how much variation do you have in the quality level of what’s handed to you for review - are you reviewing things drafted by juniors very often, or is there always a senior associate polishing things before they get to your desk?

And what do you think is the likely difference between our practices that makes your weekends more predictable? I primarily do private transactions, almost exclusively PE, and while there are some weekends I’m working on something I just couldn’t get to over the week with no tight deadline, any weekend day with 10+ hours of work is usually a matter of receiving drafts in on Friday night/weekend or having a client send an email that causes everything to jumpstart asap. I don’t think the partners I work for have weekends that are significantly more predictable than mine. Though they can obviously get away with saying they’ll do something tomorrow a little easier than I can.

The variation is nice in the sense that a month where I bill 150 means more time with my wife. But the flip side of that coin is that I more often have to cancel plans or suddenly and unexpectedly tell my wife I won’t be around for a chunk of time. I don’t know which is better in the long run, but I know that when I was a junior, the hardest part of the hours wasn’t the hours - it was the sense of being unable to control my own life. 

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On 3/6/2021 at 11:14 AM, Viszlaw said:

Not in house but same areas of law! Maybe we'll cross paths one day. Or worse yet, maybe we have already!!!!!

I think there’s a good chance we have already met or will meet at some point! How do you do, “stranger”? 😄

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I am pretty sure I have met about four forum members without either of us realizing it. Some of us have pieced it together well afterwards.  

One of my best memories related to this forum was when a good chunk of the mod team (as of something like 2012) met up for dinner and drinks. And then Diplock and I hung out for the first time ever. That was a great weekend. 
 

/sidebar on why I keep coming back!

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A friend pieced together who I was based on some of my posts. Similarly, there's a few members who I'm pretty sure I've crossed paths with at various points.

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I'm probably piecable together based on what I post here, but I post on the assumption that everyone knows who I am. I've met a handful of fellow posters. The best moment was when I met up with Omph and Mal for beer one evening and discovered that I already know Omph in real life and they had been at my place for New Years within the last few years. And that was before they started law school!

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On 3/6/2021 at 9:20 AM, Yuna said:

I practice administrative/regulatory law in an in-house capacity. My schedule is definitely more relaxed compared to those who are in private practice since I don’t have billable hours. 

How did you get here? I've looked at your post history and it seems like you're a really recent call, 2019? As an in-house lawyer, what opportunities are there for you to progress? Also I was wondering, even though your schedule is more relaxed, how stressful do you find your work?

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On 3/6/2021 at 5:22 PM, wakawaka said:

I can’t imagine looking at work emails before even showering, let alone having coffee...

I wake up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:15 depending on what the little one decides on that day. Shower, play with them, have breakfast and get them to child care at 8:30.

Start work just after 8:30 (child care is super close to home luckily).

Work is a mix of emails, scheduled and unscheduled calls, and dealing with whatever fire is burning hottest at the moment. I rarely get a chance to do much drafting during the week because of all the other stuff that comes up and gets in the way.

Finish work at 5:30, pick up the little one, play with them, give them dinner and get them to bed by 6:30. 

Open up the laptop again and do some drafting until 7:30 or 8, then TV until bed.

I work at a large downtown firm.

How far into your career are you? This seems like a nice schedule but I'm sure it can vary a lot. And I'm also surprised that this is your schedule at a large downtown firm!

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On 3/6/2021 at 7:22 PM, wakawaka said:

I can’t imagine looking at work emails before even showering, let alone having coffee...

I wake up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:15 depending on what the little one decides on that day. Shower, play with them, have breakfast and get them to child care at 8:30.

Start work just after 8:30 (child care is super close to home luckily).

Work is a mix of emails, scheduled and unscheduled calls, and dealing with whatever fire is burning hottest at the moment. I rarely get a chance to do much drafting during the week because of all the other stuff that comes up and gets in the way.

Finish work at 5:30, pick up the little one, play with them, give them dinner and get them to bed by 6:30. 

Open up the laptop again and do some drafting until 7:30 or 8, then TV until bed.

I work at a large downtown firm.

This is very close to my life. Solo solicitor, smaller town. 

6:00 (6:30 if I'm lucky) - up with the child

8:30 - get to office after dropping off child at care

Work - Sometimes I have 8+ scheduled client appointments and that's basically all I do, with some quicker stuff like returning calls, file steering, writing profanity laden emails, sprinkled in the gaps. On less busy days I may have only 2 or 3 appointments and I have blocks of time to do drafting, turn my mind to more complicated and not time-sensitive files, deal with office management stuff, etc. When we are consistently busy I need to block off chunks of time to do the chunky stuff or else it won't get done. Most weeks I block off three hours one morning to not fall behind on specific types of files that I kind of need to put headphones in and just hammer out. I don't like bringing work home. 

5:15 - leave office (most days I don't take a lunch break)

5:30 - 7:15 - dinner, bath, kid to bed

I only log in remotely in the evenings to do some work on rare occasions. I really try to avoid taking work home. Same thing with weekend work - sometimes it is necessary but I try to avoid. 

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1 hour ago, maybemaybe said:

How far into your career are you? This seems like a nice schedule but I'm sure it can vary a lot. And I'm also surprised that this is your schedule at a large downtown firm!

I am a 5-8 year call. I work in a niche practice area that gives a bit more balance.

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I’m in house at the senior level. Typical day:

7:15 - wake up, feed baby, hang out with my kids; get up and ready, get one kid ready. Spouse does the other kid. 
8:00- take kids to daycare

8:15-9:00 - breakfast, start work 

9-5/5:30 - work is a mix of meetings, calls with colleagues, external counsel and drafting documents, reviewing documents, answering emails. 
5-5:30 - daycare pickup run

6-8 - mad rush of dinner, bedtime routine 

8 - 12 relaxing with spouse 

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17 hours ago, wakawaka said:

I am a 5-8 year call. I work in a niche practice area that gives a bit more balance.

May I ask which practice area?

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