In the past, the question, “What are the hours for an associate in a Top 10 Law firm?” has plagued prospective newcomers. The answer has always been elusive. While it may seem difficult to gauge, the NALP Bulletin looks at the change in requirements at individual offices and firms. This year, more than half of firms report 2,000-hour minimums, up from 9% in 2004. The distribution of associate work hours has also shifted to the right. While only 10% of offices reported minimums of that amount, the number has increased at the top-tier firms.
The average salary for an associate at a top-ten law firm is $180,000. Salaries are commensurate with experience. Starting salary is $180,000, and associates receive increases after the first year. WTO associates enjoy fully paid new-parent leave. The firm’s Denver office is always accepting applications from current judicial clerks and outstanding lateral trial attorneys. However, these jobs have more demanding work and may be demanding.
While most lawyers work at least 40 hours a week, Big Law attorneys can expect to work as much as 80 hours a week. In addition to long work hours, many lawyers report working outside regular business hours, and 39% say this has a negative impact on their personal life. However, the hours of lawyers vary greatly by practice area, geographic location, and firm size. In any case, the average associate in a top 10 law firm will work for more than 40 hours per week.