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Billable Hours

Number of Associate Hours Worked Increases at Largest Firms (NALP Bulletin, February 2012) — The most recent information available suggests that, while hours worked and billed started to bounce back somewhat in 2010 after two years of decline, the recovery has been the greatest at the largest firms of 701+ lawyers. The picture at smaller firms is more mixed.

Number of Associate Hours Worked Declines (NALP Bulletin, February 2011) — The most recent information available makes it evident that both the average number of hours worked and the average number of billable hours worked per year has declined since 2007, likely due to the slowdown in the legal economy starting in 2008. In 2009, the average total number of hours worked stood at 2,032, compared with 2,066 in 2007; the respective figures for billable hours were 2,032 and 2,066.

A Look at Associate Hours and at Law Firm Pro Bono Programs (NALP Bulletin, April 2010) — While billable hour expectations have inched up over the years, analyses based on NALP's 2009-2010 Directory of Legal Employers show that a requirement of 2,000 billable hours per year is still not typical, and although it is not possible to track changes at individual firms and offices, a requirement of 2,000 hours has become only slightly more common on an aggregate basis.

How Much Do Associates Work? Most Firms Do Not Require 2,000 Billable Hours (NALP Bulletin, April 2009) — Analyses show that a requirement of 2,000 billable hours per year is not typical.

How Much Do Associate Work? Not All Law Firms Require 2,000 Billable Hours (NALP Bulletin, April 2008) — Analyses show that a requirement of 2,000 billable hours per year is not typical, and although it is not possible to track changes at individual firms and offices, a requirement of 2,000 hours has become only slightly more common on an aggregate basis, accounting for 12% of reported minimums, up from 9% for 2004. But overall, the distribution has moved to the right. For example, 10 years ago the most commonly reported figure was 1,800 hours, reported by about 30% of offices. Today, 17% of offices report an 1,800 hour minimum.

How Much Do Associates Have to Work? (NALP Bulletin, April 2007) — Analyses of total and billable hours worked, billable hours requirements, and pro bono hours.

Billable Hour Requirements at Law Firms (NALP Bulletin, May 2006) — One of the most sought after law firm measures, after salaries, is the billable hours requirement. For a law firm, the requirement says a great deal not only about standards but also about law firm culture.



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