Most law firms bill for the time attorneys spend on a case. It’s been that way for decades. And despite criticism that this fee structure is one that encourages lawyers to be inefficient, the billable hour is still a staple of the legal business. Moreover, minimum yearly billable-hour requirements are a standard performance metric at most law practices, which means long days for lawyers. We asked local law firms how many billable hours their lawyers are required to log each year; responses averaged about 1,800 hours. Yale Law School estimates that a lawyer who takes three weeks of vacation time and no sick or personal days per year would need to work at least 10 hours per day, five days a week, in order to hit about 1,760 billable hours a year.


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