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Hours

6.4 / 10

(based on 22 ratings in 2017)

2017

"The hours can be gruelling, though this varies wildly from seat to seat and time to time. A transactional seat's hours will range from the unsustainable and unhealthy to the laughably quiet in the space of a couple of weeks."
Second year trainee, London
"9.30 am until 8.30 pm is normal, but hours can get very long. 65+ billable hours a week is not unusual."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours can vary. You might work three months of post-midnight finishes in one department followed by several weeks of 7.00 pm finishes in another. My current department is not very flexible with hours. If they want you to work, you are expected to work."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours depend on who you're working for and what on. There's no face-time but, as a trainee, you are usually expected to be seen to some degree."
First year trainee, London
"People usually trust that you know how to manage your workload so they are willing to be flexible. Sometimes, when I felt unwell but did not want to take a day off sick, I was able to work from home. The firm has a strict policy against juniors overworking themselves so they monitor your hours and you are awarded additional days off when you bill too much. Seniors also look at how you manage your workstreams and if they are worried they will allocate another trainee to help you out!"
Second year trainee, London but currently on an international secondment
"It depends on the department. I have been lucky to have two very understanding supervisors who have helped me to leave on time when I had important commitments and recognised when I was working long hours. However, I know that not all departments are this understanding."
First year trainee, London
"My department is incredibly flexible. Lots of emails go around saying 'will be out at an appointment for a couple of hours, back in the office this afternoon'. We're also allowed to have 'work from home' days and mothers often have four-day working weeks. The flexibility is less obvious in other departments but that may be due to the nature of the work in them."
Second year trainee, London
"My hours have been long but trainers and partners are generally very good at recognising that. Flexible working is usually at the discretion of your trainer, mine have been great and are ok with me working from home or shifting hours around when we have had particularly busy periods. The firm seems pretty supportive of flexible working once you're qualified and quite a lot of people work from home or work shorter weeks."
Second year trainee, London

2016

"Hours can vary greatly depending on the department and time of year. There are periods of time when I can work over 12 hours a day regularly plus weekends but also periods where I can get away at around 6.00 pm. From the point of view of a trainee or a commercial lawyer, I can't complain too much. Relative to the wider community, however, the kinds of hours worked are not great. Flexibility is there if you ask for it (unless there is a pressing deadline or a special need to be in the office), so long as the work gets done. It does vary a bit depending on the team and your trainer."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours are unpredictable. If work is urgent and needs to be done then you will be expected to be here (which can include weekends, albeit rarely). My average hours are usually 9.30 am – 8.00 pm, which does impact the ability to make evening plans during the week. The time off in lieu policy is good but thresholds are quite high. Most people are happy for you to take an hour to go to the gym/go out for something to eat if you are going to be here late in the evening. Additionally, there is a good working from home policy (beyond trainee level), although I have been able to work from home on a couple of occasions when I have needed to be at home for maintenance etc. While I don't think there is much of a face-time culture, I don't think it's fair to say that this has entirely fallen away and does vary from department to department."
First year trainee, London
"A number of great trainers adopt a very flexible approach to working hours. If you've got something to go to, provided it's not outrageously inconvenient timing, then leaving for it is never hindered."
First year trainee, London
"Long hours, but I have protected evenings in my dept (this is not available in every dept)."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours can be very up and down depending on departmental business, which is often impossible to predict. Some trainees work 12 hour days and have all-nighters (although these are quite rare, even in the busiest departments) while others regularly leave at 6.00 pm. My first seat had very bad hours in the run up to Christmas. In my second seat, I left between 6.00 pm – 7.00 pm for almost the entire seat."
First year trainee, London
"There's not much flexibility. If you're quiet you can go. If you're busy you need to stay extra hours."
First year trainee, London
"It's inflexible –– if you are needed then you stay. The hours in my dept go in peaks and troughs so I may have one or two weeks of heavy hours where I leave at midnight at the earliest, followed by a two-week period of calm where I leave at 6.00 pm every night. At times, when a few transactions are on at the same time, it can get quite heavy but working weekends are still rare among trainees from what I've seen."
First year trainee, London
"The hours are often long. However, in my experience there is not a face-time culture and if there is nothing left to do at 6.00 pm, you are told to go home. There are increasing opportunities to work from home (mainly for associates) and, at more senior levels, the Peerpoint consultancy system allows lawyers to work more flexibly on a project basis."
First year trainee, London

2015

"The hours vary from department to department but are generally pretty long across the firm."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours are long, but generally senior staff try to accommodate if you have specific evening and weekend plans. This is not always possible, however."
First year trainee, London
"The hours you work depends on the department. I think there are tougher hours in litigation seats than in transactional seats."
Second year trainee, London
"Personally, I've had a reasonable experience of hours. I've never done more than an 11 hour day, which around here is pretty good! It isn't very flexible though. As a trainee you don't get any real say in how long you work."
First year trainee, London
"My hours tend to be about 9.30 am until 7.30 pm but it really depends on the day and how busy I am, etc. There is also the option to work off-site from home."
First year trainee, London
"Working hours vary significantly based on what seat you are in, however, generally the hours are to be expected for a firm of this size and calibre."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours can be incredibly tough with 60 hours a week being the norm in a number of areas. That said, these can sometimes be the most exciting and enjoyable times."
Second year trainee, London
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