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Hours

7.4 / 10

(based on 19 ratings in 2018)

2018

"The core hours are 9.30 am to 5.30 pm so, if I have finished work by 5.30 pm, I leave. I have to stay if there is more work though and clients often send us work last minute so it's hard to predict what time you will leave each day. I have had weeks of leaving at 6.00 pm every day and then a few weeks of midnight finishes."
Second year trainee, London
"The hours can be long, but everyone knows this. Some trainees can have a really good training contract in terms of hours and others can consistently be in late. It is a matter of luck as to who you sit with and what matters you are put on. I had one seat where I left before 6.30 pm most nights and another where leaving before 11.00 pm was rare. Weekend work is avoided by and large and I think we are better at this than a lot of firms. We have been given laptops relatively recently, which make flexible working easier."
Second year trainee, London
"My typical day is 9.30 am to 6.00 pm. I have had to work until 7.00 pm a few times but have only had to work past midnight once. I've been allowed to leave early on other days when I've had appointments or good reasons though so it balances out. The 'no face-time' culture is heavily enforced and the partner will usher me out the office at 5.30 pm if I have nothing to do."
First year trainee, London
"You're generally able to leave in the evenings if there is a particular event that you plan to attend. Trainees generally want to help each other out as much as possible so offer to help out and stay until things get done."
Second year trainee, London
"Targets at the firm are very flexible because of the lack of billable hours. If it is 5.00 pm and you have no work, people will not mind if you go home. However, there will be (as at all law firms) times where you are expected to work late or at weekends. The firm has helped a great deal with this by giving everyone in the firm a laptop so that they can work from home rather than having to stay in the office. In addition, associates can work from home one day a week, which has been widely taken up around the firm."
First year trainee, London
"Your hours completely depend on what is going on and who your supervisor is. I've never been asked to stay past 5.30 pm when things are quiet. However, there is an expectation that you will be stay regardless of what your plans are when things are mad. Generally, if you've told people in advance about an important event, people do everything they can to ensure that you are there."
First year trainee, London
"This varies from department to department and working late nights and weekends does happen, but nowhere near as often as you'd think and much less than at other magic circle firms."
Second year trainee, London
"The recent working from home initiative has been really successful so I'm looking forward to being eligible for that upon qualification. Long hours are sometimes required but, if you have a personal commitment that you need to make, partners are usually more than happy to accommodate as long as you let them know."
Second year trainee, London

2016

"I like that when you are not busy everyone is very happy to let you leave early. It is difficult that work hours can be unpredictable, and you cannot tell when your late nights will be, but overall the number of hours you work is not unreasonable."
First year trainee, London
"Hours can be up and down depending on which department you are in and how busy that department is. I don't mind working long hours but the unpredictability can be an issue and makes it hard to make plans in the week."
First year trainee, London
"I find this varies ultimately on your supervisor. I have been fortunate to have supervisors with a very healthy approach to working. As long as the work gets done they haven't enforced a face-time culture."
First year trainee, London
"I'm in Corporate so it's a biased experience. I live with two other lawyers who have had completely different working hours. In Corporate it tends to be all or nothing. I worked crazy hours in my first three weeks and then for the three following that I had very little on my plate, so was leaving at 7.00 pm. They're flexible on when you come in, but you won't leave until the work is done so it's in your interests to be efficient."
First year trainee, London
"When I am not busy there is no face-time culture. Generally my hours have been good and I have rarely worked weekends. Obviously if I'm on a big transaction close to a deadline then hours can be bad."
Second year trainee, London
"As I sit in the corporate department, my hours are variable depending on what stage of a deal I am working on. In general, there are not too many late nights and I think the number of hours I work in a week tends to remain similar."
First year trainee, London
"Highly variable, but usually between 35 and 50 hours per week. Quite flexible, but it pays to be assertive also."
Second year trainee, London
"Very flexible – I have worked a few nights past midnight or one in the morning, but if there is no need for me to stay, my colleagues will encourage me to leave at 5.30 pm."
First year trainee, London
"It depends on your supervisor and workload, and to some extent the department you are sat in. In one seat I was working intensively, including weekends, for over a month. While in the next seat, I was going home consistently at 5.30 pm or 6.00 pm."
First year trainee, London

2015

"Hours are incredibly variable depending on your seat and supervisor. Some trainees leave regularly at 5:30pm and have never worked past 9:30pm. Others regularly work till the early hours. The upside is that trainees are strongly encouraged to go home at 5:30pm if they don't have work to do."
First year trainee, London
"Hours are very dependent on what department you are in, and what projects you are working on. For my first six months I was regularly working 8:30am-10:00pm, beyond that I've more typically been working 9:00am-7:00pm with spells of getting out earlier (and the odd very, very late night). By and large I feel that the hours are overstated - there is no 'face-time' culture (so if you don´t have work, no-one bats an eyelid if you leave at 6:00pm) and I have very, very rarely had to do any work on a weekend."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours can vary greatly but they are far better than the other Magic Circle firms, on average. I have noticed that there is more of a 'face-time' culture in some groups than others. On the whole, you're encouraged to get out of the office if you can, but a minority of supervisors do raise an eyebrow if you try to leave "early" (by which I mean between 6:00pm and 7:00pm!)."
First year trainee, Brussels
"The firm is not very flexible on the hours you work and people do not generally make evening plans during the week. I have been quite lucky as I have not had to work very many weekends, unlike some trainees who are in the office 80-90 hours some weeks."
Second year trainee, London
"If there is a large deal on, hours are longer. I find it tough not having any control over hours. On the whole people tend to be quite reasonable and will not keep you longer than necessary. The lack of billable hours targets is a real plus."
First year trainee, London
"The firm is usually quite flexible. I have been very pleasantly surprised. If you have an event or plans, work can usually be worked around, except in extreme circumstances."
Second year trainee, London
"I work a lot of hours. This does not bother me at present, but I feel it could become to be a real burden."
First year trainee, London

2014

"The hours can be long, but that is to be expected at a Magic Circle firm. However, there is no 'face-time' at Slaughter and May. If it is quiet and you have nothing to do, you can leave."
First year trainee, London
"Hours are extremely variable and unpredictable but this comes with the job and we are rewarded for it (both financially and in terms of the quality of work given to us)."
Second year trainee, London
"You have to work long hours, but that goes with any legal career. The hours can be very unpredictable, so it is often impossible to make social plans during the week."
First year trainee, London
"I am generally out by 7/8:00pm. The worst thing isn't how long I spend there, it's that I don't always know how long I will be there. I don't mind the long hours when I know it's going to be a long week."
Second year trainee, London
"Work hours vary massively depending on what department you are in, and how busy that department is. If there is a lot of work to do then you will, realistically, be working into the early hours, but there is genuinely no culture of being in the office for no reason when things are quiet. Working hours can sometimes be overstated; having to come into the office on weekends is very rare for most trainees, and although you can go for several weeks of being in past 10:00pm in the evenings, everyone goes through busy and quiet patches."
First year trainee, London
"Hours can be very flexible if you inform people of your needs in advance."
First year trainee, London
"There is genuinely no feeling of an obligation to stay in the office if your work is done."
First year trainee, London

2013

"Work hours can be very up and down. We all enter this profession knowing that we may (occasionally) need to work late to respond to the needs of the client. The reality fits this description."
Second year trainee, London
"I've probably had an abnormally 'good' time of it - I consider 8:00pm to be a fairly late night and usually leave by 6:30/7:00pm."
Second year trainee, London
"The hours are fairly unpredictable and weekends aren't sacred - but I was aware of this prior to joining."
Second year trainee, London
"The 'no face time' pitch is true. I have relatively good hours compared to my friends at other firms."
Second year trainee, London
"Hours vary greatly and are difficult to predict."
Second year trainee, London
"Currently my hours are quite consistent. I usually arrive just before 9:00am and leave around 7:00pm. Occasionally early but very rarely later."
First year trainee, London
"Sometimes the hours can be very long. But because we don't have billing targets, we can genuinely leave when we've finished our work."
Second year trainee, London
"There is no expectation to stay late (or put in 'face-time') if you aren't working on something that needs to be done - fee earners are encouraged to leave the office at the end of the working day when they're quiet, to make up for the more demanding hours sometimes required. There is an expectation to work hard when it is called for."
Second year trainee, London
"When it's busy, you knuckle down. But there is also a culture of leaving trainees to manage their own workload. I have not been micromanaged by my supervisors."
First year trainee, London
"Generally been very good. Very much transactional, rather than constant expectation of late hours. Supervisors been flexible about mid-week commitments."
Second year trainee, London
Our 'Inside Buzz' reviews are the comments and views of recent graduate recruits, giving you a view of what it may be like to work for an organisation. Copyright of all TARGETjobs Inside Buzz material lies solely with GTI Media.
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