• It can seem that the main mission of most attorneys is to simply stay employed.
  • This is why they have to work as hard as possible and bill as much as possible.
  • Essentially, this is how many lawyers go about their career.
  • How an attorney spends his or her day can also depend upon the size and prestige of the firm they work for.
  • Larger, more prestigious firms will have lots of work for new associates.
  • Smaller firms may have less work, which can also promote a better work-life balance.

Summary: What drives attorneys to work so hard in big law? How do law firms ensure attorneys continue to work hard throughout their careers? Find out in this article.

What drives attorneys to work so hard? Find out in this article.

The entire law firm ecosystem is structured so that everyone inside of it—partners and associates alike—work as hard as they are capable of working, bill clients as much as possible, and do not stop working hard until they are fired, leave, die, go crazy, or retire.
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes
   
  1. Large Law Firms Have Clients Willing to Pay for Attorneys to Work Long Hours
 
Just about all large law firms have major corporate clients that are not as sensitive to large bills (and lots of hours) as smaller law firms. Smaller law firms typically will work for clients that are sensitive to bills.
 
  • The larger the law firm, the larger the clients.
  • The more prestigious the law firm is, the more rich and powerful the clients.
  • The more rich and powerful the clients, the more money they are willing to pay for legal services without batting an eye—through high hourly rates and lots of hours.
 
What all this means is that the largest, most prestigious law firms typically have more work from higher paying clients who can afford to have lots of legal work done. Some of the largest, most profitable companies have billions of dollars a year in revenue, pay bills promptly, and can afford to “turn on the tap” for lots of legal work. Whether it is associates writing endless memos, litigation that stretches on for years and years longer than it needs to for hundreds of thousands of dollars (or millions) per month, partners marking up countless drafts of deal documents—the large law firm will find work to be done.