When completing the attorney malpractice insurance application, a frequent question is how to answer the number of hours “worked”. Many attorneys spend 60 or more hours a week in the office, but that rarely translates into even 40 billable hours. So unless you work for John Grisham’s “The Firm” it is unlikely that an attorney is actually billing out 2000 hours a year. But they are still a full time attorney if they average over 40 hours a week in the office.
A recent study showed that only 28% of an average attorney’s day is actually spent on client matters. This means that for a typical 8 hour day there are only 2 ¼ billable hours. Of that only 1.8 hours are actually billed to the client with the client paying on average 1.5 hours per day. Obviously if you are working for “The Firm” these numbers can vary.
But to get back to the original question, even though the attorney is only billing out 2 ¼ hours per day over a year the average hours worked per week should still be at least 40 hours a week.
This sometimes is further confused because many area of practice girds ask for “billable” hour percentages. Those percentages need to be based on the 2 ¼ hours actually billed per day.
The 2016 Legal Trends Report also goes on to state that as the number of attorneys increases the number of hours billed out also increases as a percentage. With the percentage of hours billed approaching 50% of hours worked for a 12 attorney firm.