US law firms get their money’s worth by working nearly 14-hour days

Saturday 05 November 2022 11:04

London trainee lawyers at top US law firms work almost 14-hour days, according to new research.

Junior and articling attorneys at the Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis firm work the longest hours, starting at 9:19 a.m. and ending at 11:11 p.m., according to Legal Cheek research.

The ranking shows that the ten law firms with the longest working hours are American firms, which have their trainee and junior lawyers work 12 hours a day on average.

The research comes as the arrival of high-paying US legislation in the UK legal services market has driven salaries in the sector to exorbitant levels.

Kirkland & Ellis is currently paying its Newly Qualified (NQ) solicitors $215,000 a year – sums equivalent to £189,000 due to the fall in the value of the UK currency.

Legal Cheek’s research shows that prestigious UK law firms Magic Circle offer slightly better working hours than their powerful US rivals.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, one of Britain’s oldest law firms, tops the UK rankings, having its young lawyers work from 9.16am to 8.59pm each day.

Slaughter and May this month told their attorneys they were allowed to check email after 10 p.m. and turn off their cameras on Zoom calls after 8 p.m.

The research comes as salaries paid by companies in the Magic Circle lag behind those paid by major US companies.

Freshfields is among the highest earning firms in the Magic Circle paying salaries of £125,000 a year to its NQ lawyers.

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