Miguel Zaldivar, Chief Executive Officer since 2020 of London law firm Hogan Lovells, circulated a memo in May letting staff know they’ll need to log at least 2,400 annual hours if they want to become a partner. To support the company’s case, the memo shares that current partners work at least that much, which translates to about 9-10 hours each workday. The memo also encourages a focus on billable over non-billable work because the former “remains the best way to build our brand and drive profitability.”
However, the situation might not be quite as bad as it sounds. One Hogan Lovells partner offered more specific information regarding the firm’s billable-hours target: “When it comes to chargeable hours, about 1,700 is what we like our people to work towards. The rest of the contribution is things like lots of training, knowledge management, pastoral care, pro bono and DEI work as well as other contributions to the firm’s culture.” Put another way, 1,700 annual hours comes out to just under 7 hours per workday.
Lawyers who succeed in getting promoted can expect annual pay of more than £1.8 million (roughly $2.1 million), at least at Hogan Lovells. As one might imagine, competition for partnership spots can be very fierce, and the London firm is getting props in a few quarters for offering transparent promotion guidelines. Of the roughly 50 trainees that Hogan Lovells hires each year, just over half will have a shot at the big money once they complete their two-year training contract.