The majority of lawyers typically work on the weekends. You serve your client’s needs as a lawyer in the professional services sector. Attorneys frequently have deadlines that conflict with their schedules. .
They are paid for their availability to pursue their client’s concerns enthusiastically.
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Depending on your lawyer type, your weekend work hours will vary. For instance, if you work for a big law firm (Big Law), you might have to come into the office or conduct weekend work to meet deadlines.
However, you might not have to work most weekends throughout the year if you are an in-house legal counsel.
The majority of lawyers work more than 40 hours a week. Let us have a more thorough overview of the work-life balance of various categories of lawyers below.
Big Law Attorneys
Prominent law firm lawyers routinely spend more than 2200 hours annually. In some years, some have even spent up to 3000 hours.
This corresponds to workweeks of between 50 and 70 hours. These illustrious private law firms pay a premium for their attorneys’ availability, which implies that they are always available.
However, in these large businesses, the level of predictability in the working hours varies for lawyers from various fields of expertise.
For instance, since the timetable and dates for a trial are clearly outlined in the law or in accordance with court schedules, attorneys in a litigation group may find their work schedules to be more predictable.
Clients rarely phone you out of the blue during a legal dispute to make demands or ask inquiries since lawyers are freer to choose the strategy for attaining their client’s objectives in court.
Nonetheless, there are times when business partners need all hands on deck because a situation involving a customer has suddenly gone crazy.
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You could have to spend the weekend writing a response to meet the court date if your opponent’s attorney throws you a curve ball during the trial.
Corporate Acquisitions and Mergers (M&A) Lawyers
The predictability of the work schedule for corporate mergers & acquisition (M&A) groups’ attorneys may be reduced. M&A refers to an arrangement between two businesses—a buyer and a seller—whereby one company buys the other or merges with it.
Your team is essentially working to create a document that both sides can sign as an M&A lawyer on the deal. After that agreement is signed, the attorneys work to close the deal (i.e., making sure the seller gets paid and the buyer receives the company).
Clients don’t like to wait, so getting this procedure done as quickly as possible is the primary goal. To complete the deal as soon as possible, you must adhere to various tight deadlines throughout the process.
Deal terms will change frequently. Clients may often call you to inquire about their arrangement details or review a set of contracts in case the documents change as the firm and other sides negotiate.
Internal attorneys or In-House Lawyers
Banks and corporations’ legal departments employ in-house attorneys. They deal with contracts for purchasing stuff, confidentiality clause agreements, intellectual property licensing agreements, and more.
Due to a lower burden and better work-life balance, many Big Law professionals will move into an in-house role. In-house attorneys typically don’t work on the weekends.
Prosecutors and Public Defenders
Attorneys representing clients in situations regarded as in the public interest include prosecutors and public defenders.
The government or non-profit groups that advocate for members of vulnerable communities due to economic or social factors can be considered to be acting in the public interest.
On behalf of the government, prosecutors file legal charges against someone who has broken the law. They typically don’t work on the weekends and can leave the office any time between 5 and 6 o’clock.
A public defender is an attorney chosen to represent clients in criminal cases who would not otherwise be able to afford legal counsel.
Public defenders’ everyday routines and hours are typically the same as those of prosecutors. Additionally, they usually don’t work on the weekends.
Legal Aid Lawyer
A civil Legal Aid attorney is another example of a public interest lawyer. To ensure that everyone has access to justice, they advocate for clients who are members of societally oppressed minorities.
A Legal Aid attorney’s typical day can change from one case to the next. They may occasionally need to work 12-hour days, while others may depart each day by 6 PM.
Meetings with clients, office work, trial preparation, and sometimes attending community outreach events fill their days.
Attorney for a Federal Government Agency
Attorneys work for a federal agency that is not part of the government, such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
They often don’t work on the weekends and are available Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM.
Overall, lawyers put in much work, but some will undoubtedly put in more than others. The work-life balance of lawyers at Big Law firms will typically be worse than that of lawyers working in the public interest or smaller companies.
Weekend hours are more common for Big Law attorneys than for other categories of attorneys. However, the pay for Big Law attorneys is far higher than that of a public interest lawyer, which may be reflected in the number of hours worked.