The head of City of London law firm Hogan Lovells has told staff they are expected to work at least 2,400 hours a year if they expect to rise to partner level.
In a memo sent out to staff, chief executive Miguel Zaldivar said “success typically means” making an “all in commitment” to the firm, according to Law.com.
The memo says partners at Hogan Lovells typically work at least 2,400 hours a year – or 9 to 10 hours each working day – as it suggests a “significant proportion” of those annual hours should be chargeable to clients.
The Venezuelan chief executive, who took up his position as head of Hogan Lovells in 2020, told staff they should focus on client work over non-billable work, as that “remains the best way to build our brand and drive profitability”.
The memo comes as ambitious lawyers face fierce competition for partnership promotions, which at Hogan Lovells see lawyers earn more than £1.8m each year.
Hogan Lovells added 27 new partners in its most recent round of promotions this year – including six in its London offices – amid a recent boom in the number of partnership promotions earlier in 2022.
Meanwhile, the law firm hires around 50 trainees each year, on salaries of £47,500 per annum – increasing to £107,500 on completion of the two-year training contract.
The advice mirrors concerns amongst lawyers that the traditional track to becoming a partner no longer exists, amid a lack of transparency as well as widespread cynicism surrounding the process of deciding who is given equity in major firms.
The memo also sits in opposition to mounting criticism that law firms are failing on diversity, and that those at the top of the largest law firms are not reflective of wider British society.
Hogan Lovells refused to comment.