In my interview yesterday, we spent a little while talking about billables. I hadn't been exposed to keeping time until I started working for Contract Firm, but it seemed to be a selling point with Interviewer that I had some billing experience.
He said that they didn't really have set requirements, but they would expect me to bring in 2.5 times my earnings, and realistically, that would be about 160 hours a month (1920/year). So I am googling to learn more about billing requirements elsewhere, to help with salary negotiations--if I get to reach that point. I do not want to wake up one day and realize that in order to meet my billables I am working for 10 bucks an hour.
160 hours a month seems reasonable to me. I know that some Biglaw firms have much higher requirements. I regularly billed at least 8 hours a day to Contract Firm, and often more than that. But I was always working on a specific project--and usually just one client at a time. I didn't really have downtime, and I certainly didn't have to figure in CLE's or conferences or make up for vacations. And that office is not especially social, so I wasn't losing time chatting in the break room. So I am anxious to get a more realistic expectation of how much of my life will really be spent working if I am billing 160 hours/month. Based on the research I did today, I will need to work 45 hours a week, 48 weeks/year to meet the 160/month requirement.
Meanwhile, if anyone else is interested in this subject, here are some interesting links:
The Truth About the Billable Hour according to YLS
Scheherazade on the Billable Hour
Blog Post From Lex Prep This link pointed out that federal holidays account for two weeks out of the year. Then you have two weeks for vacation. So calculations should be based on a 48 week year. Maybe I'm slow, but I never even considered federal holidays--I was calculating based on a 50 week year and including 2 weeks for vacation.
NALP Charts Showing an average of 215 nonbillable hours/year