Average number of hours worked per week by Canadian in-house lawyers: 47 – roughly 1,800 chargeable hours a year

The 2011 In-House Counsel Barometer, produced by the Canadian law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg In association with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) at 11, reports that the average number of hours worked per week up north was 47. What the median hours was is not mentioned. If we take 47 as the barometer, what portion of them are just “being at work” and what portion are the equivalent of what an outside counsel would charge for, i.e., not recruiting, CLE, filling out forms? If we took 10 percent off for administrative tasks, and then subtract five weeks for vacations and holidays, that leaves 42 hours of average chargeable time multiplied by 47 work weeks  1,839 hours a year.

On those assumptions, the figure used by the General Counsel Metrics benchmark report of 1,800 chargeable hours a year per lawyer, for purposes of calculating a fully loaded cost, finds good corroboration. More so because lawyers probably do not underestimate the hours they work; in fact they may consciously toss in an extra hour or three.

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