Newly qualified London lawyer goes public with working hours as she warns of burnout risks

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Refreshingly honest Insta post follows Legal Cheek research revealing some juniors are regularly clocking-up 12 hour days

A newly qualified (NQ) lawyer has attracted praise on social media after sharing the hours she clocked-up during “a super standard working week”.

Megan Hulme, who recently joined the London office of Mishcon de Reya, shared an Instagram post over the weekend in which she breaks down her office hours from Monday to Friday.

“Here is a super standard working week for me”, writes Hulme, who goes by the username @itsallhearsay. “[U]p and down every day, but at hours I choose to work.”

The lawyer goes on to explain to her 10,000 plus followers that she’s “busy and there are always things to do but being flexible and working alongside my team when required is easy to do when you are able to clock off some days”.

The post shows Hulme worked for 46.6 hours across the five days, with Thursday being the longest at 11.8 hours and Friday the shortest at 7.5 hours. Monday and Tuesday came in at 10.5 and 8.3 hours respectively, while on Wednesday she worked for 8.5 hours.

Hulme, who trained a Trowers & Hamlins before joining Mishcon in October of last year, estimates around 80% of her time is billable and that she often skips lunch — “will just pop out and get something or bring in my own lunch” — so she has more time in the evenings.

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The post follows exclusive Legal Cheek research which revealed the average working hours of trainee and junior lawyers across a raft of top law firms.

The findings show the London offices of high-paying US outfits dominate the table for late finish times, with Kirkland & Ellis coming top for the third year running with average start and finish times of 9:19am and 11:11pm. By comparison, Mishcon’s average hours come in at 9:02am and 7:04pm, respectively.

“Burnout is real and working excessive hours is not sustainable or cool although sometimes unavoidable,” Hulme says. “There will undoubtedly be weeks where work up to 16 hours a day but these are minimal and only at crunch times.

She continues:

“That’s why I’ve made it a priority to focus on time management and work smarter, not harder. It’s about finding a balance between pursuing your passions and taking care of yourself. Remember, taking care of your mental and physical health should always be a top priority. Obviously it depends on departments and teams but hopefully this demonstrates you can have some control, especially when you set expectations and standards with your team early on.”

The young lawyer’s post has been liked over 800 times and attracted praise from followers. “I love the realness of this, sometimes it feels like you’re not supposed to have a break,” commented one. “Love this transparency!” another NQ wrote.

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That’s pretty decent hours. There are public services on much less with those same hours


Former public sector worker

As someone who worked in the public sector in a non legal role, your comment is absolutely spot on. 45 plus hour weeks were normal for all of us.



Those hours are nowhere near “excessive” In fact I would consider those rather on the low side. Maybe consider working within Criminal Justice and then you could understand that 46 hour weeks would be considered a very slow week



Constant long hours has always been weird to me. Aren’t you bound to make mistakes if you’re wired to computer screeen?



Yes, but that’s why you have senior review of docs, particularly the key deal ones.

Ultimately in a corporate deal the ancillaries are all fixable if you need to, just an embarrassing call to the client.

If you’re going to get a claim it’s likely to be something like the SPA or Shareholders’ Agreement and those are double checked. Worst case scenario you’re insured.



This, frankly, doesn’t seem unreasonable, nor particularly “long”. NHS rotas for junior doctors, for example, are designed to ensure an average working week of 48 hours. Given that most of them are paid (for their considerable level of qualifications and expertise, and to manage life and death) less than the City going rate for trainees, never mind NQs, I really don’t think that the majority of us have it too bad.


Kirkland NQ

The ‘land has the latest finish times but no one asks what we’re doing while we’re saying we are working late 😉


beta energy klaxon

weaksauce joke son, try harder



I would have stayed in PP if I worked those hours.



My average weekly billable is 60-75 hours and that’s nothing out of the ordinary compared to my fellow associates. I earn over £230k as a junior associate, own a flat in Central London and have a new Audi. The effort is all worth it.


Kirkland NQ

Lol Audi. Get yourself a proper car.


Kirkland 3PQE

I work at Kirkland and drive an Audi sir.


Kirkland NQ

I’m aware that the kitchen staff may stoop as low as that brand, yes.





Former public sector worker

You must work the hours you do as to be unable to research or know that there are plenty of desirable Audi vehicles out there!


Average German Car Enjoyer

Sorry its not a tesla



A mortgaged flat in zone 4 doesn’t qualify as owning a flat in central London.



There is a zone 4? Sounds terrifying. Please tell me there aren’t any more!


functional brain

Good job they clarified it was in central and not zone four then.


Honest recruiter

Erm, perhaps McDonalds are recruiting. I hopes this helps all the snowflakes who can’t handle responsibility. Okaaayyyyy



Article title doesn’t reflect actual content.


Middle Class Whining

Lol, those hours are tough? Suggest never going to the Magic Circle or a US firm.

The only time the partners at either have acknowledged I have been “busy” is when billables go past 80 hours.


Rolling My Eyes

How’s about you quit bashing others and realise that you should never have allowed what was done to you to happen. It takes a certain type of fool to accept all that abuse.



…and once again, the legal industry demonstrates why it is dangerous to assume that career professionals know best about the relationship between health and workplace practices.



*Lawyer edition

Not addition?



As a paralegal I used to work some 17hrs a day in a city firm…no one wrote an article about that!



Lots of comments not taking into account that the published figure of 46.6 does not include non-billable time. I would estimate that 46.6 hours is, in reality, closer to around 65 hours for all time spent working. Doing that consistently is tough.


An honourable man

She clarified that this is hours in the office and approx 80% is billable, hth!

Not unreasonable in the slightest.



Have to say I’ve never worked so few hours . 70-80 hours per week every week has always been the norm. What’s a holiday ? What’s a free weekend ?


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