80-Hour Weeks, Key to Lost Productivity and Living for Lawyers

So last time, I talked about how overwork leads to lower productivity levels at work. How, in fact, overwork and lack of sleep can lead you to behave, cognitively, as if you had a .10 blood alcohol level. All without drinking a drop, woot!

rope with one hanging thread about to snap

If you feel like this is your life and you're working 60-, 70- and 80-hour weeks constantly, there's good news: Your grip on reality is still intact. If not much else.

Yeah, lawyers, we’re always putting all our effort into dysfunctional behaviors and then burning out. It’s no wonder so many lawyers are seeking a different, alternative career or career path. At least that is a rational response.

Three 80-hour Weeks and You’re Toast

Need more proof? Well, that bastion of business thought, the Business Roundtable, has some eye-popping evidence that lawyers’ workload is purely insane. As Sara Robinson in Bring Back the 40-Hour Work Week puts it:

“The Business Roundtable study found that after just eight 60-hour weeks, the fall-off in productivity is so marked that the average team would have actually gotten just as much done and been better off if they’d just stuck to a 40-hour week all along. And at 70- or 80-hour weeks, the fall-off happens even faster: at 80 hours, the break-even point is reached in just three weeks.”

Three weeks, people. When’s the last year you pulled “only” 3 of those nasty 80-hour weeks?

So we have an entire profession that is showing up drunk to work and not Continue reading