How Much Is That Money Costing You, Unhappy Lawyer?

If I had $5 for every lawyer who told me they went to law school because it was a profession that you could make money in, I’d be bathing in Benjamins. On the other hand, I’d be on the street with a rattling cup if I depended on lawyers to recite the costs of making the kind of serious money that they do.

Life matrix

If your money square takes up a bigger chunk of your life than this, you can see what it costs you. Is it worth it?

Costs, you say? You mean like a professional wardrobe, lunches, commuting, right? No, grasshopper. You know me better than that. I’m talking about the cost of all that overwork on your body and spirit.

Breaking Overwork Down

Just for grins, let’s assume a you bill 160 hr/month. Yes, it’s way lower than what you bill. But realistically, and as borne out by evidence from the Business Roundtable studies, after about 6 hours of hard mental work daily, your productivity starts to decline markedly. (And remember, after only three 80-hour weeks, your productivity is so bad you might as well have only worked 40 hours/week; you’ll have gotten the same amount of work done either way.)

So yes, you can work out the exact amount of cash per hour you’re getting paid per hour, whether in salary alone or in bonus money. In general, if your salary is $250,000 and you work 65 hours week, you’re making $73/hour. (I’m betting that’s less than 1/3 of what your time is billed out at. Make of that what you like.)

But have you considered what you have to leave out of your life to make that money?

  • 3 extra billable hours a week = missing dinner with your kids because they were starving at 7 and couldn’t wait until 7:30; someone else walking your beloved dog (or, replacing your carpeting annually); no puttering in the garden; getting to sleep an hour later than you intended and waking up tired Continue reading