The Aussie Corporate

AusLaw Billables

Last update: 17 August 2023

Based on anecdotal community feedback.
These numbers have not been verified.

What's this about?
We always hear about the crazy billable hours that AusCorp lawyers must endure as part of the profession. Whilst none of the firms in Australia surpass the hours we see at US firms, the expectations down under are still high.

On the data, there are some firms who don't have daily targets, or don't have annual targets and vice-versa. Where we have left cells blank, this simply means we did not receive any information on the relevant datapoint / this datapoint was not applicable.
If your company is missing or data is incorrect, we would love to hear from you!
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Survey Insights
The breakdown
FirmDailyAnnualMore DetailsComments
Allen & Overy7.51750.0Pro bono is included as billable, but no other community investment.
AllensVariesSenior Associate / Counsel: 1700 Managing Associate: 1600 Associate: 1550 Lawyer: 1450 Graduate: 1250Pro bono hours and some very limited innovation projects are treated as billable but investment time generally not. Must hit 95% or more by end FY to qualify for incentives.
Arnold Bloch Leibler71700.0Billable targets are less for graduates then increase once you become a lawyer. My understanding is that billable targets are then generally the same for all fee earners (other than partners, who have a slightly lower target).
Ashurst7.51750.0Daily accountable hours are 8 hours. Only pro bono and approved BD and approved diversity and inclusivity initiatives are counted as billables (approved initiatives are far and few). Up to 100h 'investment hours' (client initiatives etc but slightly more specific than just generically BD). If you also don’t hit the target you are excluded from promotion. If time entry delay exceeds one day, no eligibility for bonus.
Australian Family Lawyers 5.51265.0-
Australian Government Solicitor5.51265.05.5 hours is the daily billable target for all fee earners, plus expected to put in 100 hours annually to corporate contribution and business development. If your yearly total is higher than your billable target, you get paid 20% of the extra time as a bonus (in addition to any discretionary bonus you might get paid).
Baker McKenzieVariesGraduates: 1250 hours Lawyers: 1750 hoursPro Bono included as billable; Annual leave reduced billables target but sick leave does not
Barry Nilsson6.51625.0Includes pro bono hours with no cap. 7.5 hours required to be accounted for each day
Bird & Bird6.21600.0This is for settled associates and above - rotating associates are 5.2 per day (1300 a year)
Blanchfield Nicholls Family & Private Advisory 5Annual holiday leave is not included in the yearly budget. So you have no billable requirements those days but sick days you still have billables
BrookeVariesGrads: 3.5 hrs; Solicitors: 5hrs; 2PQE: 6.5 hrs; Associates: 6.25 hrs; Others: 6 hrs; Partners: 5 hrsPro bono hours are calculated at the end of the month and treated as KPI relief
Carter Newell 6.5Carter Newell is mid-tier national. They adjust time based on leave taken etc. and include this in your yearly budget.
Chamberlains Law Firm61680.06 hours of chargeable time to clients - not including pro-bono, firm contributions, BD, marketing etc.
Chambers Russell6 hoursAt 6.5 hours, a bonus is paid that is around 10% - 15% of salary.
Clayton UtzVariesNo annual targets per se but unofficially 7 hours a day for settled lawyers (between 6 and 7 is discretionary bonus); 6 hours a day for grads (new grad bonus structure rewards grads on 4.5+ hours with small monetary or gift card bonuses. Grads don’t have access to main bonus scheme until settled)CU has a nominal target but not really enforceable. Minimum of 7.0 average hours to achieve a bonus. Not official, but billing under 6 a day is likely to prevent promotion / decent salary uplift. First 20 hours of KM and first 40 hours of pro bono each year are treated as billable. Leave doesn’t count as a full day of billables but also doesn’t pull down average. Just like the day never happened
Clifford Chance7.5Target only includes fee paying billable work. Must record 7.5 total per day. Pro bono, BD, CPD doesn’t contribute.
Clyde & Co77 hours of chargeable time per day is required. Non-billable work is on top of this.Up to 50 pro bono hours count towards billables. Non discretionary bonus if you meet the annual target. Annual leave "freezes" your average.
Colin Biggers & PaisleyVariesGraduate 4 per day and 900 per annum; Solicitors to SC 6.5 per day and 1,463 per annum; Partner 5 per day and 1350 per annum50 hours pro bono counted towards billable target. Billable hours can vary by practice area. Bonus scheme which awards 5% of annual salary for average of 7-7.5 hours, 10% for 7.5-8, and 15% for 8+
Cooper Grace Ward61320.0Pro bono doesn’t count towards billables. Non-billable contributions are generally accounted for in some way.
Corrs Chambers WestgarthN/A1600.0No daily target - just annual. Includes pro bono hours, but no other "impact hours". 4 weeks AL built in to create a 7 hour daily target. Bonus hurdles at 1800 (10% of pay) and 2000 (20% of pay). To be eligible for bonus you have to enter time within 2 days on average across the year. Sick leave pulls down average but annual leave doesn’t.
Coulter Legal5 hoursN/A
Cowell Clarke 5.5Lawyers and Associates need to bill 5.5 hours
Cowen Schwarz Marschke7N/A
Crown Law (Crown Solicitor’s Office)5.5No annual billable target, although the daily target is averaged across the year. 10 hours of fee relief for CPD activities per year, and approval of fee relief is often given if there are any extended technical difficulties with CL systems.
Deloitte LegalVariesBillable targets actually decrease as you become more senior. So a grad is expected to be 80% utilised, lawyer 80%, associate 75%, senior associate 75%, managing associate 70% then partner is 60%Deloitte have recently introduced new charging codes for contributions outside billables (like probono, client experience, team bonding). Yet to see if they keep these in force (as they were enacted 1 June 2023), or if it’s just another small shift towards recording all time.
Deloitte TaxVariesGrad to Senior Analyst - 6.5 hours; Managers - 5.5; Directors - 5As of 1 July this year deloitte changed its stance on sick leave - it used to pull down utilisation % but now they’ve recoined sick leave to “wellness leave” and apparently it counts as a full day of work. Also, the most senior you are, the less billable hours you’re required to meet.
Dentons6.5Must account for 7.5 hours a day. 6.5 billable. Emails sent when time is missing, including 0.10hrs. Target includes an allowance for 75 hours of pro bono work. Partners gets reduced billable targets (4 hours?) so they can do BD.
DLA PiperN/A1950.07.5 per day; Grads have lessIncludes pro bono and approved BD. To hit 100% utilisation you must bill 1950 hours per year which is the equivalent of 7.5 hours a day on every work day Monday - Friday. However, to reach the discretionary bonus minimum threshold you must bill over 1600 in a year. Entitled to bonuses from 1 year PQE onwards (which can be 10 - 20% of your salary depending performance). You are scored from 1 - 5 every year based on performance. If you hit the 1800 hours as a 3 (i.e. average) you will be entitled to a bonus. If you are graded a 4 (i.e. exceeds expectations), you only need to register 1600 hours to qualify for the bonus.
EY TaxN/AWe work on % utilised (only being utilised for external codes). Consultants 80%, senior consultants 70%, managers 65%, etc.We do more admin ourselves than at a traditional law firm, hence the lower billable target.
Gadens Varies1100 hours (4.4 hours a day) - Grads; 7 hours a day otherwiseAa practice group with fixed fees (due to tenders) may not have an hourly billable but it will translate to approximately the same.
GHD7.21750.090% billable time.
Gilbert + Tobin7BD, knowledge and pro bono don’t count towards billables but can be factored at discretion. “Standard” bonus on meeting targets, which is then inflated depending on extra performance.
Gilchrist ConnellVaries5 hours per day = graduate 5.5 hours per day = lawyer (post admission) 6.5 hours per day = lawyer 2.5 PAE + 5.5 hours per day = principal For all roles, need a total of 7.36 hours on the clock at the end of the day, inclusive of non billable timeProBono included in billables however firm is now cracking down on write offs as counting towards overall annual target
Griffith Hack5.2Primarily a patent attorney firm but we have lawyers too. Principals have lower billable targets to account for supervision and higher BD expectations. Predicted leave is factored into our annual budgets but additional days will pull down averages
Hall & WilcoxVariesLawyers: 6.25 hours a day; Senior Associates: 6 hours a day; Special Counsel: 5 hours a dayBudgets account for amount of leave to be taken (but if you take more leave in a month than calculated then you would have to make that up if over the whole year your leave exceeded the budgeted amount of leave). 50% of pro bono hours are counted towards personal budget (use to be 100% but was changed).
Hamilton Locke5.5Target has not yet properly been made known to lawyers and appears not to include firm contributions and probono. No way of recording non-billables. Potentially move to 6 hours a day.
Herbert Smith Freehills7.5Leave is excluded from utilisation. Expected to maintain 100% utilisation (7.5 per day), will get spoken to if any lower than 80% (even if you have communicated capacity). Target includes pro bono but not “investment time” like CPD, recruitment and pitching (though may be relevant for bonus discussions). Juniors are told they have no billables target but there’s an unspoken expectation that you’ll be at >100% capacity.
Hicksons Lawyers6.51600.0Leave is a big issue. Have to make up any hours missed for sick/annual leave.
Hive LegalN/ANo billables, principals trust staff to get the work done. We do have pro bono targets.
Hogan Lovells7.11728.0To make bonuses we have to do 25 hours of pro bono per year but not included in our billables
Holding RedlichVariesGrads 5 hours a day; all fee earners 6.5; Partners 5.5Pro bono hours are included. We get a weekly timekeeping report showing us our actual hours compared to targets. Anything below target appears as being in the ‘red zone’.
HopgoodGanim Lawyers5.51227.0Includes pro Bono hours. Budgets are based on a 45-week work year (this accounts for annual leave and sick leave)
Hughes & Co Lawyers and Conveyancing 44 hours a day expected, but not strictly policed.
Hutchinson Legal5Nil
HWL EbsworthVaries4 hours a day for Grads, then 5 for your first year post admission. Moves to 6.5 for Solicitors, 6 for Associates and Senior Associates, 5.5 for Special Counsel and 5 for Partner.Billable targets reduce with seniority to reflect the increase in non billable work (management, supervision etc). Overall expectations of hours go up with seniority (i.e. partners expected to do 2.5 -3.5 hours of non billable work per day on top of the 5 hrs billable. Sick days and annual leave reduce your billable target.
Johnson Winter Slattery7Although no billable targets, utilisation is tracked as a percentage of 7 hours. Pro bono hours count towards utilisation. No way to record other non-billable time such as business development, mentoring, admin, CPD etc.
Jones Day2000.0Pro bono and business development don’t count towards target
K&L GatesVariesGrads - 900 hours (4 hours per day) 1st year - 1100 hours (4.9 hours per day) 2nd year - 1250 hours (5.55 hours per day) 3rd year - 1400 hours (6.2 per day) 4th year - 1400 hours (6.2 per day) 5th year up - 1400 hours (6.2 per day) SA - 1450 hours (6.45 per day) SC - 1400 hours (6.2 per day) Partner - 1250 hours (5.55 per day) Paralegal - 1250 hours (5.55 per dayOther productive tasks are considered “creditable”, but that doesn’t seem to assist with billables. For bonuses etc KLG is also big on “utilisation” which is measured against 2,080 hours per year. Aus lawyers are expected to be 70% utilised (allowing for public holidays and annual leave) so 1,456 hours per year
Kennedys 71580.06.8 but we’re told 7 - so we have leeway to take sick leave / annual leave and still hit the monthly
KHQVariesThe more senior the fewer hours. SA - 5.5 hours; Principal - 4 hoursN/A
King & Wood MallesonsVariesGrad - 4 hours Solicitor 1 - 2 PQE - 6 hours Solicitor 2-3 PQE - 6.5 hours Solicitor 4 plus PQE - 7 hours Senior Associate - 7.5 hours Partner - less than 7.5 hoursLeave is not counted as a work day so reduces the denominator. Time is either productive or nonproductive. Productive nonbillable (e.g. BD) is accounted for in the former category. We are generally expected that have 7.6 hours accounted for in the day (billable and non-billable).
Kingston Reid 6.5Na
KPMG7.5Timesheets have to have a minimum of 7.5hrs per day, this can be a mix of billable and non-billable hrs. Whilst not hour targets, we have utilisation and realisation targets that ultimately result in billable targets. Sick leave pulls down average billables but not annual leave.
Lander & RogersN/A1500.0Annual budget, not a daily target, but still based on 6.5 a day (5.5 hours for partners). Pro bono hours included in billable targets.
Lavan6.75Includes pro bono and firm contribution. Non-billable hours add to overall productivity but do not count for much
Long Saad Woodbridge Lawyers 7Additional 2 hours of admin/marketing time is expected in addition to those billable hour targets.
Macpherson Kelley61500.06 hours billable every day. Leave and sick leave pulls down average. Senior Associate upwards get a reduction in billable targets.
Maddocks6.55 hours - grads 6.5 hours - lawyers 4 hours - partnerDaily target is 6.5 billable hours. Pro bono counts towards billables. No need to record every unit of the day / record non-billable, but apparently helps to support pay discussions (e.g. involvement in internal committees, etc.)
Marque LawyersN/AZero billables since the firm began in 2008. Time is not billed by the hour, unless specifically required for litigation purposes. No time sheets, ever. Bonuses based on a profit share model.
MarsdensVariesAs an Associate, my target is 6 hours per day, which is the highest. Others are between 5-6.More senior people are expected to bill less, as they are assumed to spend more time on management tasks and training.
Maurice BlackburnVaries6.5 billable hours per day for lawyers - special counsel (less for principals)Our billable hours are really relaxed. Not much pressure if we do not reach billable a because of a quiet week. But that is because usually billable targets are hit quite easily.
Maurice Blackburn 51250.0Generally 1250 billable (5 hours per day) for all staff, 7 hours total recorded. This will be reduced for more senior staff with management/BD responsibilities. Certain pro bono matters will be coded as billable, but this is negotiated on an ad hoc basis. Senior staff have no billable targets and office leaders are around 2-3 hours.
McCabes7.5Paralegals - 5hr; Solicitors and up - 7.5 hrAll fee earners have to put down 7.5hrs comprised of nb and billable time
McCullough Robertson6.756.75 hours a day for lawyers through to SC. Grads are 5.5 hours and Law0 are 5.75 hours a day. Partners are slightly lower given the other leadership responsibilities.Annual leave is dynamically adjusted but sick leave is not. We have 10 ‘Grace’ days built into overall yearly budgets though to account for sick and L&D requirements
McInnes WilsonVaries7.5 hours a day as a Senior AssociateN/A
McMahon Clarke6N/A
Mellor OlssonVaries1375 hours - 5.5 for solicitors and associates 1250 hours - 5 for SA and aboveLower targets set but some partners consider that to be the bare minimum, most people happy to do more, but would get paid better elsewhere and have higher targets anyway
Meridian Lawyers6.76.7 hours for solicitors, associates etc. First year solicitors are only 6 hours.Expect to record 7.5 hours of work in total a day. AL counts towards billables. Sick leave, compassionate leave doesn’t count and you have to make up that time to reach your budget.
Mills OakleyVariesGrads - 5 hours; Other Lawyers - 7 hours; Partners - 5 hoursAnnual leave is accounted for in yearly budget, but sick leave is not accounted for. No budget relief for extra curricular firm activities/leadership/articles etc. 0.5 hours can be used for pro Bono.
MinterEllisonVariesGrads - 5 hours per day; Lawyers - 6.5 hours per day lawyer - senior associate; Special Counsel - 6 hours per day; Partners - NoneSick leave / annual leave aren’t counted towards billables, but also don’t bring down the billable average for the month/year. Billables also include non-financials like pro bono and community investment, diversity and inclusion committees, knowledge management, and innovation. Must record 7 hours a day.
Montgomery 5.5N/A
Moray & Agnew Lawyers6.51500.07 hours to be recorded daily, with a minimum of 6.5 hours billable
Nicholes Family Lawyers6.5Pro bono not included in billables
Nicholson Ryan Lawyers61500.0Not strictly enforced
Norton Rose FulbrightVariesPartner 5.75; Associate - Special Counsel 7.0; Lawyer 6.5; Graduates 5.5Budget relief is applied when annual leave/sick leave is taken. Bonuses are paid if you reach 110% or more of your annual target. Targets include pro bono work.
Pinsent MasonsVaries1500.06.5 MRH of 7 total hrs per day for lawyer to SA. Partners 5.5 MRH per day and grads 4 MRH per dayTarget MRH per year does not include investment hours. 450 investment hours on top of this which includes business development, training, internal events
Piper Alderman6.3All pro bono and a portion (75%) of time spent on “SPEC” matters are supposedly taken into consideration when assessing average daily billable targets. From this FY the minimum threshold to receive the lowest band for a bonus (5% of base salary) has reduced from 6 billable hours per day to 5.7 billable hours per day.
Reid7.51800.0Pro bono up to 30 hours. BD counts for SAs up
Russell Kennedy6Pro bono hours count towards billable hours
Seyfarth Shaw6.51700.0None
Shine Lawyers6.5Non-billable hours do not count and neither do meetings, huddles, training or networking sessions/events. You are expected to sit at 110% productivity to be considered for pay rise or bonus.
Slater and GordonVariesGrad: 5.1 Lawyer: 5.2 Associate: 5.6 Senior Associate is dependent on what kind of role you have but is around 6.5. We have annual billable targets in dollar amounts that also account for WIP.We’re expected to account for min 6.5hrs a day billable/non-billable.
SLF Lawyers5.5N/A
Somerville Legal6Expected to record 6 billable and 2 non billable per day
Sparke Helmore Varies5 hours per day - less than 2 years PQE 7 hours per day - more than 2 years PQEPro bono included but knowledge management not included. 6.5 hours for corporate, workplace and commercial government. 7 hours for insurance and non-commercial government.
Squire Patton BoggsN/A1600.0No real negative for not hitting hours but won't get a bonus if you don't hit hours. 50 pro bono hours are counted as chargeable hours.
SWS Lawyers5.51200.0Target excludes pro bono and other non-billable time
Thomson Geer61250 hours (5 hours a day) - Law Graduates 1500 hours (6 hours a day) - Lawyers and aboveUp to 100 hours of pro bono can go towards standard capacity (billable target) per year and partner approved investment time (eg writing an article for publication etc) can also go towards standard capacity. Have to account for 7.6 hours every day. Sick leave is counted as a full day of work. Annual leave isn’t.
Turks Legal6.5N/A
Turner Freeman 7The above is purely billable time. Non-billable (marketing, BD, mentoring) does not have a target but is nonetheless expected.
Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office 5Sick leave/annual leave is deducted from the total, so your target for a day of leave will be 0. All staff must enter time for 7.6 hours a day (non-billable, billable), reasonably relaxed on when to post time, most people post at the end of every day / every few days.
White & CaseN/A1800.01800 target, 10% bonus; 2000 hours, 20% bonus. Only 100 hours can count towards firm productive time and pro bono.
Wotton + KearneyVaries4.5 for paralegals, 5 for grads, 6.3 for solicitors, 6.8 for Associates and Senior Associates, and 6.5 hours for Special Counsels. Partners is 6 a day.Budget relief available for annual leave and only up to 10 days of sick leave. There is instant pro bono relief of up to 25 hours a year. Expectation is to have 7.5 hours a day recorded but 6.8 is to be billable.
Makinson d’Apice Lawyers6.5Includes probono hours but not meetings and other non-billable work.
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