Newly hired London barrister goes public with working hours as she warns of risk of burnout

Refreshingly honest Insta post follows a study by Legal Cheek showing some juniors regularly schedule 12-hour days

A newly qualified solicitor (NQ) has garnered praise on social media after sharing the hours she put in during “a super standard work week”.

Megan Hulme, who recently joined Mishcon de Reya’s London office, shared an Instagram post over the weekend detailing her Monday to Friday office hours.

“This is a super standard work 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+ followers that she’s “busy and there’s always something to do, but being flexible and working with my team when needed is easy when you can have a few days off”.

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

Hulme, who coached Trowers & Hamlins before joining Mishcon in October last year, estimates that around 80% of her time is billable and that she often skips lunch – “just drop by and get some or bring my own lunch” So she has more time in the evening.

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The post follows an exclusive study by Legal Cheek that revealed the average hours worked by paralegals and paralegals at a number of top law firms.

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The results show that the London offices of high-paying US outfits dominate the chart for late finish times, with Kirkland & Ellis topping the table for the third consecutive year with average start and finish times of 9:19 am and 11:11 pm. In comparison, Mishcon’s average hours come at 9:02 and 19:04, respectively.

“Burnout is real, and although sometimes it’s inevitable, working excessive hours isn’t sustainable or cool,” says Hulme. ‚ÄúThere will no doubt be weeks of working up to 16 hours a day, but these are minimal and only in times of crisis.

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 that taking care of your mental and physical health should always be your top priority. Of course it depends on departments and teams, but hopefully this shows that you can have some control, especially if you set expectations and standards with your team early on.

The young lawyer’s post was liked over 800 times and praised by the followers. “I love the authenticity of it, sometimes it feels like you shouldn’t take a break,” one commented. “Love this transparency!” another NQ wrote.