I think the answer to this question is no, but with a qualifier: they don't want us to quit, but they don't care if we're happy. The "they" in this case is the law firm and/or the client of the law firm. We are in a no-overtime zone, which in this business is slow starvation. Even if you're getting a good hourly rate, no overtime means you have to pick and choose which bills get paid each month. Maybe if you're single in a cheap-ass apartment you can survive, but what you save in rent under those circumstances you make up for in extra ammunition. In any event, no overtime is not a desired situation, and that's where we are, hence my unhappiness.
Naturally, law firms will find a way to make it worse. On Thursday before New Year's -- in other words, with only one day left in the week -- the firm where we're working let us know that we might be shut down early on Friday (12/30). Or maybe not. They couldn't decide. But the timing was such that if you had not loaded up on hours early in the week, you would not even be able to get your 40. Needless to say, only one person had loaded up. It requires long hours to do so, and long hours feel like too much sacrifice if there is no overtime payoff at the end of them. Ten hours a day sounds like plenty under those circumstances. Well think again, putz.
So when did they finally .let us know whether we had to go home without hitting a 40-hour week? If you had 2 hours before they sent us home" in the betting pool, you win.