succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

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Anonymous User
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succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:14 pm

About to start big law career (v50).

Ready to work hard. I expect to work an average of 50-60 hour weeks, with aberrations of 30/80 hour weeks.

What're some pro tips at excelling as a junior? There's no milestone like LR, top 10%, journal, t10 school, etc. There's no getting to maybe. Without any of these "goals" to form a checklist, what exactly is the way for partners to evaluate associates, or say - X is one of the best associates, etc? Is it a combination of billable hours + work product quality + interpersonal skills/politics? My instinct is that its a combination of those three things.

Thoughts?

Sup Kid
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby Sup Kid » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:About to start big law career (v50).

Ready to work hard. I expect to work an average of 50-60 hour weeks, with aberrations of 30/80 hour weeks.

What're some pro tips at excelling as a junior? There's no milestone like LR, top 10%, journal, t10 school, etc. There's no getting to maybe. Without any of these "goals" to form a checklist, what exactly is the way for partners to evaluate associates, or say - X is one of the best associates, etc? Is it a combination of billable hours + work product quality + interpersonal skills/politics? My instinct is that its a combination of those three things.

Thoughts?

Thoughts: 75% billable hours + 15% quality of work + 10% personality = evaluating a junior associate (however, this post was mostly so I could mark it for later -- I would also appreciate the thoughts of those who work in BigLaw)

duckmoney
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby duckmoney » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:45 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:About to start big law career (v50).

Ready to work hard. I expect to work an average of 50-60 hour weeks, with aberrations of 30/80 hour weeks.

What're some pro tips at excelling as a junior? There's no milestone like LR, top 10%, journal, t10 school, etc. There's no getting to maybe. Without any of these "goals" to form a checklist, what exactly is the way for partners to evaluate associates, or say - X is one of the best associates, etc? Is it a combination of billable hours + work product quality + interpersonal skills/politics? My instinct is that its a combination of those three things.

Thoughts?

Thoughts: 75% billable hours + 15% quality of work + 10% personality = evaluating a junior associate (however, this post was mostly so I could mark it for later -- I would also appreciate the thoughts of those who work in BigLaw)


Is the amount of hours really that much more important the quality and efficiency of work?

Anonymous User
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:55 pm

duckmoney wrote:
Is the amount of hours really that much more important the quality and efficiency of work?


Amount of hours = $$$$ for firm. Quality and efficiency, indirectly, matter. Amount of hours, as long as it's past a certain threshold of quality and efficiency, logically matters most given the business model of big law firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:34 pm

I think a future at a firm depends 50% billables, 25% work product quality, and 25% politics/personality.

Frankly, they're all kind of interrelated. The baseline assumption you need to make is that the partners have a huge interest in not making you partner. That's one less hand in the profits-pie. But they do want you to make them money.

If you have high billables, you're basically making the firm money. That's why this gets 50%.

But you're not going to have 2500 billables if you don't do good work. Why? Doing good work gets you more work. Doing bad work will leave you empty-handed, especially in high-leverage firms where there are better-work-product associates lined up and ready to go. (This is your big layoff risk right here.) Doing good work in any kind of firm gets you more work - making it easy to fill in those gaps between assignments. You want to hit 170-180 hour months to meet the firm's billables. Doing bad work will screw up these plans.

Also, being chummy with a partner or two helps. If you can play office politics the right way and get the right partners to go to bat for you, its a good thing.

ruski
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby ruski » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:15 pm

i would put quality even at 50% or higher. billing a lot of hours wont really distinguish you. 90% of the class will be billing 2000+, with maybe a few trying to hide under the radar. what will make you stand out and have partners remember you is doing high quality work consistently. just dont be the guy who is turning down work and you're fine.

i dont even see how partners keep track of how much you bill, especially since you are working for various partners. they probably remember the associate who is always available, quick to respond, and turns in high quality work.

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Old Gregg
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:20 pm

But you're not going to have 2500 billables if you don't do good work. Why?


Not necessarily. Know a few associates who know they are on the chopping block and at whom partners are throwing thousands of hours of menial work, so that they'll leave voluntarily instead of the firm having to do layoffs.

Anonymous User
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Re: succeeding as a biglaw junior associate

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:29 pm

ruski wrote:just dont be the guy who is turning down work and you're fine.


Turning down work is key to producing high-quality work. If you say yes too many times, sure you'll hit your billables, but you will dilute the quality of work you do for partners. Plus, managing too many cases is the single best way to make sure you drop the ball in some non-trivial way on one of them. Blown deadlines, careless mistakes - this is all inversely proportional to how many yes's you're dishing out.

Its an art to say no while still keeping a source of work (partner) open.




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