On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

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On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 31, 2016 8:18 pm

First year in 160k big law in Texas. Worried about hours. I've been low 100s for three consecutive months, billed 40 and 70 the two months before that. Is this normal for a first year? I don't understand how it is remotely possible for me to work so little and have a budget like this:

$1700: rent for "luxury" apt
$1000: groceries
$1000: car payment
$500: bars and dining out
$2,800: Omega Seamaster for my dad's birthday
$1,333.33: maxed out 401(k) savings
$1,000: left over
[no loans]

In what other profession, society, or historical epoch has this ever been possible? I must be getting fired soon, right?

h2go

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby h2go » Tue May 31, 2016 8:39 pm

I would be worried about your job. Also, how do you possibly spend $1000 on groceries AND $500 on dining out?

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 31, 2016 8:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First year in 160k big law in Texas. Worried about hours. I've been low 100s for three consecutive months, billed 40 and 70 the two months before that. Is this normal for a first year? I don't understand how it is remotely possible for me to work so little and have a budget like this:

$1700: rent for "luxury" apt
$1000: groceries
$1000: car payment
$500: bars and dining out
$2,800: Omega Seamaster for my dad's birthday
$1,333.33: maxed out 401(k) savings
$1,000: left over
[no loans]

In what other profession, society, or historical epoch has this ever been possible? I must be getting fired soon, right?

Also a Texas first year and my hours will likely be worse than yours. Good luck dude.

mvp99

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby mvp99 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:47 pm

why an Omega and not an "inexpensive" Rolex?

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby 20160810 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:52 pm

If you were in your stub year, I would say don't worry. In your first full year, that far below where you should be, definitely worry.

Also worry about the fact that you're making $160,000 but still spending $1,000 a month to buy cars with borrowed money. Stop being a consumer sucker and start saving for unemployment.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 31, 2016 8:54 pm

SBL wrote:If you were in your stub year, I would say don't worry. In your first full year, that far below where you should be, definitely worry.

Also worry about the fact that you're making $160,000 but still spending $1,000 a month to buy cars with borrowed money. Stop being a consumer sucker and start saving for unemployment.


Yes, I'm in my ninth month and I've helped close exactly one deal. I am aggressively looking to lateral so I can support my mindless consumerism with a more stable job.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby 20160810 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:If you were in your stub year, I would say don't worry. In your first full year, that far below where you should be, definitely worry.

Also worry about the fact that you're making $160,000 but still spending $1,000 a month to buy cars with borrowed money. Stop being a consumer sucker and start saving for unemployment.


Yes, I'm in my ninth month and I've helped close exactly one deal. I am aggressively looking to lateral so I can support my mindless consumerism with a more stable job.

If you're doing transactional biglaw in TX my guess is you are already on shaky ground because the energy industry is kind of a mess right now. Also you make more than enough to just save up and buy cars. Don't be a fool, fool.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby clshopeful » Tue May 31, 2016 8:55 pm

seriously though, 1500 a month on food? wtf

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby 20160810 » Tue May 31, 2016 8:56 pm

clshopeful wrote:seriously though, 1500 a month on food? wtf

What I find baffling is that the dining out bill is only half of the grocery bill. These numbers only make sense if OP is a 300-pound bodybuilder who shops at Whole Foods.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 31, 2016 9:00 pm

SBL wrote:
clshopeful wrote:seriously though, 1500 a month on food? wtf

What I find baffling is that the dining out bill is only half of the grocery bill. These numbers only make sense if OP is a 300-pound bodybuilder who shops at Whole Foods.


$1,000 in groceries is quite reasonable since I shop for myself and family. Also $500 is only one date night a week at any halfway decent restaurant.

Sorry, the budget was for illustrative purposes only. The point is I think doing so little to make so much money feels absurd, and looks like my fears are confirmed.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby 20160810 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:
clshopeful wrote:seriously though, 1500 a month on food? wtf

What I find baffling is that the dining out bill is only half of the grocery bill. These numbers only make sense if OP is a 300-pound bodybuilder who shops at Whole Foods.


$1,000 in groceries is quite reasonable since I shop for myself and family. Also $500 is only one date night a week at any halfway decent restaurant.

Sorry, the budget was for illustrative purposes only. The point is I think doing so little to make so much money feels absurd, and looks like my fears are confirmed.

Your family is killing your budget. Any chance you can get rid of them and lone wolf it?

You could probably make a few bucks selling them to human traffickers and use the cash to float you through unemployment.

clshopeful

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby clshopeful » Tue May 31, 2016 9:32 pm

SBL wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:
clshopeful wrote:seriously though, 1500 a month on food? wtf

What I find baffling is that the dining out bill is only half of the grocery bill. These numbers only make sense if OP is a 300-pound bodybuilder who shops at Whole Foods.


$1,000 in groceries is quite reasonable since I shop for myself and family. Also $500 is only one date night a week at any halfway decent restaurant.

Sorry, the budget was for illustrative purposes only. The point is I think doing so little to make so much money feels absurd, and looks like my fears are confirmed.

Your family is killing your budget. Any chance you can get rid of them and lone wolf it?

You could probably make a few bucks selling them to human traffickers and use the cash to float you through unemployment.


I'm probably just used to having under $100 in my debit card for the last 4 years.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Br3v » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:09 am

mvp99 wrote:why an Omega and not an "inexpensive" Rolex?


Tbh I thought an Omega Seamaster was a jet ski

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby 20160810 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:19 am

Br3v wrote:
mvp99 wrote:why an Omega and not an "inexpensive" Rolex?


Tbh I thought an Omega Seamaster was a jet ski

I read it as "Semenster" and thought to myself ranch dressing cannon - smart buy

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby philepistemer » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:50 am

If you're as incompetent at law as you are at personal finance you deserve to get fired.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:55 am

I'm going to strike a slightly more optimistic note than most in this thread.

It sounds like you're only five months in. Your hours are definitely on the low side, but it's not uncommon for associates to have very low hours in their first six months. It's increasingly tough to staff first-years on anything. But once the firm puts you on the right matter/case, it's amazing how quickly you can go from 100 hours a month to 250. And then you'll be longing for the days when your only worry was low hours.

Anyway, I think mild concern is called for, but not full-blown-I'm-gonna-get-fired anxiety.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby 20160810 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:59 am

rpupkin wrote:I'm going to strike a slightly more optimistic note than most in this thread.

It sounds like you're only five months in. Your hours are definitely on the low side, but it's not uncommon for associates to have very low hours in their first six months. It's increasingly tough to staff first-years on anything. But once the firm puts you on the right matter/case, it's amazing how quickly you can go from 100 hours a month to 250. And then you'll be longing for the days when your only worry was low hours.

Anyway, I think mild concern is called for, but not full-blown-I'm-gonna-get-fired anxiety.

TX transactional is probably not the safest right now oven state of energy market

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:46 am

SBL wrote:
rpupkin wrote:I'm going to strike a slightly more optimistic note than most in this thread.

It sounds like you're only five months in. Your hours are definitely on the low side, but it's not uncommon for associates to have very low hours in their first six months. It's increasingly tough to staff first-years on anything. But once the firm puts you on the right matter/case, it's amazing how quickly you can go from 100 hours a month to 250. And then you'll be longing for the days when your only worry was low hours.

Anyway, I think mild concern is called for, but not full-blown-I'm-gonna-get-fired anxiety.

TX transactional is probably not the safest right now oven state of energy market


I think the expectation in TX is that business will pop in second half of 2016, first half of 2017. If that doesn't happen then I'll be very worried.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:51 am

I would worry somewhat, based on my own experience, but not that you're going to get axed right away. It just seems that in my experience people either get in the flow right off the bat or they never really do. I don't even think the firm gets that. They are constantly telling people not to worry about low first-year hours, but that's only because they don't give a shit about you.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:19 pm

I'm in the exact same boat - on track to bill roughly 1300 in my first full year. Should my worries be at least a bit assuaged if my hours are slowly trending upward: 58 hours in Feb but closer to 150 hours in May. . . Right now, however, my plate is pretty empty so June will probably not continue the upward trend.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:21 pm

It depends. Do you feel like you are at least cultivating steady sources of future work?

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:24 pm

Yes, I like to think so. Small satellite office with only a few partners to give work in my practice group. I'm on several matters (litigation), but none of them has any activity right now. The other associates with more experience are all billing at least 40 hours/week. It seems I just get the leftovers.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:33 pm

That's low enough that you should worry regardless. I'm also a first year but am being stealthed so I was really worried but accepted it. Lesson for the wise is if a partner who tried to get you fired is friendly a month later, they haven't warmed up to you. Do not tell them which other partners you're working with. A large # of attorneys have the emotional IQ of a 6-year old. Don't make the mistake of assuming you're in a professional setting, and not kindergarten. There's a reason these people need hours of training on how to behave at a cocktail party.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby gaddockteeg » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:42 pm

What do you do when you're slow? Do you just go home? at low 100s a month, that's like 5 hours a day. I think if you use that extra time productively, you can be okay. Help write some articles, etc. It's non-billable but people will notice. Sign up for pro-bono. Even if it doesnt count to your hours, you'll learn alot.

You're right. Nobody is going to pay 160k for someone who works 5 hours a day. I've had my own slow months but even in a month with 100 billable hours, I'll have 50 nonbillable hours and 50 pro bono hours to go with it.

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Re: On track for 1250 hours first year, worry?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm in the exact same boat - on track to bill roughly 1300 in my first full year. Should my worries be at least a bit assuaged if my hours are slowly trending upward: 58 hours in Feb but closer to 150 hours in May. . . Right now, however, my plate is pretty empty so June will probably not continue the upward trend.


At my old firm as a first year you'd probably be safe if your numbers were trending up like that. 150 is right below the sweet spot (166.67) but consistently hitting 150 plus the odd 200+ month puts you safely over 2000 for the year. Everyone knows first years can start off slow. If your numbers dip down into the double digits again, I'd start being concerned. If your three month rolling average projects to ~2000+, you usually shouldn't worry. You're getting work and are profitable for the firm for the foreseeable future.

The old firm has fired a few first years for hours / performance related reasons in the past few years. Those individuals were consistently really low, like under 100 hours a month for pretty much the whole year. Part of that was because there wasn't enough work to go around, part of that was because they'd been tarnished by some error at the very beginning of their time at the job and had no hope of escaping that black mark.



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