2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

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2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:55 am

I started as a first year associate in biglaw almost three weeks ago. I know it's extremely early, and it's an odd time of year (billing year ends 9/30), but I am starting to worry that something is wrong. I've asked a number of partners and senior associates for work, and they seem completely swamped and eager to include me, but then I never hear back from them. I've been told that the office is busy, but nothing seems to be able to trickle down. Is this not unusual for a first year associate in their first few weeks?

Should I worry? Enjoy the slow time?

EDIT: in litigation
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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unlicensedpotato

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby unlicensedpotato » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:55 am

Chill and enjoy.

Unfortunately it takes them longer to explain to you what to do and then review your work than to do it themselves, so when people are swamped they may not have the time to get you on it.

Edit: I think that's especially true for lit (although I'm not in lit). The big law cases are seriously years or decades long. Rather than try to bring you up to speed on one, they'll just wait to put you on a a new matter I suspect.
Last edited by unlicensedpotato on Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:04 am

unlicensedpotato wrote:Chill and enjoy.

Unfortunately it takes them longer to explain to you what to do and then review your work than to do it themselves, so when people are swamped they may not have the time to get you on it.


Seriously chill and enjoy. Nothing is wrong. When I started as a corporate associate it honestly took a couple of months to get fully engaged, and then we were all totally slammed and I really regretted stressing over being slow. Corporate work just fluctuates and (assuming you're in a free market system firm) it takes time to get looped into new deals. Even at a more senior level, I know guys who bill 30 hours one month and 300 the next.

gregfootball2001

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby gregfootball2001 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:10 am

It took me close to six months to get to a consistent 40-50 billable hours a week. New matters/deals/cases will start, and you'll get staffed. Write an article if you're bored.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:25 am

This varies person to person and firm to firm. My first couple weeks I was only billing 4-5 hours a day, if even (<25 a week), since the work I had on my first case just wasn't that time consuming. Then at the end of my third week I got caught up in a shitstorm with last minute client deadlines, spent two late nights working in a row and billed 20 hours in two days.

Once you are regularized into the team on two or more matters, and not just getting one off assignments, you'll probably have a more consistent billing schedule.

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First Offense

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby First Offense » Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:33 am

Going through the same thing. Seems normal. Some people get placed on matters right away and are doing discovery and shit right off the bat. Some aren't.

I wouldn't sweat it. I reached out to our product Bono person and got a project to keep me busyish in the meantime.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:32 am

one month into biglaw lit NYC v20....

one weeklong assignment and then nothing....been staring at wallpaper for three weeks

reached out to pro bono person today

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Actus Reus

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Actus Reus » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:one month into biglaw lit NYC v20....

one weeklong assignment and then nothing....been staring at wallpaper for three weeks

reached out to pro bono person today



just enjoy it. if you get to 3/4 months in, then worry.

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ArtistOfManliness

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:one month into biglaw lit NYC v20....

one weeklong assignment and then nothing....been staring at wallpaper for three weeks

reached out to pro bono person today


TBH, probably shoulda reached out to pro bono earlier...

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TLSModBot

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby TLSModBot » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:18 pm

First Offense wrote:Going through the same thing. Seems normal. Some people get placed on matters right away and are doing discovery and shit right off the bat. Some aren't.

I wouldn't sweat it. I reached out to our product Bono person and got a project to keep me busyish in the meantime.

This. Last week I was working hard, today I'm running out of stuff because all my projects are quiet. Seems like it ebbs and flows, and pro bono is there to fill in the gaps.

run26.2

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby run26.2 » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:26 pm

unlicensedpotato wrote:Chill and enjoy.

Unfortunately it takes them longer to explain to you what to do and then review your work than to do it themselves, so when people are swamped they may not have the time to get you on it.

Edit: I think that's especially true for lit (although I'm not in lit). The big law cases are seriously years or decades long. Rather than try to bring you up to speed on one, they'll just wait to put you on a a new matter I suspect.

Most likely, the firm will staff you on a small number of existing cases. The delay often exists because it takes some time for there to be a new assignment that is appropriate for your seniority and is not already being handled by another attorney.

But the advice to enjoy is appropriate here.

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elendinel

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby elendinel » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:37 pm

Seriously guys, if it's only been a few weeks of no work, enjoy being paid obscene amounts of money to surf the internet. No one's going to fire you a month into a job they just hired you for.

If six months go by and you get nothing, that's a whole other kettle of fish, but a few weeks is nothing.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 12, 2016 2:30 pm

In the same boat.

V20 lit. 2.5 weeks in now

I have had some discrete assignments every couple days but i have not been put on a team for any ongoing case.
was put on a team at the beginning but then they did not end up needing the extra person.

all the second and third year associates are just saying to enjoy the downtime. i understand that, but still my concern is that i am not even on a team. the other first years i know who have things slow here are at least are on teams already.

im going to sit tight for a few more days. already have been taking on discrete pro bono projects at this point.

wondering if i should meet with anybody on my own to see if i can get on a particular team that is in my practice area interest.. the advice from everyone is to just sit tight though.

idk. really just venting here / seeing who else is in the same boat

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Johann

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Johann » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:00 pm

you all need to chill. when i was in this boat i was leaving work at 4-5 every day, taking 1-2 hour lunches, and leaving fridays at 2. you dont need to take on pro bono. you dont need to do anything. someone will come find you with work eventually.

if youve ever seen forgetting sarah marshall, "you're doing too much, do less"

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:16 pm

If you are slow, do not take on more than one pro bono project (and take on a discrete case, don't get involved in some partner's massive impact litigation or amicus brief). I took on multiple pro bono matters last year during a slow 1.5 months (same deal as many of you - few discrete assignments, no cases) and then was slammed for 7 straight months (couple at 300+ hours). That is a sure way to get in way over your head and then end up having awkward conversations with partners as to why you are blowing deadlines/need some other associate to jump in on pro bono work.

(Also watch out for the friendly senior associate that tries to be "helpful" by bringing you in on pro bono assignments - almost always a massive time suck and you will wind up taking most of the work on for them.)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you are slow, do not take on more than one pro bono project (and take on a discrete case, don't get involved in some partner's massive impact litigation or amicus brief). I took on multiple pro bono matters last year during a slow 1.5 months (same deal as many of you - few discrete assignments, no cases) and then was slammed for 7 straight months (couple at 300+ hours). That is a sure way to get in way over your head and then end up having awkward conversations about partners as to why you are blowing deadlines/need some other associate to jump in on pro bono work.

(Also watch out for the friendly senior associate that tries to be "helpful" by bringing you in on pro bono assignments - almost always a massive time suck and you will wind up taking most of the work on for them.)


Yeah if someone significantly senior to you is asking for your help, they mean take it over. It's not that you should therefore always not do it -- just be aware that's what it means.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:32 pm

i'm just feeling so guilty ..... a couple of day i was at work for only two hours before leaving

i would check in with the assigning person and leave once i got the "there's nothing for now" reply

omg, i guess i'm going to miss these days once i get slammed

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby ClubberLang » Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:i'm just feeling so guilty ..... a couple of day i was at work for only two hours before leaving

i would check in with the assigning person and leave once i got the "there's nothing for now" reply

omg, i guess i'm going to miss these days once i get slammed


Leaving after two hours isn't the way to handle that. Just play on the internet during normal hours. At least if someone has something for you they'll be able to find you.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:08 pm

are lit departments just slow right now?

how can people go almost a month without being put on a case? i'm just freaking out that i'm going to get fired

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:are lit departments just slow right now?

how can people go almost a month without being put on a case? i'm just freaking out that i'm going to get fired


This same thing happens every year to every new class. Biglaw firms don't have just a stable of work waiting for incoming associates, so when you start it takes time to fill out your case load. (The firm may also be between large matters right now.) The other thing with biglaw is you will get staffed on stuff that for various reasons you will not hear about for months and then suddenly you'll have 20 hours of work for a few weeks. This is especially prominent in litigation.

I know you are freaking out, but seriously enjoy it.

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Re: 2.5 weeks into biglaw, barely anything to do

Postby zot1 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:10 pm

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