Where the heck are my hours?

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Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 28, 2016 12:54 pm

Alright guys so here is the story:

I'm coming up on 8 months at my current firm and the hours just aren't there. I have no problems with my direct boss and I'm pretty sure he has no problems with me. I'm always making myself available and I'm literally the first guy in the office and one of the last to leave. Problem is - I don't have enough cases to work on to generate numbers. It doesn't help either that this firm is very big on numbers and wouldn't hesitate to blast your name around and blacklist you as THAT associate who doesn't mean the monthly goals. I'm in a situation where I can't simply walk around the office poking my head around asking for work because I'm housed in one of the firm's satellite offices and my practice group simply doesn't have too many attorneys at this office. it's been frustrating. At first, I was told that the lack of work coming in is due to the summer lull...now I'm hearing the holiday lull...I'm just not buying it.

Coming up on 9 months at this place...should I be looking elsewhere? Also, I assume employers will ask why I left my firm after only XX months...can I just be frank and tell them the firm just simply didn't have the work flow?

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Devlin

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Devlin » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:02 pm

How low are you talking?

Anonymous User
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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Alright guys so here is the story:

I'm coming up on 8 months at my current firm and the hours just aren't there. I have no problems with my direct boss and I'm pretty sure he has no problems with me. I'm always making myself available and I'm literally the first guy in the office and one of the last to leave. Problem is - I don't have enough cases to work on to generate numbers. It doesn't help either that this firm is very big on numbers and wouldn't hesitate to blast your name around and blacklist you as THAT associate who doesn't mean the monthly goals. I'm in a situation where I can't simply walk around the office poking my head around asking for work because I'm housed in one of the firm's satellite offices and my practice group simply doesn't have too many attorneys at this office. it's been frustrating. At first, I was told that the lack of work coming in is due to the summer lull...now I'm hearing the holiday lull...I'm just not buying it.

Coming up on 9 months at this place...should I be looking elsewhere? Also, I assume employers will ask why I left my firm after only XX months...can I just be frank and tell them the firm just simply didn't have the work flow?
If you are asking what is actually going on, nobody can tell you because we don't know enough about the firm and it's possible even you don't know enough about the firm to be able to draw an accurate conclusion.

If you are asking whether it is possible that in a satellite office it can take time for your docket to build up to the point where you regularly have enough work to reach billable targets, the answer is yes. 180 hours a month in litigation or regulatory practice areas often requires a couple substantial matters that involve regular or recurring work, along with the occasional smaller matter that can come and go within a few weeks or a month. If you haven't been staffed yet on a big case or two, or the few matters you are on go dormant, it is not unreasonable that you have trouble reaching your targets, even if no one has a problem with your work.

Now, the idea that someone would blast your name around as the associate who doesn't meet his/her numbers... that is a reason to leave, IMO.

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:11 pm

OP here...

On paper I'm expected to bill 8...but I'll be laughed at if all I pull is 8. Most associates bill around 9. I'm telling you - the firm is nuts when it comes to numbers (how and when they compensate associates for bonus is a whole other story). I'm 8-9 months in and I have to pull teeth just to hit 8 hours a day. Trust me, I'm literally scraping and doing some very creative billing just to barely hit 8 and frankly for this month and for December I have no idea how I'm going to come close to putting up numbers because my current cases are in a standstill and as I mentioned - the cases aren't there.

I get that my first 1-3 months, the numbers will be shaky because I'm new. I get that, but then again I'm not a first year attorney so I know how to bill and understand the importance of billing anything and everything to make numbers for the firm. At this point, I'm not even chasing bonus by being a billing machine...I'm just trying to post some respectable numbers just so I don't end up on some firmwide sh*t list.

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Devlin

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Devlin » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:22 pm

Seems to me if you are hitting around 6-8 you are fine.

1styearlateral

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby 1styearlateral » Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:44 pm

6-8/day with trial every couple weeks (9-10 for those days) is pretty standard. When you're slow you can be sure as shit you'll be making up for lost time when things get busy. Maybe you're not taking your time on your assignments, and thus working "too quickly?" Maybe it's not about getting more hours but getting more out of your assignments, especially if everyone else isn't having a problem billing 9 hours/day (not that I think you need to be billing that much every day).

ETA: I think it's kinda messed up that a firm would put OP on blast for not meeting hours especially since he's the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. It should be obvious to firm management that he's not being lazy and it's a problem of work flow.

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:02 pm

1styearlateral wrote:6-8/day with trial every couple weeks (9-10 for those days) is pretty standard. When you're slow you can be sure as shit you'll be making up for lost time when things get busy. Maybe you're not taking your time on your assignments, and thus working "too quickly?" Maybe it's not about getting more hours but getting more out of your assignments, especially if everyone else isn't having a problem billing 9 hours/day (not that I think you need to be billing that much every day).

ETA: I think it's kinda messed up that a firm would put OP on blast for not meeting hours especially since he's the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. It should be obvious to firm management that he's not being lazy and it's a problem of work flow.


At first, I really thought it was just me working too quick on things. When I noticed the hours weren't coming in a few months back, I actually went over my bills with the bossman and although we identified a few things that the firm may frown upon if I kept billing that way, I still fell wayyyy short of comfortably hitting 8 a day. I echo what some of you have said - that hitting 6-8 a day would surely keep me off of any blacklist but it really isn't the case at this firm. I have no doubt that my boss has my back when these lists get passed around...I guess he has no choice but to have my back since if I look bad, he essentially will look bad too. However, him being a senior partner I doubt he'll get much flack. As for the other associates who are easily billing 9 a day, I can tell you that they each have double the caseload that I have and even more frustrating is that they only started at the firm a few months before me and even worse, they're first years...working under a different partner of course.

My boss and the people in my office are good people. Everybody gets along. I'm just the type that likes keeping busy. I want to keep busy and do good work. I gave up an offer from another firm to join this one and it's just been frustrating.

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:35 pm

Any reason why you can't reach out to people in other offices in the same practice group?

If you're really this scared about your situation, I don't know how this hurts. At worst they say "no," and in the best-case scenario they're all swamped and are thankful to have you reach out.

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Re: Where the heck are my hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any reason why you can't reach out to people in other offices in the same practice group?

If you're really this scared about your situation, I don't know how this hurts. At worst they say "no," and in the best-case scenario they're all swamped and are thankful to have you reach out.


OP here...

That's a good suggestion. I've already given that a try and unfortunately it led nowhere. Each office is like their own mini firm and the work that flows into that office stays in that office. I know...it's stupid and inefficient.



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