Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

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Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:30 pm

Hi all,

I started in the fall of 2016 as a stub at a satellite office on the west coast in a transactional group. Office isn't too small, and my group has about 20 attorneys. During the close of last year, I was fairly busy doing ancillary work on a bunch of deals that were closing without being formally staffed. After the holidays, things are (as expected) considerably slower. That being said, I haven't had a single hour of billable work in the first two weeks of January. There are three other first years in my group, and all have more (albeit not a ton) of work. I have yet to be staffed on a deal, whereas the other three first years were staffed last week.

I know conventional wisdom is to enjoy the downtime, but sitting at 0 hours mid-January is bothering me. The staffing partner is aware that I have nothing going on, as he asked us to send him an email with a list of matters we are staffed on and he acknowledged my email, but still nothing has been assigned and I haven't been staffed on any deals.

I've talked to several juniors and mid-levels who have all said to enjoy the downtime and not to bother people telling them I'm slow, since they all know that the first years are slow. But like I said, seeing the other first years billing while I'm doing professional reading and watching Netflix all day is starting to get annoying. In terms of work product, all of the work I've done so far has been with the other first years doing group work, and we all got praise from the partners and seniors we were working for, so I don't think that's an issue.

Any advice or calming words of wisdom?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TLSModBot

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby TLSModBot » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Fellow-first year here, so take this with the appropriately sized grain of salt:

If you're appropriately letting people know you have availability, attending any and all training meetings and social events to increase visibility, and doing whatever you can proactively to be doing something other than Netflix (pro bono opportunities? Knowledge Management type tasks or reading up on areas of practice you're interested in?), then I'd say you really need to hold out until things get busy again, which it sounds like they will.

Number one piece of advice they keep hammering into our heads at my firm is that stressing about hours early in the year ends up being silly because the work comes in waves and it ends up being way more than firm minimum requirements, but I get your concern given that the billable clock is now a-tickin'

ClubberLang

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby ClubberLang » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:54 pm

No clue how serious an issue this is because I'm just as first year too but watching Netflix doesn't seem that helpful. If you are still this slow i would think you should be talking to people other than the coordinator trying to drum up some business for yourself.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:00 pm

hop on a pro bono matter.

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:14 pm

ClubberLang wrote:No clue how serious an issue this is because I'm just as first year too but watching Netflix doesn't seem that helpful. If you are still this slow i would think you should be talking to people other than the coordinator trying to drum up some business for yourself.


OP here -- this was my initial thought too. I talked to 3-4 juniors and mid-levels about how to let people know I'm available, and they universally told me not to bother people by telling them I'm slow, because everyone knows all the first years are slow. Seems counterintuitive to me, but I don't want to openly ignore their advice.

nick417

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby nick417 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:55 pm

Since it is impossible to offer firm-specific advice to you. I'll echo what the others have said.

What is your firm's pro bono policy? My thought is if the firm isn't giving me work then I am going to find it myself. Even if the firm isn't as pro bono friendly, why not? As others have said, sitting there watching Netflix is a waste of time.

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:13 pm

I am generally busy and I still watch netflix or read a novel sometimes at work when its slower and I can afford the downtime. I understand the gut reaction against it but I don't see conceptually why its a problem when you're completing the work you have available at a high enough quality (or no work if nothing is available). Especially if you're in a west coast office like mine where there's no premium on facetime.

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Avian

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Avian » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:25 pm

Some groups are slow to integrate first-years and that's just the way it goes sometimes. I know someone who didn't have much work for 6 months when they started. I imagine it could be even slower at a satellite office.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:39 pm

I'm in the same boat but I watch Netflix or Amazon all day. I think it's pretty sweet. The work will come.

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kellyfrost

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby kellyfrost » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:51 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:I'm in the same boat but I watch Netflix or Amazon all day. I think it's pretty sweet. The work will come.


Lazy bastard.

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kellyfrost

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby kellyfrost » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:03 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:I'm in the same boat but I watch Netflix or Amazon all day. I think it's pretty sweet. The work will come.



Accidental anon above. You must be a lazy bastard.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:13 pm

kellyfrost wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:I'm in the same boat but I watch Netflix or Amazon all day. I think it's pretty sweet. The work will come.



Accidental anon above. You must be a lazy bastard.


Indeed.

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:46 pm

OP here -- Yeah, I didn't expect people to really latch on the the Netflix part lol. No one can tell I'm watching it as my screens are not visible from the hallway and I don't use headphones. I just mentioned it to make the point that I'm bored.

Anyways, I'll likely pick up some pro bono stuff if I don't have any work by mid-week. Luckily my firm gives full credit for pro bono hours, but I'd just like to have something to do that's billable.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here -- Yeah, I didn't expect people to really latch on the the Netflix part lol. No one can tell I'm watching it as my screens are not visible from the hallway and I don't use headphones.


Silent with CC is TCR.

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Re: Not a Single Billable So Far in 2017

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:51 am

Don't go overboard with the pro bono though. Pick something that is relatively discrete, self directed, and without deadlines. My advice is to avoid cases or projects with heavy partner involvement since those often are poorly managed.

A lot of firms give credit for pro bono at the end of the year but not "credit" in the sense that you can adjust your billable workload if your pro bono matter is demanding a ton of time.



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