Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

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BobLoblaw1

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Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby BobLoblaw1 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:50 am

Does anyone have experience trying to negotiate with their firm to work fewer hours for less pay? I like my job but wish I could work fewer hours (don't we all...) Do any firms actually go for this or am I daydreaming?

This is a mid-size firm in a secondary city. I think I'm generally well-liked as an associate but my hours are lower than they should be.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:52 am

I've vaguely heard about such things but don't understand how they can work. Do you refuse to do any more work once you hit your "cap"? Idk, I have a hard time visualizing how such an arrangement would be feasible, but it sure sounds nice.

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:43 am

I've worked at a boutique and a large law firm and there were people working part-time at both firms. At the boutique, there was even one guy working 2 jobs (the other was non-legal). I also know people at other mid-size and large firms that have part-time associates/counsels. Maybe it's dependent on the legal field because this is really common in my type of legal practice!

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rpupkin

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:59 am

It happens. It's usually temporary or transitory though—like a senior associate with kids goes part-time for awhile while looking for an in-house gig.

I wouldn't ask about it unless you were prepared for the possibility that the firm would take it as a bad sign and then force you out as a result.

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:00 am

Not me personally, but a sibling has been a part time associate at a large firm doing M&A for at least the last 10 years. I think they only have to bill about 1500 to hit their bonus, and of course the pay is scaled back to be commensurate with hours worked. That said, it does allow for the work to be like limited to mostly regular-ish 9-5 hours. The firm seems fine with this and has made no move to pressure my sibling to quit or lateral.

It will probably depend on the firm, but there are at least a few examples of long term part time arrangements in biglaw.

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:38 am

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:I've vaguely heard about such things but don't understand how they can work. Do you refuse to do any more work once you hit your "cap"? Idk, I have a hard time visualizing how such an arrangement would be feasible, but it sure sounds nice.

This is basically the problem. The job is so completely incompatible with a set number of hours per week. Everyone I know who has gone part time ends up working only slightly less. Also, the "part time" definitions tend to be based on the fiction that "full time" is 40 hours a week. So if you go on a 3/4 schedule, ostensibly you're supposed to bill 30 hours a week, say. But that is more like a 40 percent reduction in workload in reality. And if you start trying to actually draw a line at that level, you'll get side eye.

The bottom line is its really hard to graft good work-life accommodations onto a job that is fundamentally incompatible with work-life balance.

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:54 am

Is it possible they might make you Staff Attorney?

I'm curious to hear more about what a "Part-Time Associate" would be because at the places I've worked, lower hours = Staff Attorney (or Counsel, if you have that amount of experience). In other words, you're not on the partnership track. Is Part-Time Associate just a temporary arrangement for full time associates? i.e. For new parents, etc.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:29 am

BobLoblaw1 wrote:Does anyone have experience trying to negotiate with their firm to work fewer hours for less pay? I like my job but wish I could work fewer hours (don't we all...) Do any firms actually go for this or am I daydreaming?

This is a mid-size firm in a secondary city. I think I'm generally well-liked as an associate but my hours are lower than they should be.


People in this thread so far are totally ignoring this part of the post. Big law in a big market is an entirely different animal than practice pretty much everywhere else, and TLS often loses sight of that.

Just to flesh this out, someone above mentioned "part time" as being 1,500 hours. I'm a full time associate in a small firm (25 attorneys or so) in a small market and my yearly hourly requirement is 1,500 hours. Two partners here are part-time and they bill about 900 hours a year.

I'm totally making this up, but I think "part time" in the normal world (i.e., not on big law island) would be somewhere between 55-65% of your yearly requirement.

So to the OP, I think it's feasible if you are at a mid-size firm (i.e., 40-100 lawyers), and you're in a secondary market (e.g., Denver, Cleveland, Indianapolis, etc.).

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby BobLoblaw1 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not me personally, but a sibling has been a part time associate at a large firm doing M&A for at least the last 10 years. I think they only have to bill about 1500 to hit their bonus, and of course the pay is scaled back to be commensurate with hours worked. That said, it does allow for the work to be like limited to mostly regular-ish 9-5 hours. The firm seems fine with this and has made no move to pressure my sibling to quit or lateral.

It will probably depend on the firm, but there are at least a few examples of long term part time arrangements in biglaw.


A lot of helpful responses in here. I think the above arrangement (even though I'm not in biglaw) is closest to what I'm looking for. I should clarify that I'm not looking for strictly "part-time" work but something with scaled back hours and scaled back pay. My current billable goal is 1800 but it would be great if it was closer to 1500-1600.

Are you able to share any details on how your sibling was able to negotiate this? Did he or she have any circumstances that might have made it more agreeable for the firm (e.g., young kids)?

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Re: Anyone Here Tried To Negotiate a Part-Time Associate Position?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:10 pm

Anon poster from above. I believe the arrangement started when my sibling took scaled back hours after the birth of their first child, and they were somehow able to negotiate it into a more permanent arrangement. Obviously they are not on partner track or anything at this point, but it is a good, stable gig and they have had this arrangement for at least 10 years or so.

If you want further details let me know and Ill PM you.



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