On track to bill under 600 hours

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On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:13 pm

1st year biglaw corp in secondary market. Been completely dead. I've been staffed on maybe three deals, all of which were small and did not generate a lot of hours. I haven't broken 100 hours in any month. Other first years are slow, but I have the lowest hours by far. I've asked for work but nobody has much to give me. Doing some pro bono, but that only goes so far. It's conventional wisdom that it's fine to have low hours as a first year but this is absurdly low. Im not a gunner and am totally fine to cruise in biglaw but not trying to get fired after a year...I haven't been told anything and other associates have told me it's fine but I kinda find it hard to believe, given the economics of a law firm. Wat do?

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Pokemon

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Pokemon » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:08 pm

How long have you been at the firm? How much busier are your peers?

thegrayman

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby thegrayman » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:16 pm

If all your peers are slow then it's better. If you're the outlier and the rest of your peers are on track to hit hours then I'd worry.

As a general rule of thumb, a biglaw firm has hours to go around.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Pokemon wrote:How long have you been at the firm? How much busier are your peers?


Since last September. I'd say I have maybe 2/3 of the hours of the next slowest 1st year and maybe 1/4 of the hours of the busiest first year. I know the group is a little slow generally, but I still think my hours are crazy low.

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Pokemon

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Pokemon » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Pokemon wrote:How long have you been at the firm? How much busier are your peers?


Since last September. I'd say I have maybe 2/3 of the hours of the next slowest 1st year and maybe 1/4 of the hours of the busiest first year. I know the group is a little slow generally, but I still think my hours are crazy low.


Is the other 1st year in your office. How many first years there? Signs are not good but sometimes it happens that certain associates get busier than others. I would keep an eye for other opportunities though.

Ps, what practice?

malibustacy

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby malibustacy » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:22 am

Someone's getting fired. Might not necessarily be you, but at this pace, you're not even recouping your own salary at the firm. Either the firm is doing horrible and someone's getting fired, or there's a reason you have the lowest billables out of any attorney at that office.

This is a question you should have asked months ago, and I would have been a lot more proactive about it.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:00 am

is this by any chance a magic circle firm, if yes, i think i may be able to provide u with some helpful advice

favabeansoup

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby favabeansoup » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:23 am

Have you tried asking around to other offices? Like just cold emailing your entire firm wide group for work instead of just local office?

I'd say you gotta sit down and talk to somebody about this. Say you've kept asking for work and haven't gotten any at all. There might be something wrong with your work product that simply no one has told you about which makes other associates get any work over you.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby redsox550 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:36 am

favabeansoup wrote:Have you tried asking around to other offices? Like just cold emailing your entire firm wide group for work instead of just local office?

I'd say you gotta sit down and talk to somebody about this. Say you've kept asking for work and haven't gotten any at all. There might be something wrong with your work product that simply no one has told you about which makes other associates get any work over you.


yeah... if u wanna last more than another 3 weeks at your current gig, I wouldn't recommend cold emailing your entire firm asking for work...

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zhenders

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby zhenders » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:52 am

Is the associate with 4x the hours you have in your practice group?

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:32 am

I personally know people in this situation. You should expect "the talk" sometime in the next few weeks letting you know your hours must come up.

You might not want to hear it, but firms are small places. The likelihood is you did a really bad job on an assignment for someone and word is out. Similar thing happened to a first year I knew. She bombed the first assignment for one of the top partners at our firm. Partner told me she would never work for her again and her name was instantly mud. This can happen with one blatant mistake.

In all likelihood, word has probably gotten out about your competence, but the good news is you can start again at a new place. I would start looking for new jobs today.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:54 am

OP here.

I've thought about whether I have bad work product. I think at this point the answer is yes, I don't know as much as I should due to lack of experience compared to where a first year probably should be. However, I'm not sure if I've ever totally blown an assignment - everyone I've worked for so far has given me more, and I do work directly for partners and haven't (at least to my eyes) been blacklisted by any.

The senior associate I got almost all my work from left earlier in the year. Since then, I've gotten mostly small, quick assignments and one small deal. Bigger deals I was staffed on died before they got going and didn't generate hours for me. The 4x first year was staffed on a deal from hell that kept getting pushed, hence the hours. Other first years have been on medium sized deals. And here I am - I've ever actually been on a deal start to finish (just brought in to help here and there or on failed deals).

I've tried to be proactive and ask associates for work. A lot seem self sufficient/hoarding hours. They don't give work to me or any other first years. Asking the other offices isn't really something I'm comfortable with as that's not the way the firm works and I've never seen that. When I ask for advice, every associate tells me to enjoy it and low first year hours are expected - even when I tell them how low they give the same advice.

tyroneslothrop1

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:51 am

Start looking for a job asap. Either its your work product or the firm is slow; neither of which makes it likely you will be employed there in 6 months.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:21 pm

I was a first year who was getting no work in v50 major market, mostly due to rep of shitty work product, got a talk that I'm not up to par with collegues and then came review time got the cut. Of course I heard "enjoy the slow time / time off" from random ppl I also didn't think I could get axed as a first year and delayed my search and that almost was my kiss of death. In sum, fuck all these firms. Lol

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby jkpolk » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:24 pm

I don't think you should panic. Corporate is like that, especially as a first year. Couple crushing months and you're back at "normal" levels. Based on what you've said, sounds like you've just gotten "unlucky" with staffing. Legit takes 1 brutal deal and you could make your bonus for this year.

When you do get work to do, spend more time doing it (print things out, reread things more, try to understand the context of every e-mail, make sure you are billing for reading and responding to e-mail, etc.)

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was a first year who was getting no work in v50 major market, mostly due to rep of shitty work product, got a talk that I'm not up to par with collegues and then came review time got the cut. Of course I heard "enjoy the slow time / time off" from random ppl I also didn't think I could get axed as a first year and delayed my search and that almost was my kiss of death. In sum, fuck all these firms. Lol


How long did they give you after your review? From what I've seen here it's 4-6 months but no website time after. I think what happened to you may happen to me

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby thegrayman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:48 pm

Re: how long do you get -- at my firm an associate was let go, but allowed to "work" at the firm for another 6 months, essentially he still had office privileges but no actual work assignments. He stayed on the website and used the time to find a new job. For him, it worked out really well, he was a good friend of mine so it sucked to see it happen but he landed on his feet at a much better firm.

Your firm doesn't have any incentive to sandbag your attempts to get a new job, it's better for everyone involved if you do. Best of luck in your efforts.

oblig.lawl.ref

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:00 pm

I was close to this slow my first year in major non-NYC market corporate. Maybe not quite as slow but very close. It was genuinely just staffing issues. I got a very strong year end review and certain people involved in management made sure I was introduced to good teams needing help and have been set on the hours front this year.

That being said it could be that or it could be performance issues. I would start reaching out to the most appropriate people at your firm and those that you know best to see which one it is and also to try to get more hours. I would also make sure you're doing your best work, making your work product look pretty and proofreading everything carefully.

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skers

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby skers » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:08 am

It can definitely be hard to get traction as a first year. If you're hustling and trying to get deals, you're doing all you can really.

That said, sounds like the firm is likely slow, so you unfortunately could get the talk anyway. Partners are not always super keyed into everything and just assume it's laziness if you're not billing billing billing, even if you asked them for work and they had nothing.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:41 pm

jkpolk wrote:I don't think you should panic. Corporate is like that, especially as a first year. Couple crushing months and you're back at "normal" levels. Based on what you've said, sounds like you've just gotten "unlucky" with staffing. Legit takes 1 brutal deal and you could make your bonus for this year.
If he's on track for 600 hours annualized, he's billed 300 hours in 6 months. He'd have to bill nearly 300 hours per month (i.e., as much in each month as he's billed year-to-date) to get to 2,000. Even if he's just got unlucky, or if the firm as a whole is incredibly slow, he's now in a bad spot.

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jkpolk

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby jkpolk » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jkpolk wrote:I don't think you should panic. Corporate is like that, especially as a first year. Couple crushing months and you're back at "normal" levels. Based on what you've said, sounds like you've just gotten "unlucky" with staffing. Legit takes 1 brutal deal and you could make your bonus for this year.
If he's on track for 600 hours annualized, he's billed 300 hours in 6 months. He'd have to bill nearly 300 hours per month (i.e., as much in each month as he's billed year-to-date) to get to 2,000. Even if he's just got unlucky, or if the firm as a whole is incredibly slow, he's now in a bad spot.


Sometimes you bill 1500 hours in 6 months. Many many many juniors don't make their bonuses even at big profitable firms.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jkpolk wrote:I don't think you should panic. Corporate is like that, especially as a first year. Couple crushing months and you're back at "normal" levels. Based on what you've said, sounds like you've just gotten "unlucky" with staffing. Legit takes 1 brutal deal and you could make your bonus for this year.
If he's on track for 600 hours annualized, he's billed 300 hours in 6 months. He'd have to bill nearly 300 hours per month (i.e., as much in each month as he's billed year-to-date) to get to 2,000. Even if he's just got unlucky, or if the firm as a whole is incredibly slow, he's now in a bad spot.


He could turn it around. Lets say he gets on some stuff and ends up billing 180 til end of the year. They won't fire him for low billable unless they are looking to get rid of someone.

But that is assume he could turn it around and there isn't another reason for the low hours.

OP I'd lateral for sure. As a first year, you'll never know if you are being blacklisted or just unlucky. Plus even if you are unlucky, it still means you probably aren't very well liked anyway. They might not be black balling you, but they aren't knocking your door down.

There isn't much of a downside for trying to lateral. Worst case, you can stop.
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:38 pm

Start looking for another job. Now. You should have free time since you're slow (although don't stop looking for work at your firm if there is still some). Like people said, either your firm or group is slow or they're not giving you work because of your reputation. Either way, you seem like the most likely to go when the inevitable firing comes around. From what I've heard from friends who've been let go, they always start with drying up your work. You don't want to waste this opportunity to set yourself for a graceful transition as opposed to long-term unemployment. If at the end they don't fire you, then you're good either way.

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:29 pm

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:Start looking for another job. Now. You should have free time since you're slow (although don't stop looking for work at your firm if there is still some). Like people said, either your firm or group is slow or they're not giving you work because of your reputation. Either way, you seem like the most likely to go when the inevitable firing comes around. From what I've heard from friends who've been let go, they always start with drying up your work. You don't want to waste this opportunity to set yourself for a graceful transition as opposed to long-term unemployment. If at the end they don't fire you, then you're good either way.


Can't dry up what was never there :lol:

The one small bright side is I've seen one associate fired for work product and the work didn't dry up - it straight up stopped and they were pulled off all active matters. At least I'm still getting work (albeit more of a trickle). But I see your point. I'm in no particular hurry to be unemployed.

ClubberLang

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Re: On track to bill under 600 hours

Postby ClubberLang » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:59 pm

Serious question, what do you do all day? Can you walk us through a standard day?



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