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1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:23 pm
by GoCubsGo41
I know, it's my first month. But in my jobs before law school I was the pinch hitter on the team! I would catch things others miss! And now I feel terribly out of my depth most of the time, lost, and generally like the guy on the team that's not good for anything.

I'm working hard, but the hours are probably more a function of the fact that it takes me ages to find the perfect case or write a section of a brief than that my work is actually needed/useful.

When does it get better??

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:41 pm
by jd20132013
chill out, it's not that deep. U are right that you are useless but the good news is that the work you're doing is useless in the grander scheme as well. Just relax and enjoy this relatively slow time

Oh and everyone feels like that bc law school doesn't train you for biglaw.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:49 am
by unlicensedpotato
lol welcome, it takes 12-18 months to even get your feet under you.

Unless something is urgent, take your time and use the time you have available (within reason) to arrive at the "most correct" answer. In other words, take your time to think through everything and consider issues beyond your direct assignment, and come to the assigning attorney with a thorough, well-reasoned answer. It will help you get off on the right foot.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:33 pm
by ur_hero
Congrats -you're already ahead of the game if you can see that your work is probably useless. But, HOW you do it and present it likely does matter, as well as how you interact with those you work with/for. This is also a learning experience for you to figure out how and why what you're doing is useless, and how and why the work of those senior to you is contributing. For now, I would just fake it 'til you make it, ask questions as appropriate, and pay attention to what's going on around you in whatever it is you're working on. If it's slow, don't worry and enjoy it, but maybe try to understand why it's slow and whether it's just for you personally or others as well.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:49 pm
by Anonymous User
I'm wondering how busy others are? I feel like I'm TOO slow with hours, but everyone keeps saying it's fine, corporate takes awhile to ramp up, and it's hard to bring you in on deals that were going before you started.

But after just under a month now, minus about a week of non-stop training the first week where partners were told not to give me work, I probably have around 70 billable hours under my belt (including 10ish pro bono).

FWIW, I'm in a smaller satellite office, so there's not as many people to get work from, but the associates that have been in this office before me have left because the hours ended up being so bad/burnout.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:30 pm
by ur_hero
Anonymous User wrote:I'm wondering how busy others are? I feel like I'm TOO slow with hours, but everyone keeps saying it's fine, corporate takes awhile to ramp up, and it's hard to bring you in on deals that were going before you started.

But after just under a month now, minus about a week of non-stop training the first week where partners were told not to give me work, I probably have around 70 billable hours under my belt (including 10ish pro bono).

FWIW, I'm in a smaller satellite office, so there's not as many people to get work from, but the associates that have been in this office before me have left because the hours ended up being so bad/burnout.


You can say you're "slow" in corporate when (1) it's no longer your stub year and (2) you've billed 70 hours in more like 3 months (rather than 3 weeks). How busy other corporate first-years outside your practice group are is probably going to be completely random and irrelevant - barring some sort of significant economic recession- so I wouldn't make much of it.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:56 pm
by dixiecupdrinking
You are clueless and useless, but that's fine. All that anyone can reasonably expect of you is effort and enthusiasm. Try to channel your energy in that direction instead of wallowing in imposter syndrome (easier said than done, but advice coming from someone who has felt exactly like you).

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:31 pm
by ghostoftraynor
Anonymous User wrote:I'm wondering how busy others are? I feel like I'm TOO slow with hours, but everyone keeps saying it's fine, corporate takes awhile to ramp up, and it's hard to bring you in on deals that were going before you started.

But after just under a month now, minus about a week of non-stop training the first week where partners were told not to give me work, I probably have around 70 billable hours under my belt (including 10ish pro bono).

FWIW, I'm in a smaller satellite office, so there's not as many people to get work from, but the associates that have been in this office before me have left because the hours ended up being so bad/burnout.


I wouldn't sweat it. I billed almost nothing my first six months, then my second six months I was ridiculously busy. Enjoy it while it lasts. If things are still low Jan/Feb, I'd start being more proactive in looking for work.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:04 pm
by Anonymous User
I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:56 am
by Anonymous User
I can't say when it gets better because I'm in the same situation. I also feel I spend too long on something simple. This is not something I'm used to because in my previous jobs, which were non-law, I was the home-run hitter. It can get to you because you feel useless and the imposter syndrome kicks it. But I just view it as a learning experience that I need to grind through. Nothing I ever did in law school actually prepared me for my job.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:49 pm
by PorscheFanatic
If all of this is true, and it's pretty acceptable and standard to be far below your hours requirement in your first year, do first years almost never get full market bonuses then ($15k)?

What is a more typical first year bonus? From my understanding, stub bonuses vary widely, with some firms not giving a bonus to stubs.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:43 pm
by mvp99
Come in at 10 but don't leave at 4:30.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:38 pm
by Lincoln
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:42 pm
by SFSpartan
There's nothing wrong with coming in late if you're slow, but you should at least stay until 5:30ish until you've broken in a little.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:47 pm
by Anonymous User
Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.


This is totally normal and acceptable where i work. It would not be viewed poorly by anyone as long as you’re responsive during working hours (and up until around 10pm). Really depends on your firms FaceTime policy and expectations.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:56 pm
by RedPurpleBlue
Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.


I'd be more concerned that the guy has only billed 40 hours in two months.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:22 pm
by lolwat
RedPurpleBlue wrote:
Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.


I'd be more concerned that the guy has only billed 40 hours in two months.


Sure, but doesn't that happen with corp a lot?

At least in my mind, anyway, you get remote flexibility privileges as you prove yourself to be capable and reliable, not a month in. If I drop by a new associate's office at 5:00pm to talk about some work I have for them, and they've already left for the night, well, that work is probably going to someone else who is still there. If that happens more than once, I'm probably just going to stop even trying to give the associate work. Once you've proven yourself, then I'm probably happy to just e-mail you assignments and trust that you'll be checking and responding to your e-mails and do the work.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:06 pm
by jd20132013
Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.


Lmao

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:53 pm
by Lincoln
lolwat wrote:
RedPurpleBlue wrote:
Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.


I'd be more concerned that the guy has only billed 40 hours in two months.


Sure, but doesn't that happen with corp a lot?

At least in my mind, anyway, you get remote flexibility privileges as you prove yourself to be capable and reliable, not a month in. If I drop by a new associate's office at 5:00pm to talk about some work I have for them, and they've already left for the night, well, that work is probably going to someone else who is still there. If that happens more than once, I'm probably just going to stop even trying to give the associate work. Once you've proven yourself, then I'm probably happy to just e-mail you assignments and trust that you'll be checking and responding to your e-mails and do the work.


This was the point I was making less eloquently.

Re: 1 month into Biglaw-- feeling clueless and useless

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:27 pm
by Anonymous User
lolwat wrote:
RedPurpleBlue wrote:
Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I started about two months ago in a transactional group at my firm (biglaw & major market)--I've billed about 40 hours in total. After the first 2 weeks of coming in at 9 and leaving after 5, I now come in at 10-10:15 and leave around 4:30-5. I take my laptop home everyday because I've gotten a couple assignments around 8 pm that had to be turned around that night, but those never took longer than 2ish hours.

Everyone says to enjoy this time while it lasts, so I'm trying my hardest.


This is a good way to ensure you won't ever get more work. I would lose my mind if my first-year did this every day.


I'd be more concerned that the guy has only billed 40 hours in two months.


Sure, but doesn't that happen with corp a lot?

At least in my mind, anyway, you get remote flexibility privileges as you prove yourself to be capable and reliable, not a month in. If I drop by a new associate's office at 5:00pm to talk about some work I have for them, and they've already left for the night, well, that work is probably going to someone else who is still there. If that happens more than once, I'm probably just going to stop even trying to give the associate work. Once you've proven yourself, then I'm probably happy to just e-mail you assignments and trust that you'll be checking and responding to your e-mails and do the work.


Is that how staffing works at your firm? I'm at a place with a central staffing coordinator. Once you're assigned to a deal, the midlevel/senior will send you work at whatever hour and expect you to respond. And it's an uphill battle trying to get off a deal or get someone new assigned when it gets busy.