Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

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Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:01 pm

Hey there, I could use some input so I can tell if I'm just letting anxiety get to me, or if I really should be worried.

I'm a first year who started in late Sept. at a V20-50 range firm in the lit group. During the stub year I had some work on and off, only had maybe two late nights, and maybe three or four weekends that I had work.

However, since mid-November I haven't really had anything. I've asked our assignments partner for work, asked the partner I've worked with the most, a senior associate who said he was looking to add first years to something, and have talked to my assigned associate mentor about it. She said that it should pick up in the New Year and that it's fine and I should enjoy the free time.

But I'm seeing all of the other new first years with work relatively consistently, and some of them completely swamped. Meanwhile I've billed 5 hours so far in Jan, 26 in Dec, and 58 in Nov., most of which were from the beginning of the month. Other first years I know have consistently billed at least 100 hours a month and most second years and above have a normal amount of work. I know it's still the New Year so hey maybe it will pick up sometime soon for me, but I'm not sure.

I haven't gotten any negative feedback on anything, and I've actually only gotten positive feedback. I've also been very friendly and I don't think I've rubbed anyone the wrong way, or anything like that either. But who knows?

Is this something I should be worried about or did I grab the short end of the stick with something? If I should be worried, any advice on what I should do? At our firm you can get assignments from the assignments partner, but you can also get them by asking partners or seniors you've worked with, but since I've barely gotten any work I don't have many people to ask.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:07 pm

I wouldn't worry about it. One day some tyrannical midlevel will ask you to help on a little project and next thing you know your life will be work/sleep/eat (and you'll feel guilty about sleeping and eating). Enjoy the free time while you can. Maybe look to get on a pro bono matter in the meantime, can be a good way to gain experience/fill time/save your soul.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:07 pm

I'll let someone else chime in to directly address your specific issue, but IME Nov., Dec. and Jan. are either (1) relatively slow, so no need to get more cooks in the kitchen at that time, or (2) deadlines are coming up quick (trying to get stuff finished before the holiday) and thus too busy to try and staff someone on the matter at the moment.

I'd enjoy the free time.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Lincoln » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:18 pm

1styearlateral wrote:I'll let someone else chime in to directly address your specific issue, but IME Nov., Dec. and Jan. are either (1) relatively slow, so no need to get more cooks in the kitchen at that time, or (2) deadlines are coming up quick (trying to get stuff finished before the holiday) and thus too busy to try and staff someone on the matter at the moment.

I'd enjoy the free time.


In litigation? IME, time of year has little bearing on the amount of busy I am.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:07 pm

Maybe a little worried if nothing by end of month

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:19 pm

Lincoln wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:I'll let someone else chime in to directly address your specific issue, but IME Nov., Dec. and Jan. are either (1) relatively slow, so no need to get more cooks in the kitchen at that time, or (2) deadlines are coming up quick (trying to get stuff finished before the holiday) and thus too busy to try and staff someone on the matter at the moment.

I'd enjoy the free time.


In litigation? IME, time of year has little bearing on the amount of busy I am.

Idk, I was pretty slow last month. Slow enough where I took basically the whole last week off. Judges and attorneys plan vacations for those times, and any discovery deadlines aren't normally slated for end of December. Came back pretty hard in Jan. though with tons to do.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby bk1 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:23 pm

I don't think I had much if any work until ~spring of my first year. Most experienced associates are going to tell you it's normal and that you're fine, but most first years can't help but worry anyway.

Your firm had X associates start this past fall. Your firm, presumably, did not have X associates' worth of work just waiting for all of you to jump on right away. It's going to take time for you to get staffed on things as cases get busier, people can't devote time to a given case or leave the firm, and/or new cases come in.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:15 pm

bk1 wrote:I don't think I had much if any work until ~spring of my first year. Most experienced associates are going to tell you it's normal and that you're fine, but most first years can't help but worry anyway.

Your firm had X associates start this past fall. Your firm, presumably, did not have X associates' worth of work just waiting for all of you to jump on right away. It's going to take time for you to get staffed on things as cases get busier, people can't devote time to a given case or leave the firm, and/or new cases come in.


I'd only be worried if everyone else is busy, but 100 hours that OP described other associates as having is still pretty damn slow.

I didn't bill over 100 hours until April my first full year. But still hit 2000 that year.
Last edited by Desert Fox on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:23 pm

OP here - thanks all for the responses, definitely eases my worries a bit, especially to know some of you weren't busy until the Spring. I'll just keep truckin until I get some work to do!

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:12 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
bk1 wrote:I don't think I had much if any work until ~spring of my first year. Most experienced associates are going to tell you it's normal and that you're fine, but most first years can't help but worry anyway.

Your firm had X associates start this past fall. Your firm, presumably, did not have X associates' worth of work just waiting for all of you to jump on right away. It's going to take time for you to get staffed on things as cases get busier, people can't devote time to a given case or leave the firm, and/or new cases come in.


I'd only be worried if everyone else is busy, but 100 hours that OP described other associates as having is still pretty damn slow.

I didn't bill over 100 hours until April my first full year. But still hit 2000 that year.

Jfc.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby barkschool » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:13 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
I'd only be worried if everyone else is busy, but 100 hours that OP described other associates as having is still pretty damn slow.

I didn't bill over 100 hours until April my first full year. But still hit 2000 that year.


Fuck

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:46 pm

sorry I meant a month. I probably had 175 hours by April 1. It wasn't that insane. And I was on a mega case that I could bill 10-11 hours a day and just stop at 7-8pm and come back the next morning.
Last edited by Desert Fox on Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:57 pm

Same here but I'm a corporate first year who started in sept and in a free market system. A lot of my peers are busy, but I'm sitting on my thumbs despite asking around. Billed like 200-250 hours combined for the last four months. Have like 8 hours this year so far. Feel like they overhired for my class year (twice as large as the second year class) and waiting for people to start quitting once bonus hits.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Same here but I'm a corporate first year who started in sept and in a free market system. A lot of my peers are busy, but I'm sitting on my thumbs despite asking around. Billed like 200-250 hours combined for the last four months. Have like 8 hours this year so far. Feel like they overhired for my class year (twice as large as the second year class) and waiting for people to start quitting once bonus hits.


this is the OP - and lol sounds like we're at the same firm? also way too many first years compared to second years. and i know the numbers for the most recent summers and the upcoming summers and they're both substantially smaller.

but good point, maybe after bonuses get paid and people quit there will be more work to go around haha.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Danger Zone » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:15 pm

I'm gonna go against the typical TLS wisdom and say there may be cause for concern. Every firm is different. I had similar hour totals my first year as a corporate associate and got reamed out at my six month review for low hours. I had thought it was typical for first years, and obviously it is, but that doesn't mean your firm will be cool about it. The partners I worked for were total assholes though so take it FWIW.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:16 pm

Danger Zone wrote:I'm gonna go against the typical TLS wisdom and say there may be cause for concern. Every firm is different. I had similar hour totals my first year as a corporate associate and got reamed out at my six month review for low hours. I had thought it was typical for first years, and obviously it is, but that doesn't mean your firm will be cool about it. The partners I worked for were total assholes though so take it FWIW.


Did they fire you?

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:20 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:I'm gonna go against the typical TLS wisdom and say there may be cause for concern. Every firm is different. I had similar hour totals my first year as a corporate associate and got reamed out at my six month review for low hours. I had thought it was typical for first years, and obviously it is, but that doesn't mean your firm will be cool about it. The partners I worked for were total assholes though so take it FWIW.


Did they fire you?



Yeah I'd also love to know if you're still there?
The partners I work for are great. One second year told me she had negative feedback at her six month review for low hours, but because they thought she wasn't proactive enough to get more work. Her advice was to ask for work more frequently than she had (which was almost never), and so I've done that so far.

Even still though, the worry never goes away. :roll:

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Danger Zone » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:28 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:I'm gonna go against the typical TLS wisdom and say there may be cause for concern. Every firm is different. I had similar hour totals my first year as a corporate associate and got reamed out at my six month review for low hours. I had thought it was typical for first years, and obviously it is, but that doesn't mean your firm will be cool about it. The partners I worked for were total assholes though so take it FWIW.


Did they fire you?

Nah. Got another brutal review at the first year mark and left on my own shortly thereafter to take an in house role. I don't think OP has to worry about getting fired, but obviously they care about their reputation, and a bad review can stick with you for a long time and damage your working relationships at the firm.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:30 pm

Danger Zone wrote:
BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:I'm gonna go against the typical TLS wisdom and say there may be cause for concern. Every firm is different. I had similar hour totals my first year as a corporate associate and got reamed out at my six month review for low hours. I had thought it was typical for first years, and obviously it is, but that doesn't mean your firm will be cool about it. The partners I worked for were total assholes though so take it FWIW.


Did they fire you?

Nah. Got another brutal review at the first year mark and left on my own shortly thereafter to take an in house role. I don't think OP has to worry about getting fired, but obviously they care about their reputation, and a bad review can stick with you for a long time and damage your working relationships at the firm.


That’s fair.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:33 pm

Corp first year anon from above:

Wow this worries me now. Moreso because of the free market system at my firm. I feel like it's a competition and I should be hustling super hard, randomly and awkwardly contacting everyone for work. I can't even relax because seems other first years are busy including my office mate, and that I will be at fault for having low hours. This really sucks. I don't want to be stealthed and was hoping to at least last a year and get a bonus.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby Danger Zone » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:00 pm

All you can do is keep asking. Also, if your goal is only "last at least one year," fear not. First years very rarely get fired and it would take more than low hours to be one of those unlucky few.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Still have no work in NYC lit biglaw - should I be worried or am I being ridiculous?

Postby deepseapartners » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Corp first year anon from above:

Wow this worries me now. Moreso because of the free market system at my firm. I feel like it's a competition and I should be hustling super hard, randomly and awkwardly contacting everyone for work. I can't even relax because seems other first years are busy including my office mate, and that I will be at fault for having low hours. This really sucks. I don't want to be stealthed and was hoping to at least last a year and get a bonus.

I’m going to guess that half the reason you are having trouble picking up work is because you think you have to do some uncomfortable and unnatural gymnastics to get work. If everyone else in corporate is relatively busy, you probably just need to sidle up into some midlevel’s office and appear mildly interested during the course of a regular conversation. As someone to whom “hustling” does not come naturally, I have found that acting curious about someone’s deal flow is basically all you need to at least start a working relationship with that person.



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