Current Corporate Associate @ V100

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Anonymous User
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Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:11 pm

Hey all,

I'm starting month six as a corporate associate in a major market. I mostly work with private equity funds in the middle market. I also work with emerging growth companies. Essentially, since November I've been extremely slow. Barely putting together 100 billable hour months. There's only two new corporate associates in my group and we've been experiencing the same problem. It was clear that December and January were very slow months for the firm. However, I'm really starting to worry about my hours. There's essentially no way I'll make it to 2000. We had our reviews in January and received great feedback on my work. All my interactions with my assigning partners has led me to believe its not my work product at issue. In fact, a notable partner in the bankruptcy group (who I had worked on a project for) attempted to recruit me to his group when he heard of my slowness (to no avail as head partner of corporate said no). Furthermore, there's evidence that the firm is struggling as we're starting to lose many attorneys (along with our revenue being down). Thus, taking everything above along with the evidence that the other junior in my group is slow, I really don't believe this has anything to do with me. However, I feel that I'm losing valuable time to learn as I'm not getting many assignments. There just aren't many big deals in my office. In short, what should I be doing? Should I be looking at exit opportunities come summer and I have one year of experience under my belt? I've been assured that I'll be getting more work when I raised these concerns with some partners. But nothing has come of it. All advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Anonymous User
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Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:41 pm

Do the midlevel associates say this is normal? Does your firm count pro bono towards billable hours? Are there opportunities to do projects for other groups (even if they won't let you formally switch)?

My advice is to continue to ask others for work and to keep pestering the partners. It sounds like it's a post-holiday lull, but it could be a number of other things (like partners are going to leave and wrapping things up). I'd brush up your resume. If you aren't going to make you bonus for absolute sure and you think the firm is having issues, you might as well jump ship. That said, people leave firms all the time and I'm not sure you've been there long enough to sense whether this is a bump in the road or things are really going downhill.

Wishing you a 235-hour month soon. GL.

Anonymous User
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Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do the midlevel associates say this is normal? Does your firm count pro bono towards billable hours? Are there opportunities to do projects for other groups (even if they won't let you formally switch)?

My advice is to continue to ask others for work and to keep pestering the partners. It sounds like it's a post-holiday lull, but it could be a number of other things (like partners are going to leave and wrapping things up). I'd brush up your resume. If you aren't going to make you bonus for absolute sure and you think the firm is having issues, you might as well jump ship. That said, people leave firms all the time and I'm not sure you've been there long enough to sense whether this is a bump in the road or things are really going downhill.

Wishing you a 235-hour month soon. GL.


OP here. Appreciate the advice. The midlevel's at my firm aren't the type I would have this conversation with (plus there's only 2, versus the twenty something partners we have...yes its a very weird ratio at my office). They two midlevels have told me they've been a little slow but they haven't opened up as to whether this is a post-holiday lull or if something is wrong (truthfully, I'm not sure they even know what's happening).

100 of our pro bono hours count towards billables (I've been taking advantage of this). We'll see what happens. I'm definitely brushing up the resume just in case. I'm using the time to try and land board positions and get involved in our bar (at least I can say I've been trying to do something to market myself).

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Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:17 pm

What market is this in?

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deepseapartners

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Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby deepseapartners » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:The midlevel's at my firm aren't the type I would have this conversation with (plus there's only 2, versus the twenty something partners we have...yes its a very weird ratio at my office). They two midlevels have told me they've been a little slow but they haven't opened up as to whether this is a post-holiday lull or if something is wrong (truthfully, I'm not sure they even know what's happening).

This makes absolutely no sense. Law firm economics don't work if you have double the amount of partners as you have juniors and midlevels combined.

spha12

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Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby spha12 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:42 am

deepseapartners wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The midlevel's at my firm aren't the type I would have this conversation with (plus there's only 2, versus the twenty something partners we have...yes its a very weird ratio at my office). They two midlevels have told me they've been a little slow but they haven't opened up as to whether this is a post-holiday lull or if something is wrong (truthfully, I'm not sure they even know what's happening).

This makes absolutely no sense. Law firm economics don't work if you have double the amount of partners as you have juniors and midlevels combined.


Depends on the practice. If it's trust and estates or labor & employment it actually does, for example.

Anonymous User
Posts: 314039
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey all,

I'm starting month six as a corporate associate in a major market. I mostly work with private equity funds in the middle market. I also work with emerging growth companies. Essentially, since November I've been extremely slow. Barely putting together 100 billable hour months. There's only two new corporate associates in my group and we've been experiencing the same problem. It was clear that December and January were very slow months for the firm. However, I'm really starting to worry about my hours. There's essentially no way I'll make it to 2000. We had our reviews in January and received great feedback on my work. All my interactions with my assigning partners has led me to believe its not my work product at issue. In fact, a notable partner in the bankruptcy group (who I had worked on a project for) attempted to recruit me to his group when he heard of my slowness (to no avail as head partner of corporate said no). Furthermore, there's evidence that the firm is struggling as we're starting to lose many attorneys (along with our revenue being down). Thus, taking everything above along with the evidence that the other junior in my group is slow, I really don't believe this has anything to do with me. However, I feel that I'm losing valuable time to learn as I'm not getting many assignments. There just aren't many big deals in my office. In short, what should I be doing? Should I be looking at exit opportunities come summer and I have one year of experience under my belt? I've been assured that I'll be getting more work when I raised these concerns with some partners. But nothing has come of it. All advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.



You're in a major market doing PE work. I'd look around. Other firms are busier.

Anonymous User
Posts: 314039
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:48 am

deepseapartners wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The midlevel's at my firm aren't the type I would have this conversation with (plus there's only 2, versus the twenty something partners we have...yes its a very weird ratio at my office). They two midlevels have told me they've been a little slow but they haven't opened up as to whether this is a post-holiday lull or if something is wrong (truthfully, I'm not sure they even know what's happening).

This makes absolutely no sense. Law firm economics don't work if you have double the amount of partners as you have juniors and midlevels combined.


I've seen plenty of firms like this - it's becoming more and more common in secondary markets, where firms try to operate on low-cost business models.

Anonymous User
Posts: 314039
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:54 am

deepseapartners wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The midlevel's at my firm aren't the type I would have this conversation with (plus there's only 2, versus the twenty something partners we have...yes its a very weird ratio at my office). They two midlevels have told me they've been a little slow but they haven't opened up as to whether this is a post-holiday lull or if something is wrong (truthfully, I'm not sure they even know what's happening).

This makes absolutely no sense. Law firm economics don't work if you have double the amount of partners as you have juniors and midlevels combined.


OP here. Well this is the case as odd as it may seem.

Anonymous User
Posts: 314039
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 28, 2018 4:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hey all,

I'm starting month six as a corporate associate in a major market. I mostly work with private equity funds in the middle market. I also work with emerging growth companies. Furthermore, there's evidence that the firm is struggling as we're starting to lose many attorneys (along with our revenue being down). Thus, taking everything above along with the evidence that the other junior in my group is slow, I really don't believe this has anything to do with me. There just aren't many big deals in my office. In short, what should I be doing? Should I be looking at exit opportunities come summer and I have one year of experience under my belt? I've been assured that I'll be getting more work when I raised these concerns with some partners. But nothing has come of it. All advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.


If you're at a Philly firm that rhymes with Schmepper, do anything you can to get out. It's _really_ not doing well--one of my best friends just left there as a partner and has seen the books. I had a somewhat similar experience as a junior corporate associate elsewhere, and you absolutely need to make it to your one year anniversary. The lateral market will open for you the following December-January. Do everything you can to get trained, even if you are not working. Read articles on corporatecounsel.net, watch CLE on PLI or Ambar Business Law section website, try to get your dealsheet as robust as possible. Read client alerts on bloomberglaw.

Do not bill for this, but spend more time reading the documents for the deals you are on. For instance, for your VC deals, see if you can take the termsheet, and identify where those terms were incorporated into the charter and NVCA primary docs. This is "shadow drafting." See how the language in the term sheet translated into drafted language in the docs. This will really help your skills, even if you're not the one doing the drafting.

Be very positive at work and continue to look for work in other offices. Be ruthless about pinging your staffers and saying that your office is slow and you are looking to build your skillset. Go to local bar events and network. Go to alumni events and network. Try to make friends with midlevels in other offices and they can offload some work to you. Prepare a deal sheet which describes the deals you worked on and what your role was. Make a conflicts list. Gather references from this and prior jobs (if any). Know that your time at this firm will be temporary and you are best positioned to be ready to lateral the moment you can, which is likely in September or so.

Do not have any sort of misguided loyalty to your firm. If they are not training you or staffing you, you do not want to fall behind and you do need to move elsewhere.

If you are in Boston, post that here and I will post HH recs. I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 314039
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Current Corporate Associate @ V100

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hey all,

I'm starting month six as a corporate associate in a major market. I mostly work with private equity funds in the middle market. I also work with emerging growth companies. Furthermore, there's evidence that the firm is struggling as we're starting to lose many attorneys (along with our revenue being down). Thus, taking everything above along with the evidence that the other junior in my group is slow, I really don't believe this has anything to do with me. There just aren't many big deals in my office. In short, what should I be doing? Should I be looking at exit opportunities come summer and I have one year of experience under my belt? I've been assured that I'll be getting more work when I raised these concerns with some partners. But nothing has come of it. All advice would be appreciated.

Thanks.


If you're at a Philly firm that rhymes with Schmepper, do anything you can to get out. It's _really_ not doing well--one of my best friends just left there as a partner and has seen the books. I had a somewhat similar experience as a junior corporate associate elsewhere, and you absolutely need to make it to your one year anniversary. The lateral market will open for you the following December-January. Do everything you can to get trained, even if you are not working. Read articles on corporatecounsel.net, watch CLE on PLI or Ambar Business Law section website, try to get your dealsheet as robust as possible. Read client alerts on bloomberglaw.

Do not bill for this, but spend more time reading the documents for the deals you are on. For instance, for your VC deals, see if you can take the termsheet, and identify where those terms were incorporated into the charter and NVCA primary docs. This is "shadow drafting." See how the language in the term sheet translated into drafted language in the docs. This will really help your skills, even if you're not the one doing the drafting.

Be very positive at work and continue to look for work in other offices. Be ruthless about pinging your staffers and saying that your office is slow and you are looking to build your skillset. Go to local bar events and network. Go to alumni events and network. Try to make friends with midlevels in other offices and they can offload some work to you. Prepare a deal sheet which describes the deals you worked on and what your role was. Make a conflicts list. Gather references from this and prior jobs (if any). Know that your time at this firm will be temporary and you are best positioned to be ready to lateral the moment you can, which is likely in September or so.

Do not have any sort of misguided loyalty to your firm. If they are not training you or staffing you, you do not want to fall behind and you do need to move elsewhere.

If you are in Boston, post that here and I will post HH recs. I wish you the best of luck.


OP here. Very helpful insight from you! Thanks again.



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