Bored Lateral in Busy Group

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Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:14 am

About two months ago I lateraled as a fourth-year into a practice group with a very consistent and relatively heavy workload (fewer fire drills than, e.g., M&A, but less downtime as well). All of the other associates in the group are slammed, typically in the office 8-8 or longer (and not just performatively so), while I have yet to get staffed on enough work to even consistently bill 40 hours/week and typically leave by 6 simply for lack of a reason not to. It doesn't seem like there is a lot of work hoarding going on--I think I'm doing a pretty good job of asking around and colleagues are typically happy to share discrete tasks--everyone is just more familiar with the current clients and their needs and there is not enough headroom to bring in new clients. Whenever I talk to anyone about it, they seem understanding, but I am definitely starting to sense some resentment from people who see me leaving the office before they have even started to contemplate doing so. Any tips?

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:26 am

Underwent a similar set of circumstances, and I should have learned faster. Frankly, if leaving at 6 seems like it's a problem, then you probably need to stay later and look like you're "enthusiastic" about working, whether or not others' feelings are justified. This matters for my group, which does not care about facetime (really), and it seems like your group does.

Npret

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Npret » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:34 am

I would be irritated by the new guy leaving hours before I do. You need to get more work.

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:48 pm

Npret wrote:I would be irritated by the new guy leaving hours before I do. You need to get more work.

OP here. What am I supposed to do if no one gives me work even when I'm asking for it, though? Not to go all entitled millennial (though I think that stereotype doesn't apply when I'm actually begging *to* work) but how desperate do I really need to act before it becomes the firm's fault for hiring someone they can't manage to deploy properly? Obviously that doesn't help my reputation in the firm or my career out of it, but I feel like there's only so much I can be responsible for here...

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Npret wrote:I would be irritated by the new guy leaving hours before I do. You need to get more work.

OP here. What am I supposed to do if no one gives me work even when I'm asking for it, though? Not to go all entitled millennial (though I think that stereotype doesn't apply when I'm actually begging *to* work) but how desperate do I really need to act before it becomes the firm's fault for hiring someone they can't manage to deploy properly? Obviously that doesn't help my reputation in the firm or my career out of it, but I feel like there's only so much I can be responsible for here...


OP, I 100% feel your pain. If you are routinely going around, asking for work, advertising your availability and not turning work down, you're doing what you can do (unless they expect you to go bring new clients to the firm). I would maybe stay til 630ish, but the other associates have no right to complain about you leaving then if the partners aren't giving you more work. Those associates would also be the first to complain if you started getting too much work and they were slow. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for laterals. I wouldn't sweat it too much - sometimes it takes almost a year for you to get fully integrated.

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby QContinuum » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Underwent a similar set of circumstances, and I should have learned faster. Frankly, if leaving at 6 seems like it's a problem, then you probably need to stay later and look like you're "enthusiastic" about working, whether or not others' feelings are justified. This matters for my group, which does not care about facetime (really), and it seems like your group does.


Seconding this. Even though they shouldn't, appearances do count. I'd recommend OP stay in the office 'til at least 7, even if s/he has nothing to do besides read the news.

Staying later may also actually be helpful - sometimes things blow up late, and if OP's still at his/her desk, they may be asked to pitch in. Much easier to rope in someone in person than over the phone (especially a less-familiar face, like OP).

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:17 pm

Meh, I disagree about the advice in this thread. Had a similar experience (4th year lateral) when I started, but now am at the one year mark and the past few months have been 200-250 hours. If others at your level/more junior seem disgruntled, then whatever. If senior associates are that way, then I'd make more of an effort. Basically you just have to prove yourself to the people who can give you work. Sitting around until 7 isn't going to solve anything by itself.

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:01 pm

I feel the same. The team seems to be busy for the most part but I’m only on pace for around 1500 hours.

I reach out to other members of the team and just read ESPN while waiting for work.

I think I get screwed a bit because the team was busy before me, but not busy enough to have another associate bill 2000 hours.

I am considering leaving at the end of the year (3rd year) if things don’t pick up. An associate in another group left after 6 months because she had the same problem as me (lateraled in from a different market after 4 years, group she entered slowed down, then she left asap).

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:58 pm

This was my position . . . it's not great. Best case scenario you miss your bonus, worst case scenario you're getting a talk at your next review. I've managed to ride the roller coaster for a couple of years now, but the group has never been as consistently busy as it was when I interviewed for the role (which to this day remains the group's by far most profitable year on record).

I will say that lateralling again can be kind of tough. I've picked up a few interviews along the way and firms in general are much more skeptical about your second jump than your first.

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Re: Bored Lateral in Busy Group

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:34 pm

I had a similar experience upon lateraling to my current firm. I will say it got better after about 6 months. I may still miss my bonus, but I'm now consistently billing 200 hours per month. You need to just get on a few projects, do them well, and the partner will want to come back to you with more work. For me, that meant waiting it out until a partner had too many deals at once and his usual juniors were too swamped. I was asked to come aboard, did a good job, and now am working on multiple deals for that partner. Same thing has happened with a few of the other partners/word has gotten around that I am reliable. It just takes time. I don't think staying until an arbitrary hour of the day will help with anything.



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