How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

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How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:06 am

I’m getting a weird vibe at work and can’t tell if I’m just being crazy. My hours are fine (averaging 200ish through March) and I’ve had virtually no feedback positive or negative. I believe I write well and my most recent piece was filed with very minor edits from the lead attorney. I know I make very minor mistakes but they are usually inconsequential typos and the like.

So am I being crazy? What are the signals?

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by objctnyrhnr » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:I’m getting a weird vibe at work and can’t tell if I’m just being crazy. My hours are fine (averaging 200ish through March) and I’ve had virtually no feedback positive or negative. I believe I write well and my most recent piece was filed with very minor edits from the lead attorney. I know I make very minor mistakes but they are usually inconsequential typos and the like.

So am I being crazy? What are the signals?
Typos need to be absolutely minimized. Find a support staffer you like and trust and have them read every client email and every memo. Every time.

What year are you? What specifically makes you think you’re being pushed out?

I mean yes typos are not ideal, but what’s really going on there? Are you just longing for positive feedback?

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by NoLongerALurker » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:27 am

What year are you?

2013

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by 2013 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:31 am

If you have typos as a first year, it’s not ideal.

If you have typos as a midlevel, the partner probably wants you gone.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:32 am

objctnyrhnr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I’m getting a weird vibe at work and can’t tell if I’m just being crazy. My hours are fine (averaging 200ish through March) and I’ve had virtually no feedback positive or negative. I believe I write well and my most recent piece was filed with very minor edits from the lead attorney. I know I make very minor mistakes but they are usually inconsequential typos and the like.

So am I being crazy? What are the signals?
Typos need to be absolutely minimized. Find a support staffer you like and trust and have them read every client email and every memo. Every time.

What year are you? What specifically makes you think you’re being pushed out?

I mean yes typos are not ideal, but what’s really going on there? Are you just longing for positive feedback?
I’m a third year and I have no specific reason for my belief other than seemingly shifty eyes by everyone around me. Perhaps I’m being paranoid for no reason. Perhaps it’s the lack of feedback in general. I had a career prior to law and always knew where I stood. I guess I just wish it were the same here.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by papermateflair » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
objctnyrhnr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I’m getting a weird vibe at work and can’t tell if I’m just being crazy. My hours are fine (averaging 200ish through March) and I’ve had virtually no feedback positive or negative. I believe I write well and my most recent piece was filed with very minor edits from the lead attorney. I know I make very minor mistakes but they are usually inconsequential typos and the like.

So am I being crazy? What are the signals?
Typos need to be absolutely minimized. Find a support staffer you like and trust and have them read every client email and every memo. Every time.

What year are you? What specifically makes you think you’re being pushed out?

I mean yes typos are not ideal, but what’s really going on there? Are you just longing for positive feedback?
I’m a third year and I have no specific reason for my belief other than seemingly shifty eyes by everyone around me. Perhaps I’m being paranoid for no reason. Perhaps it’s the lack of feedback in general. I had a career prior to law and always knew where I stood. I guess I just wish it were the same here.
How/when was your most recent review? Has anything changed other than the "shifty eyes" - have partners stopped giving you work, stopped talking to you, etc.? Sometimes the partners I work for don't talk to me for a couple of weeks (other than emails), so really just some partners aren't interested/don't have time to do the day to day, project by project feedback that you would get in other industries. But if the people you work for USED to give you feedback and have suddenly stopped...I might be concerned.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Npret » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:02 am

Typos aren’t inconsequential mistakes. If you are still making typos you may be making other errors as well.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:04 am

Received my review in December and got “meets” or “exceeds” in every category. If anything, I feel like I am suddenly getting new work from places I don’t usually get it. It’s almost as if I’m being tested.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Npret » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:Received my review in December and got “meets” or “exceeds” in every category. If anything, I feel like I am suddenly getting new work from places I don’t usually get it. It’s almost as if I’m being tested.
You just said you had no feedback. Now it’s all positive at review and you’re getting work from other places.

If you’re that worried ask someone you trust. What you’re posting is inconsistent.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:14 am

Npret wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Received my review in December and got “meets” or “exceeds” in every category. If anything, I feel like I am suddenly getting new work from places I don’t usually get it. It’s almost as if I’m being tested.
You just said you had no feedback. Now it’s all positive at review and you’re getting work from other places.

If you’re that worried ask someone you trust. What you’re posting is inconsistent.
I disagree. A review handed out in December and written in October is not indicative of my position in March of the following year. New work/new places is strange to me and feels like a sham. Again, maybe I am being paranoid but it’s not a great feeling.

Ultimately, I think your advice is well taken though. I will ask someone in my group and perhaps they can provide some clarity to my situation.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by QContinuum » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:46 am

Generally when folks get pushed out of BigLaw, the first thing that goes is their hours. They stop getting work, they start missing their hours, they get counseled out. If you're still plenty busy, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

(Though I agree with the other posters ITT who've noted, correctly, that typos are actually a big deal and you gotta fix it.)

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by nixy » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Received my review in December and got “meets” or “exceeds” in every category. If anything, I feel like I am suddenly getting new work from places I don’t usually get it. It’s almost as if I’m being tested.
Are you sure it’s not just imposter syndrome talking?

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by yost » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:09 pm

2013 wrote:If you have typos as a first year, it’s not ideal.

If you have typos as a midlevel, the partner probably wants you gone.
What practice area are you in that occasional typos are treated this way? Honest question.

In litigation, typos are usually legally inconsequential. In contractual practice areas, I imagine typos can be hugely consequential depending on the context. I'm in a third, high-volume practice area where typos are mostly inconsequential and pretty hard to avoid considering the amount of written work product we generate.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by papermateflair » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:19 pm

If your firm does annual reviews in October/December, then odds are you aren't getting fired soon anyway - like, maybe someone will start laying the groundwork to get rid of you at your next review, but unless you screw something up, you're not getting fired before then, and you likely have until, I don't know, mid-year 2020 or even fall 2020 before you actually get "fired."

Also if you're billing 200 hours a month consistently, is there even capacity in your team to step in and cover all that work if the partners want you out? If not (and the whole group is busy), then again, unless you really screw something up, it would probably make everyone's lives worse if you get fired, and frankly partners don't want to make additional work for themselves if they don't have to. I'm not sure why getting more work from other sources is a sign to you that things are going wrong, unless the partners you previously worked for have stopped giving you work and now you're getting work from new people stepping in (perhaps trying to low key change your specialty or something).

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:55 pm

I've been fired twice and both times my spidey-senses told me to worry and that things were off but I ignored them.

One time I was billing nothing as a junior another time I was billing well over 2000.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Yugihoe » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've been fired twice and both times my spidey-senses told me to worry and that things were off but I ignored them.

One time I was billing nothing as a junior another time I was billing well over 2000.
1. What were signs, looking back in hindsight, that you ignored (aka what was triggering your spidey senses).

2. DO you know what went wrong the time you were billing over 2k hours? What class year were you?

3. Are you corp or litigation?

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:12 pm

Yugihoe wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've been fired twice and both times my spidey-senses told me to worry and that things were off but I ignored them.

One time I was billing nothing as a junior another time I was billing well over 2000.
1. What were signs, looking back in hindsight, that you ignored (aka what was triggering your spidey senses).

2. DO you know what went wrong the time you were billing over 2k hours? What class year were you?

3. Are you corp or litigation?

1st firm was obvious looking back. Wasn’t getting any work and work I was getting was the absolute shittiest one off assignments. Got pulled off a deal or two. Assignment coordinator “checked in on me”. But nobody said anything good or negative.

Second time was more subtle. One guy barely acknowledged me in hallways. Managing partner was one of 3 reviewers in my review. A few partners started treating me like shit (if they want you out they don’t care about your feelings and are most likely naturally an asshole). But overall slowly a bit weird vibe. Maybe a weird assignment or two. But was still on plenty of deals and billing. Was a bit ago and already started at new gig.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Yugihoe » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Yugihoe wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've been fired twice and both times my spidey-senses told me to worry and that things were off but I ignored them.

One time I was billing nothing as a junior another time I was billing well over 2000.
1. What were signs, looking back in hindsight, that you ignored (aka what was triggering your spidey senses).

2. DO you know what went wrong the time you were billing over 2k hours? What class year were you?

3. Are you corp or litigation?

1st firm was obvious looking back. Wasn’t getting any work and work I was getting was the absolute shittiest one off assignments. Got pulled off a deal or two. Assignment coordinator “checked in on me”. But nobody said anything good or negative.

Second time was more subtle. One guy barely acknowledged me in hallways. Managing partner was one of 3 reviewers in my review. A few partners started treating me like shit (if they want you out they don’t care about your feelings and are most likely naturally an asshole). But overall slowly a bit weird vibe. Maybe a weird assignment or two. But was still on plenty of deals and billing. Was a bit ago and already started at new gig.
Why do you think it was? Doesn't seem like it was because of low hours or that they didn't have enough work for you. Glad you landed on your feet though. Thought getting shitty assignments (in corporate) was a normal thing.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Person1111 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:16 pm

yost wrote:
2013 wrote:If you have typos as a first year, it’s not ideal.

If you have typos as a midlevel, the partner probably wants you gone.
What practice area are you in that occasional typos are treated this way? Honest question.

In litigation, typos are usually legally inconsequential. In contractual practice areas, I imagine typos can be hugely consequential depending on the context. I'm in a third, high-volume practice area where typos are mostly inconsequential and pretty hard to avoid considering the amount of written work product we generate.
Agreed. Typos are annoying to every partner (and people have vastly different views about how important they are), but among litigators they are often inconsequential and forgivable, particularly in internal/interim work product and particularly if you are otherwise good/trusted. You don't want to look like you didn't even bother to check for typos or that you can't write, but they're not remotely close to fireable offenses unless there's something else wrong with you/your work.

ETA: In litigation, here are things that can often get you fired or compel a partner never to work with you again: (1) bad research (not spotting an important issue, getting the law wrong, missing a key case; generally not being able to find a needle in a haystack is not a huge deal); (2) big-picture discovery mistakes (e.g., producing a bunch of really bad privileged documents, doing something that gets your firm or the client sanctioned, etc.); (3) doing something that makes a partner's life materially harder (inadequate deposition prep is a really common/good example); (4) blowing, or coming close to blowing, a court-imposed deadline; (5) really bad writing. For most partner, typos do not come close to ruining a relationship, particularly if you are otherwise liked/trusted.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by tsmcdona » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:44 pm

Jesus this thread is making me nervous right before I start my first firm job.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:52 am

yost wrote:
2013 wrote:If you have typos as a first year, it’s not ideal.

If you have typos as a midlevel, the partner probably wants you gone.
What practice area are you in that occasional typos are treated this way? Honest question.

In litigation, typos are usually legally inconsequential. In contractual practice areas, I imagine typos can be hugely consequential depending on the context. I'm in a third, high-volume practice area where typos are mostly inconsequential and pretty hard to avoid considering the amount of written work product we generate.
I had the same reaction to all this worry about typos. Seems insane to me that anyone would get this worked up about what are, almost by definition, non-substantive issues. I'm in corporate work and frankly every major agreement I have seen has at least a few typos. I've also seen similar threads on TLS acting like your work even as a junior needs to be perfect and that you should never make the same mistake twice or else you'll be instantly canned - that could not be further from my experience. Maybe less true in capital markets where docs are being publicly filed more often though?

I think I am (from reviews and just personal interactions) a highly-regarded mid-level and still most things I get back from partners have substantial edits and a few typos fixed. Partners (and most clients) would much rather get their work done in 2 hours and efficiently close a transaction than have a junior spend 10 hours reading an agreement over 6 times just to make sure "the" isn't doubled up. I will say as a PSA that I am talking about true typos; writing $100,000,000 when it should be $10,000,000 is NOT a typo in my book (though even that is almost never getting you fired by itself).

Anon because I don't want to out my firm as apparently very lax on typos.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by toast and bananas » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
yost wrote:
2013 wrote:If you have typos as a first year, it’s not ideal.

If you have typos as a midlevel, the partner probably wants you gone.
What practice area are you in that occasional typos are treated this way? Honest question.

In litigation, typos are usually legally inconsequential. In contractual practice areas, I imagine typos can be hugely consequential depending on the context. I'm in a third, high-volume practice area where typos are mostly inconsequential and pretty hard to avoid considering the amount of written work product we generate.
I had the same reaction to all this worry about typos. Seems insane to me that anyone would get this worked up about what are, almost by definition, non-substantive issues. I'm in corporate work and frankly every major agreement I have seen has at least a few typos. I've also seen similar threads on TLS acting like your work even as a junior needs to be perfect and that you should never make the same mistake twice or else you'll be instantly canned - that could not be further from my experience. Maybe less true in capital markets where docs are being publicly filed more often though?

I think I am (from reviews and just personal interactions) a highly-regarded mid-level and still most things I get back from partners have substantial edits and a few typos fixed. Partners (and most clients) would much rather get their work done in 2 hours and efficiently close a transaction than have a junior spend 10 hours reading an agreement over 6 times just to make sure "the" isn't doubled up. I will say as a PSA that I am talking about true typos; writing $100,000,000 when it should be $10,000,000 is NOT a typo in my book (though even that is almost never getting you fired by itself).

Anon because I don't want to out my firm as apparently very lax on typos.
I agree with all of this. Typos happen in literally every document longer than a few pages and it doesn't seem to be a big deal, especially if that's the only thing wrong with it. If a mid-level/senior/partner can give you an assignment and their only comment is to fix a few typos here and there, in my opinion you crushed it. I do M&A and CAPM work and typos happen in publicly filed documents all the time, and I get drafts from "V5" firms with typos in them regularly. No one cares unless the error is something consequential and doesn't compare to blowing a filing deadline or the like. Not to mention quick-turn deadlines are a thing and make it impossible to catch everything.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Neff » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:35 pm

The responses in this thread are insane. I feel like TLS consists of the most neurotic, deranged, OCD quartile of lawyers. I feel sorry for all of you.

I make typos all the time and I couldn’t care less. I’ll eat my shorts if I get fired for it. Lol.

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:47 pm

1st year mid-law litigation here. A partner gave me shit for typos for a research memo (which in itself I think it useless/waste of time). For example, an auto correct changed "interrogatories" to "interrogations." I only proofread it once, and it's something you read over.

He lectured me on how people/courts make decisions about the quality of arguments based on the care in which memos received are proofed.

Perhaps it was for my own good. As a new lawyer, starting off on the right foot, with the right habits, is probably good. Now I'm extremely cautious on all my memos. I take the extra 10 min to print it out and read it with a pen.

When I take a step back, however, I still think it's bull. It's extremely likely he just wants me to spend extra time billing the client. Then again, there are some partners here that don't even read my memos. I guess I prefer the former.

Is it consequential? Definitely not. Was it helpful to start off on the right foot though? maybe...

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Re: How to tell if you’re getting fired from biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:19 pm

Like others are saying, for my firm, the earlier posters were overstating the significance of typos. However, I will say that in my experience people who make more typos (no one makes zero) also tend to be more likely to make a mistake regarding substantive issues. Generally going slower and thinking things through greatly improves your performance as an attorney in my opinion.

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