4th year. Happy to do billable work but hate firm socials, recruitment, all the extra circular stuff. Apart from impacting my chances of making partner, can I get into trouble for not participating with the firm stuff?

likehelpful
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This may be controversial but by refusing to do any of this you’re being a jerk. Helping out with recruiting, mentoring and social events are all part of our job description as big law attorneys. Please consider that you may have the freedom to say no to these things but many do not because they are expected to help more (I.e. women and POC). We all have a lot of billable work. Fine to not go to all the social events but by wholesale not doing anything you’re not pulling your weight.

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If you’re in big law and a big office, as long as you’re billing no one will care. If you were in a small office then avoid all the social stuff might cause some issues but even then I would think as long as you bill and do good work ppl won’t care

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Agree with this. Think you can be a bit more thoughtful about it too. Go to stuff that partners that are relevant to your career attend but otherwise skip it unless you are specifically asked to attend on an individual basis.

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I like working with people who like working with me. If I have the choice between someone who seemingly avoids me and gives the impression that they do not want to be a part of this firm and someone who does, I am going to go with the latter.

likefunny

And if you do all that stuff but skimp on explicit events honestly whatever probs doesnt even matter for partner

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I actually love this attitude. If more people did what you want to do, it would be so easy for me to decide where to spend all the effort I put into the professional development of the associates on my team.

By not attending you tell me you have no interest in a future with the firm. So, I can focus my time and effort on others where my opportunity for return on my investment is higher.

Also, as an added benefit, I can give others the best assignments that offer the best potential for learning. And, when I have an assignment on Thursday that is going to ruin someone's weekend, I would know how to assign it without upsetting an associate who wants a future with my firm.

Please spread the word about your new found wisdom.

likefunny

@EP1 then I assume that you allow ample recruitment/diversity/social gathering hours to go towards associates' bonus then, right?

If yes, then awesome and I agree with you.

If you allow less than 100 hours, then shut it and/or reevaluate your perspective.

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Think about how this will impact your ability to effectively delegate. Juniors more likely to respond to those they have a friendly relationship with, right? Delegating is not just about making partner but it’s also about freeing up your time to take on more complex tasks. If you go in house it is also a key competency to have.

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Skipping absolutely everything can be a problem. As silly as it sounds, people forget about you if you never show up for anything. And they can interpret distance in negative ways.

But, there's no need to do everything. I found that being involved in recruitment and mentoring had 0 professional pay-off, although I actually liked mentoring. But definitely attend some firm/department events, and some client stuff, if you're getting invited. Just try to find a good balance. It should be a once in a while thing, not all the time.

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I lateraled partially because of this. Essentially, the female junior and midlevel associates were expected to spend a couple hundred hours annually on recruiting, training new associates, planning social events, and other non-billable functions. All of the above was also micromanaged. The male associates did not have this additional burden and could just bill.

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That's very bad. Embarrassing for your firm.

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You’re not going to get “in trouble” but it does send a vibe that you’re not interested in the firm longterm. Maybe that’s OK with you. We have folks who live farther away, have young kids etc who barely come to events, and we have others who participate heavily, show up to most lunches, happy hours, summer events etc., and folks in between. Personally I find life/work isolating enough as it is and I need to make some human connection with my colleagues to stay motivated. It really does pay off, e.g., all the juniors want to work with me not only because I take the time to explain stuff but we’re actually friends. And let me tell you it is exhausting having to constantly train new 1st/2nd years and they just leave the firm within a couple years and I have to do it all over again. If I can be part of creating a better, more supportive and friendly office culture it makes them want to stick around longer and helps everyone including me. I also like being part of recruiting because the juniors end up working with/for me so yes, please do ask me for my opinion.

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💯

You won’t get in trouble so long as you do your work well and hit hours, but it will definitely reduce your chances of making partner (which it sounds like you’re fine with).

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P1: Sorry. I missed those facts in the original post.

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All good! I’m constantly fighting the battle between the partners that expect associates to dedicate every second of their lives to the firm and the associates (especially the newest classes) that are overreacting to this with their own toxic attitudes of ignoring emails, refusing to work weekends, not being a team player, etc. Just trying to find a happy medium where we can all make lots of money and enjoy our lives a bit :)

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You could do this, but it seems like a poor strategic move.

For those above you, you miss out on opportunities to interact with them in a non-social setting. Also, social settings are where Partners can evaluate your social skill re: Business Development.

For those below you, juniors most loyal to those that they know and like. While it missing a casual dinner is ok, it isn’t ok to (A) dump your pro rata share of the recruiting burden on others without justification; and (B) not to invest in junior development. Juniors will resist working with you and may not put out best efforts if that is the case.

Your job isn’t just to be a unit of production. Further, when you are up for Partner, you’ll need existing Partners to advocate for you. If only a couple know you (and only know you for drafting skill or whatever), then you could very well be passed over for Partner.

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Just do less billable work.

If your firm allows some of these hours to go towards your bonus threshold, then you really should go. If not, f'em.

Depends on the firm. Being a good “firm citizen” is required in a lot of places. You won’t get fired for not doing it, but you won’t be well regarded either. YMMV on how much or how little this matters.

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