{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Having my performance review soon. Have not met my billable hours last year due to lack of work. I have been very proactive and constantly emailed partners to inquire about more work. I will be a 4 year associate this year. Thinking to negotiate my level/compensation. Any advise?", "post_id": "603004693ba1b4002415643f", "reply_count": 19, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law" }

Having my performance review soon. Have not met my billable hours last year due to lack of work. I have been very proactive and constantly emailed partners to inquire about more work. I will be a 4 year associate this year. Thinking to negotiate my level/compensation. Any advise?

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Are you saying that you’re planning on asking for a raise but you didn’t meet your minimum billable hour requirement?

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Thank you

I asked for a raise this year and got one. Here are some things to consider: What would it cost to replace you? What salary could you get if you jumped ship? They’re going to want to know why they should pay more to keep you even when they don’t have enough work to give you as it is. I could see this as coming across a little done deaf if not approached the right way and hurt your reputation in the firm long term. See what you can find out about the company’s financial situation. Have they let other associates go? Did any partners take a pay cut? Maybe, you can phrase it as “what would I need to do to earn a raise.” Let them tell you, do that stuff and then revisit in 6 months when more firms are financially stable hopefully.

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Thank you!

Agree with A1. Not saying you’re not a good employee trying your best and delivering well on what’s given to you, but raises have to make sense for the firm. Asking for one when the firm clearly doesn’t have enough work to fully support your position may come across as tone deaf and make them think about whether it’s worth keeping you on at all. If you think you’re severely underpaid even with the context of lower billables, maybe then raise it. Having had higher offers is a sign you are underpaid, but you let that job go so its less convincing as leverage now although maybe still worth mentioning. Keep in mind that even when partners are very nice to you, they are still your boss and operate first with their best interests in mind and may or may not care about your best interests if they can help you without hurting themselves too much. Also keep in mind that the partners in your practice group may think you’re great, but a decision like raises has to be justified by them to the overall firm, who may or may not think you’re great, but no matter what are probably irritated with your partners for having a slow year when they had a busy year and they and their associates are overworked but may not be making more money than your group for the privilege. It’s the nature of law firms - busy groups have to help slow groups stay afloat in some years, and in theory the favor is returned in other years when the roles of the groups are switched. But there still tends to be a lot of bitterness about it. If you want to raise it, raise it, but hopefully having this context in mind will be helpful.

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Is business origination expected of you OP? I’m not at the firm I’m referring to anymore but I was underpaid and told I was a horrible closer/converter of consultations into clients (only clients who didn’t retain just didn’t have the money). But it’s a numbers game. I worked my ass off but was constantly told that my practice area wasn’t generating enough to justify paying me more. At my new firm, my pay increased 30% in 6 months without me asking (partner just increased my pay) based on my work ethic. And despite the fact that we’re slow, I haven’t had my pay reduced back to the original salary. At my new firm, I’m doing the same amount, actually maybe more, conversion in terms of being retained as a result of the consult.

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