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How much ebb and flow in work is normal? Mid-size firm, civil lit. Some weeks are 40+ hours billed, but others are around 20. When should you start worrying?

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i’m in a similar position. i usually bill between 30-40 hours and have a 1950ish expectation. do you have a mentor you can talk to? i think it varies a lot by firm especially for first years as to whether they actually expect you to hit your hours requirement. my mentor always tells me not to worry too much as long as 1) i’m sending emails letting people know i’m available for work and 2) people come back to me after i’ve done work for them before.

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Unless the firm is slammed with work, this is largely affected by how partners / Sr Assocs treat you. I work with some partners that demand a one day turnaround, then ghost me for 4 days, — rinse, wash, repeat. This really screws up the flow, especially if I have a few partners doing that at once — as I don’t wanna reach out for more work bc I have a dark cloud of billables over my head that could burst at any moment.

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What month does your firm conduct reviews for evaluations/raises for associates? If it’s April and this is creating you to run short on your target, I’d worry. If it’s November, enjoy the down time while you have it. I always try to front load my early months (200+ hrs) so I can slack year end, but doesn’t always work that way (esp in lit). As long as you have time to make up the billables before annuals are held, enjoy it! Take a vacation now that you have a chance, which can also excuse a dip in a month. Seriously, litigation consists of endless waves or drowning. If you find yourself able to get out of the water (so to speak) for a few weeks, enjoy it bc I’m sure a litigation storm is brewing in the near future.

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Thanks. We're on January to December cycle so I guess it's a good month to enjoy the downtime while it lasts!

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What's your hourly requirement? Are there other associates who are fully utilized? Ebb and flow is normal, but when to start worrying often depends a lot on your position in the firm.

I had a 100-hour month in January and talked to a partner friend who said there were lots of others with that number or lower. Now it’s March and I’m pacing 200 hours. It’s a pretty normal ebb and flow in my experience

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I'm at a big firm, also in the same position hours wise and I think I'm screwed lol

If, for the 3rd out of a 6 week span, you find yourself wondering why you even came into the office because you have nothing to do...it’s time to worry. Unless it’s December. Then it’s time to take a vacation.

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