{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am a third year and I set really strict boundaries. I make it a practice to not worry about work. I’m always available when I need to be but I NEVER ask for work and I never hit billables (although I’m at a firm w guaranteed bonus). Even when I’m at 0 hours for a week straight I won’t ask for work. Does anyone else do this?\nFWIW I’ve gotten good reviews/like the people I work w and I think they like me.", "post_id": "6273419c499e88002595aa49", "reply_count": 89, "vote_count": 46, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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I am a third year and I set really strict boundaries. I make it a practice to not worry about work. I’m always available when I need to be but I NEVER ask for work and I never hit billables (although I’m at a firm w guaranteed bonus). Even when I’m at 0 hours for a week straight I won’t ask for work. Does anyone else do this?
FWIW I’ve gotten good reviews/like the people I work w and I think they like me.

likefunny
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Thanks for posting. I don’t ever do zero hours unless on vacation, but I’m trying to commit to not caring about hours; I do still ask for work because I like to be productive. But I try to approach it as if something needs to get done I’ll do it, but I’m not gonna pick up work after 7 pm just because I have low billables. And if some days I’m tired and feel slow I’m billing less, and sometimes the work is soooo boring. My firm gives you a monthly report of hours and how much you need to bill a month to stay on track, and it’s just toxic for me. I know I’m good for my level and I’m just gonna chug along and this post validates that.

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At most large firms there is someone keeping track of how busy associates are and assigning the slow people more work. So there is really no need to proactively ask for more work. You might want to just because you may be able ask for something you want rather than whatever they decide to give you. I have only asked for work a handful of times and never had any problems. I hit my hours but never go much above the bonus threshold. I’m now a very senior associate and I credit my survival this long to having this mentality.

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You should not do this. Setting boundaries is fine and you can stick to the man if you want to, but if you have nothing to do then you should ask for work. Your firm may have a guaranteed bonus, but I bet they don’t have guaranteed employment. If it’s between you and someone that is (or they perceive to be) a harder worker because they ask for work, who would you keep? Do you, but asking for work and setting boundaries are not mutually exclusive.

likefunnysmart

A18, I’m at a firm that prides itself on never doing recession layoffs. That doesn’t mean we never do layoffs. People do get counseled out for poor performance which would definitely include crazy low hours when everyone else is super busy. Low hours when everyone else has low hours is ok. (By low, I only mean like way below the standard biglaw requirement of 2k.)

Sounds like you’ve got a good thing going. Carry on.

likefunny

I was in the exact same situation and pulled this off for 6 years. Got pushed out in the end. But it all worked out great. Got three month paid vacation to look for a job and market was hot and lateraled for a huge signing bonus. But market is cooling now and maybe worse so be careful.

likehelpful

So you lateraled this past year?

To each their own but you are my nightmare potential lateral hire. Figuring someone must have worked their butt off coming from firm X, only to find out they coasted under the radar never making hours and having 20 week hours once they’ve been hired.

likesmartfunny

Lot of people interview without wanting their firm to know. It’s unethical to share without someone from their firm that they are interviewing.

smart

I do this. Starting to get the talk. Will lateral soon

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You're getting the talk as a second year? Wow.

likefunny

Kind of sounds like you’re bragging that you’ve beat the system, but that’s really not how this works. You’re treading on a dangerous wire.

likesmartfunny

Plenty

Don’t listen to these bozos - keep on doing this. They just mad they don’t have the balls to do this. Life is short - take the money and be happy

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I would have thought I wrote this lmao. I love how lawyers who’ve been in this profession too long get so upset that ppl can get paid and not be a slave to this profession due to remote work.

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Lmao A16 that’s probably one of the funniest things I’ve read on here hands down

I did this. Firm was big enough that people just forgot about me. I loved life but didn’t learn anything for a couple years.

likeuplifting

I pulled this off for 7 years. Save up your money.

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Ok to clarify - 0 hours is obviously very low and uncommon. I just mean if I have a couple of weeks at 20-25 hours I am not asking for work. It’s not frequent that I have a week w less than 50 billables but if I do I don’t ask for work

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A22 loll no, they just did really impressive work. Also, they never were dead slow for that long of a period (maybe a slow couple weeks or month here and there, but never a ridiculous slow year) but their advice was basically that partners see everyone’s hours, they know who is slow. And if they want someone to pick it up, they’ll let them know.

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Leveraged real estate in 2003-07: great
2008: Ruination

(Excessive or unreasonable) boundaries, not asking for work if not doing anything, especially at firm with no bonus min in 2011-2022, especially 2020-22: great

(Excessive or unreasonable) boundaries, not asking for work if not doing anything, especially at firm with no bonus min in late 2022 onward: we’ll see

likesmartfunny

Meh. Not a great analogy tbh. Pls fix thx.

likefunny

Are you concerned about learning things? If you don’t do any work, I don’t think you will learn much.

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Also the B- associate may not get their bonus, but they also will have extra years to live because they’re not as stressed. Perspective people - the industry is changing and as the first year of gen z attorneys I think some older generations are going to throw hissy fits when we don’t give our life to a company.

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Milk your deals/cases for all the experiences that you can. I’m not talking about hours but volunteer for substantive experiences such as running calls, leading negotiations, etc. on the deals that you’re on, so your partners can be hands off on your cases. Makes it less likely you’ll get axed, and when you lateral, you’ll be going in with the requisite skills.

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I did this until I went in house!! Live your life. You don’t need to go crazy to learn stuff & do well

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Boundaries are one thing, but never asking for work and never hitting hours is another, and not wise. You clearly don’t want to make partner, but unless you’re ready to exit big law soon, you should rethink. A firm won’t tolerate this for long, and you can go to another, but if you do it there too, it’ll be hard to find a third.

likesmart

The industry is incredibly small and people's reputations spread very quickly. You might get away with it as a junior and in a hot market.

Can't stay a junior forever and the market is cooling off quite rapidly, so the caution should be heeded.

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I think it depends what the expectation of the partners is in your group is. I’m also at a firm with a guaranteed bonus and the partners don’t care how much we bill as long as we get all the work done we need to when we are busy. If there is centralized tracking you don’t need to ask for work because they are tracking your hours. Enjoy the downtime.

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I assume you are using the firm to pay your loans and then are going to do something else. No way you can make partner.

likesmart

All the boomers replying that you need to work harder are just corporate cogs. Game the system - as people have said you’re replaceable and probably mean nothing to the firm. I do this too to an extent and the benefits to my mental health have been astronomical. Don’t slave for a company that has developed one of the most toxic work environments with one of the highest levels of substance abuse.

Rant fin.

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