{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I had an interview with a firm today and they asked about my billable hours and whether I met them. I said no, but that other associates in my very small group have the same issue, and that we all have around the same number of hours. As the hiring firm, would you be satisfied or concerned with this answer?", "post_id": "6099bfe2e276e20021346042", "reply_count": 18, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }
null

I had an interview with a firm today and they asked about my billable hours and whether I met them. I said no, but that other associates in my very small group have the same issue, and that we all have around the same number of hours. As the hiring firm, would you be satisfied or concerned with this answer?

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I used this as - “no I didn’t hit hours last year but that’s exactly why I’m looking to leave. I want to be in a bigger group with more work coming in where I can learn more” (it helped in that it was all true)

likehelpful

This is a great answer!

Very concerned. I would have said that I am in line with my firm and my groups expectations.

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Somewhat disagree with A2 in that some firms will understand if you’re story is convincing (ie all associates at your level are on par with each other), but your first response should be his initial comment - in line with group expectations. Your firm may have a billable target, but they can’t expect you to bill more than the equity brings in (unless fraud).

That being said, another reason a hiring attorney might be concerned is that the amount of work you’ve done means you’re less trained then someone at your level should be. You definitely want to be on your A-game when talking about your experience

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Depends. If you are coming from a small unknown firm, you can make the case that they don't have enough work for you. I think it's fine if you're not hitting 2,000. But if you're way south of 1500, it could be a concern.

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Tell them there isn’t enough work to hit billable targets and that’s a reason you’re leaving.

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It depends on the billing expectations of the firm you’re going to. If their billing expectations are high (or at least higher than where you’re coming from), they’ll likely be concerned that you don’t have experience with the work load you would have there. However if the two places have similar billing expectations, I feel like it would be less of an issue.

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I would be a little concerned you won’t be able to hack it at my firm (where pretty much everyone always has to bill over requirement) and it would be a shock for you to get used to at first, and you might not be at level with our associates in the same year because you haven’t done as much in the same amount of years. But it’s not a dealbreaker if you have the right skill set and they want to hire and there’s not 5 other associates you’re up against. Might end up something where they use it as a reason to try and get you to drop a class year.

Next time I would be a little more vague with your response if you can. I’d highlight, for example, “I have had months where I billed 210, so I definitely am capable of billing on the higher side and I’m ready and excited to work hard and learn a lot.”

likesmart

OP, another thing to consider saying (if true...) is rather than directly address the hit your hours question say “it’s been bumpy” and talk a bit about heavy months and how you handled and got past them.

This is a difficult question if you cannot honestly say "yes." No answer that starts with "No, but..." is particularly strong. Don't have much advice but I do think you need to get a better response since this question will come up often enough in lateral interviews.

For what it's worth, what they're really asking is: (1) is this person getting pushed out (or are they good enough to be fed hours); and (2) does this person work hard. Your answer right now kind of addresses (1), but could be better, and doesn't address (2) at all.

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I’d personally not hire - it sounds like an excuse for an answer. You should try spinning it with saying I met the hours acceptable at the firm. And plan to do the same here. Then ask what the firms hours are and how the firm measures success.

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