{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m a first year and I don’t care about getting my year end bonus (@ 1950 hours), but I also don’t want to tell anyone at my firm… what is a good amount of hours I can target that is just enough that I don’t get disciplined or fired? V50 if that matters.", "post_id": "61f2e5d918591a002c01663f", "reply_count": 37, "vote_count": 9, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }

I’m a first year and I don’t care about getting my year end bonus (@ 1950 hours), but I also don’t want to tell anyone at my firm… what is a good amount of hours I can target that is just enough that I don’t get disciplined or fired? V50 if that matters.

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I think you gotta bill the 1950 to be safe. That’s their target for a reason. Not gunning means you don’t say yes to every task and end up at 2600. IMO if you’re tracking less than 1950 and still turning down work there will be some raised eyebrows and eventual layoff, whereas if you’re tracking 1950 and turning down work you can more reasonably say “I’m at capacity”. Your 1950 also has to be high quality work. For success, either work smart or work hard. Both will take you far but you can make up for less of one with more of the other. However, neither will not fly.

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This was a mind fawk

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If this is your goal, I would try like 1800-1850. That would roughly be possible with 9-6 averaged out without weekends. If you go much lower, you miss out on some steep learning curves and people will more likely note your hours. Unless you plan to quit after a year, I don’t think you want to be a second or third year who doesn’t know basic stuff that the first year work should have taught you. It gets real awkward and you will be screwed trying to secretly figure out how to do first year stuff in addition to the second or third year stuff you are asked to do on top

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wow my time to shine: my first year I did not consider it worthwhile to work my butt off for a $10-15k bonus. I billed like 700 hours with a bunch of cool pro bono projects and called it a year. I do not regret this decision.

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It doesn’t have to be like this. I feel sorry for the juniors staring in the pandemic. There are advantages of course but you’re missing out on a huge amount. Happy to talk individually with anyone who wants some perspective / would like to try and turn their attitude about the practice around. Also I’m not advocating for billing above all else - quite to contrary. Maximizing good experience. If you’re going to get better experience taking depos in your class action pro Bono civil rights case, by all means, dig into that. I had many years as a junior and mid level where I had 500+ pro Bono hours in a year.

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Sorry to sound like the gunner in the room, but honestly working the hours is not for the bonus primarily. The more you work the more you learn. Caveat being if it’s all straight doc review or something perhaps. But the more hard work up front the better prepared you are to do interesting work in the long term and create a satisfying career for yourself.

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You not behind, and you likely won’t feel like you’re working extra to recoup the hours. Work ebbs and flows, and some months are slower than others (January is slow for many practice groups).

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First year I billed about 1600… got great reviews and a simple reminder to try to get my hours up a bit next year. 2nd year was at about 1850, no comment on my hours and great review. 3rd year ended up slightly above 2000… enjoy the first two years while they last.

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I think your first year especially, there is ramp up time (waiting for people to know you exist and can work), and there are fewer assignments that you can do without heavy oversight. Needing to train/oversee first years can discourage some people from giving you work. Once you are more self sufficient, you become more in demand, and you also gain a better understanding of “next steps” which means that you go beyond your discrete assignments and start spotting things that need to be done on your deal/case/project. Once you’re a mid level you will also likely be a few partners’ “go to” person … aka they will not stop feeding you more work.

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Easy. 1949. Not showing off. Making a statement that you appreciate your work and don't need a bonus.

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Yes, that'll show them!

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Your salary should be about 1/3 what the firm collects for your work. Take your salary, divide by your billable rate, and multiply by three to find the target number of hours.

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This fails to take into account discounts and write offs. You will need to bill more to make up for that.

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I would probably try to reach at least 1800

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Just seems like it is close enough to the 1950 target to demonstrate to the partners that you aren’t a total slacker, but seems like a reasonable hours target to aim for and still have some work life balance. It’s arbitrary though.

I would consider your long term goals. If you want to continue growing in that firm, make partner eventually and etc make the hours. At my law firm when associates don’t meet the hours their skills are questioned and they end up with an improvement plan to be looked into in 6 mo. Two years of not meeting hours and you’re gone. If they even last that long… If it’s your first year you can also see if you even made the cut for the whole year. Your hours can be adjusted if you didn’t start at the beginning of the calendar/fiscal year.

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Why not lateral once and repeat? 4-5th year is prime time to leave big law by then.

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