{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I'm a first year atty. I make $45K at a small firm of 5. In the last three weeks, my assistant has been fired (caught with pot on break), another paralegal quit, and now another assistant has resigned. I have a caseload of 80, with no help. \n\nBoss says they are looking, they made an offer, but if that person accepts, it will be weeks before they are ready.\n\nI'm falling apart and crying at my desk and can't sleep. Told owner. \"Hang in there.\"\n\nDo I walk now? Or hang in there?", "post_id": "5f46efdbee6f22001a383378", "reply_count": 37, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

I'm a first year atty. I make $45K at a small firm of 5. In the last three weeks, my assistant has been fired (caught with pot on break), another paralegal quit, and now another assistant has resigned. I have a caseload of 80, with no help. Boss says they are looking, they made an offer, but if that person accepts, it will be weeks before they are ready. I'm falling apart and crying at my desk and can't sleep. Told owner. "Hang in there." Do I walk now? Or hang in there?

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Is this in a small town? Youre not being paid enough. What are you billing? What is your billable rate? You need to take a vacation and use it to look for another job....while also taking a mental break. I would want to calculate what youre making hourly based on your billables for a year. With 80 cases, youre likely making less than minimum wage.....sadly with this market, there are a lot of firms taking advantage of young lawyers’ need for a job. Dont quit just yet. Easier to find a job when you have one.

likesmarthelpful

Don’t quit without another job lined up. Start looking. In the meantime, ask if you can hire a temp. Prioritize your cases. Those going to trial or hearing should go first. Those with a deadline go next. Cases that don’t have an upcoming deadline or hearing can go in the bottom shelf for now. If you can’t handle all of the top priority cases tell your boss you need to reassign or seek a continuance or postponement or else you risk malpractice or ineffective assistance of counsel. That should get the boss’s attention. You can get through this (been there, done that) but you need to gain some sort of control over your situation and set firm boundaries with your boss. You can’t risk your license.

likehelpful

This!! And make sure that you send emails to the effect regarding continuances or postponement so you have a cya email. Also make sure all deadlines are calculated, calendared with 1, 2, and 3 week reminders. Also, I would have all your scheduling or docket control orders in a binder in the order by earliest trial date to latest. When doing this, make a list of the cases that dont have a trial date or scheduling/docket control order. The binder should be on your desk so you can consult it easily to check deadlines for the cases quick for calls. If you have time, tab by client name or matter.

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For $45k?!?!?! RUN.

likesmartfunny

I made 47k my first year out of Law School, which is only four years ago. I jump ship as soon as I had enough experience which was 9 months. I just got a raise today and I'm officially making six figures. Don't be afraid to take a risk. I also read a book called The Secrets of Six Figure Women and that honestly helped me so much over the last 4 years.

likesmart

Congrats!!! Good job!

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For 45k??? Run, don’t walk. That is ABSURD.

likesmart

Get out of there ASAP

likesmart

Don’t walk. Run. Land somewhere with better pay and an environment where you can grow with solid mentorship. The size of the caseload and lack of support at your current firm is setting you up for failure and massive amounts of stress without the big check to boot. You deserve better!

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I second this advice so much! I was overwhelmed underpaid, wasn't getting the mentoring I needed. I found a new position that paid better, I'm less overwhelmed and am getting mentorship. I'm not in the area of law I thought I would be in when I graduated law school. I just started but I'm feeling better than I did the last few months. I'm so happy I made the switch!

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You are setting yourself up to commit malpractice. A ball will drop. Get out of there.

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Leave.

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I second whoever said don’t leave until you have something else lined up because rent and bills don’t wait on anyone. And then briskly jog over there and never look back. NEVER look back. 45k less than I make at the State (Alabama)... everyone know’s how incredibly underpaid state employees are in most areas. Get out ASAP.

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Where are u located? My assistant makes more than that. They’re underpaying u

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Second this!!! My paralegal makes more than you! Our file clerk makes more than you! Get out ASAP!

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If staff is fleeing, that should be a HUGE red flag. You sound overworked and underpaid, as does the staff. Where are you at? Midwest? Mountain west?

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I have a similar caseload and my starting salary when I was a first year was about 70k. And that’s low for DC. I hope you find a better firm. This sounds like another case of lawyers who are terrible business owners.

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Run. I’m a 6th year attorney but sounds like my first attorney job and first if staff is fleeing like that it’s a sign of a toxic environment and/or poor leadership. The fact that your boss was so dismissive of your concerns and that you have 80 cases with no help with that salary confirms my suspicion. Start applying for jobs NOW just that should start to make you feel better and less trapped. I “hung in there” for a year and a half with a deeply toxic environment and low pay (I was looking but the economy wasn’t great) and I ended up crying daily on anti depressants and in intense therapy just to cope by the end. In hindsight, I wish I’d taken a medical leave of absence or gotten 3-4 minimum wage jobs a lot sooner just to get out. No job is worth your mental well being. Don’t do that to yourself, being a new attorney is hard enough. It wasn’t easy but I found progressively better positions and now I’m at a great firm making 6 figures and really content. It gets better and I’m so sorry. I have so much empathy for your situation.

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We start our first years at $65k - not sure where you are but that is low! If you like where you are, it’s time to discuss a raise.

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Southern Virginia. Also, we are a 6 attorney firm with a total staff of 20.

Time to ask for a raise

likesmart

Are you in south texas by any chance?

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Tell your boss which specific cases you have the availability to focus on this month and state that you will need to discuss what to do about the others

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Then spend your weekends (which they are not paying you enough to work although you might need to to keep up with your professional obligations) and find another job ASAP. Check the website “upwork” to see if you can do some contract work in the meantime if you want to resign immediately.

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I would quit if I were you. If you need financial help, maybe take support of family and friend till you’re able to find your next

Run! 🏃‍♀️

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