{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m thankfully hitting my hours, but my firm keeps passing non-billable work my way. I am grateful for the opportunities, but this type of work always seems to find its way to the female associates at my firm. We have been told that non-billable work is irrelevant in terms of our annual hours. Any tips on how to navigate this in a thoughtful way? I want to be a team-player, but I believe that others need to step up to the plate.", "post_id": "5f3e125d8c724e002820869a", "reply_count": 9, "vote_count": 10, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

I’m thankfully hitting my hours, but my firm keeps passing non-billable work my way. I am grateful for the opportunities, but this type of work always seems to find its way to the female associates at my firm. We have been told that non-billable work is irrelevant in terms of our annual hours. Any tips on how to navigate this in a thoughtful way? I want to be a team-player, but I believe that others need to step up to the plate.

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At my firm, non-billable work is often reputation building (publishing opportunities etc). If the work isn’t aligned with your career goals, I would either deflect or turn down citing billable work. Suggest someone whose career goals align with the non-billable assignment. Don’t be afraid to keep your focus and be honest with people about what it is, and suggest others for work that is outside your focus area but in theirs. Hopefully this applies to your practice area! Basically I would make sure a non-billable assignment does SOMETHING for you —whether building your knowledge in your practice area, getting you credibility with a partner, getting name recognition/building your brand... don’t just be the workhorse of the group with no benefits to you. Also, if you don’t feel comfortable deflecting, don’t be afraid to say you won’t be able to get to it for a while because of loads of billable work.

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I end up with tons of nonbillable work that is such a drag. Unlike what A1 said, this work is not at all fulfilling or in line with my career goals or reputation building. This work is busy work, clean up post closing work or wild goose chases for a client. If it’s your deal, there isn’t much of an out. Sometimes I’ll ask my boss for help with it if I’m swamped, it depends on the partner. If it’s just BS work or a goose chase, I suggest a different associate work on it because I’m so underwater.

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Do you have a mentor in the office?

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A way to do that is to ask about prioritizing billable v nonbillable work— and how you figure out how to get it all done. There may be a lack of collective knowledge of how much you are doing and your mentor should help with that. Also, how do you track your nonbillable work? Having a demonstrative aid showing how much you are doing would be helpful. I run all my nonbillable under a client number and “bill” to that client. I can then look back and see where exactly all my time went.

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Sometimes you have no choice and it just always seems to find its way. It is really difficult to turn down esp if there isn't someone at your firm that is managing associate workflow. Are there any first years or interns you can suggest work on it?

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State you don’t have time for it. I was in a similar situation and had a candidate conversation with a partner that I was doing all this nonbillable work and not getting any billable in return. He stated it was a long term investment, and I said I needed billable hours in his cases to continue. He finally agreed to meet me half way. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and say no.

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