{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Is there an appropriate way to turn down an assignment because it is non-billable? Two of the partners I work for keep asking me to write client bulletins and articles with them, which is great, but now I’m starting to worry about meeting my billable hours requirement.", "post_id": "5ed02a978dc7ef0020dc0730", "reply_count": 4, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law" }

Is there an appropriate way to turn down an assignment because it is non-billable? Two of the partners I work for keep asking me to write client bulletins and articles with them, which is great, but now I’m starting to worry about meeting my billable hours requirement.

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Do you have enough billable work to keep you busy and allow you to meet your hours? If not, then you don’t really have a basis to turn down the non-billable work from partners. The articles and bulletins are good business development for the firm. I’ve done plenty during my downtime. If, however, nonbillable work is making you turn down billable work, then you could try talking to them and explain you have X, Y, Z billable assignments on your plate right now but can get to this afterwards. They should understand.

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If you have billable work that isn’t getting done because of these nonbillable assignments that you can gracefully turn them down (these partners, after all, want you billing to get them paid). But if you’re plate is not otherwise full you’re better off doing the non-billable than leaving hours — billable or not — on the table.

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As per above, only turn down if you already have billable work. Also note that in many cases its the partners that will be dictating whether you get fired for not meeting your billable hours. A partner saying you've done XYZ on Bus Dev is likely going to count in your favor during review time.

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Many times I'm getting non-billable assignments because the managing attorney would otherwise have to do them in my small firm. As he bills higher than me, I can understand the weird research and writing projects to get better PR. I'd rather have my rate of billing drop than his.

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