{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "The ebbs and flows of a junior associate (<1yr)... I was approached by my managing parter today about my billable hours. I make an honest effort to bill 40 hours a week and average 37-40 hrs. I learned today that many of these hours are written off by partners and my realized hours are only 30-ish. Now I'm expecting to bill at least 50 hours a week to make up for that deficit. I don't understand why so much time is not realized. Has anyone else had this problem?", "post_id": "6172d8cad3a0f80029cbcc0f", "reply_count": 27, "vote_count": 10, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }

The ebbs and flows of a junior associate (<1yr)... I was approached by my managing parter today about my billable hours. I make an honest effort to bill 40 hours a week and average 37-40 hrs. I learned today that many of these hours are written off by partners and my realized hours are only 30-ish. Now I'm expecting to bill at least 50 hours a week to make up for that deficit. I don't understand why so much time is not realized. Has anyone else had this problem?

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Most firms that I’m aware of will not penalize a junior at all for hours written off. This seems unfair

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Yea as a Junior that’s not something you can control. If your firm is giving bonuses by realized hours not billed hours that’s a red flag that would absolutely make me leave.

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This is a big red flag and I suggest you consider jumping ship.

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The firm should focus on helping you realize more of your time, not just ask you to bill more. This is a poorly run business.

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It’s completely normal for a 1st year associate’s hours to get written off (because 1st years are typically very inefficient and clients don’t want to pay for all that training time), but in my experience it’s very unusual for the partners to complain to the associate about it, or even let them know it’s happening for that matter. It should be generally understood and accepted that first years have a much lower realization rate. You shouldn’t be penalized for it.

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You had decent bosses

helpful

Sounds like ID 🤢

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It is a red flag - particularly if they didn’t explain what billable entries they cut. Junior associates are inefficient and we often write off a portion of time billed before it gets sent to the client. Also, you should check your billable hours requirements and if your total hours billed all count or if it’s just realized hours. If it is the latter, do your best to find a better firm because your firm is asking you to work more hours for less pay so that the partners can make more money.

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As a counter to the usual “red flag - time to leave” comments, you may want to probe why multiple partners are writing your time off. Increasing to 50 hours a week isn’t going to do anything if you aren’t being efficient with your time. Efficiency isn’t necessarily your fault exclusively, it requires a conversation between you and the partner you are working with regarding scope, time expectations on certain tasks, check-ins when you’ve reached a certain number of hours on a given assignment, etc

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Was in an environment like this as a junior and leaving was the best decision I ever made. Sure, my hours requirement looked better on paper, but I was told that I should be targeting 8 billable hours a day in order to get to my target of 1600 (while being paid less than others at bigger firms). Worked close to the same amount at a firm with 1850 billable requirement (completely time you entered as billable, before partner cuts) and ended up with a productivity bonus. If you bill an average of 40 hours a week, the managing partner should not be after you as a first year.

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Red flag. Time to leave.

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It is normal for partners to write off lots and lots of junior time - it shouldn’t reflect badly on you and that is part of why partners cut your time instead of theirs or senior assoc time. Any place that measures juniors based on realization vs hours billed is going to be toxic bc in that context partners are going to be screwing juniors systematically.

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There’s a lot going on here. Firstly, having time written off is completely normal, and the more junior you are the more normal it is. However, it would be worth trying to understand for your own development why the time is being written off - is it something you can fix by just improving your time narration, for example? I would suggest talking to a mid level you get along with in the first instance, and from there maybe an SA (you can also ask to see copies of bills so you can get a feel for what makes it past the write off screen). Secondly however, there are certain practice areas where your time is always going to be sliced and diced (ahem, insurance defence) and there are also certain clients who just don’t want to see junior time on bills. You can’t control this. At your level, you also can’t control the scope and fee estimates on matters and you have very little control over the tasks you’re assigned. If your firm is one in which you’re measured on hours realised rather than hours billed then this should be a red flag for you. I have previously worked in similar environments (we were measured on hours billed but we would get heavily pressured to self-censor time before it even made it into the system, to an alarming degree) and it’s toxic. If implementing some fixes on your end (eg, improved narrations) isn’t helping and you really are being judged on realised hours, I would suggest looking elsewhere.

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Find a better ID firm then... pressure to cut or self-censor doesn’t exist everywhere. We encourage the opposite actually - never ever self-cut something that is billable. If there’s an issue with time/cuts that starts to be a trend, your seniors should let you know and work with you on how to fix it, either in workflow or in how you capture/describe it.

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Huge red flag if their solution is telling you to bill 50 hours a week (seriously wtf) rather than providing additional training on how to capture more of your time and providing exemplar billings

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Red flag. My last firm was like this and I left when I found out they were like what you’re describing. They’ve gone through more associates than I can count since I’ve left. Is this ID? 🙈

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Get. Out. Now.

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How long have you been practicing? I’m a junior too (3weeks)

Sworn in May 2021.

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An aside, assuming the work is there you should really be billing more than 40 hours per week if you are serious about progression at the firm. Just a Biglaw reality. Your first year at the firm is not the time to establish that you are a person who does the minimum.

That’s totally unreasonable for a first-year associate.

Bonuses in my (UK National) firm are based on recovered time billed. I think it’s something like 90% realisation of target hours to get your bonus. I’ve heard of several juniors being screwed over by partners underquoting on deals and then significant chunks of juniors’ time then being written off so they don’t get their bonus. I was not aware that was the deal when I joined! Has anyone else come across this in the UK?

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Curious to know what other firm's bonus structures are, particularly those with billable requirements of 1900 and below. Trying to understand what the norm is and figure out if associates at my firm are getting screwed. thanks

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Does higher vault ranking (v10-30 compared to v80-100) open more doors for corporate in-house opportunities for a senior associate? If chambers practice area rankings and expected billable hours are similar and they offer the same DPW pay scale, does it matter less? Is it better to stay at/lateral to a firm where you might be able last longer to learn the necessary skills? Any personal anecdote or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

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How many billable hours do people in prosecution tend to average each month? I’ve gone through waves of feeling like my billable hours requirement is reasonable to feeling like I’m drowning and can’t possibly do it for that long.

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Are any other paralegals struggling with billable hour requirements? I have 5 years of experience in corporate transactions, M&A, and real estate work, and have never had billable hour requirements. I'm in a new job now where I do and I'm nowhere near meeting them. I'm getting a lot more admin work than billable work, and it's stressing me out.

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Out of curiosity: how much time do you spend actually logging and tracking your billable hours every day?

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Is 180 billable hours per month a high “target” (to use the firm’s vernacular) or expectation?Although it may not be unreasonably high, I believe it is a high number and would at least appreciate someone at my firm acknowledging that. Perhaps I’m wrong and I’m sure you’ll tell me if so.

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Do you think accepting a dream job offer with the annual 2000+ billable hours requirement and raising 2 little kids (4 and 6) is doable? Boyfriend works full time (with trips) but helps out. (Cont.)

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Is it possible to have an off day with billable hours? Corner office is always concerned about our mental health “in these trying times” yet the not-so-subtle “I noticed your hours went down this week” convos undermine that. Even if my hours are down from 2 weeks ago but still over 40 billable.

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What's market compensation for 1800 billable hours for a sixth or seventh year?

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Does anyone here work for a firm that doesn't track billable hours?

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No billable work I’ve had full days but I’m having some ZERO billable days lately (1-3 days). We outsource our discovery work and it’s been slow for me. My colleagues seem to stay busy with other things… I obviously told the partners I can take more work. I’m worried. What do you do?

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Let’s say you get sick for one day during busy season, and you end up making up the time later in the week and weekend reaching the minimum 60 hour billable goal. Would you take PTO for the day you missed. Why or why not? Assume this is a company that does not have unlimited PTO.

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What does your work schedule look like (roughly) if you are aiming for 1900 billable hours?

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Hi all, I am graduating with my Master’s of Accountancy In May of 2022, and have offers from Moss Adam’s and RSM both in Dallas. Can anyone compare the two for me in terms of billable hours requirements and office culture or anything else that comes to mind? Both are in tax with similar offers.

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I cannot stand the billable hour. I love litgation but I would rather charge anyway other than a billable hours it's such a pain to enter to the 1/6th of an hour when I was doing.

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