{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "What happens if you don’t hit your billable hours? I am a first-year that had a very slow February and slow start to March. I’ve been reaching out to various teams for work but things seem slow now & I’m worried that I’m not going to hit my 1800 target.", "post_id": "60497816ea4f0e0021aed309", "reply_count": 22, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law" }

What happens if you don’t hit your billable hours? I am a first-year that had a very slow February and slow start to March. I’ve been reaching out to various teams for work but things seem slow now & I’m worried that I’m not going to hit my 1800 target.

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You get disbarred. Jk, I think what happens is dependent on why. One year where you come in under the billable target, especially if there wasn't work to go around, might not be as consequential of regularly not getting your hours. Your mileage on your bonus will also be subject to your firm's policy on bonuses.

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There is a staffing partner. Have reached out once every week and a half just to gentle remind them. They basically said all deals are starts and fits right now. I also reached out to another team to say I’d be interested in helping and told the staffing partner that I did that. That was last week.

I am a second year who was laid off this January for not meeting my 1800 billable hour goal. My practice group was down last year even before Covid and all first year associates in my group were slow. As I was the slowest, I was the one asked to leave. I was told by HR during my review that I needed to increase my hours but the work wasn't there. So, yes, even a first year will be fired if business is slow. Takeaways, (1) work harder than your peers and you might be spared this once (2) when HR calls, barring a miracle, the decision to fire you has already been made. Send your resume out ASAP. I had two offers in hand and two more coming when the ax fell. Best of Luck!

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Absolutely not

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I had a number of partners say that it was tough for a first year to hit their bonus hours. So don't sweat it too much.

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Thanks!

It depends on the firm and you can probably ask other junior associates that you’re comfortable with. At my firm there is no real expectation that you’ll hit your target in the first year.

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Thanks!

I started off slow as a first year, but ended up getting much busier as I became capable of doing more work. I think this is a pretty common trajectory, especially for practice groups which staff more leanly and have less administrative work for first years. Everyone else is running, while you're still learning to crawl.

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Missed my 1st year target by a solid 600hrs. I was never counseled that it was a problem. My annual review didn't mention it and I was told that I was "progressing as expected." I did, however, later recieve notice that I wasn't getting a bonus (as expected).

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This is what I am hoping for

Some firms will cut brand new associates for not meeting hours but my understanding is that generally you can get finish off your first two years before a firm will begin considering to get rid of you. It’s often too early to make a fair judgment call. Just make sure to try and improve the situation next year.

Does “first year” mean first year attorney (like straight out of law school) or first year at that big law law firm (like previously spent a year at clerkship or another firm)?

First year out of law school

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First year it’s not a big deal. Also depends on how others in your group are doing. If your firm is cutting people, then low billers get cut first, and that can start happening year 2. You’ll miss your bonus a lot of places, though. So that’s too bad.

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