{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "When you don’t have any work despite asking for additional work numerous times from multiple people, at what point do you:\n1) continue to ask them for work, or\n2) try making up work on your own (by looking at the shared firm calendar and seeing what deadlines are coming up and what items are needed)\n\n- a 3 month baby associate", "post_id": "6282811022f1ec0027a675e7", "reply_count": 8, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "5dba147dd2d8ac00223b11d9", "bowl_name": "Litigation & Arbitration", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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When you don’t have any work despite asking for additional work numerous times from multiple people, at what point do you:
1) continue to ask them for work, or
2) try making up work on your own (by looking at the shared firm calendar and seeing what deadlines are coming up and what items are needed)

- a 3 month baby associate

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For situations like your example - I would approach the partner and say “hey I see the deadline is coming up. Would you like me to draft the answer?” That way you are being proactive without billing to the client without authorization or doing something already started. The partner will see your initiative and it will help you get to a point where you know when to just do something without asking/getting told to

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Absolutely do not make up your own work. Unless you are authorized to work on the case, do not add to the clients bill just because you need work.

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Definitely be a proactive litigator, familiarize yourself with the pleadings issues witnesses documents etc. prepare memos that can be easily cut and paste into pleadings and reports to clients. Most of all, make your partners’ and seniors’ jobs easier.

Unlikely anyone will ever cut your time for checking in, updating, or getting more information from the insured, and you can very frequently find out (important!) information they may have thought unimportant or was overlooked.

Working your files results in revenue for the firm, better work product, and faster closed files, which makes everyone involved happy.

It helps to think about this from the prospective of partners you work under. I experienced this at the beginning of my first year as well, and I think it occurs because partners are often so busy and their role is not necessarily to be a great leader. If you approach them and ask for work you’re effectively creating more work for them on the spot. Instead come up with ideas and ask them if you can work on X for X case, or how you can help move x case along. Then you appear helpful and have gotten approval to complete the work

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Thank you! This is exactly what I’m trying to figure out if I should be doing.

Not sure if it looks bad for me to keep asking for work rather than finding my own work.

Unless you’re at a tiny firm, approaching partners isn’t the best strategy. For the cases that you’re working on, go to the mid level/senior associate on your project and tell them that you have bandwidth to take on a new assignment/matter. If you know of things that are coming up on those matters, you can offer to take a first stab at a draft or a review or ask if there is something you can research to help them. If that isn’t fruitful, you should go to your attorney development team, assignment coordinator (or whatever it is called at your firm).

Also, it may not just be you. Ask around to your peers and see how busy other folks are. Sometimes practice areas go through slumps. Use it as an opportunity to complete CLEs, do professional reading, or work on an article for your firms blog.

Lastly, and hopefully this isn’t the case, you may have some reputation issues that you need to clean up. Seems unlikely given your baby lawyer status, but I’ve seen it happen.

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