{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Wondering how many investment hours other folks are putting in. I lateraled to my AM100 firm in June 2020 after starting my career at a small (12 attorney) shop, followed by a two year clerkship when I moved. My firm just instituted a new three tier system of compensation based on billables and I feel like I’m getting completely screwed because I had over 2400 hours, but a literal third of them are investment time. So I’m putting in tons of time, but will be in the lowest tier of compensation.", "post_id": "6108e20ca3c5da00296c2dd4", "reply_count": 17, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law" }

Wondering how many investment hours other folks are putting in. I lateraled to my AM100 firm in June 2020 after starting my career at a small (12 attorney) shop, followed by a two year clerkship when I moved. My firm just instituted a new three tier system of compensation based on billables and I feel like I’m getting completely screwed because I had over 2400 hours, but a literal third of them are investment time. So I’m putting in tons of time, but will be in the lowest tier of compensation.

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What are investment hours?

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There are rules to provide incentives and there are exceptions to ensure justice. Up to you, but probably worth reaching out to a partner to at least discuss the situation. At the very least, their reaction may give you insight into the firm and the culture.

Sorry to hear. How did you not know this going in, though? Most firms either have low caps (100 hours) or give no credit for these sort of things.

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How do I control what is assigned to me? Say no to all non-billable and then not get work from that partner? Believe me, I feel foolish, but I’m also not entirely sure how I could have done it differently. I started raising a flag of concern by the end of last summer, but here we are. I’m tired and demotivated.

Hi, you might be at my firm. I’d reach out to someone (HR or managing partner) and ask for consideration for a ramp up period. Think you have a good argument that it’s not fair to slot you based on your first year starting in the middle of work from home.

If the people you work with are good they will help you shift your plate and fill it up with billable work, so you can be in the tier you want next year. I know it sucks for now though, that’s the downside of this system. Think about who you are doing NB work that isn’t sending you meaningful work - chances are they never will, so stop trying to impress them when they are using you but not investing in you. It’s a tough lesson to figure out when you need to say no to these requests to have capacity when the billable requests come in. Talk to your associate mentor too if you haven’t gotten a good read yet of who the consistent problem partners are who do this to associates.

I get I messed up here (though not sure how I control what is assigned to me and I did start pushing back and asking for more billables by the end of last summer), but I’m still not getting an answer to my question. What is a normal amount of non-billable hours to expect? Anyone willing to tell me how much they are doing?

At my firm partners have a concept of “all-in hours” target that’s billable and non billable. I treat that as my target too, even though they don’t track it for associates. So 2100 all in minus 1900 billable, goal 200 investment. I’ll do more for things I care about (like recruiting) but use that as my goal post to start turning down further requests for my non billable time.

I have 2300 billable and 300 nonbillable which includes things like recruiting. Unfortunately firms really only care about the billable work. Sorry you're finding out this way, but at least you know now for next year.

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