Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

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Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:23 am

I know there are lots of prior posts re first years panicking cause they are slow, but I think my situation is unique in that, in addition to being a first year who is slow, (1) my entire office seems to be slow, including mid-levels, and (2) I am at a v25 (maybe even v10), where the entire office is slow, and that seems unusual as compared to some v100 or lower.

A little concerned about 1) getting laid off (obviously), 2) even more concerned about not getting good experience (third years are hoarding work and doing first year work to hit their hours), and 3) how to pass the time at work. I’ll also say that one thing I am really starting to resent is that the firm has a strong culture of knocking on doors and asking for work if slow, but people are making me feel like a pest whenever I do so because there is no actual work to give out.

Looking for any advice on how to cope with this situation. Also wondering if this slow down is being felt at other big firms, or if my office is just unique. Thanks in advance.

Edit to add that I’m in corp
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:00 am

What firm? I’m so jealous. I’m a first year at a v80 and I’m anualizing 2400 right now. I’d give anything to be in your position. Just write a law review article or something.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:05 am

Same anon OP - I had a 230 hour month a few months back and I know it sucks, but I would much rather be doing a 230 hour month than a 40 hour month due to grim firmwide workflow.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:23 am

Something similar happened to me my first year. I only had 1250 hours and everyone else had around 1800. I was just told I should increase my hours, but no one harped on it because it wasn’t really in my control.

The same thing is happening this year but I realized that it’s not my responsibility to constantly ask for work so I just sit back and watch Netflix if I have nothing.

I still get many compliments when I do good work, so as long as I’m not billing fewer hours than last year, I think I’m safe this year.

I’m assuming this is probably my last year here though. I’m also actively applying to other jobs.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Bllljd115 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:22 am

You'll get slammed with work eventually, it always happens. It might take a long time - you are at the bottom of the totem pole so naturally the more senior people only push work down when they are busy. If you need something to do, write short articles for Law360 or the local law journal/bar journal on issues you are interested in and take them to a partner to sign off on. Articles are great because you show interest in a specific area that might be relevant to your practice group (a good way to "market" yourself internally without just bugging people for work), and there are no deadlines so you can pick them up and put them down depending on how busy you are.

Also, I'd get out of the habit of thinking about things in terms of the vault rankings at this point in your career. Practice area, clients, industry, general economy, firm lateral moves, all have a much bigger impact on workflow that what vault ranking you are.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Wild Card » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know there are lots of prior posts re first years panicking cause they are slow, but I think my situation is unique in that, in addition to being a first year who is slow, (1) my entire office seems to be slow, including mid-levels, and (2) I am at a v25 (maybe even v10), where the entire office is slow, and that seems unusual as compared to some v100 or lower.

A little concerned about 1) getting laid off (obviously), 2) even more concerned about not getting good experience (third years are hoarding work and doing first year work to hit their hours), and 3) how to pass the time at work. I’ll also say that one thing I am really starting to resent is that the firm has a strong culture of knocking on doors and asking for work if slow, but people are making me feel like a pest whenever I do so because there is no actual work to give out.

Looking for any advice on how to cope with this situation. Also wondering if this slow down is being felt at other big firms, or if my office is just unique. Thanks in advance.

Edit to add that I’m in corp


Would you be willing to disclose whether you're in the main or a satellite office?

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:35 pm

Anon OP here.

For poster re articles - thank you for the advice. Also, I don’t really think in terms of vault rankings - only mentioned it because of the (apparent) belief that the firms at the top are slammed while it is the firms further down that are struggling.

Re office: it is technically a satellite, although none of the satellite offices are really satellites in the sense of being some 30 attorney outpost.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:15 pm

You can (and should) try reaching out to seniors in other offices for work. "Cold emailing" across offices is most effective if you have some sort of "hook" - either the senior does a particular kind of work you're especially interested in, or they attended the same law school. Expect a low success rate but also don't send out like twenty emails at once - you don't want to put yourself in the position of turning down work from someone you just solicited. I'd send out maybe 3-5 emails, wait a day or so, then rinse and repeat if you haven't heard back from anyone.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Npret » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:42 pm

Do you like your job and your firm?
Have you had any reviews of your work yet?

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:28 pm

Anon OP here.

Thanks for the advice re cold emailing other offices, I’ll try it out.

For other question: I don’t particularly love my job, but sometimes I like it. Seeing as how I am a first year though, don’t really think jumping ship is an option, at least not yet. Re questions about my performance: I have sought out feedback and it is has all been very positive. To be clear, this isn’t a “me” problem - the slow down is office wide. It is pretty grim here - third years running redlines and fourth years doing sig pages.

Advice on how to deal with this and any insight from anyone else who has survived an office-wide slump in work would be really appreciated. Thanks!

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Wild Card » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:15 pm

I asked whether you're in a main or satellite office, because I'm in the main office of a "V50" law firm, and I've had virtually no work for the past three weeks. Many of my classmates have had no work since starting at the firm in September.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:50 pm

... remember to look at this thread when you are, inevitably, having a terribly busy month.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:10 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:... remember to look at this thread when you are, inevitably, having a terribly busy month.


For sure. But this isn’t just “I’m a first year and slow blah blah blah,” this is “I’m a first year and the entire firm is slow.” The concern being a) potential layoffs and b) not getting good experience and developing skills/knowledge.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby RaceJudicata » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:... remember to look at this thread when you are, inevitably, having a terribly busy month.


For sure. But this isn’t just “I’m a first year and slow blah blah blah,” this is “I’m a first year and the entire firm is slow.” The concern being a) potential layoffs and b) not getting good experience and developing skills/knowledge.


Fair. But I’m skeptical that a first year has his finger on the pulse (busyness) of the whole office, let alone the whole firm. I also get that the stress of no work > stress of too much work... so understand OPs concern.

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Re: Slow First Year - Slow Firm (V25) - wat do?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:19 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:... remember to look at this thread when you are, inevitably, having a terribly busy month.


For sure. But this isn’t just “I’m a first year and slow blah blah blah,” this is “I’m a first year and the entire firm is slow.” The concern being a) potential layoffs and b) not getting good experience and developing skills/knowledge.


Fair. But I’m skeptical that a first year has his finger on the pulse (busyness) of the whole office, let alone the whole firm. I also get that the stress of no work > stress of too much work... so understand OPs concern.


Anon OP - sorry that was me above and I misspoke: the whole office is slow - I think the firm as a whole is busy.

And it’s pretty easy to get a pulse on how the office is doing (at least the transactional ppl) - talk to about 15-20 ppl and you should know (because they will have also talked to other ppl)



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