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  #1003 (permalink)  
Old 07-08-2016, 12:19 AM
Posts: n/a

Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
If your hours are good in a big firm, it means you should stay (I assume). Why leave?
There are a couple of reasons, off the top of my head:

1. Lack of Billable Hours - A fellow associate and I one calculated our billing targets and factoring in our leave entitlement, it worked out to be (roughly) 10 billable hours a day, 5 days a week. Side note: billable hours are only counted when you are *actually* doing work beneficial for a client, there are many types of work that don't count as billable hours.

But okay, putting that aside, that figure is just a target, and if you meet it (bearing in mind, that's working 10 hours a day, 5 days a week), you will probably only a small bonus at the end of the year. Bearing in mind even further, the Big 4 firms frontload a huuuge amount of your bonus (5 - 6 months) so say if your firm frontloads 6 and you don't work very hard and deserve only 3 then they will take 2 months' worth of your pay back. It's brutal, but it happens.

2. Your firm/department is not doing well - Self explanatory. If you're very free, it probably means they're not getting a lot of work. Not a lot of work = pay cuts and small bonuses. I've rarely seen people who are asked to leave though (save for trainees who are not retained and lateral hire associates not staying past their probation period), but I'm guessing it's a possibility.

3. Your firm/department is overstaffed - Again, self explanatory. Too many lawyers and too little work to keep them busy = pay cuts, small bonuses, possibility of getting fired.

4. The firm is doing fine, but no partner trusts you with busy, major files which generate big money for the firm - Ditto. Add the mind-crushingly awful feeling of being seen as inferior to your fellow associates.

5. It's boring and it makes you worry if points 2/3/4 are happening - I can't stress this hard enough. Try sitting in an office having nothing much to do a day. It's terribly boring.

Also, most lawyers in big firms are also natural overachievers who want to work hard and perform well and would worry about involuntary slacking (and by slacking, I mean working <10 hours a day).

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