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LegalGround >> no bonus, no raise...


1/30/09 2:31 PM
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goku
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should I be happy I still have a job considering the scores of associates that are being let go or should I be upset (mildly)?

right now, I am mildly upset...

this year I will actually make $15,000 less than I made last year because I am getting 0 bonus...basically, our firm has a policy that you must have 1900 billable hours in order to get a bonus, absent extenuating circumstances...

imo, I have an argument that I fit within the extenuating circumstances category because I billed 1800 and had my first baby. I only took 1 full day off and worked from home a week after he was born (a couple hours a day)...

yes, I didnt make 1900 hours, but it wasnt due to lack of effort...I have never turned down work and out of the entire year, I missed 3 days in the beginning of january for my brothers wedding and didnt miss a single day after that for illness or vacation or personal days...

i got stellar reviews...the head of our department actually used the work "superstar" in my review...

but no bonus...

so is my anger reasonable or am I self-entitled douchebag?
1/30/09 4:15 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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Targets are targets....partners don't care about your kid or that you didn't take any vacation days. In fact, they might even be thinking that you're inefficient because you didn't take any time off and you STILL didn't make target.

Besides, you've been a lawyer for awhile now. Shouldn't you expect this type of behaviour from the partners?
1/30/09 4:28 PM
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goku
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thanks but are you even a lawyer? efficiency is mostly irrelevant...efficient and inefficient hours are treated the same...I was slow because of this thing called the "recession" that is currently happening in the united states

also, i should have made clear (for the lay people) that time you take off for parental leave is not considered when determining your billable hour requirement...ie...if you take one month off for parental leave, you would only need to meet 11/12 * 1900 hours...but since I took only 1 day off, my total hour requirement was not prorated...basically, I got penalized for being a trooper and not taking time off
1/30/09 4:57 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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Yes, I'm a lawyer. And efficiency is relevent. That's why your billing rate goes up as you become more senior. The idea is that as you become more knowledgeable and experienced, it will take you less time to do certain tasks and this is compensated for with a higher hourly billing rate. Also, if you know that there's a recession and that there isn't much work, why would you expect a bonus?

And I didn't know that about parental leave. But it appears that you did and therefore, you knew what you were getting into and shouldn't complain.

Goku, I read some of your posts and this is some uncharacteristic whining on your part.
1/30/09 4:59 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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C'mon Goku, reply quicker....I've got an hour or so to kill before my next conference call!!!
1/30/09 5:14 PM
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goku
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"Yes, I'm a lawyer. And efficiency is relevent. That's why your billing rate goes up as you become more senior. The idea is that as you become more knowledgeable and experienced, it will take you less time to do certain tasks and this is compensated for with a higher hourly billing rate."

and how is that relevant to this discussion? my hours werent low because of inefficiency. I didn't miss my hours because I was taking longer on the tasks than I should have. normally they do not call you a superstar during reviews if you are inefficient.

"Also, if you know that there's a recession and that there isn't much work, why would you expect a bonus?"

everything is relative. there were others that received bonuses at 1900. there are others that made more than me because they are senior but did less work than me.

"And I didn't know that about parental leave. But it appears that you did and therefore, you knew what you were getting into and shouldn't complain."

thats a pretty simplistic argument don't you think? when my son was born in May, do you really think I could predict that I would miss my hours at the end of the year?

"Goku, I read some of your posts and this is some uncharacteristic whining on your part. "

let me guess...solo practitioner struggling to make 50K per year in North Carolina?
1/30/09 5:28 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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"and how is that relevant to this discussion? my hours werent low because of inefficiency. I didn't miss my hours because I was taking longer on the tasks than I should have. normally they do not call you a superstar during reviews if you are inefficient."

Fair point. Sounds like there may be more to this than you're letting on.

"everything is relative. there were others that received bonuses at 1900. there are others that made more than me because they are senior but did less work than me."

Well, your target was 1900 and you didn't hit it, so it looks like you're going to have to speak with the partners at the firm and work out what they mean by "extenuating circumstances".

"thats a pretty simplistic argument don't you think? when my son was born in May, do you really think I could predict that I would miss my hours at the end of the year?"

No, of course you couldn't have predicted that, but you should've known in the dog eat dog world of a law firm, you should take every advantage that you can.

"let me guess...solo practitioner struggling to make 50K per year in North Carolina?"

LOL....no. In-house at a financial institution. And I'd be thrilled if I got any kind of bonus this year.
1/30/09 5:37 PM
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goku
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"Well, your target was 1900 and you didn't hit it, so it looks like you're going to have to speak with the partners at the firm and work out what they mean by "extenuating circumstances"."

well...thats kind of the point of this thread isnt it? i dont think there is any set definition of "extenuating circumstances" in the minds of the partners...

"No, of course you couldn't have predicted that, but you should've known in the dog eat dog world of a law firm, you should take every advantage that you can."

exactly, which is why I decided to not take as much time off as I could have. because its a dog eat dog world you need to be able to sacrifice to get ahead.
1/30/09 5:46 PM
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TheKidAintMine
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"well...thats kind of the point of this thread isnt it? i dont think there is any set definition of "extenuating circumstances" in the minds of the partners..."

The point of this thread is whether or not you should be upset at not getting a bonus. I don't think you should be upset because I don't expect the partners to treat associates fairly.

"exactly, which is why I decided to not take as much time off as I could have. because its a dog eat dog world you need to be able to sacrifice to get ahead."

Or you could've played the game and taken some parental leave and lowered your billing target.
1/31/09 12:19 PM
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Xtina
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 yeah, i'd say you should be happy to have a job for now. 
2/2/09 6:30 PM
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Bunkou
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Solo practitioner making 50k in North Carolina doesn't sound so bad. Low cost of living. Decent weather. Probably a nice relaxed life style.

What would be bad about that?
2/2/09 7:10 PM
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pm1964
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That's one of the downsides to big firm life. If you don't meet the target, no bonus. I wold talk to them about the extenuating circumstandes though, telling them that instead of taking time off after your son was born, you continued to work from home, and how it doesn't make much sense that you could have taken a bunch of parental leave, worked less hours than you did, and then gotten the bonus. But, be prepared to anwer how you were 100 hours short of the required number when you only took 4 full days off, and a few partial days off.
2/2/09 7:13 PM
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bflex
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Solo practitioner struggling to make 50k in North Carolina!

HEY, I DON'T KNOW IF THIS WAS SOME KIND OF SHOT AT ME, BUT ASSHOLES I MADE 177K LAST YEAR SO FUCK BOTH OF YOU!
2/2/09 7:14 PM
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bflex
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BITCHEZ I AM THE LAW!
2/2/09 7:48 PM
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goku
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i also asked the head of the department and the assignment coordinator in the middle of last year what the procedure was to do billable pro bono work...neither of them knew (LOL), told me they would get back to me...and never did...
2/2/09 7:49 PM
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goku
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bflex - Solo practitioner struggling to make 50k in North Carolina!

HEY, I DON'T KNOW IF THIS WAS SOME KIND OF SHOT AT ME, BUT ASSHOLES I MADE 177K LAST YEAR SO FUCK BOTH OF YOU!


what you do seems more and more appealing to me every day...
2/3/09 8:46 AM
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Trust
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goku - 
bflex - Solo practitioner struggling to make 50k in North Carolina!

HEY, I DON'T KNOW IF THIS WAS SOME KIND OF SHOT AT ME, BUT ASSHOLES I MADE 177K LAST YEAR SO FUCK BOTH OF YOU!
what you do seems more and more appealing to me every day...
No kidding.
 
2/5/09 3:41 PM
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goku
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bastards raised my billable rate too...lol..
2/5/09 4:21 PM
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PittWrestler
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I feel Goku on this one, but thought my firm handled it well. I didn't make the billable requirement and revenues are down, but instead of nothing they gave a smaller raise than last year and a smaller bonus. Frankly I was grateful for that.

Bflex- I don't get it sometimes in your threads you are making huge $ and then other times I see you on here complaining of being on the brink of financial ruin. Oh well, that's probably the nature of a small practice when it rains it pours with rough patches (averages out annually?).
2/5/09 4:55 PM
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goku
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yeah...even after a cooling off period i feel gypped...it wasnt like i didnt work hard...i never refused to come in early, stay late, come in on holidays or weekends...i always canceled plans....i billed a couple 200+ hour months...

there were just too many really slow months where i was sitting in my office, being available, but there simply was no work to do even though i asked for it...

i guess what sucks most of all is that eventhough I am making 15K less this year, now I have a new baby, my first house, my wife no longer works and i have to support her mom too....i know all of this is irrelevant to the firm, but it just makes all this difficult to swallow
2/6/09 9:58 PM
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jclay
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I get you and Fake Pie mixed up. Are you the guy who went to Georgetown?

I see how you're resentful and frustrated -- I think most people would be in your shoes.

On the other hand, it could be worse.
2/7/09 4:56 PM
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bflex
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Pittwrestler - I've never been on the brink of financial ruin. There have been months where I have only made 7 or 8 thousand, but for the most part I do better. I do make a lot of money, but I spend a lot too. I want to retire in 10 years. That is probably not going to be possible. For that I am pissed. I also lost a shit load of money in the market. I don't consider making 177k a whole lot. I want more. That is what I strive for.
2/8/09 12:46 AM
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Xtina
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 yeah, 10 years seems a smidge optimistic.
2/8/09 10:38 AM
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goku
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Edited: 02/08/09 10:38 AM
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this weekend is a prime example of what makes me a bit pissed about my billables...

so this week, i am in every day from around 8:30- 6 or so...things are really slow, so I only bill around 20-25 hrs ...in between that time i am watching some PLI seminars on relevant materials so I can continue to learn...and of course, I am there and available in case anyone needs me

well friday comes around and I am told that I will need to work on the weekend, so I worked 4 hours yesterday and will need to go into the office pretty much all day today...

in the end though, I will not make 40 billable hours for the week, even though I pretty much worked all 7 days...this is not atypical, and Ive been doing this without a single day off for pretty much an entire year...
2/8/09 11:45 AM
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PittWrestler
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Goku, same here sadly. December and January were painfully slow but I was in the office all the time, working on non-billable marketing, CLE and practice group stuff. Now, Feb. is going crazy, I'll hit over well over 200 no doubt in a 28 day month, but I'm still in the hole and the end of the year will be short probably (fiscal is Oct. to Sept.).

Ah well, no sense in bitching. I've had three non law friends laid off in the last couple of weeks. Many other highly qualified (non law and law) individuals who have been applying all over the place and it seems like no one is hiring. Interesting times that's or sure.

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