Wednesday, February 3, 2010

1950. Not just a year I don't want to live in.

(Note: In general, I am planning to avoid talking worky-things on this blog.  A, it's not fun for me, since I have to mentally edit everything to ensure I don't write anything unethical or fireable, and B, you all don't care, since lawyerin is usually not all that interesting.

But this is a more administrative issue.  Though still uninteresting.)

Budget at my firm is 1950.  I have to bill 1,950 hours in a calendar year.  This doesn't mean "work" 1,950 hours.  It means "bill"--in that, supposedly, someone somewhere might pay for this.  I can't count training, breaks, etc. toward the 1,950.

You would be surprised to realize how fast that non-billable time adds up once you're required to record everything every day.  Someone once gave me the advice that if you're efficient, you should be able to work a 10 hour day and bill 8 hours.  Seems like a decent rule of thumb to me, but what do I know?  I've been doing this for like six seconds.

Anywho, at the end of the month, you get a magical email telling you if you're on track to make your budget for the year.  I got my first budget assessment at work today.

Of the X number of hours I worked in the month of January, X minus some other number (let's say Q) is going to count toward my budget.  Q does not get to count.  Q was a painfully large percentage of X.

I knew that some things were not going to count toward budget (let's say A, B, C, etc. and so forth), but it came as a very unpleasant surprise that Q would not count.  Because I really thought Q did count.  And I have more Q-category projects that I need to keep working on, regardless of whether they count or not.  Which just means those are more hours that don't really matter, but I still have to complete.*

In a normal year, Q would not be a big deal, since most new lawyers start September-Octoberish, and they have three or four months to work up to hitting budget.  Because of the economy, I was deferred ... and it remains unclear whether starting in January brought with it the requirement of hitting 1,950 or if my cohorts and I will still get the grace period.

It has been strongly suggested to me, however, that I might want to prepare for a no-grace period situation.

Trying very hard not to console myself with a cheeseburger and vat of ice cream right now.

(* Look, I just want to say, I am very grateful for the job I have.  I know many law school graduates don't have jobs at this point, and many more have far, far, far suckier jobs than.  Far suckier.

That being said ... DAMN IT.)


  1. (It kinda does.)

    (Jeez, I hate myself for whining so much.)