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.)