If your law firm is anything like mine, now is the time of year where you sit down with your managing partner and some senior associate. The associate knows you from the barcode on your arm. The partner, probably just doesn’t know you at all. These two people spend about thirty minutes explaining your progress over the past quarter, and try to help you improve the way you service your clients and the firm. I’ve had more fun at with my proctologist, but in all fairness, he really gets me.
This year’s review was particularly frustrating. They started with the usual soft open: Well, we weren’t particularly pleased with your billables this year. I hit my hour requirements every month without fail. Two months I even went over. I had one off month where I merely hit the minimum required 40 hours per week. By their reaction you’d think I’d tried to wear 15 pieces of flare to my job at Chotchkie’s. They didn’t seem to care that the reason I didn’t exceed my minimum one month was because I had to take three days off to coordinate and attend my dad’s funeral.
They also didn’t seem to care about the flat-fee case this quarter that required a decent amount of time, and brought in a shit ton of money. They must have known about it. Someone must have gotten that money, because I sure didn’t.
The next ten minutes of the review were spent explaining the firm’s new Saturday policy. Of my minimum billing requirement, which I’m told is going up eight hours a month, four hours every month have to be billed on a Saturday. This is a new policy for all associates. The annoying part is that I already usually come in on Saturday. So now I will probably be coming in Sunday to make up my Saturday hours because I spent Saturday making up my normal hours.
Then the big finish. It is unlikely we will get bonuses this year. Or, what’s more likely, I wont be getting a bonus this year. Which is probably fair, the partners have boat payments to make.
I’m not usually a whiner. But I started law school in the Golden Age of law jobs. When everyone was going to a white shoe firm at graduation. Starting salaries were $100,000+, and it was hookers and cocaine as far as the eye could see for the recent grads. Then after my second year there was a recession. Not my fault. But I get to deal with the profit shortage issues while the associates who were gouging the bills become partners.
Part of me wishes I could go out on my own, but then I might miss my chance to fuck over the next round of associates when it’s my turn to give a performance review.