Lawyer thread

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Jax Teller, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. Gallant Knight

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    pretty sure most of the insurance defense associates aren't even working with the salaries on that bonus scale

    also, those big law jobs are about to disappear
     
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  2. Gallant Knight

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    i need to know the size of the bonuses yall are talking about
     
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  3. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    We generally have a few associates get well in excess of $10K. Bare minimum is $7,500 if you hit your hours.

    I'll never be part of those biglaw numbers.
     
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  4. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    I mean, of course. But the topic of conversation was how unfair it is for new associates to have their raises and bonuses solely tied to how many hours they bill.

    Even though I agree that performance should be based on revenue versus hours, that doesn't really help this new associate. Is he supposed to negotiate the hourly rate? Only accept work from clients that pay over a certain amount? As a new lawyer, you're doing whatever the hell is thrown your way; you're not worried about what rate you're billing at.
    I get that, but again - the amount of revenue generated can be largely out of the associate's hands.
     
  5. Gallant Knight

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    kind of fucked to judge an associate based on revenue if one is working for a partner billing at 400 an hour and the other is doing farmers work for 135

    if you are getting 7500 if you bill your hours and 10k if you go above and beyond, i would never try to get that extra 2500-3500 bucks
     
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  6. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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  7. Gallant Knight

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    i'm sure Big Meech is going to come from the clouds and be like zomg well that's why you're not getting work etc etc etc

    but that's just an associate being a good business person. working your ass off for an extra whatever 3-4 weeks of hours to get 2500 bucks would be a nonstarter for me
     
  8. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    I agree with your statement, but all law firms don't operate that way. Our bonus structure is fucking stupid, and incentives associates to get the bare minimum of hours because there's no ROI for going above and beyond.

    But we have a few "gunners" that still bill like 2200+ plus every year and get like $20K in bonuses.
     
  9. Gallant Knight

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    i give my associate mid year and year end bonuses. the mid year is usually between 5-10k and the year end is usually 20k. if we settle a good case i'll give her 500-2k

    i also just give her random shit throughout the year. the rodeo is a big deal in houston. i tell all of my staff to pick a day and i get them two tickets. my assocaites husband is a lebron stan so i go them floor seats when the lakers came to houston.

    it's pretty easy to be a good boss. just be thoughtful and don't try to keep all the money
     
  10. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    :roll:

    I know rodeo is a big deal in many places. It is in Denver, as is our stock show. I just cackled reading that sentence and getting to the words "the rodeo"
     
  11. bro

    bro Hey Hermano
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    I am also a Lebron stan, please mail me floor tix
     
  12. Gallant Knight

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    cardi b was here last year and everyone except one of my staff chose that. tickets were like 250 a pop
     
  13. Gallant Knight

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    those were a smooth 2800 each
     
  14. Gallant Knight

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    she brought my a bottle of johnny walker blue after as a thank you
     
  15. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    Defense firm partners--those at the top of the pyramid--are most likely going to be conservative Boomers of the "fuck you, got mine" mentality. At least in my experience.
     
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  16. Gallant Knight

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    if i were them i would incentivize business generation
     
  17. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    There's more incentive to make money for the firm than just the extra $5-20k bonus. Raises aren't just lock-stepped. If your generating enough, you're going to get faster, bigger raises. Revenues are also tied to partnership, which results in a higher rate (easier to get more revenue), higher salary, profit sharing, etc.

    Obviously, every firm is different. But there's zero financial reason to pay more to someone who isn't pulling their weight. Do good work and you'll get to do more of it. The mindset that "I don't work as much but all my work is good" a lot of the time means that the work isn't really that good or you'd be getting more of it. :twocents:

    This is a very good point. Law firms are particularly terrible at communicating the business aspect of the firm (let alone the books) with associates.
     
  18. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    Most do. The problem is that it's really fucking hard to generate institutional defense clients until you've been doing good work for a long time.
     
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  19. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    Why is that unfair? Working for a client that pays more makes you more money. Do you randomly assign your disputed liability commercial vehicle death cases or do you give those to the lawyer best suited for them?
     
  20. Gallant Knight

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    it would be if the work was distributed like that. my only experience in insurance defense is when i worked for a firm for two years in law school. and their associates would basically just be assigned to a partner and get work from that person.
     
  21. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    Because often times the associate has little-to-no say in which client they are working for.

    Like mentioned on the previous page, we're talking about new associates that are doing projects and assignments versus running a case. They can't generally dictate the work that gets thrown their way, or only demand to work for clients that pay above XXX. You're judging them based on something that is out of their control.
     
  22. Oranjello

    Oranjello Well-Known Member
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    It's often not in the associate's control. I can do the exact same type of tax work for 2 different partners, but under one of the partners my hourly rate is 40% higher.
     
  23. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    Again, everywhere works differently. But, they don't put people on work that they can't do for long. And, they don't put people who can do lots of high quality work doing low rate shit for long.

    It's generally less "out of their control" than you think. I have never, ever heard anyone who delegates work say "I'm tired of him billing so many hours and asking for work!"
     
  24. Gallant Knight

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    also, i would sent this to BUstang and have his boss spend the money working something like that up and tell me when to come pick up a check
     
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  25. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    And there are probably litigators at your firm doing 100% of their work at or below your lowest rate. I can't speak for everywhere, but if revenues over the course of a year end up not accurately reflecting the work ethic and quality or work of the associates, the firm has major managerial problems. :twocents:
     
  26. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    I have nothing to go on except my anecdotal experience, but I have never seen this to be the case -- are you saying newly hired associates can dictate which partners they receive work from?

    Regarding the second statement, maybe it's over my head (strong likelihood), but I don't see how that follows from your first statement.
     
  27. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    I'm saying that partners disproportionately give work to associates who they know do good work. By doing a lot of work and doing good work, you get more work.
     
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  28. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    As to the unfairness, partners are evaluated and paid based off of their revenues, too. I agree that it sucks that revenues are tied to hours, but that's the system. It's a hard way to make a living, no doubt.
     
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  29. BamaNug

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    I don't disagree with that, but how does that support your point that associates can choose which clients they work for?

    Typically, as a new associate, you're going to try and do good work regardless of the client or the hourly rate.

    Now, if you're saying that the associate doing good work means they will gradually move to partners that have higher-value clients, and thus generate more, I'd disagree with that.
     
  30. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    If associates who consistently do high quality work in a high volume aren’t working for your higher rate clients, that’s a firm-specific management problem.
     
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  31. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    I think that's an ideal rather than reality. Partners fight like hell to keep good associates, even if that partner has lower-value clients.

    And both you and Meech already said
    I mean yea, in a perfect world, rockstar associates get moved higher up the food chain and work for higher-value clients. But I haven't seen that to be the case at all. You put your head down and do the work that's given to you. Associates don't generally get passed around among partners, in my experience.
     
  32. BamaNug

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    Would like to point out that we're talking with two partners in Tegg and Meech. A regular bourgeoisie vs proletariat battle.

    let's start an uprising.
     
  33. SmoochieWallace

    SmoochieWallace Ipse dixit
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  34. BamaNug

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    I'm also busy AF. Have gotten 4 new cases in the past 2 weeks.

    I'm not thrilled about it.
     
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  35. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    Aren't you L&E? Y'all should be fine for a while after this.
     
  36. SmoochieWallace

    SmoochieWallace Ipse dixit
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    Nope. Full service firm. I’m in commercial litigation. Mostly class action defense and franchise/distribution litigation.

    But to your point, L&E is printing money right now.
     
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  37. Oranjello

    Oranjello Well-Known Member
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    The billable hour sucks. On the other hand, flat rate billing sucks when a project balloons.

    Wish I could collect a contingency fee based on tax savings.
     
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  38. wes tegg

    wes tegg I'm a Guy's guy, guys.
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    Contingencies can suck pretty bad too.
     
  39. Oranjello

    Oranjello Well-Known Member
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    Sure, but at least I'd be rich
     
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  40. Gallant Knight

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    Nah they tight
     
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  41. Ray McKigney

    Ray McKigney Feel my ubiquity
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    That’s me. And yes, we are busy.
     
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  42. Ray McKigney

    Ray McKigney Feel my ubiquity
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    You and I appear to approach the practice of law with similar mindsets.
     
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  43. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    I believe the term is "apathy."
     
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  44. Ray McKigney

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    I am a lost cause. I somehow have been falling upwards my entire career and just hate it more and more every day. I just happen to be good at it.

    I’ve always wondered if I would enjoy plaintiffs (L&E) work more if I hung a shingle. Perhaps I would be more invested, especially if my income were tied to how I worked a case, as opposed to I’m getting what I’m getting, no matter what happens (which I am grateful for, btw).

    Being prone to depression, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders every day (my own fault), and having a need to be liked by everyone, I’ve chosen a rough way to earn a living.
     
  45. Ray McKigney

    Ray McKigney Feel my ubiquity
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    Sorry for killing a lively debate gents
     
  46. Ray McKigney

    Ray McKigney Feel my ubiquity
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    I have an overwhelming desire to know what y’alls firms are paying associates after reading the last couple of pages
     
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  47. herb.burdette

    herb.burdette Meet me at the corner of 8th and Worthington
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    Your view on partner compensation is off.

    Partners have to work and bill hours, but that is probably the third concern behind the book of business and its profitability.

    Partners are compensated based upon how much they bill and clients pay, but it’s much more important to keep others busy, especially associates who bill at an hourly rate that makes them much more profitable relative to their salary.
     
  48. Big Meech

    Big Meech I like turtles
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    I am just a tad jaded. Served separate time as hiring partner and the liaison between associates and partners. I’ve heard all the complaints and was an associate once too. No system is perfect and billing hours generally sucks balls. Associate life ain’t fair. Keep your head down, work hard and good things generally happen. If not at your existing firm, at another. Good lawyers that are responsive and get good results will find a place to make good money.

    at the end of the day though, everyone, partners and associates, are a line item and judged on the revenue they generate.
     
  49. BamaNug

    BamaNug Quentin Quarantino
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    I think if I would have chose a different area of law I'd be much more invested. I took the first job I could get out of law school, which was commercial trucking, and it's mostly what I've done my whole career. My job in Seattle is the exact same type of work with many of the same clients as in Alabama. With huge policies and high exposure, everything settles, and you just get the sense that nothing matters. 75% of my work product is reporting to adjusters on discovery and developments. You can only be so eloquent when reporting on Joe Smith's interrogatory responses and regurgitating medical records.

    A "great job" is paying $90K instead of $100K at mediation, or paying $1.8M instead of $1.9M. Those are still big numbers, but it's all fucking monopoly money. I have to feign interest so much with partners that get fucking jazzed about settling for $5K below our authority. These partners have been doing this for 20+ years more than me. That's nauseating. If trial was a real possibility, then I think I'd have a different outlook. But 1 trial in 8 years (on a case I didn't even work) leads to the mindset of "so what?"

    On the plus side, I rarely work more than 45-50 hours/week, make good money (for a single guy with no dependents), and have a pretty stress-free life. On the other hand, my job is boring AF and I spend a most of my day staring at a computer screen or deposing a soft-tissue Plaintiff.

    Just moving closer and closer to a remote/part-time position. Going to start getting serious about it in 2021.
     
    #10300 BamaNug, May 20, 2020
    Last edited: May 20, 2020