Dear Jane: Help! My Billable Work Has Dried Up

by 352admin 28. February 2013 13:50

Dear Jane,

I’ve normally hit the 1,800 minimum set for associates but never billed much more than that.  Over the last six months, the billable work in my specialty has completely dried up. Consequently, I have about 250 hours so far this fiscal year.  What should I do?


Trying to Look Busy


Dear Trying to Look Busy,

In today’s environment, you need to do more than try to look busy.  You need to figure out how to spend your time doing things that your practice group and firm find additive and productive.  Here are some ideas (and there are many more possible productive thoughts): 

  • Talk to your practice group leader about a topic on which you could author a client advisory;
  • Volunteer to update the department’s form files;
  • Do some pro bono work that allows you to develop some necessary substantive skills;
  • Write an article with a partner on a current topic in your substantive area;
  • Re-tool and get up to speed in another substantive area. 

You need to have a game plan for being visibly productive within the firm and you need to communicate about what you are accomplishing along the way.  It may not be enough to save your job, but all of these types of activities create a win-win situation for you and the firm.

Jane DiRenzo Pigott is the managing director of R3 Group LLC, specializing in working with professional service organizations on leadership and change in connection with diversity and inclusion. Before founding R3 Group, she practiced law for more than two decades at large law firms where she chaired a practice group, served on the executive management and compensation committees, and founded and ran diversity initiatives and affinity groups.

Have a question for Jane? Click here to submit it online.


Career Advice | Dear Jane

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