So, when exactly do I get to start feeling like a real lawyer?
Been a few months now at the new job and haven't had much of anything that a marginally qualified administrative assistant couldn't handle. With a handful of exceptions, projects have either been thin or just lots of tedious detail work. The majority of my assignments have just been tons of proofing. Feels like being on law journal as a 2L all over again... except the copy I'm proofing is a lot more mundane now than those articles were back then.
My firm works on a regular year cycle (January through December) for advancement and pay/bonuses. The billing requirement doesn't really kick in until January, so any time we bill now until January 1st doesn't really "count."
In theory this is a good thing: you can take it easy, only take on projects that you are really interested in, and have nights and weekends free for the life that will be abruptly taken away from you once you have to start scrambling to get hours to keep up with the billing requirements. In practice, however, it becomes sort of an odd high-wire act. Everybody knows what is expected of us come January 1st, but what is expected of us until then is much less clear. Are we really supposed to act like our hours don't matter, or are only those of us who manage to bill like crazy going to be picked for projects come the time it really matters? If we don't have anything, is it really okay to leave at 2:00 to go home and pet your cats?
My firm is actually pretty good about this (as I'm continually finding out it is about most things). Nobody is going around checking your desk at 6:00 p.m. (or 2:00 p.m. for that matter) to see if your there, and, while they of course want you to be willing to help out if you can (gotta be a team player!) they also really seem to want you to go out and enjoy yourself if you really don't have anything to do. Oddly, just about the time that I figured this out, my work schedule filled up and I ended up spending several late nights and one weekend banging away at projects while more senior attorneys shook their head. They "had" to be there, what was my excuse? But now that's done and I'm back to doing next to nothing. Well, at least there is another couple of weeks to enjoy being slow. Once the new year hits, being slow won't be fun anymore.