As of last Friday, the last day of my secondment, I was on target to make my hours for the year thanks to the busy secondment and the fact that secondment hours count, as "legal service" hours, towards my billable requirement.
*huge sigh of relief*
I _really_ want to make my hours this year. By way of background, during my first year, Beach City office's lack of deal flow and decision to work-starve the most junior associates wrecked havoc on my hours such that there was no hope, even after volunteering to transfer offices, to make my hours for the year. The firm used this as a reason to hold me back from advancing with my salary class at the end of last year. The written record of my end-of-year evaluation clearly stated that the partners assumed responsibility for the lack of work (and I appreciate that), but I was still frustrated.
I want to make my hours so that I can advance with my salary class. More so, I want to make my hours because I want the practical experience that is necessary to advance my skill set. Accordingly, about a week ago, I sent an email out to the group reminding them of my imminent return, which I hoped would help reduce the downtime during my transition back to the firm.
On my first day back, I walked the halls, said hello, discussed my experience in-house, and asked for work. It appears that there is nothing for me to do except for a non-billable database project. Don't get me wrong, I will do that database project with a smile on my face, but I am more than concerned that there isn't a single billable project that requires a junior associate in my group (I am the only junior associate in the group) at this moment and in the foreseeable future.
If you've been following along here for some time, you may be wondering why I keep writing what is essentially the same we-don't-have-enough-work post, without taking action. I considered transferring offices a drastic and aggressive, but necessary way to address the problem. When that attempted solution fell flat, I considered accepting the secondment as a way to fill my time and broaden my experience (mission accomplished). I've said yes to every assignment and even brought in a client... I'm not sure what else I can do within the firm at this point.
So I will continue to walk the halls and ask for work, and start considering external solutions to the problem.