I'm a third-year litigation associate and joined a new firm two weeks ago. I was promised a lot of work and responsibility, which is why I joined this firm, but things have been really slow since I joined. I keep asking for work, but I'm told to "hold tight" and that work will be coming to me soon. Is this common, or did I make a mistake by joining this new firm? - K.A., Boston

Is lack of work on joining a new firm common?


Dear K.A.,

Yes, a temporary absence of work upon joining a new firm is actually quite common. And your reaction ("Did I make a mistake by joining this new firm?") is also very normal.

It's important to realize that even when a firm has a hiring need and brings on a new associate, it can take some time for the work to get to that associate's desk. There are a few common reasons for this.

First, the initial few days of a new job are usually dedicated to getting up to speed on an administrative level (learning to use the computers, training, etc.). Second, a delay in receiving work commonly stems from the practice group being too busy. (I know this sounds very counterintuitive since they hired you because they were too busy.)