There are newer employer reviews for Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear

5 people found this helpful  

Great work experience, and great opportunity to actually become partner..

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Associate  in  Irvine, CA
Current Employee - Associate in Irvine, CA

I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time for more than 5 years

Pros

Friendly attorneys, flexible hours, work from home at least some of the time, good mix of clients, responsibility early. Knobbe's system where attorneys share work or pass work to those who are most qualified gives you a good opportunity to interact with clients early and have a lot of responsibility for your cases. I think that one's experience at Knobbe depends on the partners you are working for and the clients that you have. I am a current associate, I have been here for a few years, and I have not had the same experience as many of the other reviewers. My experience has been a good one. I have made quota every year, and had very little time cut. I do self cut at times, but this has been minimal. I would say that the billed quota system is not that big of a deal. I would say that I bill close to 1850-1900 (including self-cutting) to make quota. So this is not really a big deal and definitely does not compare to other firms that require 2000+. I have never had a partner ask me to work on weekends and in fact, there is hardly anyone here on weekends or late at night.

Cons

I do think and know of some people who get too much work from one partner, with low budgets, or just too much work with low budgets, and end they up having problems. If you don't talk to another partner or get help from other associates you will likely be looking elsewhere shortly. I do have some low budgets but it is doable.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

I think we should have been more open about over hiring in the midst of the recession. I don't think that management realized that the recession would last this long. I think that they could do more to keep the associates informed of how the firm is doing (once a year at the retreat is not enough) and quit cutting back on some of the small perks. Sometimes a little something extra goes a long way.

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Approves of CEO

32 Other Employee Reviews for Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear (View Most Recent)

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  1. 8 people found this helpful  

    Demoralizing work environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  Irvine, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in Irvine, CA

    I have been working at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time

    Pros

    Nice people, convenient office location, the timekeeper software is nice, great way to get paid to do nothing if you have no interest in building your legal skills

    Cons

    Associate morale is at all-time low, and most first-year associates cannot even hope to make quota. There is no structure for workload distribution, so some people work 10 hours a day and will get a bonus, while others struggle to bill even 3 hours (7 hours per day to make quota). This means that associates have to go on demoralizing rounds where partner after partner tells them that the partner will "keep [the associate] in mind." But that partner will just give the work to the next associate to walk through their door, or to a man. Men generally are closer to making quota than women, and I know several women experienced several partners giving work to male counterparts shortly after a visit from from a female, or even a promise to give that female associate work.

    The billed system makes it very difficult to make quota on a prosecution docket, and partners tend to low-ball clients, and then expect you to sacrifice your own time to get in under their absurd budgets, while billing out 2 hours to review a simple document. Even worse, many partners tell you that the work is "non-billable" but may lead to billable work to string you along. If the work is for client benefit, it should be billable and billed. The firm does basically nothing for pro bono, and you will not get any credit for taking the time to do it. And good luck finding a partner willing to give their time to supervise you.

    The firm has no support structure for associates who are struggling to make quota. You are assigned a mentor, who most likely has nothing in common with you, and probably isn't even in the practice area you are interested in. Those mentors do not do anything to help you meet quota. You might get a free lunch once a month if you are lucky, but otherwise, they serve no purpose.

    The summer program is not representative of life as an associate. The structured work distribution disappears immediately. The willingness for partners to work a variety of backgrounds disappears.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more open about the fact that you have over-hired for the last 3 years. Remove a minimum quota for first-years if you can't provide them with enough work to make it. Do something to make sure that people feel like somebody cares about them making quota and building their legal skills. Make the summer program more representative of life as an actual associate (aka hellish and demoralizing)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 8 people found this helpful  

    It's not rocket science

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate  in  Irvine, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in Irvine, CA

    I worked at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The firm has all the tools necessary to allow for quality preparation and prosecution of patents. Knowledgable partners, great docketing, great International Patent Services, expansive library resources, and easy to use macros.

    Cons

    High hourly billable rates and the billed quota system. There is just no feasible way to make quota, even the firms reduced "lifestyle" quota of 1750 hours doing patent prosecution. The billed quota system and hourly billing rates are especially puzzling considering that the firm is primarly a patent prosecution firm--so the billed system and current billing rates don't cater to most of the firm's employees or clients. Everything boils down to a client's budget. Most clients have relatively low budgets for patent prosecution, so increasing the billing rates of associates and partners just cuts down on the number of hours that go towards your quota. To make a long story short, not enough work exists to feed all the incoming associates. Competition between associates for work is intense, and doesn't foster a collegial environment. Associates spend far too much time searching for work rather than billing, but then again, you can't bill time unless you have something to do, and finding billable work is an associates biggest hurdle. Many associates will ask every partner in an office for work and get blanked out with nothing to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The last thing associates want to hear is the same lip-service over an over again. Repeating the mantra that the firm is a lifestyle firm doesn't make it true. Think about how angry you would be if you worked until 10:00 p.m. each night and every weekend, and a partner tells you that Knobbe is great because it's a lifestyle firm. The firm needs to get much more work coming through the door or it needs to cut down on its number of attorneys. It would be understandable if the firm hired too many associates one or two years in a row. But to consistently make the same mistake year after year doesn't add up and sends the message that the partnership doesn't have a full grasp of the state of the firm. And the firm can't continue to candy-coat things for summers and pretend like everything is okay. Choosing a law firm to start your career is a big decision.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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