Friday, June 18, 2010

Temporary Jobs, Document Review and a Decent Rate.

Any contract attorney will tell you about the glory days of yesteryear, when food was on the client, car service drove you home and rates were $45/hour plus time and half for OT.  After the crash, rates dropped into the teens, you could walk your butt home and OT was impossible to come by. In fact, your hours were capped at 40.  So, now rates are hovering between 25 and 32, with all sorts of caveats like "big firm experience" and experience in patent litigation.  Temp agencies, and Big Law through them, has their picks of the best, brightest and most experienced to conduct temporary document review projects at bargain basement prices.  It's obviously Big Law's way of getting the associates that used to work for them prior to being laid off, for less than $30/hour.  It's a great deal for the legal industry, and a shitty deal for the associates that are now doing mind numbing document review in the basements of large law firms in notoriously hazardous conditions, shoulder to shoulder with other contract attorneys who are likewise numb to the world.  But at least it doesn't require effort, which is freeing.
So, a BIDER tipster sent in this email, from a temp agency in New York that seemed promising based on the subject line: New Short Term Project - 35/hr.  So, at first, I'm thinking--what's the big deal?  That's actually an improvement over rates that I've seen, heard and read about. But then I continued to read on... and WHOA.  Mind you, this email was sent to contract attorneys in New York:

Let me know if you would be interested in this new project.   Please read below. 
Four attorneys needed for approximately two weeks to handle intake matters with the firm's clients. Hands on experience in family law, general litigation matters, immigration and criminal law needed.  Attorneys need to be members of the state bar association in good standing in either California, Florida, Ilinois or Washington.
Responsibilities include consulting with the clients on the phone (from one of the states above), generate a memo and perform initial file management and communication/coordination with the firms managing partners in the respective states.
Pay rate approximately $35 hrly. depending on experience.
Does this strike anyone else as slightly odd?  This sounds pretty substantive, as well as specific as hell as to what your qualifications need to be.  Bizarre to be asking a bunch of New York attorneys to be barred in random other states.  And what do you get if you're this rare needle in a haystack with the perfect combo of being barred in Illinois, living in New York, with experience in immigration and criminal law?  You get to be paid a mere $35/hour (or maybe less) to do real work, i.e. speaking to clients?!  Looks like a law firm should be hiring an associate, rather than hiring a temporary contract attorney.  But the free market dictates that contract attorneys are cheaper to hire, so why hire a permanent attorney?  Well, I have many friends that are contract attorneys and they are very professional, but there are plenty of walking disasters masquerading as contract attorneys out there.  I hope the living incarnation of PigPen from Snoopy comes walking into this firm, so they will rethink taking hiring contract attorneys over a permanent employee--from my fingertips to God's Ears.


  1. It's gotten to the point, where I can't really care anymore but instead do my own re-enactment of the final dance scene from The Fantastic Mr. Fox

    Well there she goes with a brand new love affair dancing with him like she don't even care!

  2. It sounds like a lead generation service. They place a commercial on tv looking for toxic torts, criminal, and famil law clients. The amount they charge the provider firms to play will more than justify the hourly rate.

  3. Substantive family, criminal, and immigration law work with direct client contact? For $35/hr.?? Seems like a malpractice lawsuit just waiting to happen.

  4. Here is a great job opportunity. Apparently you have to be a white male to get the job.

  5. I made sure to reference you in a recent post. Keep up the good work!

    -Cryn Johannsen, Founder of Education Matters

  6. I have enjoyed reading your blog, and just launched a blog of my own about the law school scam. Take a look, if you are so inclined.



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