Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is the Legal Profession Promulgating A Jim Crow Caste Structure?

method="post">---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: diversetemps diversetemps >
Date: May 17, 2007 12:01 AM
Subject: Contract Attorneys and Diversity

Morrison & Foerster prides itself on ethnic and cultural diversity yet, below the surface, it does little to tap deep enough into the applicant pool to develop and retain diverse candidates.

Indeed, as evidenced by the email below, Morrison and Foerster actually stifles diverse attorneys' career development by limiting internet and telephone access, which are critical for pursuing opportunities beyond document review.

This firm seems to operate from a fixed paradigm: that early success in law school is an irrefutable predictor of future career success and, thus, other lawyers who come in to pick up the grunt work are not worthy of any sort of dignified treatment. This could not be further from the truth. Good lawyering, as with any other skill, can be learned irrespective of where someone went to law school or what rank they were in law school. Lawyering is not an innate skill. It is a mistake to assume that there is not diverse talent to be developed amongst the ranks of contract attorneys. In fact, the reason why law firms have such a difficult time attracting diverse candidates is because they are myopic in their approach.

While associate salaries, law school tuition, and profits per partner have grown exponentially in recent years, the hourly rates of contract attorneys have remained stagnant. Interestingly, the ranks of contract attorneys are up to five times as diverse as the ranks of full-time associates. Yet, contract attorneys receive little substantive training and mentoring. This is an issue which can no longer be ignored.

Too many discussions about diversity at law firms are focused solely upon associates. It is time for the discussion to be expanded. Instead of stifling the career opportunities of this diverse pool of lawyers, Morrison and Foerster, other law firms, clients, and bar associations should be devising ways to develop them.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: The Posse List
To: distribution@theposselist.com
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 22:21:05 -0400
Subject: A complaint from a Posse member

...From a Possemember:

The Morrison Foerster Project at Compliance is an affront to the dignity of the 50 contract attorneys working there. Compliance's Project Manager's behavior, tone and tactics are reprehensible. From Day 1, the Project was adversarial in tone. Internet access was removed, only 2 computers provided for nearly 50 people to use. Phone call access is relegated to a balcony where there is absolutely no privacy. Compliance provided 2 keys for access to the women's restroom, only 4 key cards are provided for egress from the building after 6:00 p.m., and constant monitoring of every attorney's action, conversation and even look. The atmosphere is dismal, morale low and self-esteem constantly attacked.

Despite the minimum 50 hrs. and maximum 60, there is no food provided for after hours, unlike most large law firms' policy. Attorneys are urged to limit their lunch to 30 minutes to ensure "getting-in the 50 hour minimum," and any deviation from the 1/2 hour rule must be reported to the "Drill Sergeant" Project Manager. I've worked on several Compliance projects, and many others for large staffing agencies, I've heard many a horror story, but this one takes the cake. Most of the Project Attorneys are eager to jump ship at the first opportunity--if you're listening out there--PLEASE HELP!!!

Contract attorneys create value for staffing companies like Compliance, and their respective clients, not the other way around.

*The Posse List, based in D.C. , is 6 years old and its membership now exceeds 3,200 lawyers.

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110 comments:

Anonymous said...

Law firms try to solve the diversity problem by grabbing an associate or two from Howard every now and then.

That does not deal with the issue, however, esp. when you have a massive invisible workforce (a workforce that has seen its wages stagnate and conditions deteriorate) that is disproportionately made up of minorities.

Anonymous said...

huh?

where's racism? did i miss something???

Anonymous said...

You must be white. It's hard for white people to see racism sometimes when they are not subjected to it.

Anonymous said...

I said it before, and I'll say it again: BigLaw's treatment of contract attorneys is a form of apartheid. Not necessarily in a racial sense (as happened in South Africa), but simply because of their underlying belief that contract attorneys are second-class citizens at best. The work areas where contract attorneys are "permitted" to work are little better than bantustans, and since access to the firms' "real offices" are extremely limited (if non-existent) even that isn't that much different than the passbooks that the South Africans required of those traveling in the "nice" parts of their country.

The legal profession is elitist at its core.

Anonymous said...

I was on a project where temps and perms had access to different bathrooms. Perms (many of whom were doing the same doc. review that we were doing) also had access to the firm meal allowance.

It soon dawned on me that the people going up to the perm. bathroom and the people that were eating the firm food were disproportionately white, compared to the general temp. population.

I guess the firms can get away with this by somehow creating a different classification of employee.

Anonymous said...

"I was on a project where temps and perms had access to different bathrooms. Perms (many of whom were doing the same doc. review that we were doing) also had access to the firm meal allowance."

NYC in 2007?
Alabama in 1920?

Anonymous said...

this is the stupidest thread of all time.

i pray it's a joke.

it is a very funny one.

jim fuckin crow... get a grip... and click

Anonymous said...

"jim fuckin crow... get a grip... and click"

HAHAHA. Very fitting from someone who was calling everyone the "N" word last week.

Anonymous said...

"I have worked in various law firms since college, during law school and currently. The problem with law firms is that partners like to hire people that look like them. The majority of partners happen to be white males. Hence why you see some small and mid sized firms completely dominated by white males.

Big firms are more diverse and better at recruiting minority law grads. The problem is these firms love to pick the minorities who come from top schoools or who are top or middle of the class at schools ranked in the lower Tier 1 or Tier 2 schools. The majority of minorit y grads from Tier 3/4 schools will never get a shot on credentials alone so most end up doing doc review or working in small firms because they lose out to their white counterparts who have an edge because of looks, connections, whatever.

I speak from experience. I worked at 1 firm where I was the ONLY minority attorney (everyone was white male/female) and I felt somewhat ostracized at firm functions. I had 1 partner who was "in my corner" but I really didn't fit into the firm socially as well as the other associates and it affected how quickly I got cases assigned to me, feedback given, etc. Over time, I was pushed out and eventually quit.

I know several minority classmates who aren't even practicing law. 2 black females I know from my law school section are working as college administrators, and another black male is doing well as an Assistant DA in the Bronx. However, the majority of us are struggling because we are a minority in a world of majorities."

Anonymous said...

Law firms remain one of the few areas of corporate America where there remains a refusal on the part of employers to address the issue of diversity, Instead, they steadfastly continue to claim it is a matter of not finding or retaining people. This is true, by the way, even for candidates or employees who have the credentials they claim they want. I am not sure where I read this, so don't quote me, but I believe there has been some pressure in the last few years from corporations who serve as law firm clients because they see this lack of a diversity as an issue. As the corporations are seeing the importance of diversity in their ranks and they are seeing a diversification of the consumer base, they are wanting to have representation that also reflects this. The fact is America is changing. The legal profession is not. That's bad for the legal profession.

Anonymous said...

oh who cares.

black people are mostly criminals.

stupid hippie liberals need to accept reality.

Anonymous said...

Outside the tier 1, small firms don't hire minorities. A small suburban firm with two white male partners in a mostly white area, is in all likelihood going to hire a white associate. This leaves alot of minorities in the doc. review arena.

Anonymous said...

Because blacks do poorly in law school, or go to crap law schools, it's racist to only hire people who did well at respected law schools.

Yup, makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

There are alot of black women with tier 1 degrees on my project. How come?

Anonymous said...

It wasn't that long ago when black people couldn't even get hired AT ALL at certain BigLaw firms. (Same with women, Hispanics, Jews, and non-WASPs) REGARDLESS of their credentials. This is why, even today, you hear some NYC firms referred to as "Jewish firms" (e.g., Cleary Gottlieb) because those firms came about when the likes of Cravath et. al. weren't hiring Jews (even CONSIDERING hiring African American attorneys was beyond the pale).

Sorry, but I really don't think that that mentality has changed much (if at all). Nowadays, it just goes under the general, "non-racist" rubric of "not having the proper credentials" or "not fitting in socially" or something else like that b/c at least BigLaw is smart enough to NOT say "we don't hire N***ers."

And, for the record, I am white.

Anonymous said...

Caste Structure. Illustration:

Lily project at 65 Broadway.

Lily would throw a weekly pizza night. There were two sets of pizza.

a) Gourmet pizza only for permanent staff and paralegals, most of whom were upper middle class white kids who had just gotten out of school.

b) Generic pizza for contract staff - staff which was disproportionately minority.

The free pizza was a nice gesture. It was a little unnerving however to see two sets up rooms: one mostly upper class, white, and privileged with better pizza, and the other mostly minority with cheaper pizza.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why all the southern plantation owners got all in a tissy over the Emancipation of Proclamation.

If the plantation owners were smart, they would have employed Update Legal to re-hire all the former slaves as "temporary employees" of the land. E of P would have been seen as nothing more than a technicality.

Anonymous said...

During my time as a temp, I never got that impression, and in fact, on the larger projects, it was evident that maintaining a racial balance was a consideration during mass firings. I would also add that I've met numerous Africans on big projects, most of whom were decent workers but did not have US law degrees and/or had not mastered an easily intelligible form of spoken English--I don't mean this in an insulting way, but both of those things are legitimate reasons for not hiring them as associates. So I think those individuals should not count in conducting a racial poll in the industry. And I think the point about small firms is right on -- probably not outward racism, rather a matter of "comfort level", in the same way that Jews will feel comfortable with other Jews, Irish with Irish, etc. This is "soft bigotry" that I think can never be eradicated, nor should it. Large firms, however, are VERY conscious of their racial profiles. The problem is the dearth of "qualified" black/brown candidates coming out of the top schools. Those who do manage just fine. Are some of those crying racism suggesting that Cravath should make an exception and hire black JDs from Seton Hall but reject all whites with the same credentials?

Anonymous said...

"Expanding the pool of law schools for summer associates may change some clients' ``perception'' of their lawyers, said Peter Zeughauser, the former chairman of the American Corporate Counsel Association and the managing partner of the Zeughauser Group LLC.

`Second-Tier' Perceptions

``As a reality, it's not going to make any difference; clients will get the same quality and level of service,'' he said. ``As for the perception, the firms that are forced to dip into the lower-tier schools and lower class ranks will be perceived as second-tier firms."


There are plenty of capable minority candidates in lower tier schools that are clearly capable of doing the work. Bringing in the African who can't speak English as an example, isn't fair.

Law firms don't want to destroy the "perception," which in many ways is client driven, that they are top tier firms. This "perception" is created by having ivy league, abercrombie looking, white, or white-acting associates. This is soft racism at its best.

Anonymous said...

It's all about brand.

White acting, abercrombie looking, ivy league degree holding is considered prestigious.

Anything else is considered third tier toilet.

Anonymous said...

White acting, abercrombie looking, ivy league degree holding is considered prestigious.

and that isn't racist?!?

Anonymous said...

"and that isn't racist?!?"

I wasn't saying that I believed it. I was just making a point. That is the subtle, soft racism that exists in our society.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to you, but poor black folk are the not the only ones adversely affected by these recent trends--and to suggest otherwise is an outrage. Some of the projects I worked on included unemployed, white NYU grads from the likes of Clifford Chance who were let go after the wake of 9/11, other white males from Tier 1 or even top ten law schools, such as yours truly. These people, and some of the black attorneys I had met, reassured me that my lot is a function of bad luck and the worst legal market since world war ii.
Others, disproportionately, but not exclusively black, mind you, were the sort of unemployable freaks that give rise to doubt about one's suitability by mere association. One habitual drunkard who would come in with not one or two drinks with lunch, but six or seven, and reportedly stank of booze (I myself could not smell it), would carry on about Socialist black politics, how he is a "black Nazi," and other far-left rants. Another overweight woman who surfed the web half the day, always had the lowest productivity rates, habitually eating stinky cold-cut meats, talking all the time. There are of course many other anecdotes.
The point is that the suggestion that the living death of document review has somehow uniquely affected blacks is demonstrably false--as demonstrated by the number of young white attorneys I know who were caught in this trap. Moreover, a disproportionate number of those who are functionally unemployable, indeed just utterly disgraceful in their personal habits, are disproportionately black. As I already disclaimed, there were a number of black attorneys I met who I liked and respected tremendously, which should hopefully muffle any cries of racism or what have you.
Myself and others broke out of the temp racket--many of whom are not white. This demonstrates that this sort of victimization ideology, as proferred by Sharpton, Jackson and their ilk is counter-productive to all concerned. Beyond that, it has become MOST tiresome.

Anakin

Anonymous said...

No one has said that this is a problem exclusive to people of color (I say that because I notice the nature assumption to assume this is blacks only when the reality its anyone who is different, and people of color by their very racial identity in a majority white society are going to be perceived of as different). The point isn't whether it is exclusive. The question is whether it's a trend or represents one. I don't know. I do know that pointing out "me too" isn't really addressing the issue being raised. It's a deflection from the issue that so often happens on race. "Well my parents weren't wealthy either." To which I want to respond, okay, and what has that got to do with the specific issue I raised? If you want to bring that up separately as a concern, and say that there are issues there that need to be address, that's perfectly valid. But don't use one screwed up mess to justify another. The truth is there are multiple layers to the problems we face in this country. Some of it racial. Some of it financial. Some of it unavoidable. The problem is also that we as Americans lack the maturity to discuss these issues in a complicated manner beyond avoidance, and saying "me too."

And your post is racist- not because you know some good associates, but because you use terms like victimization to describe reasonable questions about whether diversity is a problem in the work place. You go from that reasonable question to thinking of every extreme you can- I mean come on Al Sharpton? Are you serious? DId anyone mention him besides you here? See that's the kind of thing that a racist does. They don't have a sense of proportionality, circumstances and a multitude of other factors, and aren't able to ask systemic questions without resorting to their personal little issues or anecdotes. Anecdotes are nice- but they aren't the end of the conversation. The conversation is about systemically what's going on. I don't pretend to know. I do know what i read. I do know what my logical skills that I gained from a top tier law school tell me through reasoning is occuring.

I do know it's hard for me to believe that of all Asian, black, latino and other ethinic groups that law firms still are far behind the rest of corporate America in its diversity. This isn't something I just made up. Look it up. You can justify this all you want by "well but they aren't qualified." That's just your little attorney's brain justifying whatever you think as if it's fact. The question becomes., however, why is the rest of corporate America, despite it's many flaws still on the issues starting to make some traction with race but law firms are not?

I think the post that most explains this is the one about small suburban law firms. to me - the nature of practicing law, not just on this issue, but a multitude of issues is the problem. It still relies to heavily on things that absolutely don't predict or separate out good lawyers from bad. I just had a great conversation last night with a patent agent having to deal with top tier law firm first year associates who in her word she describes as complete morons because year after year they come in fresh out of law school being told they are shit before having learned a single thing, and that means everyone else must carry the weight of geting through all the bullshit of teaching them how to get the job done. I have no idea if this anecdote is representative. but it seems like to me, that the problem is the systemic nature of how firms work.

Anonymous said...

Sharpton and Jackson were never mentioned explicitly, but the same sort of victimization ideology they typify has been visited here. I raise Jackson and Sharpton because they exemplify a certain mentality that I call vicitimization ideology. Now we are at an absurd point where someone brandishes the R word for using the word "victim" even as blacks clamor time and again that they are victims. Indeed, this article suggests that blacks are VICTIMS of overt racism on behalf of law firms. This is absurd. But I really do not care, and others are quickly arriving at the same point. The time is going to come very soon when whites (and others) are no longer affected by such crass use of the race card, which will happily emasculate these sorts of coercive tactics that have milked the cow for far too long in the name of billions of dollars of social spending (Great Society) oppressive affirmative action and busing schemes that discriminate against whites, frivolous lawsuits, and on and on. The list is practicall endless.
The diversity mantra is offensive to me because those who adopt it as their battle cry suggest it is an end to itself--that results should be driven by statistics, rather than actual merit. Moreover, they think diversity is achieved through skin color, not by worldview, or economic or familial background or what have you. The result all too often is lower middle class and lower class get screwed so that limosine liberals can have the vanity of being with Cosby kids. Of course, it is curious to me that on one hand, these people want to say that race does matter when the circumstances suit them (race matters, people learn from being around people different than they are, so and so forth), but then say that it does not matter when to do so compromises their position. Such moral inconsistency should never have been even contemplated.
Consider also that factors other than racism are at play here. (What a novel concept). Something like over three-fourths of black families are without the father. Think this might affect children's academic performance? Think this might cause the number of those who do actually go on to receive a acollege education to be disadvantaged in a way that preordains inferior academic credentials? As it surely does, how are whites or the society or the man responsible for the failure of black fathers to be with their families? Indeed, trends in so-called black culture encourage academic failure, bad grammar, because to do otherwise is selling out to whitey. This is so indisputable to have been mentioned on the Black Entertainment Channel. Meanwhile, Southeast Asian immigrants who came here with NOTHING, or descended from backgrounds as oppressed if not more so than blacks, have excelled. It could be innate difference in natural intelligence see Bell Curve et al., or sociological trends mentioned above. Whatever verdict the jury renders, I really do not care anymore. I am painfully tired, as are many others who think but remain silent, of this black victimization ideology, this demand for diversity that seeks to preordain results irrespective of merit.
Finally, it is curious to me that blacks and other minorities are well advised to derive a sense of community and identity from their ethnic background, but it is somehow taboo for whites to do so. Blacks overwhelmingly endorse the acquiitals of Orenthal Simpson and Michael Jackson. Could you imagine if whites collectively endorsed the acquittal of a double murdered or child molester because the accused is white--the sensation and outrage would be cause celebre far overshadowing the Imus scandal or what have you. This is an appalling double standard--as it is deeply troubling in absolute terms.
Perhaps the small firm phenomenon is natural--notwithstanding attempts at social engineering by the controlled media, people tend to like to be around people who look like they do, who share a similar ethnic and historical background. But if that is so on both ends, then perhaps racial differences are irreconciable, mandating that we call the whole thing off. If white Europeans come to that conclusion, what result then? Playing the tiresome race card will seem to have lost its potency, no? What will you do when this novelty fails to garner continued attention or respect?
In short, I see your race card and raise you double.

With Love,

Anakin

Anonymous said...

Anakin,

Take your headphones off. You are spending too much time listening to Sean Hannity at work.

It doesn't disturb you that the top floors of law firms, with their mahogany furniture, are populated by associates whom are enjoying skyrocketing salaries and are primarily white, while in the crowded basements are workers who are suffering from stagnating wages and are disproportionately minority?

It also doesn't disturb you that some of these highly paid white associates are treating these disproportionately minority employees like sub-human trash, something that they wouldn't be able to get away with politically, but something they are able to do economically?

Anonymous said...

Temporary document review is white america's revenge against uppity blacks who thought they would get a law degree and get ahead.

Unless, of course, you are willing to sell out your people to the Bushies, which then makes you eligible to serve on the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Evidentally you did not catch the fact that, despite superior academic credentials, I myself was caught in the document review trap, as were others, including NYU, Clifford Chance alums. That it happens disproportionately to minorities is not of ANY concern to me, if that is attributed to merit. Rather, that it happens to people of actual merit, IRRESPECTIVE OF ETHNIC BACKGROUND, does concern me. Finally, the conditions concern me in all cases--and my disgust at this is not swayed one way or another depending on the racial composition of those suffering. If something is wrong, it is wrong.
It certainly fills me with rage, indignation, and anger to suggest that it is acceptable or even desirable for it to happen to me because I am white, on the assumption that I am necessarily privileged. You seem to suggest that social stratification would be fine if it only happened to more whites, which undoubtedly would happen to lower middle class and lower class whites--not the skull and crossbones blueblood types. If something is wrong, it is wrong; it is not made less egregious because you give Cosby Kids an undeserved get out of jail card merely because of their skin color, while screwing over white youths who are not fully privileged.
I really hope some of the white lurkers read this preceding post carefully and critically. In effect, they are suggesting that the outrageous conditions on some projects are more excusable IF more whites were subjected to them, and more blacks were artificially selected out of such conditions. Keep it up, and pretty soon there will be new meaning to the term racial animosity. The novelty is wearing off.
Oh, and incidentally, as some who may know me may attest, i do not listen to Hannity. The Republican party is far too tame for me--Bush administration sold me out to Wolfowitz and friends. Rather, my ipod plays--in very heavy rotation--angry German and European aggrotech and industrial music associated with European right-wing ideology that is more secular, and more tribalist in nature than the Christian right and corporate cronies that the Republican party is beholden to. I am told this, along with my physique and trademark black clothing gave me a certain chilling air to some on the projects I worked on, back in the day. Oh well.

Love and Kisses, and Dressed in Black

Anakin

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic.

Anonymous said...

BIGLAW selects people based on objective grades and merit. When 50% of African-American law students graduate in the bottom 10% of their class, this world tends to be closed off to them.

Anonymous said...

a) Re: Sharpton and others. You are now making shit up. If you can't argue your position honestly, then perhaps it is time for a little introspection as to why YOU, not other here, felt the need to pretend they were involved. This isn't about Sharpton or victimization. Indeed, we are talking about people who are working their ass off- aren't we? Because they are working 60 plus hours a week. That doesn't sound like someone sit around crying in their beer to me. It sounds like people earning their own living. The question is whether the system is working as to diversification. The more you try to label it something else is the degree to which you are a racist because you are incapable of looking at the world with regard to race without resorting to such pathetic tactics.

b) The last post represents the real problem. People make up shit to justify their own prejudices. Point to a link with the stats for those numbers or stop making shit up.

c) The question isn't whether people of color or white people who are qualified are caught up in doc reviews- because I note anarkin you don't seem to admit there are people of color who are qualified. Indeed, not to bust your bubble but my background makes me more qualified than you- I can safely assume that based on what my school and grades were. But for a personal situation that took me out of the game for a couple of years, I probably would not have had problems.

The real issue raised by this post is a separate point that is just as important. Whether the additional layer here- is whether there are a disproportionate number of people of color caught up in it as well. You have no idea what these peoples qualifications are- and we are talking black, latino and asian. And you are claiming- yes, just claiming because you don't know other than what you prejudice says their grades are. Yet, somehow you are more qualified than they are- based on what may I ask do you know that you are more qualified?

And even if you are- the one argument doesn t negate the other about diversity in the associate ranks. it doesn't define what merit is. No more than a country club with certain rules defines what merit is.

Nor does one wrong- the treatment of people of color- make the other situation right. You keep conflating the two together to try to say one is mutually exclusive or needs not discuss the issue of diversification due to yoru own plight which isn't about diversification. It's the "me" generation mentality. Since "this issue isn't about me" then it's not important.

Your reasoning skills are highly suspect. I also at this point question whether you made the grades or attended a top school as you claim because you don't have the reasoning skills of someone who has, but, instead, wrtie and act like a wingnut spouting off talking points.

Are you capable of engaging on the merits of the question at hand, or will you continue to toss out red herrings? Under the context, pretending as if you are doing something more than deflecting from the issue of there being a lack of diversity in the workplace for associates at large firms.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post to a certain extent. While agree that we are dealing with a "plutocracy" not a "meritocracy" in the legal profession, the last poster keeps relying on what school he/she went to and what his/her grades were as an irrefutable predictor of how someone is going to perform as a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

It's simple:

Clients spend large amounts of money in a competitive legal market. We live in a racist society. When client visits the firm, partner doesn't want client to see a majority of Latino or African American faces walking around the firm, fearing that the client will think the firm is ttt.

This is even more of the case in white suburban small firms, which is why so many minorities have to work in doc. review.

Anonymous said...

To the contrary, I have addressed your arguments. First, as I already stated, Sharpton and friends were never mentioned explicitly, but they are certainly HERE IN SPIRIT. I suppose the distinction is too subtle for you. Second, I have offered a number of reasons why--despite oppressive affirmative action, wealth redistribution, and other schemes--blacks (but also hispanics) continually lag behind other groups, reasons besides discrimination. Not surprisingly, you have not addressed a single one.
Also, if you read my post with any care, I had thoroughly disclaimed that i met a number of black attorneys that I respected. By the same token, however, a wildly disproportioante of those who are functionally unemployable, by their behavior or appearance or mannerism or what have you, are black. I really do not need to know what someone's grades are when he habitually comes into work blitzed out of his mind, imposing on others militant, far-left, racially charged diatribes and rants, or when someone's table manners and other mannerisms are about as refined as a farm animal.
You did not refute my assertion that diversity is not an end to itself, and the appalling double standard that in the context of diversity and affirmative action, race does matter, but when facts demonstrate racial differences in a manner prejudicial to your fanciful cause, race is to be barred from any consideration whatsoever. It is a double standard. Either race does matter, or does not.
I conflate the two issues because one refutes the other. Perhaps that concept is also a novlety for you. Namely, those who are supposely favored by the system have also been caught in the document review trap. As already suggested, the suggestion is that this is fine and good, after all it is high time that whites starting bearing the brunt of discrimination. Not all of us are such lemmings, however.
Your post is really beneath discussion. I do not care if you believe what I attest or not. Nor dor your blithe assertins concerning my reasoning skills carry any weight--for I consider the source. But enough of this. As i am listening to a certain Martial Industrial from Austria, it is time to head off to the gym--namely do something more productive than belabor this pointless matter further. It does suggest, hwoever, that racial difference are, on a collective level, irreconciable, or are at least becoming so. So perhaps we should call the whole thing off? But without our tremendous largesse, what will you do? What will you do if the majority ceases to listen to such racial pandering? What will happen if the race card is no longer accepted? Hof und bet.

Cheers,

Anakin

Anonymous said...

To the contrary, corporations have endorsed through money and otherwise extensive affirmative action programs, diversity mission statements, et al ad nauseum. But of course this does not jive with your victimization ideology, so you disregard it.
The spirt of my posts is that developments since 9/11 have affected a lot of people, people supposedly sheltered by the allegedly racist system. Harvard grads, NYU and Clifford Chance alums--yes I encountered two Clifford Chance alums during my time, both white. A lot of people were let go after 9/11, and a lot who had not graduated could not find jobs. This refutes the suggestions that all of this is caused by some racist design.

Anakin

diversetemps said...

The question is being discussed here in the wrong light. The issue is not that white people should have to be temps and minorities should not. It is not a question of grouping in the "meritorious" contract attorneys with the bad apples. The issue is that contract attorneys are a solution to diversity issues because contract attorneys are not only disproportionately minorities, they are also overwhelmingly female and over forty years old.

The problem with diversity in the legal profession is precisely that hiring managers, and many others, buy into the idea that law schools attended and grades are an irrefutable indicator of future success as lawyers. This is a fixed mindset that stifles competition. No one can deny that history books are chock full of people who were told, initially, that they were not cut out to do something, only to prove that they were exceedingly able (see e.g. Jackie Robinson).

The other fixed mindset assumption that holds a lot of people back is the idea that all people like Jackie Robinson are naturals. While some demonstrate natural ability early on, most people who we regard as "icons" had to work to develop their skills. Our culture seems to shirk at hard work, ie. that people who work hard do not have natural ability and, thus, cannot hope to succeed. These are lies. The problem of some groups underperforming is not a question of intelligence or ability, as much as it is a question of giving up because of stereotypes that are reinforced daily, often in very subtle ways. The lot of contract attorneys is a manifestation of giving up, of settling for this type of work, and these working conditions, because we think that we are not qualified enough to do anything else.

If the temporary legal staffing industry is reformed on the basis that it has racist and sexist results, this would create opportunities for all contract attorneys. So why would any contract attorney work against such reform?

Talent can be measured in ways that go far beyond blue books and number two pencils. If you sit on this blog and say that you have more merit because you went to so and so schools and got so and so grades then, go, work at a big firm for $160K, plus benefits, perks and bonuses.

Contract attorneys don't want $160K, necessarily. Admittedly, for one reason or another, whether it was because of biased teaching, not working hard enough, or a combination of both, many of us did not put together the exact set of credentials, that large firms are looking for, to get an entry level $160K salary. But does that mean that we are not entitled to quality health care? What about retirement matching? How about training and mentoring? Is success in the legal profession a zero sum game? We don't think that it should be.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are needlessly verbose and convoluted.

Your main point seems to be that your African American document review co-workers are unqualified. You prove this point by picking out a handful of crazy black temps, characterizing them as a bunch of minstrel buffoons, and generalizing this behavior to the rest of the African Americans document reviewers. I hate to break it to you, but there are just as many crazy, white document reviewers. (I agree, it's unfortunate that crazies exist on these projects, but as someone pointed out before firms/agencies want people that will go along with their modus operandi, even if that means they can only find people with psychological disorders. That, however, is a whole other issue.)

You keep bringing up Sharpton. I don't see, however, what Sharpton has to do with this. I personally think Sharpton is an opportunistic, publicity dog. This post addresses legitimiate issues worth discussing. Don't try to blur the issue by bringing in "smile for the camera" Sharpton.

Anonymous said...

I also agree. Race is just one aspect of this. The bigger issue is that the legal profession is transforming into a rigid caste structure, similar to the Indian undesirable situation. All contract attorneys (black, white, and hispanic) have an interest in fighting against this.

Anonymous said...

We definitely need to stick together. As much as the agencies spam this board touting how great the experience and money of document review is, we all know we are all stuck together in a boat going nowhere. You can establish yourself as a good worker in this field, work hard, act professionally, and all it takes is one scornful look at Lily to get you thrown out the door and blacklisted.

Anonymous said...

Some generalizations are valid. I already heavily disclaimed a number of times that I met a number of black attorneys who command my respect--but it is nonetheless the case that just as many--indeed more--were there for a reason, as I have already explained. Sure there are some white "crazies." Some might liken yours truly to be one. Seriously though, there was one fellow, who had started the first day wearing tennis shoes, other attire not in conformance with a business casual dress code, who made a comment about how a female associate could stand to eat a few burgers, given her anorexic figure--within her earshot mind you. It is fairly obvious why such comments are extremely dangerous not only to those who utter them, but those to whom such statements are made, since people impute guilt by mere association. Another fellow at another project, of Irish descent, flirted with this hispanic woman non-stop. In a conference room with the door open, they would talk about extremely salacious subject matter, examples including men and women caught by friends or neighbors or others while masturbating, even stories of women spreading peanut butter over their privates to entice a dog to eat her, which supposedly was witnessed by someone the lady contract attorney relating the rumor had met at a corporate retreat. The danger of course is that, with the door open, as the vice president (it was not at a law firm) walks by, those in charge could impute such conversation to me and the other person who were trying to work. In all instances such subject matter is not appropriate for work, as some of the more extreme subject matter, such as bestiality, is downright revolting and disturbing. I offer these anecdotes (among others I will not divulge) to demonstrate that I am not saying that all functionally objectionable unemployables are black, as that was never my contention--rather my assertion is just that a disproportionate number are. This explains the disproportionate numbers people bemoan. I have already stated that several times, but not surprisingly that has fallen on deaf ears.
I reiterate again that I do not share diversity values, as I call you once again on the double standard that this mantra suffers from. Finally, it is of note that you have not refuted any of my contentions concerning reasons above and beyond alleged racism that explain black underachievement. Of course, such considerations also oblige one to consider that these very real phenomena make so-called racism completely and totally logical. If statistically blacks commit more crimes, demonstrate greater propensity for violence, collectively underachieve in academics, to name just a few inditia, then are not such generaltions based on such data completely and totally legitimate? As I have already stated, there are a number of individuals I respect and like as people. But there are always exceptions to the rule.

Anakin

Anonymous said...

Your right, Anakin. Black people must have deformed brains which make them susceptible to underacheiving and open to discussing bestiality at the workplace.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear me--this proves people are not reading. The couple talking about such salacious, if not depraved, subjectg matter were Irish and Hispanic. The post in question states that in plain English, in black and white. I offered the anecdote to demonstrate that my contentions never posited absolutes. But I give up. If people have no faculty at reading comprehension, so that I have to continually reiterate disclaimers and facts ad nauseum, then I am at a loss. Just solidifies my turn to the darkside. People are stupid, which is why they deserve merciless contempt and disdain.

A.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Anakin's posts before. Fortunately, not even racist law firms would go as far as he does. He writes like Roger B. Taney of U.S. v. Sanford fame. Anakin probably would have been a lot more comfortable practicing in the 19th century, before Guns, Germs and Steel was published.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that 99% of agency heads and partners are white?

Also, why are 99% of the Update representatives young, white girls?

Are they meant to be eye candy for partners and hiring officials?

Anonymous said...

In the Jim Crow era, the Southern political elite had just as much disdain for "poor white trash" as they did for African-Americans. Maybe more so, because they could rationalize their treatment of black people while in their minds the poor whites somehow "deserved" their fates.

Anonymous said...

There are alot of crazy associates too.

Read this thread about a Kirkland associate who was arrested for trying to meet a 13 yr. old for sex:

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=96263&mc=42&forum_id=2

Anonymous said...

At least these "strange" black temp attorneys you speak of don't try to sleep with their employees or try to rape children.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes anarkin is telling the truth - well I got property to sell to you on prime beach front in the swamps.

Anark is the common bigot that always pops up claiming some counter story to say "see, it's not true there's racism. It's just those whiny black folk complaining." Jim Crow had its apologists spouting the same bs. So did slavery. We are helping out the ppor negros.

Indeed, of my multiple posts where I've said "people of color" to indicate black, latino and Asian rather than just black- what has this poster done? Repeated the same stereotypes of blacks. Why may you ask does he do this? Because it allows his racism to self reinforce itself. If I'm talking about Asians who typically score higher than whites, at least according to the stereotypes-then its little theory doesn't fly now does it Anark? I mean your theory depends on it being about meritocratic grades and schools attended. But, if you look at the outcomes for all minority groups- including those who are competitive their outcomes have also been lesser than whites who aren't as competitive in terms of grades. If you don't believe me- look it up. But I doubt you will because your worldview depends on you denying anything that makes your failures more apparent.

Yeah, Ana- you aren't racist. Right. listen, good luck man or woman or it- whatever you are. You are going to need it. The funny thing is I think this whole thing about victimization is your version of projection. You are the one who thinks of himself as a victim. in your mindset, the only two choices are- don't admit America have a racist problem or one is a victim. It's possible to be Oprah Winfrey- who has aknowlege issues or racism in America- and still suceed, and still say we can be better than t his as a society. Only the racist requires the two choies as being suffer through racism and a lack of diversity or be called a whiner for bringing it up. That's why your whole bs post is about your issues, not ours.

For all those other folks whether they re blacks or whatever that are ahead of you because despite what you say- we deal with racism, and we still suceed. Your weakness is that you are not able to suceed even with advantages. And like I said above- I don't believe you are from a top tier school or have the grades. The reality is that if you did- and if you are white, there is something wrong with you if you can't suceed in this society with those credentials.

As one white friend said of another girl we know who had attended a top 20 law school, had the grades, but was doing doc review- it's her personality. No one likes her. I suspect thats you anark. Good luck that.

Anonymous said...

I am not able to succeed? I now have a real job. But this is beneath discussion, and a waste of my time. Incidentally, you never did refute my contentions about the real reasons for black underachievement.

Cheers,

Anakin

Anonymous said...

"real reasons for black underachievement."

Your question is presumptuous on its face. You are close minded and are willing to see different perspectives other than your own "real" reasons.

Anonymous said...

Anakin keeps talking about black underachievement. Meanwhile, the Minority Corporate Counsel released a study last year concluding that most law firm partners--who are white--did NOT attend so-called "top schools." So blacks are actually held to a HIGHER standard than whites, even though it is not a level playing field to begin with.

Anonymous said...

There are a whole host of reasons why people end up in doc review. I happen to know several people who do it willingly because it provides flexibility, is relatively low stress, and is well remunerated when the hours are there. Practicing law is not for everyone. In my own case, I took a substantial pay cut by taking a job as an associate. In fact, I was on some very good projects over the past three years and made very good money doing it, and for the most part, my input was valued by the associates I worked with. The point is, empirical observations that there appear to be a disproportionate number of black and brown people working as temps do not, without more, sustain a prima facie case for racism, "jim crow" or even "soft racism". Most of the people claiming otherwise are pontificating on a subject where they woefully ignorant of the facts. Some are attacking a certain poster for proffering anecdotes as "proof" of his assertions, but those on the other side are no better -- they are assuming facts (bias in hiring) based on a very limited sample and haven't even properly vetted that "evidence". I've worked on projects where all the temps were white or asian --granted, these were smaller projects, but I only raise this to point out that I don't think anyone can get a true overview of the racial profile of the industry by extrapolating from a couple of large doc review projects. As for "recruiters [being] 99% white", the three recruiters I worked with most often (at lex, denovo & lsp)were "women of color." And I think conflating this issue with the hiring of associates at top 100 firms is on the wrong track. The implication is that all or even a substantial number of those black/brown temps had the objective credentials to get in but were passed over due to racial considerations. That is utterly preposterous.

Anonymous said...

OP: Works for an agency.

Anonymous said...

The evidence is overwhelming.

Stop clicking and stand up for yourselves people. This is America. You are being treated like second class trash.

Anonymous said...

"the three recruiters I worked with most often (at lex, denovo & lsp)were "women of color."

The owners of agencies are all white:

De Novo- White

Lex- White

Update- White (sold off to a private equity fund which was also cited for abusing poor, Pennsylvania minority workers).

HireCounsel- branch off from Mestel, White.

The partners of law firms are 99% white. S + C has one black partner.

These entities take over 3/4's of your pay. You don't get health insurance because you are making rich, white people richer.

diversetemps said...

"The implication is that all or even a substantial number of those black/brown temps had the objective credentials to get in but were passed over due to racial considerations."

We think it's naive to believe that hiring criteria are indeed objective, where a large and disproportionate number of biglaw associates and partners are, well, white. Also, minorities are held to higher standards than whites once they do get in. As the MCCA study demonstrates, most law firm partners did not go to so-called "top schools," while most minority partners, umm, did.

Your "objective" criteria are simply there to validate associates--because we have a lot of successful people who cannot function without being constantly validated. Elitism does not enhance performance, employee development enhances performance.

The point of all this is that we are not buying into what you consider to be objective criteria anymore. Do you understand? We are not doing it. Empirical observations of where someone went to law school and what their grades were in law school do not establish, without qualitative considerations, a prima facie case of objectivity.

Anonymous said...

Does Compliance pay under market?

Anonymous said...

First of all, I resent the accusation that I work for an agency.
Second, in response to diversetemps, what do you not understand about the word "objective". Where someone went to law school is a OBJECTIVE fact. What grades they received are OBJECTIVE facts. Whether they were on law review or otherwise published is an OBJECTIVE fact. Whether someone worked as a summer associate is an OBJECTIVE fact. Whether the candidate comes from a social milieu that might help bring in business through contacts is an OBJECTIVE fact.
Similarly,whether someone had lousy grades, says "aks", was previously canned for being antisocial, a drunk or hyperneurotic is an OBJECTIVE fact. I defy you to find an out-of-work African-American lawyer who has a top 20 JD & law review without some red flag in her background that would demonstrate that she is unemployable, and I will eat my hat. (BTW, I did not go to a top school, but I also don't walk around with a chip on my shoulder and a sense of entitlement.) Now, if you want to take issue with the admissions process at those top schools, so be it. But to attack the top firms for being fairly consistent in their hiring criteria is, well, stupid.

Anonymous said...

"First of all, I resent the accusation..."

Someone needs to shut your mic off.

diversetemps said...

"Second, in response to diversetemps, what do you not understand about the word 'objective'."

Who does not understand what the word "objective" means? You or us? Because one of the definitions of "objective," which you conveniently ignore, has to do with something that is not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice. We believe that, while law firm hiring is indeed consistent, it is consistently applied in favor of non-minorities.

Anonymous said...

"Objective." r u kidding? What exactly is "objective"?

The LSAT?- Sure I could have scored better on the LSAT, but I didn't have an endless stream of time to practice and masturbate over logic games. I, like many other minorities and working poor in this country, had to WORK at a diner to support myself through college. I also didn't have thousands of dollars to spend on LSAT prep courses.

1st Year Exams- Sure, I could have gotten ahold of old outlines that were passed down from old alumni, but I wasn't apart of that old boys club.

This is all soft racism under the veneer of "objective" criteria.

I refuse to accept the fact that I have to be treated like a piece of crap for the rest of my life, because of some "objective" exams that I took when I was 23.

Anonymous said...

"Objective." r u kidding? What exactly is "objective"?

I agree. If the criteria were truly objective, then they would take the circumstances you just described into account.

But of course, they don't want to do that. Enron didn't want to change either. Look what happened to them.

Anonymous said...

Objective Law School Grading:

"The only time that law professors have to do any real work is when they grade exams. And law school exams are only given once at the end of the semester. So we are talking about two weeks of real work at the end of each semester. And in one case, a law professor at ASU, Dale Furnish, was apparently too lazy to even put in his two weeks of work and he made up fake grades for the students in his class. When his deception was discovered, all he got was a temporary suspension, and a short time later he was back at law school teaching law."

What about those "objective" law school career placement statistics????

Take your "objective" b.s. justifications and jump in a lake.

Anonymous said...

"Objective" grading is similar to the way in which Lily chooses who is going to work for her.

It is like taking exam papers and resumes and throwing them down a bannister. Those that make it to the bottom win.

Anonymous said...

Those who can't teach, do. Those who can't do, teach. Law firms rely on the "objectivity" of people who can't do.

Anonymous said...

Crapped out on the LSAT? Save your whining for someone who gives a shit. Maybe if you had spent a little more time struggling with logic problems you would be able to grasp what I wrote.

Simply put, there is a huge surplus of lawyers, which should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog.
The best firms are in a position to select the "best" graduates as they define them. That involves school, grades, performance as summer associate, ability to write and yes, ambition. The way they see it, it's cumulative. The presumption is that people attend the best law school they can, so if you didn't attend a top 20 law school, you weren't good enough to get in, and thus not good enough to work for them.
Sorry if you didn't make it. Why does anyone owe you anything for your inability to get into a good law school or make law review? How does that you make you comparable to those candidates who did achieve those things? Yes, much of what makes a good lawyer comes from training, but that is not a passive process. But the same goes for the LSAT and taking law school exams. If your grades stunk, it meant that 1) you were/are untrainable; or 2) you were too slow to learn. In a regime where time literally is money, then point 2 amounts to point 1.

As for prep courses, the cost would have been negligible compared to the total cost of law school, so that claim rings hollow --you did a really poor job of allocating yoru resources. That 15 pt bump on your LSAT could have ultimately resulted in a great career. Instead, you are wallowing in self-pity and bitching about perceived racism. Pathetic!

Anonymous said...

This is all very preposterous. The article suggests that collective underachievement, in the guise of a disproportionate number of black attorneys caught in the document review racket, is attributed to soft or hard form of “racism.” A reasoned, albeit brazen retort suggests reasons associated with self responsibility, while reminding readers that young attorneys graduating after 99 or 2000 have been affected from many differentsocial strata. Not just poor black folk, but white Harvard NYU and other grads, some being laid off at firms like Clifford Chance, Mintz, Phleger, and others. None of this is even acknowledged, let alone refuted. Rather, people submit a lone anecdote of some Jewish associate with a fondness for young adolescent girls as rebuttal evidence about general social trends explaining these discrepancies-namely disproportionately inferior academic criteria, social graces, and so on. Moreover, a reasoned response explaining this underachievement is accused, predictably enough, of racism because it dares to suggest that there is underachievement—never mind that the article is complaining about—and thus acknowledging—this underachievement.
Then we have clowns come on here saying that grades in law school should not count. If grades when you are 23 should not count, when should they? I admit that law school grading criteria is a bit opaque. I often would not know what I did differently to receive an A or A- from what I did to get a grade below the mean. But that is not to suggest that grades should be irrelevant. Finally, we have some clown making excuses about his inferior LSAT performance. I concede that the LSAT, SAT and other tests are coachable. In this way they favor the upper class. But this is not a racial issue, but a CLASS issue. In any event, if you were stupid enough to go into the LSAT without preparing, you deserve your lot. I understand that hundreds (not thousands) of dollars is a lot when you are working (my family paid for my course), but as is so often the case, you mitigate your damages, work extra hours to take the course you need so you do not wind up with a 150. We can agree that the the tuiion system in this country needs to reformed--but this is NOT a racial issue. It is an issue of privilege and class.


Anakin

Anonymous said...

"In a regime where time literally is money"

Exactly. You proved our point. Time is money. People that don't have money, need time to make it, so they can eat and support themselves.

People that DO have money have the time to do the fancy unpaid interships, study 12 hrs. a day, and masturbate 24/7 over LSAT logic games.

Firms are choosing the best? Does this include child rapists?

Anonymous said...

So are you suggesting that the racial tensions that exist on some of these projects are solely the fault of black people?

Anonymous said...

What racial tensions are you talking about? Did I miss something? I was in the business for over 3 years and cannot recall any "racial tensions" -- maybe I was just plain lucky. Although I do remember one incident that was quite obviously a personality conflict between a caucasian and an African-American, the latter very disingenuously trying to put a racial spin on it --perhaps it was his paranoia, and not a conscious decision (appropos of nothing, he had been a biglaw associate who ultimately crashed and burned). If there is some sort of racial tension brewing on a particular project, please say where -- I don't think Tom the Temp would identify you, and you might be doing everyone a favor.

Anonymous said...

"This is all very preposterous. "

It is not just black people who overindex on temporary projects, it is also women, hispanics, asians, and workers over age 40. And reforms in temporary legal staffing would benefit both minorities and the non-minorities who went to NYU, got laid off from Clifford Chance, etc.

Of course there is underachievement. The problem is, who is setting the standards? Answer: White elitists who just expect EVERYBODY to conform and jump in line with their standards, which are biased in favor of affluent suburbanites.

If law school grading is even "a bit opaque" then why is it weighed so heavily? Qualitative criteria should also be taken into account.

The reason why the rest of the world is jumping ahead of the U.S., in a variety of industries, is because elitists here still have the Lee Iacocca, arrogant, fixed mindset that is unequipped to appreciate a diversity of viewpoints--that "pedigree" is the sine qua non of success in the law. The hiring culture of the legal profession is so worried, so terrified of all of these colored people coming in, that they have to strike them down, with seemingly meritorious criteria, in order to protect their obsessive need for others to keep calling them exceptional. They have such a fragile sense of intrinsic self worth, because they have never had to develop it, that they perpetuate conditions which are meant to continuously validate them.

Anonymous said...

Exactly.

The legal profession is also still very much anti-women. If you don't believe me, try getting rehired after having a child.

Anonymous said...

Temping is a bargain with the Devil. For a lot of people it's the best option that will let them pay their loans straight out of school (making 60-70K a year instead of 35k-45k to start off at a small firm). But it's a totally dead-end job with no advancement opportunities or professional development.

If you don't want to temp forever, you eventually have accept the reality that finishing in the middle or bottom at a 3rd tier school means that no one is going to pay top dollar for your sterling intellect or invest in your training and development. So, the only way you're going to earn good money is if you acquire enough knowledge, skill and experience to be worth good money. You will never acquire those things temping.

The sad truth is that if you want to move up, you have to give up the money, accept that $35k job that'll get you experience and spend a couple more years of living poor. That might mean living at home or moving to Albany, Syracuse or Buffalo to make ends meet, and it might take you 3-5 years before you're getting paid the $70K a year that you make as a temp. But it will be worth it in the end. If you were willing to pay $50K a year for a worthless degree, what's another three years of actually being paid to come out with a set of skills that's actually worth something.

Yes, it sucks. But
but after 3 years you'll have enough experience to add value to a firm and will be employable at a living wage.

Anonymous said...

Toilet law is not the solution! Plus, they don't hire blacks.

Anonymous said...

"The hiring culture of the legal profession is so worried, so terrified of all of these colored people coming in, that they have to strike them down, with seemingly meritorious criteria, in order to protect their obsessive need for others to keep calling them exceptional."

This is ridiculous. Prestigious firms have filtered canidates by grades since before minorities were even allowed into law school. If anything, they've relaxed those criteria to encourage the hiring of minority canidates.

Firms don't pay obscene salaries to hire the best students from top schools because they're trying to avoid hiring minorities. This may seem hard to believe, but if clients felt comfortable puting their multi-billion dollar deals or bet-the-company litigation in the hands of below-average students from below-average schools, they wouldn't pay $250-$1000 an hour to hire an elite firm. They'd hire Joe Touro LLP and buy themselves another vacation home.

Firms hire the best students from the best schools because because the odds are substantially better that they'll turn out to be the best lawyers. And big firms make big money solely because clients are willing to pay a premium for the best lawyers.

Anonymous said...

"Toilet law is not the solution!"

You don't have to do ID work. If all you do is hang up a shingle for a year and take appointed cases, you'll get enough trial and litigation experience to be worth substantially more to a small to firm than someone who spends four years doing document review on huge cases that are only handled by huge firms.

Anonymous said...

"Toilet appointed cases are also not the answer.

For God's sake, I was chatting with a 50+ year old lawyer outside NY Civil (111 Center St, 3rd Floor) who was making no-fault appearances per diem for $35 a pop! The poor old geezer told me he could barely pay his rent!"

Grind your teeth together by doing document review for a few years, live like a pauper, try to pay off as many loans as possible, and get the hell out of law!!!! Save yourselves. Don't turn into this:

"I hang out every day in Room 707 of Bronx Supreme, in CCP/JCP at King's Supreme, Room 103 at 80 Center Street, and many other general litigation courts in NYC. Here is the lowdown:

Most of the lawyers are broken down, middle-aged, overweight slobs who have dandruff down their shoulders, food stains on their clothes, etc. Just total slobs.
You basically roll into one of these aforementioned judical "boiler rooms" and start yelling out the name of your case like a Turkish market. If the case is a common name like Rivera or Smith you yell out the name of the firm you're looking for. It's everyone's job to locate their adversary."

Anonymous said...

What about doing pro bono work on the side to gain experience? My state bar association is practically begging any attorney to take any pro bono work.

Anonymous said...

The "small firm" versus "doc review" debate reveals a more important point -- what does the person want to do?

Some people decide that they don't want to practice law or have anything to do with law. Doc review is pretty much a good way to punch out.

For those who want their own practice, sucking it up, living poor on 35k/year is the best option.

So it depends on what YOU want to do.

Anonymous said...

"Don't turn into this: . . . Most of the lawyers are broken down, middle-aged, overweight slobs who have dandruff down their shoulders, food stains on their clothes, etc."

It's not like these guys would be stellar businessmen or scientists, flush with cash, if only they'd avoided the mistake of going to law school. They probably wouldn't be personal trainers or skin intructors either. Law has probably allowed them to live a pretty comfortanble life and send their kids to college. It's not the fanatasy that the average CUNY student thinks they're signing up for, but it's not the worst life either.

Anonymous said...

9:36 is right. It just seems like 5 years of contract doc review is a pretty hefty price to pay just to break even and leave the law with no marketable skill set. The alternative isn't great, but at least you have a real career as a lawyer after 5 years and don't have to start over from scratch.

But I'd be lying if I told you I didn't ocasionally dream of starting over too. I don't know if things would turn out better, but I'm pretty sure I'd do things differently.

Anonymous said...

"What about doing pro bono work on the side to gain experience?"
It's actually really smart.

Employees of pro-bono organizations tend to know a lot of lawyers. If you do a good job on the pro-bono cases the networking opportunities might be worth even more than the experience.

Anonymous said...

Who can afford to work for 35k a year? Have you seen law school tuitions lately? Maybe CUNY graduates with no debt can take these positions, but for most other people that aren't being supported by Mommy and Daddy, small firm work and public interest are not realistic options.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a friend who went a China. He's a white guy. He lived there for 2 years. He said to me that it was the first time he felt like a minority, and understood what I meant about being a minority in society. We talkd about how it felt to be told that he was never going to be good enough according to the Chinese standard although he was married to a Chinese woman. How they perceived of him as lesser. The regardless of what he actually did in terms of the things that he thought mattered, but according to the rules he was under- didn't matter at all. That's the game here. As whites become increasingly the minority in this society- and it is slowly happening yo are already seeking folks react like "wait a minute" that's not fair. Guess what- it's never been 'fair' but you never noticed until it hurt you.

Anonymous said...

"Guess what- it's never been 'fair' but you never noticed until it hurt you."

Exactly, it is amazing what we are blinded to if it doesn't affect us.

Anonymous said...

People that are blinded to racism in this profession wouldn't even see it if it was standing in front of them with a 10 foot stick.

Anonymous said...

It is not that anyone is blinded to it--it is that you keep crying Racism like the little boy who cried Wolf. It is at long last falling on deaf ears.

Anakin

Anonymous said...

You don't have to hear it, you just have to see it.

Walk into any document review and take a look at the disproportionate # of distinguished, intelligent, and professional African American women who are coding.

Anonymous said...

"Prestigious firms have filtered canidates by grades since before minorities were even allowed into law school. If anything, they've relaxed those criteria to encourage the hiring of minority canidates."

The criteria have not been relaxed. Minorities are held to a higher standard. All you have to do is look to the "pedigrees" of partners to see that white partners can go to Podunk law school, but minority partners have to go to a "top tier." A recent MCCA study demonstrates this. Additionally, as soon as minority associates come in the door, they are greeted with skepticism about their abilities, based upon the same assumption that you make: that the standards have been lowered for them to get hired. In turn, they get lower level assignments, and are routinely pushed out. This is a fight that is being fought by minority associates.

As far as your argument about what clients are willing to pay "top talent" is concerned, a New York Law Journal article today demonstrates that many clients are AGAINST these raises and are seriously questioning why a first year associate is work $160k+.

I don't think any contract attorney here is asking for $160K. What folks seem to be asking for here is an end to the zero sum game. We all paid a lot of money for law school, we did exactly as we were told, and he we are.

The ABA says that firms can mark up the cost of contract attorneys by 300%, when they bill clients. It seems that this is excessive, especially since so many firms pay lip service to diversity. If these firms, and staffing agencies, were truly committed to diversity, some of the proceeds from the markup could be allocated to development programs for contract attorneys who want it and are serious about being lawyers, despite the fact that they got caught up in the gate.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, many contract attorneys have more maturity, better life experience, and better judgment than some of these so called "stellar" biglaw candidates.

If you don't believe me, check out some of the immaturity that goes on at the autoadmit board where the "N" word flies around freely, sexism is rampant, and where a Boalt student was investigated by the FBI for threatening to shoot up Hastings law school 3 days after the Virginia massacre. Are these kids work 160k?

Anonymous said...

What happens when you try to interview contract attorneys for associate positions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4WVZDljBfk&mode=related&search=

Anonymous said...

Trying to supervise contract attorneys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_MG-MFIEns&mode=related&search=

Anonymous said...

Anakin's perspective of what it feels like being the only T14 downsized Clifford Chance associate having to work with minority document reviewers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAw6Cd9XIlw&mode=related&search=

Anonymous said...

People just do not seem to have any reading comprehension. How did you people pass the LSAT,let alone high school? I wrote I had encountered downsize Clifford Chance people, as well as from other firms. I never purported to be one.

Anakin

Anonymous said...

Anakin,

You are a dimwitted troll with no concept of basic Con Law principles.

Anonymous said...

About the videos ...

So I guess contract attorneys have not signed up for Career Builder?

Keep the insults coming. The 60s were only the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Just as there was a second World War, there will likely be a second Civil Rights movement.

DC Metro Contract Attorneys said...

If you need help finding a contract atty gig in Washington, D.C. - or NYC or the rest of the world - go to DC Metro Contract Attorneys Yahoo Group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DCMetroContractAttys/

We're the largest job posting site for contract attorneys in America as best we can tell.

Thank you!

-DC Metro Contract Attorneys Yahoo Group

Anonymous said...

"Walk into any document review and take a look at the disproportionate # of distinguished, intelligent, and professional African American women who are coding."
--well, to say that there is a disproportionate number of African American women on a project or in the business is one thing, but where do you come off saying they are "distinguished & intelligent", or any moreso than the rest of the coders? that's a tough call from just looking in a room. In fact, I can attest to a high proportion of obese, slovenly, nasty, loud and sometimes malodorous black women on some projects, but I won't name names...

Anonymous said...

9:06 PM has a grip on reality -- in stark contrast to many of the posters who quite clearly have a chip on their shoulders and see EVERYTHING through the prism of race. (No, you don't suck, you ain't stupid, it the SYSTEM, brutha!)And yeah, I guess as a white guy, I'm just too stupid or blind to see what is supposedly permeating our society and particularly the law. Delusional paranoia is more like it. Now excuse me, I have
go meet with the cabal to further plot and scheme and come up with new ways to keep blacks down....

diversetemps said...

11:14AM,

No one is talking about overt racism, sexism and ageism. We are talking about racist, sexist, and ageist effects. And you should get used to it, because there is going to be a lot more talk about it.

We are not even talking about favoring minorities, women and older workers over contract attorneys who are young white males. This entire blog is about reforming the temporary legal staffing industry. The diversity issue is simply one aspect of that. And why ANY contract attorney would thwart any type of constructive reform, whether it is to improve diversity or not, is something that is hard to understand, unless you are not a contract attorney and simply happened to come upon this website.

All contract attorneys, minorities and non-minorities, male or female, should be given the opportunity to develop. So far, what we are seeing, is the ABA giving law firms carte blanche to mark up the costs of contract attorneys by 300%, without reinvesting any of it in the career development of contract attorneys. We are pointing out that the legal profession is notoriously homogeneous, that it touts diversity, but that here are all of these diverse lawyers working as contract attorneys, many--maybe not all--of whom are still very serious about being good lawyers, but they do not have access to career development tools.

All contract attorneys who still want to be great lawyers, minorities and non-minorities, male and female, young and mature, should have the opportunity to develop those skills. Graduation from law school should be the beginning of a career, not the end, that is why the ceremony is called "Commencement."

Many contract attorneys have the potential to become fantastic lawyers. Hard work is one aspect of reaching that goal, but we also need to create the right circumstances so that the hard work will pay off.

Anonymous said...

Rich, white, male partners who have been seeing their profits explode in recent years need to keep smart, articulate black women locked in basements.

Anonymous said...

huh?

Anonymous said...

Anakin,

You are a dimwitted troll with no concept of basic Con Law principles.


Please, call me names. Call me wonderful, unusual, colorful names. For as my comrade in arms, Jared Taylor instructs, once you call me names, you have lost the argument. Is that the best you can do is call me a dim-witted troll?
Incidentally, I have a far superior grasp of Con Law than you do. For I am familiar with the principle established in Washington v. Davis, which dictates that disparte results do not suffice for a discrimination claim.
I again reiterate that diversity is a not a legitimate value, as I again reiterate the double standards I have articulated before. In short, in a zero sum game, whites are not going to continue and sit by and let minorities with inferior credentials succeed by way of a lower standard. Please, continue with this distasteful diatribe of victimization ideology. There will be much resistance come the second so-called Civil Rights movement.
And do not think I am the only one. More and more people are becoming cognizant of the double-standard. A lot more. And the more you bitch and whine about matters that are rightfully related to social responsibility, or perhaps even genetics, the less effective this pandering will become. What will you do when the novelty finally wears off?
Mind you, it was our Anglo heritage that abolished slavery. The British did it first--and our ancestors fought a stupid civil war for emancipation--a war that costs hundreds of thousands of lives, I believe foolishly. After all, the abolition of slavery was inevitable, though it would happen gradually--so whereas slaves were at least somewhat safe, impetuous and heated demands on both sides led to the horrific deaths of hundreds of thousands under conditions I cannot begin to fathom. Since then, hundreds of millions of dollars hace been expended in bogus social welfare programs, oppressive affirmative action and busing schemes. And you people have the audacity to continue to clamor, blaming your failure on us--notwithstanding that you inherited such overly humanist values from our ANGLO, Judeo-Christian tradition. Well, the novelty is wearing off. The more you pander, the more you press, the more you will alienate those who in the past chose, at tremendous cost and sacrfiice, to accomodate you. So what will you do when the novelty wears off?
One last thing, you trivialize the meaning of racism. True racism means you hate someone because of their racial identity. Although i see collective trends that give pause as to whether racial reconcilaiton is possible or even wise on a collective level, there are nonetheless individuals of all backgrounds whom I generally like. Those who may know me or recognize me cannot seriously dispute this. So once again, your hue and cry is nothing more than the little boy who cried Wolf. How pathetic. But then again, my hatred and disdain for stupid people is proven time and again to know no bounds. My hate is love to me.

Love and Kisses,

Anakin

Anonymous said...

Diversetemps,

I agree with you that leaders in the legal profession need to do more to resurrect those who are caught in the document trap. To be sure that is a real problem that has cast many well-deserving attorneys in the throes of despair. But I will see you, and all of your minions, at the gates of hell before you jerrymander results on quotas or goals per some preordained project at social engineering. You want it both ways--you want to say that race does matter in prescribing fixed racial quotas, then you say it should not matter when people act according their natural instinct and seek to be with and commune among their own kind. You cannot--and must not have it both ways.

Love and Kisss,

Anakin

diversetemps said...

We never said anything about quotas. I understand that Jared Taylor believes that multiculturalism is the main problem with society. But he is also not from New York City, which is one of the most multicultural places on earth.

If firms are going to do business in New York, and in other diverse cities, then they should expect to be around people who are "not of their own kind." You say that we cannot suggest quotas (which we did not) and expect people to act against their natural instincts, ie. that we cannot have it both ways. On the other hand, you are advocating in favor of non-minority hiring partners at law firms having it both ways in both choosing to do business in diverse cities, and in perpetuating circumstances which stifle employment diversity.

Anonymous said...

Unless you can show that black candidates with equal credentials are passed over because of their racial identity, your talk of diversity necessarily means implementing a double standard. This is what I am against. How "diverse" a city is not apposite. I have already explained, ad nauseum, why disparate affects are not a result of racism, but other things.

Anakin,

Anonymous said...

The reason you have had to explain it "ad nauseum" is because you have had a tough time persuading me, for one. I disagree with you. You disagree with me. This doesn't mean that either one of us is stupid. Even if we were one or two morons, we could still become un-unintelligent because I don't think that intelligence, especially amongst highly educated people, is something that is written in stone.

I can point to several instances where minorities, who are working full-time at firms, are passed up for partnership, given lower-level assignments, etc. on the assumption that the hiring standards that were applied to them were lower than the standards that were applied to non-minorities. So even if minorities DO meet the "objective" criteria--which, as we discussed, are only about halfway objective in terms of accounting for the big picture, qualitative aspects of a person's credentials--it is assumed that they DO NOT truly have them. And therein lies the catch-22.

And, yes, the Court in Washington v. Davis did hold that an "official action will not be held unconstitutional solely because it results in a racially disproportionate impact." The Court also noted, however, that "disproportionate impact is not irrelevant, but it is not the sole touchstone of an invidious racial discrimination forbidden by the Constitution." And I believe that the negative tone that firms take with respect to minorities in this profession, irrespective of superficial claims that they are committed to diversity, is evidence that goes beyond mere racial impact.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't think that poor intelligence is written in stone for anyone, regardless of their level of education.

Anonymous said...

Catch 22? If firms weren't under so much pressure to lower standards in the first place then the situations you describe wouldn't happen. So you also agree with Anakin?

Jewish Genius

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/main/viewArticle.html?id=10855&page=all