Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Nuke' em"


Meet William Neukom. "Nuke' em" is president-elect of the American Bar Association. "Nuke' em" has a long history of trying to screw over contract attorneys. Several years ago, Seattle firm Preston Gates, which "Nuke' em" is the chairman of, was successfully sued for denying overtime pay and rest breaks to many of its contract attorneys.
"Nuke 'em" will head an organization which directly affects the day-to-day lives of thousands of contract attorneys. In the past, the ABA standing committees have given law firms carte blanche authority to mark up the costs of contract attorneys by over 300%, allowed law firms to successfully outsource contract attorney work to India, and have allowed the law schools to continue their practice of falsifying graduate career statistics. In short, the ABA has been instrumental in providing biglaw with a steady stream of disposable (disproportionately minority), cheap labor. Is it any wonder why we have now reached a point where profits per partner have truly become "recession proof"?
I wonder what policies "Nuke 'em" will advocate for during his reign of terror?

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Omigod. Your blog is SOOOO depressing, I am about ready to kill myself...but yet I am comforted knowing there's others like me out there...

I know there is no hope for me -- I graduated in the very top of my law school class and didn't receive any job offers from "biglaw" as you call it and am a "temp" and have tons of student loans. I worry every day how I will ever pay them off.

I blame my problems on being a minority, even though I was raised by a white family, speak fluent English -- gee, it's the only language I know -- and know nothing about the Asian "culture". I once even considered getting an "eyelid" surgery so I would look more Caucasian. I give up.

Keep up the good work. You make me feel better...

Anonymous said...

You and your conspiracy theories.

Get over it!!!!

Nobody is keeping you down. Black women are just stupid and lazy. There is no racism!!!!!!!!!!

What's the next post going to be? that little green men have landed?

Anonymous said...

"Black women are just stupid and lazy. There is no racism!!!!!!!!!!"

Oh, god.

Anonymous said...

I blame nepotism.

I was the first in my family to go to college and law school so I had no idea what I was in for. It seems like all of my classmates who were connected or legacies got good jobs, while the ones who didn't have lawyers in the family got screwed. By the way, I graduated in the top of my class and ended up being a contract attorney, too.

The law is all about nepotism. And elitism...and yes, racism...

Anonymous said...

Even if you are smart enough to make it onto the biglaw track, you will eventually be fired anyway. Making partner is all about bringing in business. If you don't have connections legacy or otherwise among the elites, you are out the door.

Anonymous said...

"Is it any wonder why we have now reached a point where profits per partner have become truly 'recession proof'?"

It sucks that they get all the reward, but we have to take all the risk.

Anonymous said...

Bow ties are racist.

Anonymous said...

There is also a conflict between the young and the old:


http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-05-20-cover-generation-wealth_N.htm?csp=34

Anonymous said...

"President Bush in January cited education's role. "Income inequality is real; it's been rising for more than 25 years," he said. "The reason is clear: We have an economy that increasingly rewards education."

So far, though, the return on education has paid off for older people, but not for younger generations.

The net worth of households headed by a college-educated person ages 55-59 rose to $526,300 in 2004, up from $271,515 in 1989, adjusted for inflation.

This group has enjoyed enormous income gains, too, and had a median annual income of $100,634 in 2004.

By comparison, wealth and income have declined for college-educated people in their late 30s and risen only slightly for college grads in their early 40s. In short, age has mattered more than education in widening the wealth gap in recent years."

If education is paying less in dividends for younger people, how do law schools get away with jacking up tuition 2-3 times faster than inflation?

Anonymous said...

It's Fall of the Roman Empire. Just as in the Fifth Century you have the rich pitted against the poor with a increasingly shrinking middle class expected to pay for everything. Offices are being flagrantly bought and sold, the treasury is bankrupt. Debt is skyrocketing. However, just as in ancient Rome we have bread (Social Security, Welfare, corporate kickbacks) and circuses (meaningless bullshit like American Idol or the latest trivial Hollywood scandal) to keep the masses docile and amused. Meanwhile, civilization sprirals toward destruction from without (Islamic extremism, rampant unrestrcited illegal immigration) and within (see above). We are doomed.

Meanwhile, the wealthy have protected themselves under the guise of the anti-terrorist measures. Witness the huge number of FBI agents, state troopers, city cops, city firemen, armed soldiers near the stock exchanges, and other protectors of the peace, throughout the City.

Anonymous said...

The ABA rule allowing firms to mark up the cost of contract attorneys was passed by the ABA's ethics committee. Hopefully they will be ethical and either repeal it or have a portion of the proceeds allocated for contract attorney career development programs and subsidized pro bono.

Maybe we can organize a petition to change the rule? Would anyone be willing to sign their real name to the petition?

Anonymous said...

What are we worried about him for? He lost!

Anonymous said...

If they repeal the ABA rule, isn't there a chance that hourly rates will drop significantly, since law firms will no longer be billing contract attorneys at associate rates?

Also, many firms have been replacing contract attorneys with staff attorneys over the past 5 years. I like the idea of eliminating the temp agency from the equation & receiving health insurance & benefits to boot. If you antagonize Big Law by appealing to the ABA, they will probably just hire more staff attorneys.

Anonymous said...

He's president-elect.

Such high rates drive down demand. Simple economics.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that market forces, e.g. cost of student loans, staffing agency overheard, cost of living in big cities, will cause the hourly rate to drop, if the rule is, if not repealed, then amended to allocate proceeds to CA development programs. Many firms are currently not taking advantage of the rule, but still paying CAs market rates.

Anonymous said...

We are lawyers, we should be able to figure this out.

But I think it should be done off line.

Anonymous said...

we need a secure connection

Anonymous said...

Someone should contact the NYC Bar association and form a formal contract attorney committee to meet monthly in order to discuss these issues in person.

John Bowie said...

We like your blog and the take-no-prisoners approach. We've added your link and a reference in our law jobs blog, LawJobsPipeline.com.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think that market forces, e.g. cost of student loans, staffing agency overheard, cost of living in big cities, will cause the hourly rate to drop, if the rule is, if not repealed, then amended to allocate proceeds to CA development programs...."

The rates would drop, since thre would be less money to split among the law firm, agency & temp.

Currently, firms are billing contract attorneys at associate rates (i.e., $150+ per hr). If the rule is changed & rates drop (e.g., $100 per hr) the firm gets less from the client, the agency gets less from the firm & WE get less from the agency.

If the ABA rule is reformed, I believe hourly rates would descend under $30 per hr.

A contract attorney is a temp, just as in any other industry. If there are no development programs in other industries for temps, why on earth would law firms agree start their own?

The law firm has no ethical or even moral duty to advance our career. I think the temp agency is the better target.

Anonymous said...

"WE get less from the agency."

Hell, no! We get the same! We demand the same! The law firms and agencies are just going to have to take a smaller percentage of OUR earnings.

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