No surprise there. People have been complaining about the underhanded tactics of this agency for years. Courtesy of http://tempatty.com:
"Half the attorneys I know have been "blacklisted" by these overly sensitive Bedford Wives."
"This is a wild place. I have heard that they blacklist folk."
"By far it is the worst, unprofessional and dishonest agency that I had to deal with. I worked for 3 months/ 12 hours a day/6 days a week in sweatshop like conditions, but when I had to see a doctor and "only" came in for 8.5 hours - they black listed me, told me the project is over "for me", refused to let me go back to collect my things, and tried to deny my unemployment benefits."
"I feel very let down and misused by update. My experience on my present assignment is negative. They have crammed 150 of us into a space that the fire marshall has approved for only 75 persons. There are only 6 bathroom stalls for 150 people!!! We are lined up table to table like a sweatshop. To leave my seat I must squeeeze through chairs and ask my colleagues to move their carcasses out of the way. Update does not have the contractors' interests at heart. They are simply here to enforce the desires of the hiring lawfirm. We must work 58-66 hours but the site is open only to 8:00pm so to avoid giving us carfare or dinner. In effect, we are forced to work until 8:00 at least 4 days per week until 8:00 - to leave earlier means not being able to make one's hours. "
"Don't ever tell them anything they do not wish to hear or you will be blacklisted. They can be unprofessional."
"Worst agency EVER. I have worked with several agencies and this was by far the worst. The yelled at me and threatened me - partly because I picked up my cell phone to answer *their* call (I knew it was them because they are the only blocked number that would call me) and because I was accused of socializing too much - approx. 30 min during the course of 10 hour days. Avoid like the plague."
"Don't forget, they will blacklist you for not taking a project that pays below market rate. I've overheard conversations that were bizarre! I have successfully worked with 5 or more agencies. Only with Update, my first (and last) experience with them had been a nightmare."
THE NOTORIOUS UPDATE LEGAL BLACK LIST is very real and my premise is that it ultimately is disservice to the legal profession, individual lawyers who are unfairly discriminated against for consideration of employment as well as law firms and their clients. How you ask? The Blacklist "spin" is that agencies use it as a "quality control" or "QC" technique to weed out undesireable candidates who less than stellar workers. Nothing could be further from the truth. In point of fact, Update Legal staffers, most of whom are not lawyers, paralegals and not only have never worked in the law firm enviornment but many lack actual workplace, human resource and real life professional experience. Yet these very same people often make wrong or discriminatory decisions about qualified people. Many are young sales girls who see your overtime as their next pair of shoes and will sooner try to staff that guy who always finds a way to get 14 hours of work out of 9 hours than the professional who is a tad more ethical. Firms like Update Legal reward mediocrity by assigning greater value to those who do not rock the boat, bill the most hours (regardless of whether the work justifies it) and never leave a project for a better opportunity.
ISSUE: How does the Update Legal Black List or lists of such kind impact a law firm's and their client's bottom line?
ANSWER: Many agencies seek exclusives or semi-exclusives to staff a project. The problem is granting an agency that has a questionable means of blacklisting qualified and desireable candidates means that said law firm will never see the resumes of many people who might be of greater assistance to that law firm than those presented. What they are getting is the people whom that agency has most control over. While many think of doc review as a skill-less exercise, it is usually the first layer of review of evidence in a case. Hence, the eyes reviewing your client's evidence might be relevant. I would not have believed it if I would not have seen and experienced first hand how Update drones are regularly staffed while highly qualified people remain on the sidelines.
SOLUTION: Law firms should require agencies to sign an agreement that their screening and qualification criteria does not discriminate unfairly against candidates based upon highly subjective and personal criteria (reminder: screening is often by a 24 year old sales girl). Law firms should eliminate exclusives and semi-exclusives and look into whether those making decisions about what agencies to use or not use are not receiving kick backs, payments and/or and gifts from Update Legal, Lexolution etc. Law firms should instead staff their projects on a rotation basis with several agencies so that they will see a more diverse and more qualified applicant pool. And lastly, they should consider seriously the ergonomics of the work space for interim staff and whether it enhances the success of their overall effort.