Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Barbara's Right

"This is hardly an isolated case (see my book, Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy, co-edited with Arlie Hochschild.) If the new “top” involves pay in the tens or hundreds of millions, a private jet and a few acres of Nantucket, the new bottom is slavery. Some of America’s slaves are captive domestics, like the Indonesian women in Long Island. Others are factory workers, and at least 10,000 are sex slaves lured from their home country to American brothels by promises of respectable jobs. CEOs and slaves: these are the extreme ends of American class polarization.

But a parallel kind of splitting is going in many of the professions. Top-ranked college professors, for example, enjoy salaries of several hundred thousand a year, often augmented by consulting fees and earnings from their patents or biotech companies. At the other end of the professoriate, you have adjunct teachers toiling away for about $5000 a semester or less, with no benefits or chance of tenure. There was a story a few years ago about an adjunct who commuted to his classes from a homeless shelter in Manhattan, and adjuncts who moonlight as waitresses or cleaning ladies are legion.

Similarly, the legal profession, which is topped by law firm partners billing hundred of dollars an hour, now has a new proletariat of temp lawyers working for $19-25 an hour in sweatshop conditions. On sites like, temp lawyers report working 12 hours a day, six days a week, in crowded basements with inadequate sanitary facilities. According to an article in American Lawyer, a legal temp at a major New York firm reports being “corralled in a windowless basement room littered with dead cockroaches,” where six out of seven exits were blocked."

--Barbara Ehrenreich, "Going to Extremes: CEOs vs. Slaves." Barbara is the author of thirteen books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed.

Article also linked at:,CST-CONT-ceo03.article

Unsurprisingly, biglaw profits per partner (PPP) continued to soar in '06:


Anonymous said...

She should have mentioned the DC temp who slept in her car.

Anonymous said...

The legal profession has entered a gilded age. The legal services industry is growing, but a disproportionate amount of the wealth generated is going to a few robber barons at the top. Everyone else is struggling under heavy debt loads, and increasing pressure to generate clients/billables. In all my years of working in this profession, I have never seen such a level of general malaise and misery.

Anonymous said...

Doc Review Man" [The JD version of "Blue Collar Man"]

Give me a job, give me security
Give me a chance to survive
I'm just a poor soul in the unemployment line
My God, I'm hardly alive

My mother and father, my wife and my friends
I see them laugh in my face
But I've got the power [of attorney], and I got the

will [I got a B- in Wills, actually]
I'm not a charity case
I'll take those long shifts, impossible odds [of finding non doc review work]

Keeping my eyes on the keyboard [and monitor]
If it takes all that to be just what I am I'm gonna be a doc review man

Make me an offer that I can't refuse [How could I? I've got $70,000 in loans to repay]
Make me respectable, man [Doubtful, but at least I am paying down those loans]

This is my last time in the unemployment line So like it or not, I'll take those Long shifts, impossible odds

Keeping my back to the [cubicle] wall If it takes all that to be just what I am I'm gonna be a doc review man Keeping my mind on a better life [Once my loans are paid off]

When happiness is only a heartbeat away Paradise, can it be all I heard it was I close my eyes and maybe I'm already there [But then I open them, and I'm back to...]

Long shifts, impossible odds Keeping my back to the [cubicle] wall If it takes all that to be just what I am

I'm gonna be a doc review man

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the doctors! We are getting screwed too:

"One way managed-care companies attacked costs was simply to reduce doctors' fees. "Where a fee was $1,000, now a doctor is getting $300," says Andrew Kleinman, a plastic surgeon in Westchester County. Once, patients were responsible for the shortfall. In managed care, physicians swallow the loss. "The insurance industry has created a slave workforce out of the doctor," says Moshe Rubin, a gastroenterologist at Columbia. That may be an overstatement, but no doubt that's how it feels. And as if reduced fees weren't enough, insurance companies have sometimes, willy-nilly, not reimbursed anything. "We're fed up but we're taking it."

Anonymous said...

Union Yes, Amen

Anonymous said...

Robber Baron = Bill Lerach.

Lerach sues corporations. Corporations hire slave labor to help defend them. Victims are never adequately compensated. Firms get to bill alot of hours, and Lerach gets rich.

Anonymous said...

We all know that these problems exist, the question is what are we going to do about it?

Anonymous said...

Molly Maguires

Anonymous said...

I recommend alcohol. It certainly helps me get through the day.

Anonymous said...

Sounds just about right:

"And now for something completely different: Are any of you guys aware that even American LAWYERS have become part of the slave-caste now? And before anyone says, "Good, the bastards deserve it", read on. The majority of today's American lawyers have never had much wealth or power of their own, and most of them have been reduced to cubicle-rat white-collar-slaves who - just like the weavers of early 19th century England - work up to 16 hours a day at wages BELOW subsistence level, with no job security and no fringe benefits, monitored by goons who will sack them and blacklist them if they so much as take a piss-break without permission.

And as the total cost of a law degree at even a LOW-ranking American law school today runs well into six figures, the majority of young American lawyers are leaving school with student loans in six figures, which (as we've discussed in another thread) can never be discharged in bankruptcy. And even many top scholars who graduate from America's top law schools end up as debt peons/slaves, with salaries of around $35,000 per year (and that's in Manhattan, mind you), working 80 hour weeks and being monitored for every urination-break they take."

Ronald Reagan said...

Glad to see that you got all the left wing loon Ned Lamont Bolshevik bloggers riled up.

Guess what, Nancy Pelosi isn't going to save you. Now, get the hell back to work!

Anonymous said...

Lily's tactics over the years have finally come back to bite HHR in the butt:

Anonymous said...

Actually, Ronald Reagan, you should brush up on your political facts. Reagan would be quite upset with the legal market as we have described it here. If there was any semblance of market efficiency, the United States would get by quite well on 33% of the attorneys we currently have in this country. Instead, a glut of highly intelligent individuals who spend 7 years in higher education are forced to take $50,000 jobs doing menial tasks that don't even require a high school education.

Lawyers don't need Nancy Pelosi's help. We need an efficient market -- something that Ronald Reagan would have been the first to stand up and support.

Anonymous said...

If Ronald Reagan were alive today, I am sure he would be shocked and disgusted by the abuses that are going on in the federal student loan program.

Anonymous said...

Check this out….

Don’t you hate when you send yr resume to a recruiter and he doesn’t even have the decency to even get back to you after making you make numerous changes and additions to please him or her?

We’ve all been there… ever wonder what they think of us, really?

I found out. (Keep in mind, this recruiter is not employed in one of the BIG firms – as you will see why)

This is what I wrote to this recruiter….

It is really a shame and truly disappointing to work with
recruiters who let weeks go by without even a courtesy of
acknowledgment, one way or another. In this era of email this
process can be completed in less than 30 seconds in most cases.

Fortunately, however, with email it is now also possible to spread
the word far and wide about these recruiters, who are not only rude
and manipulative of job seekers, but also clearly do not even have
the business volume to make dealing with them worth the effort.

This email is to inform you that you have now joined that select
group, as per our group notification system. These emails have a
habit of spreading far and wide, so this may affect your business
in ways we cannot begin to predict.

Have a nice day.

This was his reply


I replied:

That's GREAT about Mickey Ds! That means YOU will have somewhere
to go when your illiterate response is circulated throughout the
WWW. Have a nice day! And take an ESL class too, perhaps!

Maybe, not may be
Two spaces after a period.

His reply:

would not even waste speel check on you.bitter bitch!I have qualified peaple to place waste of space! hahahahahahahhah!!!!!

Just a good reality check when you feel down… these people are sociopaths…

Anonymous said...

Which agency was this???????


Anonymous said...

was it Sean Curtin formerly of De Novo Legal in NYC and now with that David Feldman recruiting firm?
? He can't write or spell for his life. Extremely unprofessional person.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Actually, who cares about keeping his identity secret. Sean at least always calls you back. This was Tom Donovan at Segue Staffing, and I have since found out is one of the worst:,+%22segue+search%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=us

Anonymous said...

How much complaining are we going to do, before we get organized? Someone proposed an ABCNY Committee a few weeks ago, and no one followed up on that, even though Barry Kamins is happy to present a proposal to the ABCNY Executive Committee. What does the endless complaining accomplish?
We need to come up with some solutions.

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