Sunday, June 10, 2007

Summer In The Sweatshop


Tom,
Please do not print my name, and please do not identify the name of my project.
To put it quite simply, I just completed the project from hell. There were 12 of us, and on the first day, we were corralled into a small (15' x 20') windowless "conference" room, which in all likelihood previously served as a janitor's supply closet.
There was no AC, and one weekend, during a particularly brutal heatwave, things got particularly dicey. The air became thick, sticky, smelly, and downright unbreathable. One older gentleman began to perspire, and suddenly became pale. I literally thought he was going to keel over and have a heart attack. It didn't help that our slavedriver of a boss made us work 14 hrs. that day, and would only bother to buzz us off the floor for our regimented, required half an hour break.
As I said before, getting off the floor on the weekend was nearly impossible without the master's buzz key. In a fire, the place would have lit up like a tinder box, because as the above picture illustrates, trash was literally strewn across the room. Navigating around the room necessitated the use of skillful body contortions and limber bodies.
7 years of higher education to be treated like a penned up farm animal.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

In a word, "disgusting".....talk about "sweat shop"....

This is one of the worst stories I have heard to date about doc review....oh, how I hate this profession.....

Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun. I'll have to remind my classmates that the $35k bump in their starting market rate salaries ($125k to $160k) is all made possible by saps like this guy.

Anonymous said...

What is this annonymity nonsense? A place like this needs to be exposed and embarassed if this blog is to serve any useful purpose at all.
Temp Avenger

Anonymous said...

Absolutely horrendous.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same project, where the black lady with the British accent was taking too long in the bathroom, so the boss went in and tapped on the bathroom stall door to make sure if everything was okay?

Apparently, there is no longer any time left to take a crap on any of these projects, when there are documents to review!

Anonymous said...

Professor Levy and Professor Temin divide the second half of the 20th century into two periods. In the first, 1955 to 1980, a grand bargain between labor and corporate America involving New Deal-era protections for workers and high marginal tax rates (the top rate was 90 percent in the 1950s) led to what economists have called the Great Moderation. The middle class grew dramatically, income inequality decreased, and corporations generally enjoyed labor peace.

Since 1980, they argue, it’s been a different story, thanks in part to a shifting political environment. Unions have weakened, the minimum wage hasn’t come close to keeping up with inflation, and marginal income tax rates have been cut — the top marginal rate is now 36 percent, down from 70 percent in 1980. A result has been declining bargaining power for workers and the rise of a winner-take-all environment.

Anonymous said...

If the project were ongoing, the anonymity is probably intended to protect the temp workers from all being canned. Now that the project is over, the writer is perhaps afraid that his/her temp agency will identify him/her and fire her/his ass.

Anonymous said...

Unlike a large project, it's easy to can 12 people and start from scratch.

Anonymous said...

The temp should go to the law library or lexis and look up the labor laws in his or her jurisdiction. If what was going on was illegal, then the proper authorities should be alerted.

People could have died, and it's all a big f*cking joke to the law firm and temp agency. Someone needs to make them pay.

Anonymous said...

It's not a joke, it's profits.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tom,

You post both under ttt and helpme123.

Please, you give us such great information for so long that like me, most of us are certainly appreciative, but also "addicted" to your blog as much as reading Doonesbury as a daily activity.

Yet here you present us with either a total lie or a depiction of really stupid people.

Any 8 year old would not participate in any scenario of 12 people doing ANY profession in a 15' x 20' room. My bedroom is larger.

I thank you for all your hard work, and appreciate lessons learned. However, please read you posts for "believability." We appreciate but do not believe a dozen people would do this. Whether you made it up or not, it's just not true. Please read it, again, yourself: It sounds like you are being inflammatory, since this is implausible.

Devoted Reader

Anonymous said...

Are you new to this planet Devoted Reader?

ttt said...

I know the poster personally and I know them to be a pretty trustworthy source.
ttt

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of working on that project. Every so often a project comes along and reminds you that you shouldn't get too comfortable. I guess I received my annual reminder.

Yes, I suppose I could have walked off. Project only lasted for 3/4 days, however, and the May doc. review market was pretty slow. I bit my lip and took the pain. Some may have done differently. To each their own.

Anonymous said...

Boring. Please update.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I love these sweatshop stories.

Hope come noboby ever talked about the infamous Paul Weiss water pipe explosion?

Anonymous said...

Any 8 year old would not participate in any scenario of 12 people doing ANY profession in a 15' x 20' room. My bedroom is larger.

I thank you for all your hard work, and appreciate lessons learned. However, please read you posts for "believability." We appreciate but do not believe a dozen people would do this. Whether you made it up or not, it's just not true. Please read it, again, yourself: It sounds like you are being inflammatory, since this is implausible.


Devoted Reader, you are quite naive. I worked as a legal temp at the accounting firm BDO Seidman staffed by Strategic Legal before I was admitted. Our conditions were so-so, but then a bunch of temps for McGuire Woods came in and worked with us on the project. I don't know who staffed the McGuire Woods people, but they were all penned into a conference room smaller than my bedroom, elbow to elbow. About 12 of them were placed around a small conference table. Wires were criss-crossing, and it was impossible for them to get out of the room without stepping over or on someone. I, at least, was able to work at my own table somewhere else on the floor with some other temps.

Anyway, it would be nice to know who staffed the McGuire Woods doc reviewers on that project (hint: it was in early 2006). I felt really bad for them.

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.

Anonymous said...

About three years ago at S&C, I worked in a "conference room" on C2 (sub-cellar level) with 19 other attorneys, a paralegal and a supervising (non-attorney) litigation assistant (a smarmy prick)on a pro-bono project. (it was painfully evident that the partners did not want to spend one cent more than they had to on this project.)My back was up against a large (covered) garbage can that was only emptied after 6 PM. The room could not have been larger than 22 x 16, made more cramped by metal bookshelves along nearly every inch of wall space. The conditions were so squalid and inhumane that I took a picture with my cellphone camera, because my wife could hardly believe that attorneys would be treated like that. I would be happy to share the photo with your audience.

Anonymous said...

send it in!