Friday, October 05, 2007

Joan King

"I thought you would be interested in hearing about a BLS Career Services breakfast held this morning. Apparently the director of Career Services at BLS, Joan King, was asked about her reaction to the WSJ article. (Note: this breakfast is an annual event, and was not held as a reaction to the article).

Ms. King said she was contacted in the research-gathering stage by the WSJ author, who interviewed her about the job market for BLS students. She believes that there were some omissions in the article, and that the writer had an agenda: to prove his hypothesis, without highlighting some additional facts.

[Ms. King] argued that the treatment the article gave to contract attorney work was too derogatory in tone. The article ignored the facts that (1) contract attorney work can be rather lucrative, not only in monetary terms, but in terms of opportunities; and (2) many lawyers like contract attorney work, because of the freedom it allows (and again for the money it offers). She went on to say that they have not heard that the market is being scaled back in hiring, and that the outlook is good."


--Abovethelaw.com


Does this woman ever stop spinning?

Lucrative? While document review hourly rates certainly help puff up a law school's career statistics, contract attorney work really isn't all that lucrative. Unlike Ms. King's cushy position, we have to subsidize our own retirements, pay for our own health insurance, and subsidize own bar dues/CLE's. We don't accrue sick/vacation days, we are repeatedly denied OT pay, and many of us have to repay massive student loans. During a recessionary period, long stretches of unemployment are not uncommon. After the tech bubble bust, a law firm in Silicon Valley staffed a document review for as little as $12 an hour. As outsourcing steams ahead, this is only going to get worse.

The opportunities? In the legal profession, putting "contract attorney" on your resume is akin to smearing shit all over it.

The freedom? The required 80 hour work weeks, the lexolution document review torture chamber, the blacklists, the random mass firings, the moles, the constant micromanagement, the being treated like second class citizens, the lack of internet, the having to sign out to use the bathroom, the cockroaches, etc, etc. Let freedom ring!

Many lawyers like contract attorney work. Has Joan King ever stepped into the Paul Weiss basement? "Like" isn't exactly the word I would use.

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A gift from an anonymous JDUnderground poster:

ODE TO JOAN KING
("They Built This Toilet")

http://youtube.com/watch?v=TxGGckAc1rs.

by Hardship (Deferment)

Chorus:

They built this toilet, they built this toilet, on fraud an' loans
Built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

Say you don't owe me, say that I'm a fool
Say you don't care who goes that kind of school
Neck deep in the quicksand, living in your car
Too many graduates passing that damn bar

Joan King she plays her marks now, lies an' don't ya know, don't you forget her
They built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

Chorus:

They built this toilet, they built this toilet, on fraud an' loans
Built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

Someone's always playing accreditation games
Who cares, no one will ever take accreditation blame
We just want a job now, someone stole the work
They call us self-entitled, write us off as jerks

Ol' Valvoline Dean, he spins tha stats now, lies, an' don't ya know, don't you forget it
They built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

Chorus:

They built this toilet, they built this toilet, on fraud an' loans
Built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

It's just another workday, in a tired old street
Insurance Defense has got the chokehold, and we just lost the beat!
Who counts the money, the kickbacks to the Bar?
Who outsourced our jobs to Third World bazzars?
Don't tell us you need us, 'cos we're just simple fools
Look out America, we're coming for the TTT schools

Don't you forget now (forget now)
The deans they spin the media, listen to the lies they tell, don't you forget now
They built this toilet, they built this toilet, on fraud an' loans

Chorus:

They built this toilet, they built this toilet, on fraud an' loans
Built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

Chorus:

They built this toilet, they built this toilet, on fraud an' loans
Built this toilet, they built this toilet on fraud an' loans

(They built, they built this toilet) built this toilet (they built, they built this toilet now) (repeats out)

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

So how do you really feel about the profession?

Anonymous said...

Just like in Sleeping Beauty, she reminds me of the evil stepmother to the evil Stepford wives.

Anonymous said...

"Does this woman ever stop spinning?"

Does this blog ever stop spinning?

Anonymous said...

Does this blog ever stop whining? is more like it.

recentsocalgrad said...

Seriously, if this blog's own salary chart is to be believed, the author is complaining about earning the equivalent of at least $72k/year (assuming $36/hour at 40hr/week, 50 weeks out of the year). That's pretty good for a 25 year old with no real work or life experience. Even assuming you work 15 hours per week, and 50 weeks out of the year, that's still $27,000, which is better than a lot of jobs' starting pay, where you have to work more than twice the hours, and those people all seem to survive.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but it sucks when the interest on your loans alone runs 15K a year.

Anonymous said...

Then go ahead and break. Who cares.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the argument in favor of slavery in ante-bellum North Carolina--ie. that slaves were treated well in North Carolina when, in fact, the treatment of slaves from plantation to plantation varied greatly. Irrespective of the manner in which slaves were treated, we were still left, fundamentally, with the institution of slavery.

Similarly, irrespective of project conditions, we are still left, fundamentally, with a form of indentured servitude.

Anonymous said...

As Tom writes in his post, the actual paycheck is deceptive. You have to factor in the self-financed stuff. We pay top $ for insurance - if we can afford it at all. We have to finance our own retirement - no matching 401k for us. And we have to pay our own pricey bar dues. Let's not forget the student loan repayments at usurious interest rates, at least for the private loans - 8%+ (I won't complain about the Federal Stafford loans, which are more reasonable. I'm fortunate to have locked my Federal loans in at a very low interest rate, so I can't really complain.)

And Tom is right: putting "Contract Attorney" on your resume is akin to wiping your ass with it.

So what are we left with?

Just keep writing about it. Keep it out there. Obviously, people are reading this blog and it's influening things. Maybe it will just hasten the outsourcing of document review to India. But won't the student loan companies have something to say about that if it means massive defaults on loans?

recentsocalgrad said...

Comparing doc review work to slavery? Give me a break! Nobody is forcing you to do doc review! And don't nag about the costs of malpractice ins., health ins., and bar dues when you're earning the equivalent of $72,000/year, because you're most likely young and single. Thousands of people around the country (more likely millions) are getting by on a LOT less than you are earning sitting on your butt reviewing documents for privilege, and somehow they make it through the day without "breaking". And they all have kids to raise! I suggest you think about that before posting such ignorant complaints.

Anonymous said...

He "SoCal" - you're an asshole. I hope you get cancer and die slowly and painfully.

Anonymous said...

1:54, Let's assume, for a moment, that we really DO live in a meritocracy. In that case, how is a contract attorney with a law degree (and, in many cases, in addition to another graduate degree) comparable to someone without it? Net income is irrelevant after you deduct expenses which, for heavily indebted law school graduates, takes a larger chunk of income, sometimes resulting in less cash flow than the person who earns less.

But I agree with you that the answer is not in sitting around complaining. It is in getting organized, as any other sector of the legal profession is organized into committees, affinity groups, etc.

Recentsocalgrad said...

Wishing cancer upon me, comparing doc review to slavery. Wow, it's no wonder some people end up with dead end jobs!

All the complainers seem to suffer from a lack of perspective. Try to raise 3 kids on $30-50k/year, as much of the country does, and you'll see that you are actually quite well off. The problem with this generation is that everyone wants everything too quickly. People don't understand why, after getting a law degree, they don't earn as much as their parents did at the end of their careers. People don't understand why they grew up in a 3000 sq ft. home and now have ot settle for an apartment. Grow up! Hard work and sacrifice built this country,

As for organizing, I don't think that will work. Doc review is an entry level legal job. I highly doubt there exists a scarcity of available labor ready to replace you.

Anonymous said...

socal,

i'd love to buy you a drink and take a bat to your fkin skull.

recentsocalgrad said...

Be careful about making threats online, because you're not as anonymous as you think.

Anonymous said...

although I think the idea that this blog has any sort of "influence" is delusional (or that doc review attorneys are at a "breaking point in NY"...

recentsocalgrad needs to understand something about NY.

yeah, I make over 100K a year doing doc review (easy enough with OT...I'm a biglaw refugee so I'm overqualified by doc review standards and get the better paying gigs). but it still sucks. I'm paying Manhattan rent (over 2K a month to share an apartment) and paying massive student loans and taxes. so the takehome isn't so great. I'm not really interested in comparing my income to a blue collar worker in Mississippi...by Manhattan standards, I'm kind of poor. all of my non-legal friends make quite a bit more. many with only a B.A.

Anonymous said...

"Does this woman ever stop spinning?"

She can't stop spinning if she expects to keep her job. My guess is that the WSJ article caused or will cause massive damage to BLS' reputation. The bad press will probably hurt application numbers and enrollment. Joan King has to spin to attempt to mitigate these effects.

The cat is out of the bag though. From what I'm reading on the 'Net, the names BLS and Joan King are now more infamous than Pat Hobbes and Valvoline Dean.

Anonymous said...

7:37 - as far as this blog's "influence," have you scrolled down the the Quinn Emanuel posts? Apparently they sent a senior associate onto the project to smooth things over because this blog has damaged Quinn's reputation so much - deservedly so, based upon what has been written.

Anonymous said...

....and Paul Weiss ending their contract attorney program. The effect of blogs like this haven't been all good for entry-level lawyers, but to say there has been absolutely no effect isn't true.

Anonymous said...

Joan King has taken over the mantle of being one of the most notorious figures in the legal profession. That distinction used to go to the Valvoline Dean. Maybe if that "Leona Helmsley" stopped throwing herself into the media all the time in her futile attempt to tout how great BLS is, people wouldn't criticize her so much, esp. when she attacks the credibility and professionalism of journalists who don't buy into her b.s. "cooked up" #'s.

Anonymous said...

LAW SCHOOL IS A PYRAMID SCHEME, AND WE ALL KNOW IT! When Tom the Temp's blog, which is full of left wing pinko communist loonies, agrees with Murdoch's, Cheney ass-wiping Wall Street Journal, believe it.

Anonymous said...

lol at the whole "you young people shouldnt feel entitled to anything mindset." We arent your typical college dropout, GED earning blue collar workers. Those people have no right to feel entitled to anything. We all spent 7 years in school to get to where we are, we took on over 100k in debt, we sat through the god awful bar and you are damn right that we feel entitled to earn a decent living after that. I shouldnt be pulling in the same money as a firefighter or Nassau county cop!

I feel cheated by the whores at Brooklyn law school who fed me glossy brochures promising 6 figure median starting salaries and the good life when what I got was indentured servitude to the likes of Quinn and Sallie Mae.

Did I make a poor life choice? Yes, but I made this choice because society fed me this BS about workind hard, getting an education and going to law school from birth. Then the law schools lied to me about my earnings potential and now I'm screwed for life because I did what everyone told me was right.

I wish to god I was one of those debt free construction workers who earn 50k a year working with their hands, but I owe Access Group 130k and I cant afford to take a sweet job like that so I slave away in basements in Manhattan doing work I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy. I would rather be cleaning bathrooms than putting up with the crap us temps deal with every day.

You go from project to project, often unemployed for a month or two in between, you are afraid to even drink water because what if you have to go to the bathroom one time to many and are sent home because some staff attorney thinks you werent working hard enough? We have zero job security, zero benefits and we make less money than cops out on long island. Next time there is a civil service test Im taking it and I hope to god I land me a blue collar job because white collar slavery is worse and thats exactly what it is. They can send my job to India because only a third worlder could possibly want it.

Anonymous said...

"I shouldnt be pulling in the same money as a firefighter or Nassau county cop"

They make about 3x as much as we do.

Anonymous said...

Dude: Why admit your a BLS grad? Thanks, alot. All of us BLS people are now going to be watched like hawks by the Quinn henchmen. I personally don't give a shit, however, as I am tired of it here.

I get what you are saying, however. The nerve of that cunt, Joan King, to suggest that Amir Efrati's article was distorted. If you want to talk about distorted, take a look at some of the crap that the BLS marketing firm puts out.

Unlike Joan in the picture, I can only dream of working in a place with a large window, internet access, a phone, and without a million people piled on top of me. The only consolation I get is knowing that if there is a hell, Joan will be in it.

Anonymous said...

The dissenters against organizing are clearly toolish agency reps and toilet law firms (or just their unwitting tools).

Anonymous said...

or Joan King.

John Bungsolaphagus said...

Honest to god...I think that this is the post that best sums it up as far as most recently admitted lawyers feel. The following post is so on point that it will be held up as an example that best shows how many feel. Tom, you and many of the posters on your site and on JD Underground are doing god's work spreading the truth about this god awful so-called "profession".

I have it on good authority that many 1L's in toilet schools like Brooklyn are reading such sites and are seriously considering or actually ARE bailing out of law school. Cutting their losses.

Keep up the great work!

And now, a great post that sums it all up:
Anonymous said...
lol at the whole "you young people shouldnt feel entitled to anything mindset." We arent your typical college dropout, GED earning blue collar workers. Those people have no right to feel entitled to anything. We all spent 7 years in school to get to where we are, we took on over 100k in debt, we sat through the god awful bar and you are damn right that we feel entitled to earn a decent living after that. I shouldnt be pulling in the same money as a firefighter or Nassau county cop!

I feel cheated by the whores at Brooklyn law school who fed me glossy brochures promising 6 figure median starting salaries and the good life when what I got was indentured servitude to the likes of Quinn and Sallie Mae.

Did I make a poor life choice? Yes, but I made this choice because society fed me this BS about workind hard, getting an education and going to law school from birth. Then the law schools lied to me about my earnings potential and now I'm screwed for life because I did what everyone told me was right.

I wish to god I was one of those debt free construction workers who earn 50k a year working with their hands, but I owe Access Group 130k and I cant afford to take a sweet job like that so I slave away in basements in Manhattan doing work I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy. I would rather be cleaning bathrooms than putting up with the crap us temps deal with every day.

You go from project to project, often unemployed for a month or two in between, you are afraid to even drink water because what if you have to go to the bathroom one time to many and are sent home because some staff attorney thinks you werent working hard enough? We have zero job security, zero benefits and we make less money than cops out on long island. Next time there is a civil service test Im taking it and I hope to god I land me a blue collar job because white collar slavery is worse and thats exactly what it is. They can send my job to India because only a third worlder could possibly want it.

JB: Awesome reflection of the sentiment that is out here!

Anonymous said...

You go, Tom!

This is exactly how I feel. I am a temp, and I had to go to the doctor Monday. I have no employer-subsidized health insurance, and I pay through the nose to have a policy that covers basically nothing until I meet my $1,000 deductible. Then it pays 80% and I pay the other 20%.

The doctor wanted to run a test I considered unnecessary -- uh, a pregnancy test -- and I refused, saying I know I'm not pregnant -- I can't have children -- and that I can't afford to pay for an unnecessary test. She got mad and said she wouldn't write me a refill for a prescription if I didn't get the test. The problem I have is a history of stomach problems, high blood pressure, high tricylcerides, etc. due to STRESS from graduating without a decent job and HAVING TO PAY $100,000 in student loans back!!!!! I was practically crying as I said, "Come on, just write me a prescription, I know I'm NOT pregnant and I can't afford to pay for a test I know I don't need because I owe $100,000 in student loans," and she said in a cold tone, "You shouldn't skimp on health care." She then referred me to a specialist and said cattily, "You'll have to pay for another office visit if you want a prescription."

So to make a long story short, I missed time from work for nothing, shelled out money for nothing, have to see a specialist, will have to shell out more money, and will have to miss another day from work without pay because as a temp we do not get vacation pay or PTO.

Oh, and around this same exact time, my stupid attorney registration fees came due. I have been licensed in two states for three years so I owe about $500 in fees that I will have to charge on my credit card. Here, I am skimping and scraping with my health but still have to fork over $500 for two licenses I don't use because I keep thinking if I go in-active, I won't be able to get a job! I pay the same in fees as attorneys who make $160,000 a year and have firms to pick up the tab!!! How is this fair???

I completely see why people kill themselves. It seems like once, you're stuck in this rut, there's no way out. And I agree, putting "contract attorney" or "temp" on your resume is like the kiss of death.

RecentSoCalGrad said...

To the poster who thinks he or she is worth more than a police officer: Trust me, you're not. You didn't want to risk being shot or stabbed as part of your regular job duties. I don't blame you, neither did I, that's why we both chose law school. If you look around, it's a lot harder to find someone willing to take a job that risks their own life, than a job that only requires you to wear a suit and write memos. Police are worth every cent and then some, so get off your high horse!

Anonymous said...

oh, please, I would bet stress induced heart attacks are killing more of us temps than thugs with guns are killing cops. They have a union which is why they make more than us. We have Denovo and the others ripping us off instead.

Recentsocalgrad said...

The ignorance being displayed on this, and other blogs, is appalling.

Anonymous said...

to the your not worht as much as a police officer, I take issue with your post because lawyers have higher drug, alcholism divorce and sucide rates that police, they also have worse health and have higer rates of obesity. To become a lawyer means you risk your life because you are REQUIRED to risk your health. Lawyer are frequently REQUIRED to ignore everything else in their life other than the case and billable hours. I would gladly trade to become a cop, they get to stop after 20 years, except that in NY they start at 25k these days, but the good news is they get to shoot lawyers, and that alone is worth 30k.

recentsocalgrad said...

Oh yes, being a lawyer is waaaay more dangerous than being a cop! And you're forced to be obese and abuse drugs!

Get off your high horse! That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard! Are you even a lawyer? With comments like that, I'd bet no.

Anonymous said...

recentsocalgrad said...
Oh yes, being a lawyer is waaaay more dangerous than being a cop! And you're forced to be obese and abuse drugs!

Get off your high horse! That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard! Are you even a lawyer? With comments like that, I'd bet no.
___________________________________

Unless "socal" is a high school for slow children, you might want to stop embarrassing them by identifying yourself as one of their recent grads, particuarly when your sole argument here is "get off your high horse!"


Most cops in most jurisdictions are no more likely to be stabbed or shot as part of their regular job duties than any person walking down the street in the areas they patrol--most of whom aren't being paid to be there.

As was noted, cops are not well-paid because they are at such great "risk," but because they are one of the the only groups of workers whose right to unionize conservative dimwits like you are afraid to challenge, since your ideology teaches you that armies and police are the only thing that stand between you and the murdering hordes of "thugs" who live in homicidal envy of your well-earned "success."

You are an ignorant fool recentsocalgrad, and you have no greater understanding of how labor markets work than a monkey does of Euclidean geometry.

RecentSoCalGrad said...

I am a recent law school graduate living in Southern California, not necessarily a USC grad.

If you think that being a police officer is really no more dangerous than being a lawyer, there's not much I can do for you.

Anonymous said...

statistically their chances of dying on the job are small. Being a cop is not even in the top 5 most dangerous professions. They enjoy high pay because they are unionized and politically active, its really all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

"To become a lawyer means you risk your life because you are REQUIRED to risk your health." I can't even begin to tell what an idiotic statement that is. Your total inability to think logically is the reason you have no real job.

Anonymous said...

Being a lawyer is tough on the liver.

Anonymous said...

Idiotic? Fuck you asshole, when the job requires you to work 80 hours a week that means you get fat, you get out of shape, your blood pressure goes up, and your risk of heart attack goes up 400% due to lack of sleep, those are the facts, if you are too fucking stupid to know them that is nobodys fault but your own, your ignorance about the facts that EVERYBODY ELSE KNOWS is and is so obvious that it does not need to be states just shows what a bitch ass shit head you are, and it is you who does not know a goddamn fucking thing about logic you walking crap bag, eat a gun.

Anonymous said...

What about teachers? My friend gets out of work at 3 o'clock and makes $70K a year with full benefits.

RecentSoCalGrad said...

I love the animosity! Hey, losers, why didn't you become cops or teachers if their jobs are so easy, and the pay is so terrific? I look forward (with beer in hand) to your humorous responses.

John Bungsolaphagus said...

We built this toilet on loser's dough! Great song parody! One for the ages.

Anonymous said...

RecentSoCalGrad said...

If you think that being a police officer is really no more dangerous than being a lawyer, there's not much I can do for you.
___________________________________

And if you think the "dangerousness" of a profession determines it's rate of compensation, there's not much anyone can do for you. Clearly, convenience store clerks, whose job is stubstantially more dangerous than any cop's, don't make more than CEOs, whose jobs aren't dangerous at all--but who, on average, are the best paid workers in the labor market.

Again--you are ignoring the basic point that workers are not compensated based on criteria like "danger" or "worth." They are compensated on the basis of negotiating power--end of story.

Anonymous said...

Dear Schmucks- what were you smoking in college? Why do you think you can take out 100,000 in law school loans and not suffer the consequences? I say you all sue BLS. It will get you some legal experience and maybe some money back.

Anonymous said...

Why complain when you bring home more than $1,000 per week after taxes. You are only average performers like me and could never get that cash each week at any other job that would have you. Maybe you'd like Insurance Defense instead, that's all average performers are good for. You did not go to Yale or Harvard, get over it.

Sincerely,

Two years in doc review hell.

Anonymous said...

Gee, recentsocalgrad--with a winning argument like "get off your high horse," why would you have to resort to "get over it"?

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does Joan King look like a young Dr. Ruth Westheimer?

Anonymous said...

leave law and go into teaching-that's my plan

Anonymous said...

She looks like an ugly transvestite.

Anonymous said...

I do not think lawyers live a more dangerous life than cops. Lawyers are all stressed out. As are cops. Lawyers work a lot of overtime. As do cops. I can't say for sure which group is more stressed out, but I know for sure that cops face more dangers in the line of fire. Regardless of how rarely the typical cop engages in a firefight (it's probably very rare), it's still significantly higher than a lawyer's chance.

That being said, lawyers need a higher salary than cops in order to survive. For one thing, lawyers have incurred a whole lot more costs, both real costs and opportunity costs. While a temp attorney might not deserve to be paid more, they deserve to have paid less in acquiring an education that is basically worthless.

As for alternate careers, there's always the stumbling block of how to convince an employer that you won't leave to greener pastures. Even law school career counselors will tell you, it can be very hard to convince employers that you won't walk away for a law firm job if and when one materializes. And, if you leave out the J.D. from your resume (some MBAs leave it out to avoid appearing "overqualified") it can be seen as a lie of omission. So a J.D. is more of a trap in confining people only to the legal ranks. Not a complete trap, but a fairly effective one.

Anonymous said...

Degrees don't get you jobs, intelligence does. Everyone knows there are idiots with advanced degrees, including JDs--probably in equal proportion to the idiots in the general population. In fact, many graduate from college, can't find a job (because they're not smart or creative enough) and go to grad school to try to compensate for their inabilities. Many of you legal temps probably went to law school because you couldn't find a job, and you found that a law degree couldn't solve your problems, because your unemployability had little to do with your degrees or lack thereof all along.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Joan King..there are lots of Joan Kings out there. The truth is that the legal profession juggernaut is out of control you are sold a bullshit dream, that only the top 10 per cent will ever realize. The jobs are sweat shop circa 1890 because there is no union no controls and nobody gives a shit if a lawyer suffers, after all you should have known better....top 15 school or stay away...DO not bury your future in Non-dischargebale loans...Third rate schools equal third world job.