Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Hudson Legal "Newark" Project

"First off: facilities. This is Newark. One of the Top 5 most dangerous cities in America, 20 years strong. First thing you see from the PATH train is a Combat Roach Motel billboard rising proudly through the smog. (By the way, there is no meal or transportation allowance whatsoever on this gig since we are working less than 110 hours per week). You gotta pay to play in Newark, baby! The nearby "restaurants" include a homeless guy cooking hot dogs on a smoldering trash can filled with newspapers.

The project is at McCarter & English, near One Newark Center. It is close to Newark Penn Station, but we were still advised not to venture out after dark unless we are in groups of 3, presumably so that at least one document coder survives any drive-by shootings or any other stray munitions. A one year military tour in Iraq might be a safer, and would certainly pay a better rate. There have been no fatalities thus far, but give it time.

First things first. A lot of older lawyers on this gig - silver hair abounds. Perhaps some were/are retired solos, or maybe "law school as a second career" types. Fair enough. Their generation was trained to take pride in their work, to ask questions, to have individual input, etc. They have a bizarre and shameless desire to apply their ultra-boring life experiences to the thrilling adventure of document coding. Sad. None of which, it goes without saying, are especially prized in today's top-down legal world of "biglaw".

Not a minute of training goes by without some blue haired geezer reminiscing, like Grandpa Simpson, about some case they remembered from 1965 that reminds them of this project. Many of these poor saps are first-time doc reviewers, fresh to the slave quarters and still feeling out of place in this legal underworld. One older guy actually had the audacity to ask whether Subchapter VII(b)3 of the Omnibus Paper Churning Act of 1863 would be in play "vis a vis this project."

The incredulous look on our "trainer's" face in response to this was worth a thousand bucks. It was as if a field slave from some ante-bellum Alabama plantation had asked the overseer what price cotton was bringing in this week at the auction! The older gentleman didn't realize that he wasn't a "lawyer" anymore, but merely a "document coder." A coder does not ask any "big picture" questions, or pretend to care about the eventual outcome of the case. A coder is the plantation slave who fills his burlap sack with cotton, runs it thru the gin, and eats his plate of slop without complaint to avoid a public flogging.

It makes no difference if this old coot was once the senior partner at some strip-mall law firm in Kearney, NJ back in 1962. He is now Coder 46562, not a human being. His job is to plow through mountains of shitpaper, sign out to take a piss or pass his gallstones, and get right back to the plantation. Like "Red" in The Shawshank Redemption, he's an "institutional man" now. He must ask permission to piss, fart, use the phone, or have a bowel movement. It's funny how much trouble some of these older people have in adjusting to what for us Gen Y'ers is already an ingrained way of life. He'll get on the beam soon enough, but in the meantime it's prolonging the agony of training."


Anonymous said...

The sister site of this project in Philly is getting screwed. We recently got a raise, but why should we start at $30 while our brethren in Jersey get $35?

Sgt. Hartmann said...

The sister site of this project in Philly is getting screwed. We recently got a raise, but why should we start at $30 while our brethren in Jersey get $35?


Answer: Combat pay.

Anonymous said...


Document review scheduled to begin Monday January 28th. The case involves a tax fraud litigation.

The location is 31st Street in midtown.

The hourly rate is 30/hr and it will be a 40 hour work week.

Bar admission is not required.

document review experience
exposure to the following types of cases would be a plus:

1. accounting fraud
2. tax fraud
3. white collar
4. securities fraud
5. tax shelters

Please let me know if you are available and interested.

Helene Diamond
Peak Counsel
212-792-7600 X215

Anonymous said...

There is no food in Newark, and you take your life in your hands if you try and go looking for some.

Anonymous said...

that's not true... hero king is the best place to go, you get a great sub for only $5.00.

Anonymous said...

The sandwich place near the police station is decent.

Anonymous said...

Not worth it. First, McCarter & English is a horrid place. Second, you're taking your life in your hands taking the PATH alone late at night or leaving the Gateway Center. I saw a shooting right outside the Gateway Center when I was temping at McCarter in 2002. Third, for those of you admitted in NJ, temping in NJ means that you can be assigned to a pro bono case in Jersey. If weekend work is involved, the PATH runs very infrequently on weekends (unless this has changed in the past 5-6 years) and getting to Newark is a total bitch. Overall, there is absolutely no reason to take a temp job in Jersey unless you are absolutely desperate.

Anonymous said...

This is the funniest post that I've read in a while.

Sad but true.

Best luck to all on the project. Hope you survive.

I was reading for a while, but got tired of it and came back to this blog. This story was worth coming back to. Okay, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Bar admission not required? Why don't they just hire illegal mexican immigrants to do the work?

Craig Schoonmaker said...

The moronic slanders of Newark are offensive and unfunny. The Gateway area is very safe, and the longest interval on the PATH is a half hour in the middle of the nite. Neither Newark in particular nor New Jersey in general needs pretentious fools from Manhattan who can't get a regular legal position, so have some nerve looking down their nose at anyone.

Anonymous said...

I have never been to Newark, as I live in Chicago. But from your very own blog pictures mr. schoonmaker, it doesn't look like someplace I would would particularly want to visit.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to take his comments seriously after reading his blog and seeing the horrific pictures on it. Still, he has a point, I find this discussion of Newark as puerile at best, and pretty racist at worst. Newark is not the Disneyfied NYC, it's more like NYC was 25 years ago. That's probably why this blogger moved there to begin with.

From the original blog post, it seems like any other temp project I've been on. Okay, discuss the rate and working conditions, but don't childishly diss an entire city, alot of hard working African Americans and others live there, many of whom are not privileged enough to attend law school and do attorney work, of any kind.

Let's talk about real issues confronting us, not whether your candy asses can find an appropriate deli or if you have to wait for a train more than 10 mins. Maybe you are just bunch of crybabies after all.

Anonymous said...

"maybe" a bunch of crybabies? Please.

Everyone knows newark is a cesspool. I love how these clowns take the job THEN complain about the location. If you don't want to go to Newark, DON'T TAKE A JOB IN NEWARK, YOU IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why don't you guys cut back on your living expenses, or extend your loan repayments? Frankly, when you NEED to make a certain amount of money every year, the agencies have you right where they want you. You have no choice - you have to take that $30 an hour gig, or you have to work in the shithole a.k.a. Newark.

Anonymous said...

you don't have a choice? get over yourself!

What if tomorrow there were no more temp agencies and no more contract attorney industry?

Anonymous said...

Without the contract attorney industry, many law graduates would default on their loans, and many TTT law schools would have to close. All in all, I don't think that would be a bad thing, which is precisely why the ABA would NEVER allow it to happen. Just watch the ABA spring into action when the cushy paid professors who sit on many of these committees start to get affected.

Anonymous said...

Good. If you don't like the terms of the temp job, DON'T FREGGIN ACCEPT IT! You don't like the location, pay, lack of fancy meals and offices, stay home and default on your loans and eat shi*t.

Anonymous said...

Hudson is a dump. Newark is a dump.

Anonymous said...

DEFLATE THE RATE. Frankendine and Carrie Cheskin are up to their old tricks.

Prominent firm seeks a junior level attorney for a document redacting project. The assignment is 2-3 weeks in duration and starts immediately.

The hourly rate is $30 dollars per hour. Higher requirements may be considered.

Interviews begin tomorrow so please email your resume ASAP to and refer in the subject line to the "Redacting" position.

We NEVER forward your resume anywhere without first obtaining your express, specific authorization.

Anonymous said...

If there are no jobs people will have no choice but to default on student loans. That is already happenning. We were told "education" is the key to the American dream. This was drilled into our hearts and minds. Last I heard there is no debtor's prison

Anonymous said...

And what if everyone under 35 just refused to pay back their student loans? You think the cash starved banks and the impending sub-prime meltdown is bad now, just wait.

Anonymous said...

"Just watch the ABA spring into action when the cushy paid professors who sit on many of these committees start to get affected."

11:55 PM


I agree with 11:55 PM. Face It! until BIGLAW=ABA starts to feel the pinch nothing will be done. The ABA has an enormous lobby arm and accredits Lawschools; it has power but will not use it to help the TTT. If voluntarily pay ABA dues and are from a TTT you are flushing money down the toilet.

Anonymous said...

Yeah and there won't be an bailout will have to pay the loans back. Our govt is going broke and those student loan companies will hound you. Even if the loan companies go bankrupt, the underlying loans will be purchased and securitized. You are professionals and will pay the loans back. Does it look like a bad deal? It sure does, but we lemmings should not have gone to law school, as many people told us.

And when you default on your loans you are really screwed. No house, no mortgage, it's living with your credit and no discharge in bankruptcy.

I know a person who had loans in undergrad that defaulted through the shifty practices of the student loans company, and now - even though he passed the bar - he can't get his license to practice.

Face it, you have to pay the loans off and because of that, you are indentured servants of the agencies and law firms.

Believe me, I know it sucks I worked temp for almost 5 years, and hated almost every day of it. At the end of it all, I was in the same place as I was when I started, without a career.

Anonymous said...

Quick, Carrie Cheskin - go get your hair bleached again. Your roots are starting to show.

Anonymous said...

Leave Newark alone. Idiot, it's a poor town and the majority of the people who live here a dirt poor, living no paycheck to no paycheck. I don't know where the picture was taken, but security has improved considerably at The Gateway Center and at present, no one is in the vicinity cooking their dinner in trashcans. If working here is so bad, get a job as waitstaff as a fancy schmancy NY restaurant and enjoy the ambiance. It's one thing to honestly reflect on poor surroundings but it's nasty and mean to lie to get your point across. Who took the picture? Where and when? I am sure those old timers the writer speaks so well of actually have a low opinion of the his or her arrogance and obnoxious attitude.

Anonymous said...

A project of this size is going to do nothing but help temps in NYC. Don't believe me? They are hiring upwards of 600(!) people. Most of the spots will no doubt be filled by NJ lawyers. Where does that leave the NYC jobs? Simple: VACANT. I think it's big enough to affect the number of open spots on other projects big time. So if you hate Newark, fine. Don't go there. Stay in your lilly-white communities and leave dirty jersey alone. I'm sure you won't be missed.

legaltemp said...

This post is crap. this job is amazing. we only walk half a block in newark and its been built up since 2002. i love it

Anonymous said...

Does the sister site of this project in Philly have any paralegals on the project. What agency/agencies are hiring for this project? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Philly site appears to be all attorneys. New Yorkers might wanna watch out for further wage deflation.

Not sure if this is for a doc review or something less, but here:

Paralegal Coders Needed for 2-3 Month Project (Midtown)

Reply to:
Date: 2008-01-18, 12:19PM EST

Lexolution is staffing a project to start next Wednesday for our client, a leader in the insurance industry. Prior experience as a paralegal and/or document coder is necessary. Bachelors degree required. Hours will be 9:30am to 8:30pm Monday through Friday, with some possible weekend work. Excellent opportunity for lots of OT! Apply today!

* Compensation: $18.75/hr plus OT

Reality Check said...

Who wrote this original post? I don't think you're even working in Newark. What a pack of lies. Smog rising over a Roach Motel billboard? Smog??? We don't have smog in Jersey - this isn't LA.

I am an attorney currently working on the Hudson document review project in Newark. We began the first week of January, part of the first group of 50 attorneys. About 150 more are due to be added here. And yes, it is $35 an hour, time and a half after 40 hrs.

The original post, although somewhat amusing, is not at all factual. It's hokey and corny - like the lie the nerdy kid tells his folks so he can come home early from summer camp.

There are no homeless people roasting hotdogs - how would a homeless person gwet hotdogs to roast anyway? There are no buring fires anywhere on these streets - that is a complete lie.

And there is ample "food court style" food, although I haven't noticed any real restaurants, inside the Gateway Center - an office complex/concourse leading to the Newark Penn Station NJ Transit, Amtrak, Light Rail, subway, and Path trains.

Gateway Center is directly across the side street from the building where we are working - we ran into Gateway, to Dunkin Donuts, when someone overflowed our office coffee machine.

There is a Blimpie directly across the street from our building, Nicky's Cafe and Grille is next to it, and then the Commerce Food Court, a hot and cold salad bar/buffet/deli. Across the street to our right is Seton Hall Law school. Attorneys are free to use the law library - bring your bar card.

You can see the newly constructed NHL arena, the Prudential Center, from the front door here - 2 blocks away. It opened this October with a series of Bon Jovi concerts. The arena is home to the NJ Devils, and according to Wikipedia, Prudential Center is one of the most easily accessible arenas in the United States.

Even if you've never been to Newark (or left your hometown), you should be able to logically conclude that when this much new construction money is involved, there will be security to protect the investment.

As far as our work conditions, we don't sign out to use the bathroom - that's another fabrication. We do, however, obey the fire code by signing out when we leave the building on break or for lunch. And we don't use our cell phones in the rooms - we must step into the hall/reception area. Completely professional.

Concerning safety, I suppose it would be unwise to roam the streets beyond this area late at night, but why would you? We were never warned to "travel in 3's", although if there really were drive-by shootings, no one would have to give you a warning. We were told, however, to be careful late and night, and to try not to walk alone once the main entrance to Gateway is locked, at 9pm.

The people who drive to work park in one of 3 parking lots on this street, within 2 blocks of the building. Parking is $10 a day. The Path train is $1.50, and the ride to Manhattan is 10 minutes. Most of the attorneys here are from New York.

So, to the person who created the original post: Your writing is interesting, but it is pure fiction - and that takes the fun out of it. Also, the fact that you completely invented a story is creepy - you are the equivalent of an adult with an imaginary friend. The entire story is a lie.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Newark post seems entirely fabricated, like a post about a gig back in the early 1990's.

Again, let's get something credible up here, not just a bunch of puffery. I guess no one actually has the guts to unionize, so it's just endless whining and feeling sorry ourselves...

Anonymous said...

Hey there is no debtors prison. Why do you even need to pay back your loans? Nothing will happen to you. They cannot take away assets if you have none. You can rent a place, you can still drink starbucks overpriced coffee.

Sure, your credit rating will be effected, but the only thing a person really needs is a car. I, for one, support massive defaults in the student loan industry. Its the only thing that will close down the law schools which clearly need to be shut down.

Anonymous said...

The site is about a block and a half from the Prudential Center. The police aren't going to let anything happen walking around there at night.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the Hudson recruiters are really spamming this posting. Cohen, we see your horns.

Anonymous said...

reality check has the right of it. I'm an attorney working at the Newark site, and the original post couldn't be a bigger bunch of bs. The Hudson people are courteous, pay on time, treat us like professionals, and have made the environment as pleasant as possibly given some constraints by the client (i.e. no phone use in the coding room). Whoever gave you the info for the original post either was fired on the first day for being a slobbering idiot, or needs to work on his fiction.

I've only been to this blog for a few weeks, but I already can see it's just a bunch of WATBs. You cry babies have probably never worked a single day of your pampered lives at a real job. Whah whah whah.

$35 an hour plus time an half for coding isn't good enough for you? Go get a "real" job then. Most firms aren't looking to bring on board pouty, bitchy juveniles who think the world owes them, but hey, you might get lucky.

Anonymous said...

They're right: That section of Newark (near Satan Hell Law School) has been really built up and gentrified over the last 5 years. No drive-bys, bums standing around fires, or muggings.

That's not to say the rest of Newark - the parts that those coming to and from NYC don't see - isn't a crime-ridden, urban blighted dump.

And it's not to say Cohen, Princess Zuckerberg, and the rest of the Hudson gang aren't still a-holes.

But the post is a lie as relates to the area where the project is taking place.

Anonymous said...

I work for Hudson on a different project, and they have always been professional and paid us on time. Its not an ideal job, but thats the nature of work really. Who thought they would be doing Document Review while attending law school?

Anonymous said...

Yeah this board is full of WATBs from all over...complain, complain and complain...

Anonymous said...

Great. A large plantation opening up right next to the Valvoline Dean's $60,000 a year Satan Hell School of Law. Maybe Hudson can sponsor internships to give these kiddies a realistic view of their future of indentured servitude.

Anonymous said...

Zuckerberg no longer works there.

Anonymous said...

Funhy post. Irrespective of author taking any literary license. The points that they humorously convey are sadly funny, yet accurate of the nature of employment many legal professionals have found necessary in order to merely put food on the table. I do not view this as a compliant, but just a simple statement of the facts. Look forward to an update on this gig and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

I worked at McCarter three years ago on a project. The area around the law firm is fine, even at night, and there's a lot of security in the Gateway Center. I'm really tired of the nonsense that gets dished out on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I also worked around there at night and it scared the shit out of me.

Anonymous said...

Newark - never! Blimpie - never!

Anonymous said...

I worked in Newark at Prudential a few years ago. Every day during lunch I took a walk and walked around the downtown area.

The crowds on the street were mainly poor black people. Lots of sneaker, wig and dollar stores. Lots of interesting old buildings.

I never felt threatened or was treated rudely by anybody on the street. I am a 50 year old white woman.

I did feel like a 50 year old white female attorney walking amongst some very poor black people. Many people would translate that feeling into a fear of being attacked; however, some of us do know that it is not the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Is there parking at the Newark site?

Anonymous said...

Someone just told me that Newark is the armpit of New Jersey. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

Look, all I am saying is that the percentage on the project who were mentally and/or physically handicapped was MASSIVE. As were the sizes of sooo many people on the project. There MUST be something in the Jersey water because even in the city- I bet anyone 5 bucks- pick out the yappers and the insane 9 times out of 10- FROM JERSEY. That said, the project was a project like any other.

JT said...

Recruiters in Construction:post free construction jobs

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe it, but the ten year anniversary of the famous Hudson Newark Project is soon approaching.