Monday, January 28, 2008

The "Update Legal" Shearman & Sterling Project

Looks like the Stepford Wives are up to their old good cop/bad cop routine:

"Some of the associates are really nice and understand that the rules suck. There are two who take the rules as license to go on a power trip. Lots of people have left and others are trying to find the escape hatch.

The only thing we were told on the phone when we signed up was the pay, location, and that it was a good place to be. At Update orientation the morning of the first day, we found out that it's strict hours, and they don't like it if we talk. 4 hours into it, we found out THE WHOLE TRUTH:

Pay:
- $35 an hour, straight.

Hours:
- Strict time - 9:30 - 7:30.
- 45 minute lunch
- ONLY from 12:45 - 1:30.
- Call Update to say you are taking longer lunch, and get the riot act thrown at you.

Talking
- Update told us the day it started (not on the phone when they wanted us to say yes we'll take it) that Shearman doesn't like it if people talk. Don't turn your chair to talk to one another. She wasn't kidding. They walk around watching you to see what you are doing and they will tell you off for talking.

Breaks:
- must write down all breaks.
- bathroom
- cell phone
- food
- blackberry messages / texts
- Started out with they won't dock us if it is up to 10 minutes.
- Changed to anything over 5 minutes and they will dock your time for the day. So if it's 8 minutes, you lose 3. But 5 breaks at 5 minutes each is okay. Makes no sense but neither does the rule. You still have to write it down, if it's under 5 minutes.

Internet
- No Internet at desk
- One internet computer for 20+ people
- modified 1 week later. Now only during lunch there are 2 computers - very difficult to get on so don't bother.

Food
- no eating at desk at all
- modified 1 week later. Now you can have snacks but lunch should be in the eating area. Oh, and nothing smelly.

- On the 3rd day they said our productivity was too low and we need to amp it up. We did. They ran out of work/computer problems/ can't upload docs fast enough and this Tuesday we were sent home after 3 hours. Update said they wouldn't pay us for the 4th hour. I guess some people pointed out that it's in our contract and they relented.

-- They walk around pretending they are trying to find out if you need help, but really it's to make sure you're not doing ... well, anything."

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a shitty project. NYC temp gigs SUCK!

Anonymous said...

GIve them time. They will ease you into the timeclocks, 4 middle level bosses per employee, CCTV, nametags, strict dress code, strict grooming code, suggestion box, and no paid holidays. You can then co-miserate with the people at WAl Mart to see who has the better job.

Anonymous said...

The main issue here is the "sending home early and not paying the last hour" approach.
Are we going to reach a stage where we have to negotiate over every hour we get paid - basically get on our knees and beg.
This is far worse than the other draconian measures, bad in of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Shearman would be better off paying a higher rate ($40 plus overtime or $45 flat) and requiring reviewers to have a couple of years of work experience. 20 people is not that many attorneys to manage to justify such strict rules. The rules are probably being imposed by inexperienced associates at the firm. Most law school graduates do not have any work experience because they go straight from college to law school.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it sounds like some twerpy associate on a power trip. I had a gig there once and it wasn't terrible. They sent us home a lot but we had a lot of freedom and the associates were more worried about the work product than this group and didn't nickel and dime us to death.

I was actually called for this gig, too but turned it down. I refuese to work on any NYC gig less than $40 per hour. It's just not worth it and the less the salary and experience level, the crazier the group tends to be. When they said $35 no OT, I decided against it. They also said they wanted me to commit for at least 2 month-3 months. I hope that conditions improve.

Anonymous said...

I have worked at sherman and it sucked, they are rude and out of touch with reality. Put that together with update and that is a toxic place. I would not work for update, but some people have to, but I really would not work at Sherman, it is my feeling that they are just not reasonable people. They waste lots of time and expect you to take the hit for it when its not your fault. Stay away.

Anonymous said...

so then why don't you all get a spine and WALK OUT?

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Update sucks. There are plenty of projects and agencies out there. Sometimes it's worth it to burn a bridge - do you really want to be around that shit, day in and day out?

But if you're a glutton for punishment (most temps), by all means stay and be treated worse than a second-grader.

Anonymous said...

yawn. whine. yawn. whine.

Anonymous said...

If you walk out, you will surely be blacklisted by Update. Don't worry though, it will be the best gift you will ever give yourself.

Anonymous said...

If you walk out, you will surely be blacklisted by Update. Don't worry though, it will be the best gift you will ever give yourself.

Anonymous said...

Update, KISS MY ASS!!!

Anonymous said...

It should be interesting if there are more associate layoffs, what happens when they are dumped onto this oversaturated market, with much of the work now being outsourced.

Will they end up as temps, or ID lawyers? I wonder...

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080129/sc_livescience/strangecreatureimmunetopain

I saw this guy on my last document review project...he was impervious to all of the mistreatment that went on.

Anonymous said...

exactly, I refuse to work for Update. I will take projects from just about any agency, including the small mom and pop ones, but I will NEVER again work with Update. Working for them is like a daily colonoscopy, they try to pull shit every day. They are by far the worst agency in NY, but maybe that's why they get so many project....

Lets face it the better agencies also tend to get the least projects.

Anonymous said...

Could be worse could be sitting at home wondering how your going to pay the rent

Anonymous said...

Update will continue to treat you like sh*t unless you walk away from them. They will use you for all that you are worth, then they will throw you away without second thoughts. Worst place to work ever! I hate them.

update legal said...

what do you mean that we are bad ?? is there something wrong with taking a cut off your labor ?? after all we kissed a lot of .... to get you on that spot ....

Anonymous said...

Update gets a lot of work of the short term variety that none of the other agencies seem to get.

My experiences with them are as good/bad as any other agency. They are all beholden to the firms and don't represent their "employees" in any way. Update doesn't set Shearman policies, they just get the clickers to fill the filthy, broken down chairs and sit in the suffocating tension as the 26 year old asshole associate hovers over them.

What no one seems to get is that working on these gigs is supposed to be for the short term, not a career. Once you realize that, the hits you that you have no career whatsoever and you have to stop the hideous temp grind. At that point, you need either to open a solo shop, get lucky in a small firm or start at the bottom in a different line of work. Take your pick! But being a click monkey not a long term option. Especially for most of the temps in NYC who are 5+ years out of law school and have extremely checkered resumes.

Perhaps if the union was formed and the rampant sweatshop conditions could be improved, the situation would be different.

It's not Update's fault that temps are treated like cattle, they're only trying to make a living too.

update legal said...

thank you for defending our name.... we really appreciate it... please get back to clicking immediately...

document review not a career ??? the truth does hurt....

Anonymous said...

I remember the chick from Update here in Texas. Her name was Angie. She seemed so insincere in the interview that I didn't bother returning any of her phone calls. I guess Update has a reputation of being a horrible staffing firm.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to work for Update. What a bunch of unethical bitches.

Anonymous said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better, things are hunky-dorey in Newark. My room is on pace for OT pay by Thursday afternoon and, if you're really psycho, Hudson has no problem with paying 40 hours OT to someone.

Turned down two gigs this week because the Newark job isn't that bad at all.

Anonymous said...

Hudson, go away.

update legal said...

dear document reviewers:

please stop trying to have a life. it is pointless. just click and drink coffee. we really need to make the .7 mark up on your labor.

sincererly,
all temp agencies

Anonymous said...

Hudson is a joke. HireCounsel is a bugger joke. Lexolution... HA! Need I go on?

Anonymous said...

What's a bugger joke? Does it involve cockroaches? Plenty of them on these projects........

Anonymous said...

If Update were more like DeNovo nobody would bash Update. Have any of you ever been on a bad DeNovo project? I haven't. Every DeNovo project runs smoothly with no BS. They are by far my favorite agency. Are they perfect? No, but there is far less shit from them.

Even Hudson can be good. My recruiter at Hudson always emails me, he never calls. I email him and I get a response in 2-3 hours. I email Update and I NEVER hear back. Do you people even check your email? Hudson lets you put updated resumes right up on their website and you see how many people have looked at your resume so you know someone is actually working FOR YOU. I hate getting voicemails from Update (I never just answer my cellphone). You people are not my friends, I dont want to have to actually talk to you. Email me so I can choose whether or not I even want to respond.

Hirecounsel never seems to respond to emails either. Why give out email addresses if you never plan on responding to email?

Anonymous said...

The last thing I have to say on the subject of agencies is this; these vultures fight tooth and nail to get their hands on a 2-3 year lateral to send to biglaw. They make hundreds of calls, scour Martindale all day and send out mountains of spam in the hope of landing just one. But they are unwilling to do anything to help their temps become these very samelaterals.

Some of us doc review types will ultimately transition into real associate jobs somewhere and many of those people will ultimately become the very laterals you are constantly hunting for even if it takes us 5+ years to get there. Make no mistake we will remember our days as temps and we will fuck you the way you fucked us.

This short sighted business model of theirs harms the entire profession, but in the long run it will harm these agencies more because at the end of the day they are unnecessary. Laterals dont really need them to make their move and at some point temps will realize that the type of work they offer isnt worth the long term hit your resume takes for doing it. At some point small law salaries will finally rise and doc review will lose the one trait that makes it attractive. When this happens their entire business model falls apart and it inevitably will happen.

Anonymous said...

De Novo is the absolute worst! I have had worse experiences in their Orwellian sweatshops than at Update. They hover over you like a parent over a newborn....totally hideous.

Stay away from De Novo. Didn't you read TTT's dissertations on them? Scroll down mate and take a gander...

Anonymous said...

the critique of DeNovo is that they are becoming more like Update, but my experience with them is that they are still leagues better than Update. I've heard horror stories about EP Dine and Lexolution here but I have never worked with them so I cant say who is worse, but Update is by far the worst agency I've worked with. I've done projects with Hudson, Hire Counsel, Update, DeNovo and a few smaller agencies I would rather not name.

Anonymous said...

No, the critique is that they run sweatshops. They are vastly different from Update which generally puts you on site at the law firm.

DeNovo, on the other hand, has its own ghastly off-site sweatshops in which law firm employees AND DeNovo project managers hover over you. At least at the firm you can occasionally get perks or have a decent work station, or have Internet access. Not on Kafka's workbench at DeNovo. At DeNovo you share 3 computers with 50 people to access the Internet. The same group of attorneys cram into aging overworked bathrooms. It's a sweatshop plain and simple.

Again, DeNovo is THE worst that I've worked with, bar none. I have not worked for Hudson or EP Dine, but I have worked with Update.

Anonymous said...

Hey, does anyone know of any agencies that offer year-end bonuses? I only know of one that does, assuming you are on their payroll at the end of the year. Go figure. Actually getting something in your Christmas card.

Anonymous said...

10pm. Update called. It's over. Never been so happy to be unemployed. Will go to other agencies in the morning. Thanks for the support.

Anonymous said...

which one do you know offers a year end bonus?

Anonymous said...

I don't really have much sympathy for all the groaning and moaning on this site. I worked as a paralegal doing document review for years at one location, on multiple projects. My last project ended several months ago and I cannot even be considered for a document review job now because all the job postings require a JD at the very least; most seem to require a bar admission. At least you have an income, at a good hourly rate.

Anonymous said...

I temped for about 18 months after graduating law school. Had two horrible Update project experiences, at Sullivan and at Sherman. Got blacklisted by Update. Best thing that happened to me. Provided me with sufficient motivation to land a real job! Public sector position, but I'm a real lawyer now practicing law, not clicking and coding like a trained seal.

Anonymous said...

7:16,
Only 3 internet computers for 50 people? Damn! Now you only have 30-45 mins a day to goof off and not do your work. I feel really bad for you. Also, did you ever think that maybe the firms are requesting the internet lockdown?
Lastly, if De Novo is hosting these projects at their site, wouldn't they (and the firm associates) be using the same
aging overworked bathrooms? I've been on two projects with them, and their staff works in the location where the temps work.

Anonymous said...

Buy a Blackberry.

Shut the fuck up and do your work.

You know the rest.

Don't be inflammatory. the KA's could have walked. All that happens is you get replaced or asked to return at reasonable terms. You whine like a bitch.

Anonymous said...

at least the De Novo projects dont have roaches walking all over the place like you have with every other Update project. Seriously, there is no comparison. NOBODY is as bad as Update (though a compelling case can be made for EP Dine).

And yes, I want a "real" legal job, please tell me how the fuck I'm supposed to get one because I've been sending out resumes for months with no luck.

Anonymous said...

Just not accurate, Update will keep you working if you do quality work, show up on time and don't act crazy on your projects. They are no worse than the dozens of others, but because they get so much more work than the other agencies, they are the one group you do not want to cross. The conditions on De Novo, Lexolution, Hudson are as bad or worse than Update.

I'm not saying Update acts ethically or presents an ideal employment situation, because they don't. They're just not any worse the rest of the aforementioned group. To say that they are vastly beneath the other is not true.

Anonymous said...

Update sucks monkey cock!

Anonymous said...

All these jobs are the same:

First day,they read me the riot act, listing all the do's and don'ts.
Then, I go get high during my three hour lunch break, and proceed to due whatever I want.
I get fired.
I get assigned to another project.
Repeat.

Anonymous said...

Update employees are the lowest form of scum. If you believe in karma, then enjoy hell Update.

Anonymous said...

Update is fine in Boston. So is Special Counsel. Let's face it, temping is shit. The agencies are BUSINESSES...of course they don't care about you, that is, unless they like you because you aren't a freak and the firms ask for you. I don't see how you can blame the agency for the firm's conditions.

But if temping is what you're doing, be smart and use the agencies like they use you. Don't be a freak. Be an actual professional and do your job. Firms will like you because they will actually wonder why you are temping with the rest of the freaks. They will ask the agencies for you. That's how you get the good jobs.

Don't be a freakin FREAK!

Anonymous said...

Update are Stepford Cheerleaders. They should just go into pharmaceutical sales like they belong. Seriously, they ALL sound the same on the phone, the same fake chirpy voice. ugh! [and I'm a woman!]
Shearman SUCKS. For a huge international firm to pay below market is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

thanks for reminding me how much contract work sucks. finally found a way out - won't touch this crap anymore!