Monday, February 04, 2008

Paul Weiss



Nearly a year and a half after a massive retaliatory firing in which dozens of attorneys were fired for speaking to the media about dangerous, cramped, and cockroach infested work environs, the Paul Weiss sweatshop (with the aid of Hudson Legal) is still open for business:

"I'm a temp document coder at Paul Weiss--not a JD, but a para. When
Hudson called me with a 'job,' and then claimed not to have any
further information, I should have realized that they were full of
b.s.

At any rate, the highly regimented schedules we are
required to follow, lest we risk our paycheck, and the deleterious
effects of working in an underground holding cell--completely removed
from reality behind privacy-frosted glass doors--is generally work
in which we are at the mercy of the agencies who place us, and the low-level
supervisors who have been charged with overseeing us.

Do you think there are enough interested and capable attorneys and
paralegals who would band together to unionize?"

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

"unionize!" nice idea, but it will never work. Companies see unions as a blight that must be terminated with all due diligence.
Companies would rather move the work to some substandard area of Africa (the latest word on the street is that India's getting up-pity and expensive) than have their shop unionized. I still remember my Grandfather hinting that the reason the unions started was the work became to dangerous and poor paying for them to ingore their plight anymore.

Friend said...

Is it still dangerous, infested and underground?

Anonymous said...

Law firm works sucks, pretty much across the board. The only people that aren't totally miserable in biglaw such as PW are the partners who rake in 7 figures annually.

The lower you get in the pyramid structure, the more worn, depressed and underpaid you are.

It can work out though, if you can endure the many indignities. Many of the para temps at PW were hired on as staff paras and many ultimately got jobs at the client. If you can tough it out, there may a light at the end of the tunnel there. As bad as PW is, there many places that are far, far worse. It's got central location and lots of work. If you want a real para job, start applying around to other large jobs for perm jobs. With the PW experience you may get a few nibbles after 6 months to a year.

Anonymous said...

Is it not possible that where you should be turning for a "solution" would be Hudson Legal. The question is tied to the Labor Standards. It isn't my area of the law, but one of the issues might be the scope of Hudson's duty to provide you all with a suitable working environment. If PW isn't going to do that, might it not be in Hudson's interest to lease a space that is suitable. Of course, it means the funds come from the operating cash flow of Hudson, but it certainly might make good business sense for Hudson to make an investment and find such a space (other agencies in NYC and DCV do just that on a permanent bases)........otherwise, the continuing complaints (that ended up in the NYC press) only will cause a cut into Hudson's bottom line. PW of course is going to come up with 100 reasons why they can't offer you better space, but that is merely a business maneuver to push Hudson into offering a better option for you. From the evidence presented in your note, Hudson isn't yet interested in making your working life a suitable working environment - unless you get the Department of Labor or other to push them into "becoming interested". In the old days, contract attorneys and contract paras would be working alongside the partners and associates on the same law firm floor internally while working on the legal matter, and/or they would be working in the law firm's conference rooms on that floor within ear shot of the partners' and associates law firm offices. it appears today's reality developed due to thefts and leakings of confidential information, but also the associates and partners may have become both offended and frightened at the prospect that a) they were rubbing elbows with (in the hallways) and eating meals in the same cafeterias with "we low lifes", and/or b)reminded that one day it could be any one of them on the same contract attorney "bread line" if they didn't continue to paid those billables. Whichever it is, and wherever lies the truth, it is like our turning our eyes when we see the panhandler on the subway........... You need to take on Hudson directly per work environment, and just just call in the regulators, state and fed. Maybe that will peak Hudson's interest in finding you more suitable working digs. Worth a try.

Frank the Tank said...

COCK, BALLS!

Jimmy Hoffa said...

Just think, if we unionize we can get those cool satin jackets that the construction and electrical workers wear with "IBEW Local 72" on the back.

We could be the International Brotherhood of Litigation Oddball Workers or IBLOW.

Anonymous said...

All this bitching about the roaches, and you weasels will be in TEARS when the work goes overseas.

Anonymous said...

unions are fine, it would be great to have one, but they will only work if you are willing to use force, physical force to back it up, and also be willing to take a beat down.

Anonymous said...

Hudson's S.S. "Temptanic" doesn't offer adequate accommodation for steerage. When the ship goes down, get ready to be locked in your frosted windowed basements and prepare for an all out battle for survival with the rats and cockroaches.

JDWired said...

It's much harder (and time consuming) to start a union than it is to start a bar committee. All you need are signatures for a committee. Unionizing requires a tremendous commitment.

Anonymous said...

Bar Committees are for pussies. Unions and crowbars are the way to go!

Jugdesh Mohammed Patel said...

Yes Unionize! As fast as possible!

Anonymous said...

See, this is what happens when you agree to do work with "no further information." Instead of bitching about the "Newark Project" you all should have signed on for it instead. I've been on it for three weeks now and am making money hand over fist, and top be honest the people at McCarter actually want to hear your input (!!!!!!). The way to eliminate shit jobs like Paul Weiss is simply to not accept them. Shit, people still take work at Barasso even though the entire temping world knows their deal. You can't bitch about something you've been warned about.

Anonymous said...

ANYONE know anything about Lex-Pollution staffing up a project with a whole lot of bodies this week?

Anonymous said...

Don't wannna be, a lex-pollution monkey!

JDWired said...

It's much more difficult to start from having no organization whatsoever, to having a full scale union, than it is to start smaller, with a committee or bar section, for example, which would be much better equipped to take it in the direction of unionization, if the members of the section or committee even want that. Outside of blogs and on-line forums, we have no way of even knowing, at this point, how many contract attorneys would even want to be in a union.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't we contact one or more of the unions (e.g. Teamsters) directly and ask them how to get involved? Don't they then have a vote to see if a given company's employees want to unionize? We could do it agency by agency. First Lex-pollution, then Hudson, De Nove, Update, etc.

If not what is the first step?

Anonymous said...

The first step is to overcome the fear of being blacklisted and to speak very openly and constructively about our concerns. We're not going to get anywhere by being afraid of these people.

Anonymous said...

Organizing a union is absolutely no solution. What makes you think that unions, and labor attorneys for the formed union, will anything but line their pockets. You are really exchanging one entity for another. I grew up with the issues of unions, trust me, ever see the AFO-CIO's grand Washington, DC headquarters - the leading teamsters only bargain for the administrators, not the rank and file. Speak to many people who are "represented" by unions in todays world - they will tell you it is a joke. It is oftentimes like being a member of class action successful outcome - you get notice for collecting $25 while the attorneys and their law firms ran off with the kitty. The last thing you want to do is unionize - it is a question of human nature. You'll never get a true bargain for exchange in giving up your individual right to pursue a solution. If you think you will benefit yourself and improve your position, you were raised in DisneyLand or not in the United States (having some belief that is the answer, with no real practical experience with unions). Grow up or educate yourself about how unions actually work in the United States. I am beginning to wonder if possibly you weren't raised int he U.S. or in states that are union heavy.

Anonymous said...

"I grew up with the issues of unions"

What the hell does this mean? Stop cutting and pasting meaningless gobblydygook from Free Republic, and provide us hard data on the wages, benefits, and working conditions of union vs. non-union workers. That's all anybody needs to know.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how we're going to get anyplace if everytime someone makes a comment, that is their own opinion, that someone then has to call them an asshole or give some other angry response. No one can say anything on here without someone getting pissed off. Granted, 3:33 didn't have to say that someone grew up in Disneyland, but how are we supposed to get anyplace if we can't even have a contructive, collaborative discussion about this stuff. It's a waste of time to come on here and just rant and not do anything. Totally counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

These stupid temps are counterproductive--- all they are good for is for roach extermination. They should join the pest control union. apparently their skills are more in demand there.

Anonymous said...

If unions are such a "bad deal" for those who unionize, and it so "obvious" to workers that they are such a "bad deal," then why does Corporate America spend countless amounts of money to bust unions?

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

I agree. You really have to ask hard questions before you agree to take on an assignment. Most recruiters are cool in this respect. Some recruiters (Eileen Lamboy comes to mind) aren't so great. They get snippy, even downright confrontational, when you ask even the most basic of questions re your future work environment.

Anonymous said...

a temporary attorney union is an excellent idea. however, the larger problem of an over-inflated legal profession is still not solved. the law schools that peddle JD's need to be brought into the analysis. until the law school money making machines face the reality that exists for their graduates, there will only be a further glutted legal market.

temps exist a side gig supposively. until one is faced with the continuing need to pay bills does one realize that the circle continues. temp work is hard. it can beat an individual down.

Anonymous said...

The 3-4 e-mails following my e-mail regarding why a temp attorney union is a bad idea, or at least doesn't address the core problems in the field of law, are balanced and thoughtful, However, if the person stating they grew up with unions really did so, they would never have asked the question re; corporate America busting unions. If you actually did grow up with unions in the United States, and had practical hands on experience, you would know that most major unions in fact are working with corporate management these days because of the reality of todays' business environment. They are moving closer to the German model of actually involving union reps in the corporate decision making. I have a feeling you have grown up with unions, but possibly not in the United States or possibly you are not experienced with business and economics. By the way, I have no idea what is the Free Republic. I happen to be rather liberal, but I find annoying that too many attorneys do not really understand business and economics. That then translates into why so many clients complain that they attorneys they hire do not really understand the reality of their problems or why they ended up in their office - too eager to find a way to end up in court, and start the billables. It is more useful to see things realistically and in practical terms, in order to reach a consensus, and find a solution that brings us results. Most of the e-mails on this topic do not seem constructively oriented to finding a workable solution. I support anything is effective and workable, but I haven't seen such a suggestion yet. My comments are meant to move the ball forward to reality and a workable solution that reflects our competency as attorneys. If we can't even solve it for ourselves, how can we ever expect to solve it for a client. I await sanity.

Anonymous said...

hudson sucks the dilsnik. a. cohen is the devil.

Anonymous said...

allan cohen pees sitting down

Anonymous said...

Stop awaiting sanity and seek it, by providing some constructive ideas of your own, which you have yet to do.

Anonymous said...

I've already proposed what the PW contract people should do ...get the regulatory people on Hudson's back about their working conditions, which is the only pressure they can bring to the situation e.g. Hudson supplying the work site, rather then settling for PW's unhealthy working situation. Hudson is their employer, from a technical standpoint. That of course requires the PW attorneys to go along with it, but if the PW attorneys are reminded that they too can get hooked.....must I go further.....taking something like this head on, is far better than unionizing...........the question is does this work site meet the "standard" enough to force Hudson and PW to make changes.....
we're lawyers, we should know how to do this....

Anonymous said...

How about this ...

WALK OUT!

The Viacom folks were brave enough to do it and they don't even have any legal training!

If Update blacklists you, big freakin' deal--go to another agency. Even if they do blacklist you, by walking out you will have redefined the outer limits and changed the industry standard, to the extent that no one will put up with the way it is today.

Stop sitting around and complaining and DO SOMETHING. You're getting on my nerves.

Anonymous said...

The DeNovo Ho is watching all of you temp bitches!

Anonymous said...

Update Legal's Eileen Vega-Lamboy is a modest woman who has much to be modest about.

Anonymous said...

Hey assH*oles!

How's that unionizing/strike coming along? do you have any idea how pathetic you sound to people who have real jobs? this blog is great amusement. its interesting to see how juvenile people get when their professional lives have no hope.

Anonymous said...

Football!

yawn

Anonymous said...

Hi, Eileen!

Anonymous said...

"As bad as PW is, there many places that are far, far worse."

- Almost the exact same quote was recoreded in the newspaper by a Triangle Shirt worker one month before the fire.

________________________________

I actually worked for a union shop at the Walt Disney World Company in ORlando. I had better wages than people in neighboring companies. I had free basic healthcare. I had free basic dental care. I had paid holidays and vacation time. I didn't know how good I had it. All for $12.00 a month union dues.

I left to goto LAwschool; thinking I would be better off. At the rate I am going, I will probably need to make partner before I get to the same level of employment care. SO, don't rag on a union shop until you worked for one!

Anonymous said...

Try walking around in a thick Goofy outfit in Orlando in July. Unions protect against these sort of things.

Anonymous said...

Try walking around in a thick Goofy outfit in Orlando in July. Unions protect against these sort of things.
___________________________________

No, they just protect against walking around in a thick Goofy outfit in Orlando in July without health insurance. The bottom line is that the people selling your labor are organized. Either you get organized too, or they will continue to exploit you--the end.

Anonymous said...

It appears this blog on unionizing is getting no where. Take a look at the new entry today that outlines the rates charged by a law firm sitting on the ENRON matter. Here is the hard cord, practical evidence, it is a starting point....but to whose attention does one bring this fact? No one has jurisdiction on issue of rates and use of contract attorneys. Law firms are organized as private corporate entities (LPs, LLC,s LLPPs etc)- it is only the marketplace and question of that group noted for getting the best results for the client. No union can even begin addressing the core issues about which we truly care..........it isn't going to get at the core issues. I don't know if anyone has the answer yet, except for the possibility of the ABA (tho that is a joke) who gave the go ahead for the law firms to buy into this racket. That leaves us back at square one....take each issue on one by one. Maybe it does take just walking out, but how many contract attorneys with kids and a stay-at-home partner (1 income) can afford to put their families at risk. Should this be blown up with the use of NYLJ (I doubt they would print it). Maybe that only leaves the NYT's, WSJ, or FT........until I see the real issue answered, I am signing off, but the blog from today, has begun to attack it logically - at least for me.

Anonymous said...

1;46, for the millionth time, this blog isn't the place people come to organize and do positive things. it's where the pisssed off come to complain without action and to make fun of recruiters and project managers.

If you aren't interested in either of those 2 things, this isn't the place for you.

Anonymous said...

We all are far behind the curve, it seems. Please go to Portfolio.com's "Corporate American Revolts Against its Lawyers".......

Anonymous said...

Eileen Lamboy. What a horny deviless she is.....

Anonymous said...

I temped at Paul Weiss 2003 and the quality of people was excellent. I temped two days ago [because I stupidly quit my $65K job because I wanted to "better" my life] and ended up back at the Paul Weiss HELLHOLE. The people there now were total robot GEEKs and losers...SCARY

Anonymous said...

"I highly doubt your working in a sweatshop like environment. The economy is so bad and work is very hard to find. Paul Weiss is known for being one of the best law firms, so if u work there, I would say you are lucky.

I read a very disturbing comment. "The only people that aren't totally miserable in big law such as PW are the partners who rank in 7 figures annually." I have to say, the partners that are partners worked their way to make 7 figures annually. My husband is a partner at PW, and I don't think many can endure the sacrifices he has taken to become who he is. It's not easy to be successful.

Suck it up. You work for one of the best international law firms in the world. Many would love to have their foot in the door.

If you still disagree, maybe you should apply elsewhere. At least you can say you worked for PW on your resume, and I promise you, that is pretty impressive.

Summer said...

Attorneys´ life is hard. I believe it is extremely unfair that they fire them just for expressing what they think, showing everybody the way they work asking for an environment a little bit nicer. But you know, shit happens, and we have to accept it whether we like it or not. Unionizing in a workforce does seem like a good idea, at least in Argentina that is the only way of getting what you deserve and receiving the money that you are supposed to receive. I remember last year I was in my buenos aires apartment listening to the news, and this labor force had managed to get a 20% increase on their wages.
I was shocked...
So you go for it!
Summer