Sunday, March 02, 2008

Time to Update the Temporary Attorney Salary Chart

"Stradley, Ronan in Philadelphia paid $40 per hour flat. The agency for this was Oxford Legal Services.

Dechert in Philadelphia uses, mostly, Hudson Legal, but they are notorious for their firings. I would never work for them. They did pay me $35 per hour plus time and a half plus $2 for overtime which is why I stayed at such a place for 2 years!"

Please send in project, rate, hours, and benefit information. Information is power! Let's update the chart for Spring 2008.


Anonymous said...

Stradley is a great place to work, they are the exception to the rule - its a nice atmosphere and the agency is wonderful too

maynelaw said...

Information may be power, but power for whom? Is there a magic shield keeping this salary info away from people who would use it to push hourly wages down to the lowest common denominator?

If labor is scarce, then a chart like this can tell people where to go for the best wage. If labor is not so scarce, the chart can tell employers how low they can cut their rates.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get the point of this site. The bitching was cute for a while, but I see no real action taking place.

Anonymous said...

I think an update chart is a terrific idea. It is only the agencies who discourage the chart from being updated..........I suspect the above comment was sent by someone from an agency. They have the most to lose.

maynelaw said...

Not so, 11:21. I am currently a temp attorney, have a blog supporting temp attorneys in Houston, TX,, and I definitely support the spread of market info such as where reviews are taking place, how many people are involved, etc.

I really do think it works both ways, though. I know Agencies don't want us talking about rates, but my point was that talking publicly about rates in a "buyers market" (more attorneys than jobs) doesn't help us. I'm not AT ALL opposed to every temp attorney knowing what the rates are at all reviews and agencies.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the gripe about the temp. law profession is flawed, in my eyes.

You say $40/hr is some kind of outrage. !?! Let's do the math.

$40/hr for 2000 hours is $80k (sans benefits). $80k starting salary for a 9-5 gig w/ 2 weeks vac. If you're working 12 hour days (60 hours a week). Then you're grossing $120k. $80k - $120k is pretty darn solid for a entry level STARTING SALARY.

In fact, it's VERY comparable to the white shoes associates who are working 80-100 hours for $150k-$200k total? (that's about $30-40/hr)

I totally forgot overtime.
40 hour week = $80,000
60 hour week = $160,000
80 hour week = $200,000
100 hour week = $320,000

The work may suck, but it sure pays.
You're complaining about INCOME!?!Talk about rampant GREED.

This is great income, and law school debts can be retired post haste!

Anonymous said...

Yawn, 4:17 is just an agency robot popping up again to promote their sweatshops.

Agency guy, tell us:

1) why wages have not increased last 5 yrs
2) why you refuse to give decent benefits
3) why you treat us like garbage
4) why you continually lie to us
5) why you misrepresent the real opportunity to desperate law grads

Now if you offered us a 1+ year job, with benefits, cle payment, guaranteed work with some flexibilty we'd take it.

Stop lying and misrepresenting the truth - you cannot compare crummy temp jobs with no stability to permanent associate jobs. It's crinimal.

You are nothing but a sleazy flesh peddler. Can back on the phone and find some recent law grads to exploit, you simian.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a single person who has worked 100 hours a week for a year (i.e 320k a year)? That's insane, should not even be allowed to be posted here. Talk about misrepresenting the facts.
Fact number 1 - it IS good pay (not great), but the conditions generally stink.
Fact number 2 - projects come and go - and when they go, the agency generally does NOT go out of their way for you.
Fact number 3 - While the pay is good, the raises dont happen.
Fact number 4 - The benefits are not the best, they DO exist, but they arent great.
Fact number 5 - MOST agencies and recruiters are terrible, while there are some good ones, the bad ones outwiegh the good ones by a 3:1 ratio, at least

Anonymous said...

also, you forgot that while we are getting a decent wage today, we are doing so at the expense of blowing our prospects for tomorrow. I.E., who is going to hire an attorney who has been staring at documents for the past 5 years? you need to think beyond today's paycheck, and then you see doc review isn't a positive thing at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a recruiter. Not a lawyer either. Came across this blog after reading the Culinary student loans comments on the NYT archive.

I have no idea what your work is like. conditions. stress. repetition.

Trust me, law sounds like sh*t. I LOVE my job, and it's like PLAY, and can't see any other way to work/live.

All I **AM** saying is $80k to $200k for an entry/Jr level guy is solid cabbage.

So, SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE, greedy bastard.

Anonymous said...

But you are just wrong - your assumptions are completely off base and your conclusions are horseshit.

No entry level doc reviewer makes that much. Maybe after 2-3 yrs you get lucky and find a solid project and make have a good run. Most people are too tired of doing this work by the time they get on one of those job to fully take advantage. Most of these crummy projects last 2-3 months, tops. then you wait around for 3-6 weeks for another job. And these days, most pay just $33 per hour straight. Occasionally more but only for attorneys with 2+ years experience.

You would have to have the "perfect storm" of temp gigs to get this level of pay.

So go back to your fry cook message boards and leave your useless, incorrect pablum somewhere else.

But seriously we are all know you are just a sleazy it you Krowitz? Looks like you are ahead below....Stop spreading your misrepresentations and lies.

Anonymous said...

I was the one who posted at 4:57, and you are right, I did forget the stigma of doc reviewing too - it is a hard hurdle to clear, but it not the end of the world if you dont doc review for too long.

Anonymous said...

The solution to the stigma is to work a lot less than 100 hours a week, do the career path activities to develop or keep real skills and/or develop contacts, and put the real experience on your resume rather than the doc review. No one should be placing doc review on their resume if they are serious about finding a way out of doc review land. There is no requirement that you list irrelevant experience unless you are trying to explain employment gaps. The side practice or career activities or business may not be enough to pay your bills and its a lot of work, but it can demonstrate that you have recent transferable skills to perform in a real job. Just a friendly suggestion about how to think outside of where we are now.

Anonymous said...

Krowitz is here? Shouldn't that dirtbag be at the law schools giving his "career in coding" seminars to clueless 19 year olds?

Anonymous said...

To the commentor who said: who is going to hire an attorney who has been staring at documents for the past 5 years?

Well you should have thought about that when you were slacking off in law school getting C's and finishing out in the bottom 1/3 of your class.

Look at it this way - most of the contract attorneys who are bitching on this blog are doing so because they are unhappy that 3 years of law school has gotten them a job in a sweatshop doing do review. Frankly these same individuals continue to work on doc review projects because they have no other options within the legal sector that pay the same.

My advice - if thinks are so bad - then quit and get another job. Go work for a PI firm making $30K base plus commision on cases that settle. Go work in Legal Sales. Do something else.

Anonymous said...

What is "do" review? Doo Doo review?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the most recent NY Craigslist posts seeking NY admitted attorneys for $29 an hour? I'm new to this temp world, but this seems like wage deflation to me. Thoughts?

Attorneys (Document Review) -- Management Consulting Co.
Reply to:
Date: 2008-03-02, 7:22AM EST

Management Consulting Co. seeks several admitted attorneys for a long-term document review project. No experience is necessary. The position is commutable from NYC by mass transit.

The rate is $29 per hour, plus time and one half for overtime.

Interviews begin IMMEDIATELY so please email your resume to and refer in the subject line to the "NJ Review."

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

Caeser's son said...

Beware the ides of March! Many firms are sharpening the ax. It may be only a matter of time before thousands of temps are out of work. Unite now!

Anonymous said...

In recessions, law firms with diversified practices depend on litigation rather than transactional practices to tide them over.

It's also cheaper for them to have temp attorneys on projects than to hire permanent associates.

Much of what I just wrote you could have looked up for yourself before posting here.

Anonymous said...

Looks like supply/demand catching up with law.

In the programming field today, some people make $12/hr. Others make $250/hr. A wider disparity than ever.

Skills talk.

Anonymous said...

Skills have little to do with the structure of the legal industry. It's an industry primarily based on status. You could not, for example, find a Bill Gates in the legal industry who would be respected for what he has accomplished in the same way as you would in the technology sector.

In fact, the entrepreneurs- the small law firms that go out to make millions of dollars by building their own book of business-- aren't considered the gold standards.

Instead, the gold standards are law firms with institutional clients, pedigrees and ultimately arbitrary barriers to entry. That's the prime sign of a status versus skill based approach to an industry-- whether the barriers to reaching the top both in prestige combined with earnings is based on arbitrary barriers to entry.

These are the firms that pay first year associates 160k plus bonus although no skills other than the ability to test well. Testing well is a certainly a sign of potential, but not of skills or actuality. In other industries, they would laugh at us and actually do. I discussed this with an MBA friend who works at a fairly large company. She thinks our industry is topsy turvy. Could you imagine a Bill Gates in our business? Probably not because he would be too smart to waste time.

This doesn't mean there aren't any skilled attorneys at large law firms. There are. It's just very difficult to know who is and is not skilled due to the structure of the industry and what's emphasized as the best.

I remember some lawyers were picking on John Edwards, the former Presidential candidate, for being a self made millionaire in the legal industry. Only in our business could lawyers making 250k feel justified in making fun of a guy who has made 25 million through his own skill and sweat doing essentially the same work, but at a higher level than they were. They were managing doc reviews.

Anonymous said...

What few people are addressing goes to the actual work performed daily by most associates at the large law firms.....In fact, many of them do nothing but look at and review docs all day....they will be rewarded with several meetings with partners and possiboly the client reps - bones thrown at them to allow to feel like real practicing attorneys. But the reality is that no real independent judgment comes into the equation until years pass - and by then the law firms hope 85% of their entering class as gone on to other jobs. Associates at large law firm are cattle too, the only difference is that they get to use the name of the law firm on their resume, sit in nicer offices, have daily use to the firm cafeteria, and meet with the partner maybe once every week if not less......unless you are a trial attorney in court every day or in a small law office, the real skill base does not develop as widely as promised by law schools. Face it, the profession has seious problems.

Anonymous said...

The last post was a nice add on to my previous post about skills. Yes, that's true. People here bitch a lot, but may I suggest you look up every once and a while at your doc review to notice most of the 4th and 5th year associates are actually doing the same form of work. I am not saying we should feel bad for them. I don't. They are paid several times what we make to do essentially the same work, but it's not like they are doing interesting work, and many of them who post here and on other sites are just "acting out" because they know they aren't doing anything productive or remotely related to developing skills as an attorney. They look down on us because they don't have anything else from which to judge their worth. Certainly not work product. It's like the assistant who goes home to kick her cat. Her boss just kicked her the hour before she drove home. His boss just kicked him, and so on. That's the legal profession.

Anonymous said...

i am becoming a monk... it is the only answer..

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lawyer. The career I chose only pays about $45k to start. You make about $100k after 8 years. It pretty much levels off after that. No big payoff.

People turn their noses at this career b/c the most you make is about $100k. From the sounds of this board, maybe it not such a bad deal after all. Total cost of degree is about $40k.

Loads of vacation time. 8 hours a day. (I have time to work out, play my piano, and to cook dinner. Every day) No weekends, either. It's also fun and low stress.

Anonymous said...

That's the core point- if we didn't have this debt load, you wouldn't see anyone complaining because essentially we wouldn't be stuck in what feels for most like a mistake one made when one was young and stupid. It's like getting someine pregnant and they have the kid-- pretty much you are stuck paying for 18 years.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but only a total idiot and loser would be stuck with the loan for 18 years. PLEASE. If I was making $40/hr, I'd have a $100k loan paid off in under 3 years.

I had $250,000 BANKED before age 27. In those 6 years of work, I made an average of $60k. WAY less than your $40/hr freelancer gig.

Today's 20s' are just spoiled brats who can't SUCK IT UP and MAKE A BUDGET. Undisciplined panzy idiots, if you ask me.

Sanka said...

I cut & paste from my favorite comment:

Instead, the gold standards are law firms with institutional clients, pedigrees and ultimately arbitrary barriers to entry. That's the prime sign of a status versus skill based approach to an industry-- whether the barriers to reaching the top both in prestige combined with earnings is based on arbitrary barriers to entry.

Hear! Hear!

The fact is that if you are 1) in the top 5% of a Top Five law school AND a law review editor or 2) son of a senior partner, then yes, you hve a 50/50 can live the Movies/TV version of law. For everyone else who is not a brainiac or properly pedigreed you will have a lower net worth than the typical American welfare recipient. No one cares how hard you studied or what you sacrificed to get your degree. You will be poorer than the typical welfare mom or ex-con crackhead.

The anecdotal stories of high income achievers in non-legal fields are really tiresome, and truly not relevant to the quandry of scammed impoverished highly-leveraged law graduates with no hope of employment.

Anonymous said...

9:25pm is a huge schmuck. He copied posts from other comment strings onto this one. Don't you have anything better to do?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

9:25 needs to tell us how we can live on $60k/year while saving about $40k of it. Is he legally blind so he didn't have to pay taxes? Did he live with his parents who also paid his loans? Did he get a superhot stock tip? Did he make a mint playing the ponies? Seriously, please tell us. I would love to pay off $100k in student loan debt in 3 years, so please share your advice!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a single person who has worked 100 hours a week for a year (i.e 320k a year)?

probably it was the guy who died of a heart attack

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