Wednesday, September 03, 2008

De Novo Legal's "Jolly John"



"This is a story about working for De Novo Legal at its midtown Manhattan and about its Site Manager, John Thacher ("Jolly John").

In his introductory remarks to us in connection with my current project, Jolly John told us a lot of things I just do not believe to be true.

One was that he likes to see De Novo mentioned in this Blog.

Oh, really?

I wonder whether he will still feel that way when he reads (1) what I have to say about De Novo in general, and (2) about how he manages his business in particular.

I am one of 60 contract attorneys who are -- theoretically -- "working for" De Novo Legal at its midtown Manhattan location.

As I will explain in a moment, we did not work yesterday (Tuesday, September 2, 2008), and we are not working today (Wednesday, September 3, 2008).

The law firm is Weil Gotshal & Manges.

The client is a manufacturer of high-end data storage equipment for computer systems.

Each of us was required to make a commitment to work "14 straight days" (that is, 14 consecutive days).

This included all three days of the Labor Day weekend (how aptly named!).

We were promised $35 per hour and time-and-a-half for overtime (wait until you see how tis is computed!).

We were told that we would be expected to make "10-12" billable hours per day and "60" billable hours per week.

We were told that the "document coding room" would be open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day.

When we were recruited were told that the project would begin "on Friday, August 22, 2008, or on Monday, August 25, 2008."

The project began on Friday, August 22, 2008, and that was -- obviously -- no accident.

"Overtime" is defined as all hours during the weekly pay period after 40 hours (in other words, from Hour 41 to the last hour billed during the weekly pay period).

Like most, if not all, of these agencies, De Novo's weekly pay period runs from Monday through the following Sunday.

By requiring all "contract attorneys" (read that as "serfs") to begin working on a Friday (and to work on Saturday and Sunday), and by maintaining that the weekly pay period begins on the following Monday, De Novo availed itself of three full days of work from each of the 60 contract attorneys that did not figure into the computation of their entitlement to time-and-a-half for overtime.

I will not reveal the number of hours I worked because that would make it possible for De Novo to identify me. Let it suffice for this purpose for me to say:

1. I am not stupid, I just lack bargaining power (more on this below).

2. I worked a full day on Friday, August 22, 2008; a full day on Saturday, August 23, 2008; and a full day on Sunday, August 24, 2008. None of those hours "counted" toward reaching Hour 41 during my first seven days on this project.

3. Yeah, yeah. As I said above, I understand that De Novo's weekly pay period begins on Monday. That has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with computing the first 40 hours and computing everything that follows. This is nothing other than bait-and-switch. I have the e-mail stating the terms of the employment to demonstrate that this amounts to a breach of contract, pure and simple. But it gets worse.

Evidently, De Novo and its sister agencies think every aspect of the employment relationship is a one-way street: All the advantages flow from the employee to the employer (and the employer's principals, the law firm and the "client" the law firm represents); all the disadvantages flow toward the employee (that is, you and me).

For example, when I worked for Sullivan & Cromwell LLP ("S&C") (through a different agency), I was required to sign a document that (1) required me to commit myself to continue the project to its completion, and (2) characterized the employment as "at will" so that the employment could be terminated by the employer (the agency at the behest of S&C) at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. Are we all insane? The answer is, "Yes, we are because we tolerate these abuses (more below).

On Wednesday, August 27, 2008, the "system" was running very slowly. At 5:15 p.m., Jolly John told us that "we" would be closing for the day at 5:30 p.m. That meant a loss of 4.5 hours for each of 60 contract attorneys. Here is the math: $35.00 x 4.5 hours = $157.50 per contract attorney x 60 contract attorneys = $9,450 in aggregate lost wages.

Actually, I understated the loss to the contract attorneys. Since each one has made a commitment to work at least 60 billable hours per week, each one is expected to work at least 20 billable hours at the overtime rate of $52.50 per hour. Every lost hour "come off the top, so here is the real math: $52.50 x 4.5 hours = 236.25 per contract attorney x 60 contract attorneys = $14,175 in aggregate lost wages.

Wait, it gets worse.

Someone must have suggested to Jolly John that it would be reasonable to pay us time-and-a-half for all hours worked on Labor Day, a national holiday (it was not I who did that).

He then announced to all contract attorneys that if anyone is not satisfied being paid straight time to work on Labor Day, he or she should just take the day off. So much for the client's supposedly urgent need to have its work completed. I use the word "supposedly" here because why else would they have asked 60 contract attorneys to make a commitment to work 14 straight days, including Labor Day?

On Labor Day at 5:00 p.m., although many of us had just signed out new batches of documents, Jolly John revealed to us that "we" were running low on documents. He regaled us with a tale of his efforts to get some (unnamed) third party in some (undisclosed) location to load more documents. he went on to tell us how he said to someone, in substance, "How would you like it if I sent you home for two days without work and without pay?" What good does that do me? My creditors do not care why I do not have enough money to pay them.

Jolly John told us we could continue to work past 6:00 p.m. and go until 8:00 p.m., if so inclined.

Tuesday was an idle day. After all, all 60 of us made "commitments" to be available to work for De Novo and its principal, WGM, and WGM's client. Nor could any of us scrounge up work for a single day (let alone work on the functional equivalent of zero advance notice). Let's do the math again:

$35.00 per hour x 10 hours (minimum commitment of a contract attorney on this project) = $350.00 per hour x 60 contract attorneys = $21,000."

103 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's why I try to avoid projects with overtime, esp short-term projects that promise a lot of hours. They always play games with the O.T., esp. Hudson.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I'm not there, unlike you have no first-hand knowledge.

However, I've worked on a contract review where eventually we were encouraged to deal directly with the document review software tech support (rather than through the project manager or associate, to save time etc.). There were a lot of genuine slowdowns, problems getting documents loaded by third-parties around holiday weekends especially (despite the client's and law firm's repeated requests for speed). Sometimes the lawyers doing review had to go home and take a couple of days of unpaid. This stuff genuinely does happen and seems to be "frustration" of the contract.

Anonymous said...

The document review software companies are all part of a criminal racket. THEY ALL SUCK. Constant and erratic breakdowns, difficulty in loading documents, slow servers, illegible images, etc., etc.

JosephineCoder said...

As of this moment (4:15 p.m. EDT), only part of my submission has been posted. I hope the rest will be posted soon.

JosephineCoder

Anonymous said...

So was there just no work on Tuesday or they didn't pay you for Tuesday? Because as long as you're getting paid to sit there, who cares if there are no documents?

Anonymous said...

It seems to be the company that is hosting the data's fault. How can you blame Jolly John or De Novo for something they have no control over? The client tells the staffing agency what day they want to start and how many hours they want them to work and De Novo calls all of you to fill the posistions. Now if there are delays in data and may require some work stoppages like every welled schooled doc reviewer has experienced, it's unfortunate. If this is something that doesnt sit well with you, then the only thing I can suggest is to maybe get a Job that doesn't require you to sit on you're ass all day, expect free food and taxi's home while you are being paid!

Anonymous said...

De Novo is a crap hole.

Anonymous said...

When you were told the project would start on Friday why did you still accept it? If the OT conspiracy is as widespread as you suggest, you should have realized it was all a big scam from the start. Maybe you're not as smart as you think you are.

Anonymous said...

Hey genius, You probably shouldn't have mentioned that you recently worked at Sullivan and Cromwell through another agency if you didn't want De Novo to figure out who you are. Don't know if you realize this, but they have your resume. Whoopsie!!

Anonymous said...

Everyone and their grandmother has passed through Sullivan. Who hasn't been through that place and who hasn't experienced the delicious cafeteria food.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone has been there recently. Trust me, the agency will be able to figure it out. Hmm.. general bad attitude and just finished at Sullivan in July. Bingo. Prepare to be blacklisted from yet another firm. Good job! Now you can sit at home and think about something else to bitch about in your miserable life.

Life coach said...

Quit, fucker. Damn, reading your complaining is as annoying as you obviously were at the company that you were preparing to absolutely milk of $.

Anonymous said...

Is the graphic a suggestion that you would like fruit pie as opposed to pizza pie on Fridays?

JosephineCoder said...

To the author of Comment Number 6:

As for "sitting on [my] ass all day," on which part of your anatomy do you sit when you work at a computer for 10 to 13.5 hours?

As for "expect[ing] free food," I do not expect free food, and I did not say anything about free food. I acknowledged that the agency incurs expense to offer lunch as an amenity on Fridays.

As for "taxi's" (1) I did not complain about the absence of car services (I use the subway to get to and from the office every day), and (2) unlike you, I understand the correct use of an apostrophe.

As for your substantive question, I blame the agency for not paying all of us for having agreed to make our time exclusively available to it and having failed to "employ" us and pay us for the agreed time period.

One of us is not too smart.

JosephineCoder

JosephineCoder said...

To the author of Comment 8:

I accepted the position because I have no bargaining power.

I did not say that I am very "smart."

I do say that (1) I described reality; and (2) I suggested that there may be some things that "contract attorneys" can do if they are smart and they work together toward a solution. I will write on those topics soon, with hope that my effort will help many individuals IN ADDITION TO myself.

I guess the rest of us should not count on you to be helpful to yourself or to others in the same boat.

JosephineCoder

JosephineCoder said...

To the author of Comment 9:

I did not claim to be a "genius."

I most certainly did not say that I worked at Sullivan "recently" (it was a long time ago, and it is not even on my resume as a separate entry).

See Comment 10: "Everyone and their grandmother has passed through Sullivan."

It was not necessary for you to express yourself in a sarcastic tone. That is entirely about you, and not at all about the substance what I had to say.

Anonymous said...

Your bargaining power is to say no to the project. I am not being sarcastic here. Why would you accept a project like this? If you go in with the attitude that you can never say no, you will always get screwed. Once you realize that you can walk alway from the table, then you will be liberated. This sounds corny. But, it's the reality. You aren't going to change these agencies. But, don't let them control you either.

Anonymous said...

Let's stike De Novo and John!

Who's with me?

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!

Anonymous said...

I meant STRIKE. Sorry for the typo.

Now let's get going!!

JosephineCoder said...

To the author of Comments 6 and 17: Thank you for elaborating on your point of view. The second version makes sense to me, and I hope you will, in due course, be persuaded that what I have in mind makes a great deal of good sense.

Hey, as lawyers, I believe we can -- and should -- do better, and that we should put our best resources -- our minds -- to the task.

JosephineCoder

Anonymous said...

Isn't John Thacher that guy who was disbarred by Connecticut?

JosephineCoder said...

In response to Comment Number 21:

There are at least two documents pertaining to reprimand of a JOHN BOYD THACHER, but that may not be the same person.

The URLs are:

http://www.jud.ct.gov/SGC/decisions/010155.htm

and

http://www.jud.ct.gov/SGC/decisions/010486.htm

Further research is necessary, and in the absence of the same, no conclusion may properly be drawn.

JosephineCoder

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there's really nothing you can do about your bargaining power, especially since the ABA is allowing doc review jobs to get shipped to India. Doc review attorneys will never have any power.

Anonymous said...

Of course we have power! Making fun of recruiters while never assigning blame to the firms (cuz you never know, we don't want to ruin our chances of being "discovered" on a project at Biglaw) means we have POWER.

Typing things about agencies on an anoymous job board for THREE YEARS STRAIGHT MEANS P-O-W-E-R!!!

POWER
POWER
POWER

Anonymous said...

roach boy = john thacher?

Anonymous said...

What makes John so jolly? Maybe you should try it since you are such a miserable person who gets off by making up silly names for people like a 5th grader. Very mature...oh yeah,let me guess your response
1) I did not claim to be mature

Anonymous said...

As someone who worked as a contract attorney for 8 years in LA and worked with seemingly all of the agencies at one time or another I have to agree they do not care about their employees - only their clients. I'm not even going to start with all of my horror stories, but I am somewhat surprised in the difference in OT laws between CA and other states. For example, in CA anything over 8 hours and under 12 hours is time-and-a-half. Anything over 12 is double time. On the 7th consecutive day, everything would be time-and-a-half up to 8 hours and then double over that - unlimited. Speaking as someone who used to work 80-hour weeks - this really adds up. Also, if you show up for work and they say there is no work - in CA, the agency has to pay you for 4 hours work - BY LAW. No matter what the agency or client tries to pull. Regarding India and outsourcing - don't worry about it. It's not selling that quickly or easily. I'd give it another 5 years before it really takes off and I still see great opposition from firms in giving way their "gold mines," which is what document review shops are. They also don't want to give up control and then have to go before the courts and certify the review as having been done reasonably and in good faith. Most importantly, don't let the agencies bully you and don't worry about being blacklisted. Been there and it sucks - but once you've made a name for yourself you'll get work other ways. Get your resume out there to lit support managers or attorneys who run review shops within a firm and try to get on as a direct contractor. The larger firms will tell you they need the agency's malpractice "umbrella" (which is BS), but the smaller firms are more than happy to work with attorneys directly. The trend in LA, SF and San Diego right now is to use Direct Contractors and Staff Attys - that's been the most apparent way that I have seen firms attempt to reduce document review costs - hire more staff attys, cut-back on OT and get around agencies whenever possible. Most importantly, hang in there and keep the faith. This is a tough business, but use it get you where you want to go. For some it's a means to an end and for others it's a career. Either way you're a LAWYER - put that knowledge and skill to good use. It sounds like you've just let the business get you down and you need to re-build your confidence. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

138- great post.

JosephineCoder said...

To the author of Comment 27:

Thank you for taking time to share your insights with the rest of us. It sounds as though you would be a fine person with whom to collaborate on making things better here in NY.

JosephineCoder

Anonymous said...

john started out here in Connecticut. moved up the ladder quick.

Anonymous said...

If you want to make things better in NY, start with your attitude. Not everyone is out to get you. Not everything is a conspiracy. Stop being so paranoid.

Anonymous said...

You guys have been talking about making things "better" for a long time now and all you can muster up is a blog where you create childish names for agencies and their staff. Looks like you're well on your way. Good job to all!

Anonymous said...

So, to be clear, the huge complaints you rant about are that they pay OT after 40 hours like most jobs, and they had a doc loading problem and had to have you guys take a day off. Loading issues that lead to missing work always suck, but it happens. It's not some agency attempt to steal money out of your pocket. And complaining about not getting OT for a week you work under 40 hours, and calling it some sort of conspiracy....wow, hard to respond to that.

Anonymous said...

The complaint is based upon the fact that De Novo is lying. In order to cut out overtime hours that were initially promised, De Novo and the firm standing behind them shut down the project when and however they feels like it, based upon false pretenses. This is probably one of the most common sleazy stunts that the agencies and firms try to pull. If you want people to commit to a project that requires 60 hours a week, don't be surprised if people get pissed when the hours are suddenly cut without notice.

Anonymous said...

"Like most, if not all, of these agencies, De Novo's weekly pay period runs from Monday through the following Sunday."

Wow! Just like every other employer in the US (these agencies are such scam artists.) This is called life, deal with it.

Anonymous said...

"The complaint is based upon the fact that De Novo is lying. In order to cut out overtime hours that were initially promised, De Novo and the firm standing behind them shut down the project when and however they feels like it, based upon false pretenses. This is probably one of the most common sleazy stunts that the agencies and firms try to pull. If you want people to commit to a project that requires 60 hours a week, don't be surprised if people get pissed when the hours are suddenly cut without notice."

How do you know it was a "sleazy stunt"? If you had one iota of knowledge about the industry you work in, you would realize just like everything else in life, things don't always go according to plan. Again, this is life, learn to deal with it and stop being so paranoid. Believe it or not, the people working at the agencies have lives too, they don't sit around all day thinking about ways to screw you over.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I'm not there, unlike you have no first-hand knowledge.

However, I've worked on a contract review where eventually we were encouraged to deal directly with the document review software tech support (rather than through the project manager or associate, to save time etc.). There were a lot of genuine slowdowns, problems getting documents loaded by third-parties around holiday weekends especially (despite the client's and law firm's repeated requests for speed). Sometimes the lawyers doing review had to go home and take a couple of days of unpaid. This stuff genuinely does happen and seems to be "frustration" of the contract.

3:40 PM


Thanks for actually having a clue. Maybe everyone should listen to what this person is saying since he actually had to deal with the vendors who load the data. Unless you've had a similar experience you are speaking out your ass. You have no clue, but are quick to think the evil agencies are out to get you. It's all a big conspiracy, just like landing on the moon. In the wee hours of the morning when you are all asleep, De Novo, Hudson, and Update are having secret meetings about how to screw over temps.

Anonymous said...

They always try to blame the software company to justify cutting time. Some review companies are processing and hosting the data themselves, which seems to lead to a more efficient review workflow.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Joan King!

vakil said...

If you really think there is a legitimate breach of contract claim against these temp. agencies contact us.

www.nylegaleagels.com

vakil said...

that was www.nylegaleagles.com :)

Anonymous said...

Heh people.......do you really think that the back-up techie employees for the software company will be working over Labor Day. Think again. If you work over Labor Day weekend it is a definite AOR situation - even for Jolly John (and he knew that in advance). No software company will have a techie available 24/7 for even S&C - oh, they may get around to returning a call at @5PM from their power boat on the Lake, when they feel like it - but heh, it was forseeable software problems would occur and that no one would be around to resolve; no key person at S&C even gave a darn about work over the weekend; this is De Novo making sure their cash flow continued.....you get scammed, and it appears to me Jolly John and DeNovo have something going for filling each others cash flow and pockets - it isn't S&C since you guys are too far down the food chain - it is JOhn and DeNovo......just churning fees for De Novo to make payroll.

Anonymous said...

how is your eyesight doing these days JosephineCoder?

Anonymous said...

Law totally sucks ass. Professionalism and quality work count for shit. It's all about churning paper and collecting hours. The bloodsuckers at De Novo and Update are right at home in this bottom feeding scam industry.

Anonymous said...

Well if you would have become a real attorney instead of choosing to read emails all day and pizza on Friday, you might have been able to have a powerboat of your own. Your parents must really be dissapointed with you.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Jolly John ended up being just an unfortunate bastard in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone should compensate the temps though. They did set aside time for the project.

Anonymous said...

"you get scammed, and it appears to me Jolly John and DeNovo have something going for filling each others cash flow and pockets"


Yes, and we didn't land on the moon, it is a big conspiracy.

"even for Jolly John (and he knew that in advance). "

What proof do you have that he knew in advance? What's that?..none? Very suprising. You must have been a very effective brief writer in law school. Shallow arguments with nothing to back them up.

Anonymous said...

That's why I never agree to take on short-term projects that offer time and a half. If the project is short-term, the agency should offer a higher flat rate. I have dealt with Hudson too many times to realize that they like to start projects on a Tuesday and end them on the following Thursday or Friday.

Anonymous said...

No matter what you all may think, it's the Client/Law Firm who ultimately sets the pay rate. The agency tries to get the highest rate possible. The more the agency pays the temps the more the agency makes.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the client doesn't pay a higher rate for overtime. It is in the firm and agency's interest to keep all the hours billed at the non-overtime rate, so that they get to keep the cut. If a project is of a shorter duration and time is not of the essence, it is in the firm and agencies interest to spread the hours into the following week so they avoid paying overtime.

Anonymous said...

You are "sure" the client doesn't pay time and a half? How is it that you are SO sure? You work for an agency billing department?

You are an IDIOT if you think the agencies pay time and a half after only billing a Weil Gothshal for straight time.

Go back to clicking, fcuker.

Anonymous said...

John Thacher is dumb and socially awkward. Oh he sure does think he's bright though. He also fashions himself to be a know-it-all. As proof of his awkwardness - he announced to doc reviewers that women should not wear thongs to work and that he and his wife like to walk around their house naked. Sorry John, but no one needs this visual. You are doughy to put it mildly. I find him vile. VILE!!

Anonymous said...

The worst part about working in the De Novo Sweatshops is...well everything except the pay.

Listening to that bucktoothed chimpmunk drone on is awful.

Anonymous said...

"dumb and socially awkward"

Sounds like your typical sycophant temp clicker, no?

Anonymous said...

I am on this project.

I have to say that this posting is awful. John is probably the best project manager I have ever had on a project - and I have had many. He has been as honest, open and adaptable.

This post also fails to mention that John has also made sure that the majority of the 60 people on the project walked straight onto another, higher paying gig at $45 an hour.

The agencies are a business, not a charity. All the recruiters and De Novo employees have always worked hard to keep me employed. Some projects are good, others not so good. As any experienced contract attorney knows, that is all part working on contract and the trade off for our low stress, easy job.

All the details of the job were fully disclosed. The job was supposed to be 10 days and we all got 12, AND another higher paying gig the day it ends.

I am sorry that the person who wrote this post has such a terrible attitude, but the rest of us on the project are quite happy with John and De Novo.

By writing these types of comments about John and De Novo, I really feel like you are doing the rest of us who are quite happy on the project a disservice. After seeing such a slanderous piece about himself, the John that the rest of us like, may not be as jolly and cool tomorrow. Thanks a lot...asshole!

Anonymous said...

^^ Hi John. Didn't like the besmirch to your reputation now, didja?

Anonymous said...

I work on this project too and it is fine. A bunch of us were talking yesterday and we're pretty sure who josephine is. He is missing a big patch of hair on his head and is a total loser.

Anonymous said...

Why would de novo have to entice people by offering OT pay? They could have offered it with No OT pay and still had plenty of takers. Stop thinking everyone is out to get you. Go to counseling or something

Anonymous said...

Why would de novo have to entice people by offering OT pay? They could have offered it with No OT pay and still had plenty of takers. Stop thinking everyone is out to get you. Go to counseling or something

Anonymous said...

Be careful, Josephine. Sandrene will do a body splash on you to flatten you, then eat you like a Jamaican beef patty.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea, let's strike and then ask the agencies why they didn't pay us for the day. After all, they should pay us even though we are not working. We should probably link their refusal to pay us for the day into some sort of conspiracy theory. Oh yeah, and don't forget to create a silly nickname for whoever is running the project (that will definitely bring respect our way) Sound like a plan?

Anonymous said...

fuk u fuk fuk fuk assgholrs
fuk fuk rot u fuk
fujthids fsghhhhhgjfhhb shit

Anonymous said...

w_l_i_ _ ?

Anonymous said...

I hope John DOES read this. While nobody is perfect, mot you or I, John and DeNovo struck me as the most fair, accomodating and human folks in the NY market. If I had to (I got out), I would work for/with them at any time. By the way, John is also paid hourly I believe, so.... if you got "screwed", so did he.

Oh, I'm a tall fat man - so John has buckteeth - who cares. The folks I worked with were not all (any) models, far from it - why pick on the guy.

Anonymous said...

wow, this post is so totally messed up. There are a number of rotten agencies out there, and there are a number of rotten people who work for them, and usually I agree with a lot of things on this blog, but this is wrong, flat wrong, not even a little wrong, but totally wrong. "Jolly John" has always been pleasant to me and everyone I have seen him work with, he has personally gone out of his way to help me out with things and make life better on projects. Denvo has treated me better than 90% of the agencies out there. I appreciate both John and Denovo they have been truthful and respectful of me at all times. Whoever made the original post is really the screwed up rotten person, not John, and not Denovo. Pick on teh bad agencies who deserve it, John and Denovo don't. Asshat.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jolly John!

Top 10 Law Grad said...

Temp Attorney blogs are rediculous. Why exactly would an agency conspire to prevent you from working, and working OT on top of it? We bill hourly, and hour profits are multiplied by the same multiplier that you receive for your OT pay. Yeah, clearly its in the best interest for the temps not to be able to bill OT, and we at the agency LOVE days when the attorneys can't work. Yeah we make so much money on those days.

And as an FYI, the average agency recruiter makes far less a year than a document reviewer who works year-long with OT.

Anonymous said...

a) There are different arangements that agencies make with law firms. OT maybe one of them. ie, they get a straight cut, but above a certain amount they start to lose it. I dont know the contract stucture and nor do you.

b) What recruiters make is irrelevant to what the agencies earn. Your argument is like saying McDonalds isnt billion dollar company because the person at the cash register makes minimum wage. You would think since you are so much smarter than us mere temp attorneys you would have realized that your argument was logically flawed in this manner.

Top10LawGrad said...

I'll reply to this.

a) There are different arangements that agencies make with law firms. OT maybe one of them. ie, they get a straight cut, but above a certain amount they start to lose it. I dont know the contract stucture and nor do you.

RE: This is true that some firms require a flat rate that includes OT. For example, the Contract attorney makes $35.00 per hour, and the agency bills $60.00 per hour, but OT is included. This means for the first 40 Non OT hours, the agency is making extra profit. But when the temp starts working OT, the agency begins to lose money because the contractor is paid $52.50 (leaving only 7.50 to try to pay payroll taxes and other ordinances/etc that may apply.) Nonetheless, an agency would be unable to prevent the law firm from receiving the benefit of its bargain (ie, the OT hours) by shifting schedules around. Nor is it the agency's decision to dictate the hours worked against the will of the client law firm or corporate entity. So that agency's lose money after a certain amount of OT is not a compelling argument and cannot support the notion that an agency is an all-powerful entity that can manipulate temp attorney hours all on its own (and in the process anger the client who in reality calls all the shots).

b) What recruiters make is irrelevant to what the agencies earn. Your argument is like saying McDonalds isnt billion dollar company because the person at the cash register makes minimum wage. You would think since you are so much smarter than us mere temp attorneys you would have realized that your argument was logically flawed in this manner.

RE: Yes this is relevant. This blog 1) personally attacks several agency recruiters by name, often calling them greedy and manipulative, and 2) at some point, the outside world really does get tired of you playing victim. I'm so sorry that you may only pull in $50-$60K in exange for only having to work part of the year, or if you are lucky, $90+ K to work the entire year.

I've done agency recruiting and document review - so yes I was a contract attorney before going to the other side. (That I was disinterested in accepting offers from BIGLAW is irrelevant, but in the event I'd get some response as to "ooh you just didnt' make it in BigLaw" that I envision I just thought I'd address that here.) So yes I know where you are coming from - but believe me Document Review is a walk in the park compared to the hours and stress of 1) winning the business so our contract attorneys have places to work at all, usually requiring a bid process and sometimes substantial contracts being put in place, and even worse, 2) staffing and managing these projects given all the self-entitlment we have to deal with every day from thankless attorneys such as yourselves.

Finally legal staffing agencies are hardly the profit-centers you think they are. They can make decent money, but our cut after taxes and the expenses of even keeping the agency open at all so you have avenues to secure work is in reality fairly small, and even smaller in comparision to the mark-ups our end user clients enjoy when billing you out to their clients. Not that this is a bad thing, you just have to remember that employing people has to make business sense. Agencies do not operate in expensive markets such as New York to operate at a loss, nor are they non-profits.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I worked on another project for John when the vendor was slow on the documents, and there wasn't enough documents in the end. This seems to be a pattern.

Anonymous said...

I have never met Jolly John, but hear from people on the project that he is actually a decent guy. I mention this because I am completely for slamming agencies and staff attorneys wherever justified. It doesn't seem appropriate here given the facts.

I know Denovo has done many crappy things at both their offices. However, it it were not for these document review jobs many of us would be screwed right now. Thankfully this little niche exists.

I am not defending the agencies, but some of our fellow coders are not the cream of the crop in the legal industry. Many of them are unemployable in ANY industry.

This work is certainly more profitable than doing insurance defense or personal injury and brings with it none of those pressures. It is a decent layover until something significant comes along.

Anonymous said...

Those who posted (maybe it's you John!) that John is a fair and decent guy are wrong. I worked a project with him and when the time came to cut back on people, he let the best people go and kept his cronies (including a woman who was fired from a previous denovo gig b/c she would sign in, then leave for the day, only to return at night to sign out - she did this for over a week before somone ratted her out). When John made the announcement that some would be let go, he even admitted that the decision was not based on work product. So don't tell me that John is fair - he isn't.

Anonymous said...

He is among the worst. Imagine the misery of working in some Orwellian sweatshop, row after row of computers, with "attorneys" wedged in next to one another and in rows directly across from each other. So you get the pleasure of not only staring at the bottom of the barrel cheap ass rent a computer screen, but you get see your fellow rent a slob staring at you all day. Oh the joy of working in a document factory!

Then, Jolly John gives his asshole lectures, feigning impartiality and advancement...but most people know it's all bullshit. He gives the speech about having "sat in that chair" for 5 years. Never believe a word out of his mouth, you do so at your own peril.

Of course you never have internet access at your desk, but rather have to go to some filthy workstation where you have cleanse your hands and scrape the gunk off the keyboard before/after you use it. (I won't even begin to describe the state of the bathrooms).

Next, you have the greasy, sweating Evellyn Louie ready to throw your overworked carcass down the stairs at a moments notice...

Then Jolly John (JJ) makes you fill out sheets with your name and your daily number. Could it be any more demeaning?

On Fridays you get to be ogled by JJ as you grab your greasy, flaccid pizza.

So much to love about working in a De Novo shop, being run by its leery, backstabbing chearleader, jolly John.

Anonymous said...

Wait, so when terminations come along, he... (gasp) keeps people there that he LIKES???

As other posters have suggested, consider real life. I dont care if you code 1000 docs well a day - if you are a social retard, your head is on the block - you think it's any different at any other employer. John has to WORK with his crew. Benign self-interest rules the day. WHo would you fire?

Anonymous said...

For starters I would fire you!

Anonymous said...

Top10

a) I was responding to the idea that there is one method, and only one method, by which agencies arrive at their fees. Or , that there is no reason why an agency would want to limit overtime. That statement made earlier by another poster was clearly false.

b) I m actually not whining. Just pointing out the factual and logical inaccuracy of talking about how much recruiters make as a counter argument to how much agencies earn from hours billed. One has nothing to do with the other. An agency's policy can provide direction for the recruiter to act regardless of how much money the recruiter makes.

You don't refute the basis for why the recruiter's salary is irrelevant so much as whine yourself about the unfairness of treating recruiters as the agents for the agencies. It's a pretty silly argument to make regarding relevancy. "You named an agent, and therefore, that makes that agent's salary relevant." Under that logic, again, that would mean that we are too judge McDonald's based on the guy who works there afterhours. But, hey, this is a random blog. People make shit up.

Anonymous said...

Ropes and Gray just did the same thing to us on our last project.

Allegedly, there was a mad rush to have documents done to get the clock started on a submission in response to a subpoena. For the first few days (starting on a Thursday, mind you) we had docs aplenty, but come Monday, they were scarce. Of course, this was due to "vendor issues." So that Monday, I, who was one of the few coders working on a consistent pace, was told "you finished your folder, great! You get to go home! See you Wednesday(!)" while the speed demons and slow retards who either picked off batches quickly or milked them for days got to stay and "finish," even being allowed to come in on Tuesday if need be!

They tried to right the wrong they did us by increasing our overtime to $60/hr (the project was to be $40 flat). However, and point 2, they initially said weekends were expected, but we didn't have weekend work for about 6 weeks. So much for a rush!

Finally, they sent docs to a second vendor, had people who knew the new software shifted over to that vendor, and those people got to work Labor Day at time and a half.

Oh, but it gets better. Those of us stuck with the old regime were subject to the super secret "for your eyes only" email that said "hey, there's a handful left, will you come in Labor day?" which only half of the people received.

Those who didn't were told to come back Tuesday. And for those who did go in on Labor Day, there were no guarantees that it would be a full day! And then all of us were fired on Labor Day anyway! So they bumped us up with an empty promise of time and a half for OT and work on the holiday. There were even promises from the attorneys that all of the coders would be trained Labor Day to use the new software. Of course, didn't happen.

The project managers even bitched and moaned when some of us spoke to each other about the secret emails. They try to turn us against each other!

I know it seems small, but it goes to show you how they manipulate, twist, and eventually screw you. And they think we are stupid and can't read them like the shitty book they are.

The Joker said...

Oooh, someone's pretty upset! I guess if we don't shut up now, pretty soon, oh, little, uh, Top10LawGrad? here, won't be able to get a nickel for his grandma.

What's the matter, Top10LG? You sound upset. I mean, what happened? Did your, your balls drop off? Is that why you're so sad? Let's put a smile on that face! It's not about the money, it's about sending a message. Okay, okay, it IS about the money, too.

Anonymous said...

Well, I only said I heard Jolly John was a decent guy. I don't know first hand. If he really is a prick, then off with his head.

Staffing a project shouldn't be so complicated. Every dime is monitored and it costs the temp who gets bounced around and sent home. We are not cab drivers who operate a "meter" to collect a fare. If a project is sold to me as a temp "day laborer" then I expect to work the amount of promised hours. I accept their offer and reject others. In a way it is sort of like "detrimental reliance." In the end, I am the one who detri-Mentally relies on their bullshit without recourse. I am to blame because I keep showing up.

I have never meet Evelyn. Tales of her misdeeds are plentiful. This bitch Joan King's name keeps showing up on this site. And I know who Anita is. YUCKO. She looks like the witch Tom keeps posting to represent her without the green paint on her ugly face. Like Rodney Dangerfield used to say, these woman are two baggers. Eeewww. I pity the man who beds them.

A dunce could manage these projects more efficiently. The court orders X amount of documents to be produced and assigns a deadline. These dumb bastards wait until the last minute to execute the order in the most cost effective (cheapest) manner possible. At some point, some IT nerd or firm associate fucks up and the shit rolls down hill. The agency isn't necessarily at fault often. They are just providing the licensed factory workers to click and click. The net result is the disposable temp takes it on the chin.

In fairness, I have worked on some well run projects also. Many of them were for firms, staff attorneys and associates that have been beaten up here. I think their earlier beatings on this site set many of them straight out of fear.

Regardless, the legal profession is in the toilet.

Anonymous said...

Bet the guy who started this blog tonight is out of a job and will find it hard to get another one. This is because he has a major attitude problem. There are so many pleasant people to work with. Keep your attitudes in check or else you're history. The previous poster made a very logical point, the project manager and agencies are going to hire people they want to work with, not obnoxious losers who think they're worth more than they are. There are 100's of document review attorneys out there and probably 80% of them are great people, don't be the other 20%. You may get lucky once, but once you reveal that stank attitude you're done.

PS-even if you're one of the 80% who are pleasant, if you review 8 documents an hour you probably won't get called again either.

Anonymous said...

1:20: If you don't like the pizza, don't eat it. Do like everyone else in America does and buy your own lunch. I mean you make$35-$45/hr I think you can afford it. How can you complain about something that is free? Oh yeah, mommy and daddy probably coddled you from birth to law school graduation and you feel entitled to everything. Tell your parents they did a shitty job raising you and grow up.

The bathrooms in the 42nd St office are clean and there are plenty of stalls. These bathrooms are not just DeNovo's, but are for the entire floor and are cleaned regularly.

Anonymous said...

How come none of you conspiracy theorists want to address the 8:58 comment?

Why would De Novo need to have a $40/hr+OT rate and then screw you out of your OT when they could have gotten people for $40/ hr with no OT or $35/hr with no OT? The market has been so dead they probably could have gotten takers at $33 with no OT.

Top10LawGrad said...

RE: Anonymous

a) And my point, totally agreeing that there is of course more than one way that firms and agencies enter into agreements with one another, is that even if there are reasons why an agency would want to limit OT, it doesn't matter. The client firm is going to set the hours, NOT the agency. In fact the ONLY situation where an agency would want to limit OT would be when the client law firm would have the MOST interest in billing more "free" OT. Who in this situation is going to come out the winner? NOT the agency. So why you continue to try to argue about this, and why you think that "reasons an agency may want to limit OT" is in any way meaningful, is beyond me, since the agency has no power here.

b) You can read my response again. My comments are very relevant to the posters on this blog in general. Also if you read more carefully, which I hope you do while on reviews, you would see that I never stated the words you tried to put in my mouth.

No further comment needed. People can in fact be responsive to issues other than the trite argumetns you try to make solely for the sake of finding something to argue about.

Anonymous said...

Why do people constantly attack the Friday free pizza thing? People earning a lot less than us have to go out and spend an hours pay on a slice and a Coke. Plus, I actually like it.

Anonymous said...

12:12

It's because they are losers and need something to complain about all of the time.

Steve said...

You are the most godawful whiners I have ever encountered. Jolly John is a mensch, and if one of you keyboard warriors had the balls to say any of this to his face, I'll bet John would probably laugh. You f with me that way, I'd flatten your nose. John and Denovo were there for me when I needed help, and I am a loyal escapee. Go pick on someone who deserves it - like dickhead Osman - I'd flatten his nose for a nickel too. Oh, and keyboard warriors, I am fully capable of taking pretty much everyone I ever worked with. Now I'm out in 6 figs, but I do NOT forget my friends - Jolly Johnnie, thanks dude.

Anonymous said...

Top10

You lack basic reasoning skills. I can't really help you with that.

Anonymous said...

And anonymous everything you said was already addressed. I don't see why someone would keep repeating themselves. Kinda embarassing. I would just be glad I'm working at all.

Anonymous said...

Right, the working conditions are just wonderful and we should be grateful and grovel before jerkoff john like Oliver Twist.

"Please sir, can I have some more?"

"More, you want some more.....?"

Anonymous said...

the new american dream: "be grateful you aren't unemployed. "

Anonymous said...

Hey Top 10, if it's so difficult to be a temp agency and make a profit, then get out of the business.

Isn't that the answer people throw around on this blog when temps complain about the business? Maybe you should heed it, too.

You and the rest of the agencies are nothing but lying, bloodsucking leaches. You don't care about how many people you stuff into a room, so long as you turn a profit. You don't care about harassment issues on the project, crazy people who make life miserable for others (compounded by the fact that they're probably sitting on your lap because there's no space). As long as you make a profit, nothing else matters. You're disgusting excuses for human beings. ALL of you. There are no exceptions. Legal temp agencies are ALL SCUMBAGS.

I dare say that some of the conditions you and your ilk create wouldn't be suitable for you or any other of the pathetic, lying piece of shit "recruiters" (more like "slave traders"). Why don't you come sit for a week or two in one of your sweatshops? Maybe then you'll understand why the temps hate you and beat you up in blogs. You sound so shocked and outraged. Put a cork in it, slavetrader because you deserve every bit of it.

Anonymous said...

click click click click why'd you stop clicking? click click click click

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever going to answer this?

Why would de novo have to entice people by offering OT pay? They could have offered it with No OT pay and still had plenty of takers.

Anonymous said...

2:28: The answer is that OT may be required under the FLSA or similar state or local law. Whether OT is legally required for contract attorneys is a bit of a grey area, and agencies may not want to risk being found to have run afoul of the law.

Anonymous said...

That's not the answer. De Novo offers most of its projects without time and a half for OT. Almost every one I've been on for them does not have time and a half for OT, so obviously they are not shy in offering no OT. Could it have been that this was the rate that was sent by their client? Probably not, right? There would be no conspiracy then, and that's no fun. We must always have some conspiracy theory to bitch about, either that or how bad the free food sucks. By the way, there are still some of us left on this project (the best of the best). The project is now a week past its expected duration. Maybe people should spend less time bitching and more time working, and their assignments may last longer than the expected duration.

Anonymous said...

DeNovo is running a huge risk if it doesn't pay OT. The DOL or a court could quite possibly conclude contract attorneys are non-exempt and entitled to OT under the FLSA, in which case not only would DeNovo be liable for back pay, but could be hit with huge penalties as well.

Anonymous said...

Projects that start mid/late week, data migration issues that slow down the workflow, no OT rate for holidays... these are all very standard-issue, par-for-the-course inconveniences of the doc-review game, and I think it's unfair to single out De Novo (for whom I've never worked) in this regard.

Anonymous said...

The DeNovo Ho will suck all of your dicks in all good time!

Anonymous said...

Whiny ass doc review bitches. All failed attorneys, who can't real jobs.

Anonymous said...

You have to humor John and even then well...

Anonymous said...

I recently interviewed with De Novo for a doc rev job. Rep who interviewed me said we would be paid $25 per hour. When I asked why the hourly rate was so low compared to state average, rep said that "trained monkeys" could do the same job.

When asked about job conditions, rep said to be "careful" because staff would be watching us to see if anyone spent too much time on the phone during the 30 minute break time. Reps have authority to "report" this "misbehavior."

Rep mentioned work day is typically 12 hours. Rep said that working 12 hours with 30 minute breaks should be no prob because attorneys are used to similar working conditions.

Just got a doc rev job offer from De Novo. I am turning it down. It is no use complaining about the system if people still accept the jobs. Times are tough but I am not selling out.

Anonymous said...

Worked for De Novo when they were still hiring paras rather attorneys for employment. Worked at Sullivan & Cromwell for a while and one day I had to call DeNOvo about something and Sandrene Price answered and said "Oh I was just thinking about you being placed in a coding job at Paul Weiss, a known horses ass of a place! This call was on a Thursday, the following Tuesday, I received a phone call from someone named Sean informing me the assignment was over at Sullivan & Cromwell. I did not go to work at Paul Weiss and I never received an assignment from them again, although others did.

Jack Smith said...

That statement made earlier by another poster was clearly false.
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