Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's Resolution



A fellow blogger on the End of Esq. site (Chronicling the Collapse of the Legal Profession in America) has just made a committed resolution.

"I resolve to expose the American Bar Association as a fraud on the profession and to work vigorously throughout the year to strip it of its law school accreditation function. The ABA has betrayed the Main Street practitioner and is on a campaign to globalize the practice of law, which, if successful, will mean hundreds of thousands of legal jobs lost here in the United States and the consolidation of the legal profession into a series of gega multinational firms where human capital is purchased wherever it is cheapest.

**** ***** *****

Everywhere I go I hear complaints from lawyers about the supply/demand imbalance, the threats of outsourcing and the utter siege the practice of law has become. Lawyers are fed up with scraping by or working around the clock for slave wages and see the profession collapsing before their eyes. They have no faith in the elders of the profession and why should they? The big firm lawyers and pampered princes have made the profession a miserable way to make a living and allowed the industry to be flooded by more and more lawyers. No law school student contemplates that a municipal worker like a fireman or garbage collector will have a more enjoyable and more profitable life than he, but that is the sad reality. In a span of 25 years, the legal profession has become poop.

2009 is the year we push back. Join us."


http://endofesq.com/?p=784


How to push back? By keeping the story alive. Here's an email I received yesterday from a woman at the Washington Post.

"Hi. I'm working on a story about projections that unemployment among those with a BA or higher degree is about to hit record highs.
I was wondering if you are hearing from out of work folks with JDs and what you're hearing, whether they are finding it hard to find work. How hard is it to get temp lawyer work? Is it getting more competitive?
Are there folks at some of the legal temp agencies you recommend I talk to?
Any help is appreciated. Thanks."


Share your thoughts in the comments section, or email me and I will provide you with her contact information.


Also, if you haven't done so already, send a message to the ABA by voting for this blog in the ABA's annual blog contest. Voting ends on the 2nd.

http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_2008/careers

228 comments:

1 – 200 of 228   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Bob Woodward should investigate where the $750 billion of TARP money went. Are we all supposed to believe that it all just vanished into thin air? I am sure many of the partners in many of these big firms had a hand in it. No wonder corporate America and these biglaw partners want to send the documents half way around the world to "lawyers" who hardly speak English.

Anonymous said...

there is so much good that comes from sites like yours. rell the Post that a whole generation of lawyers are on the verge of failing and that never before in the history of the Republic has a profession been run into the ground by a body charged with licensing the profession. It's a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, wait a minute. Is the profession being run into the ground by the ABA? The entire profession? No. Look at Heller--they went under because they lost IP partners to other firms, the bank that was loaning them money to cover expenses until receivables came in had a clause for just such an occurrence and exercised their option to pull their loans. Why did the IP lawyers leave? Was it outsourcing from India or elsewhere? Not that I've heard.
Grunt work that everyone hates doing (at least everyone who posts on this blog)is going overseas b/c it's cheaper. Why the pissing and moaning?

Anonymous said...

If readers want to understand why Americans find ourselves where we are, you should look no further than the post by 7:00 PM.

With 30 years of this kind of delusional mindset guiding our society, it is no surprise that we have a middle class on the economic edge.

First, it was "only going to be blue collar jobs." Then, certain types of white collar jobs. Now, white collar service jobs. What next? Get the point now?

Anonymous said...

Yes, we call them "Baby Boomers" and they have indeed ruined our country.

Anonymous said...

Hi this is Mr. Patel. I am enjoying your document review work. I'm reviewing a sub-prime mortgage case right now while I eat my curry. The American lawyers here are nice but boy they talk bad about you people.

Happy new year to you people!!

P.S. Send more documents

Anonymous said...

Most of the TARP money went into Fortune 100 corporate executives' bonuses so they can continue to fly in private fucking jets at 20k a pop. They may have given some to their BigLaw partner chums, but if the bar ever found out the partners would be disbarred. No wait a minute, strike that, the bar would look the other way and they would not be disciplined at all.

Anonymous said...

The bar is a complete and utter joke. A former Kirkland associate just got suspended for a mere 3 years after trying to have sex with a 13 year old girl. He will be coming to a document review near you. Don't forget your pepper spray.

Anonymous said...

Good point, I remember reading about a NJ matter where a minority attorney working for a small firm was disbarred (And its for life in NJ) for botching a real estate transaction and misappropriating a small amount of escrow money. This was his FIRST MATTER EVER AS A LAWYER.

If he was in BigLaw the Bar would have laughed it off.

Anonymous said...

Of course the poor schlub solo gets it in the neck while the pampered biglaw associate skates a long scott free. It's a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: doc review is much easier work for people from third world countries. Not because they're inherently better at it, but because they're used to being treated like garbage by rich white elites. They're used to being packed on top of each other in sweatshop-like conditions. It doesn't bother them as much as it bothers those of us from the US. They come from a culture which sustained generations of abuse, thus they're better equipped to survive and thrive under the adverse conditions. They're heartier.

This isn't meant as a put-down of people from third world countries. It's a fact. Look around the doc reviews here at the number of Jamaicans, Haitians, and Nigerians on these projects. The numbers have increased over the last few years. They're able to stand the hardship of sitting in an uncomfortable room in close quarters with each other for 10-13 hours a day, with no internet access and slavemaster-type supervisors, and keep their mouths shut without complaints. It seems to be a cultural thing because of generations and generations of abuse. And it also seems the agencies and firms know this and hire as many as they can, knowing they're getting docile sheep who will accept the message that temp attorneys should "be happy to be working."

Those of us from the US, no matter the race or cultural background, aren't as equipped to deal with the conditions. We were sold a bill of goods where we were taught - prior to entering the legal workforce - that we're worth something. We were taught to dream big, that we could 'be someone'. Then we find ourselves essentially being treated like migrant farm workers, working in dingy, filthy 'workspaces' and being packed in like KFC chickens with our beaks filed off. It's shocking to us because we were taught to expect better treatment. And it's also shocking to realize that we're trapped and going nowhere, because the rich, white elites want it that way. Until, of course, they can actually offshore ALL of our horrible jobs to the third world, where the complaints will be non-existent, the labor much cheaper, and the profit margins much higher.

And those are the facts, people.

Anonymous said...

They're certainly not heartier. They are just third world slobs being manipulated by the man.

Maximus said...

It isn't getting any better in '09 either.

Anonymous said...

I think all of the outsourcing apologists need to be outed. Further we need to compile/uncover a detailed list of all of the corporations that are using unlicensed foreign lawyers and other outsourced labor.

We should also be promoting companies that do it right.

Anonymous said...

someone is already doing it...

Anonymous said...

http://www.nojobsforindia.com/

Anonymous said...

10:06 is exactly right except for the Nigerians being quiet. They're the loudest mother-fuckers on the planet. Have you ever heard a Nigerian speaking softly?

11:14 is right too, and we need to find Federal violations then whistleblow to the U.S. Attorneys. There has to be some Federal violation with all this crap.

Anonymous said...

$30 an hour flat rate one month gig just started in midtown -- 40 temps. No cars or meals. The firm seems pretty serious about getting the docs done pronto. Most of the temps are veteran temps -- as in I've worked with some of them in the past and they code a high volumes of docs with a high level of quality. Temps -- you really have to step it up if you're gonna survive in this economy.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of any sliding scale health clinics in NYC?

I canceled my crappy health insurance late last year after I got canned from my job and couldn't afford it.

I have a fever, cramping and pain in my right abdomen, and just vomited up a little blood. Under normal circumstances, I would go to the emergency room, but I can't afford to be walloped by a $10,000 hospital bill.

Anonymous said...

Intel Corp., for example, tried offshoring one project and quickly pulled back. A couple of years ago, recalls general counsel D. Bruce Sewell, the company had a batch of patent applications the lawyers were handling in-house. They noted common issues, and decided these could be bundled and assigned out in common packages. So they put the jobs up for bid in an online auction. Among the firms Intel selected, one was in Australia and another in India. They did the work, but the quality "was lower than what we were willing to put up with," Sewell says. "We're not doing it anymore." Intel dropped the auctions and stuck with its domestic firms -- but managed to negotiate better prices, he says.

http://www.law.com/jsp/ihc/PubArticleIHC.jsp?id=1202426925586

Anonymous said...

Only truly incompetent and the insanely greedy and foolhardy would outsource work to India.

Then again, these are the same jerks that are taking our tax money in bailouts, because they're run their corporations into the ground.

Anonymous said...

3:19, you should go to the emergency room. It sounds like you're not well. The emergency room has to take care of you. Where do you think all the poor without any insurance go?

Pretty sad to be giving this advice to a licensed professional in the U.S.

I had to cancel my COBRA benefits because they were too expensive for an unemployed legal temp. Almost $500/month for medical and dental.

This country is in a tailspin.

Anonymous said...

3:19, you might have appendicitis. Go the the emergency room pronto!

Anonymous said...

3:13, is that the REEK job? $30 and hour straight?

Helene Diamond and Stacey Olive should go back to Israel and get hit by a Hamas missle.

Trollop said...

10:06, you rule. Also, Mr. Patel eating the curry rules.

I don't like the post's manifesto because stuff like this will always reek of the entitlement mindset that plagues these unhappy workers:

"No law school student contemplates that a municipal worker like a fireman or garbage collector will have a more enjoyable and more profitable life than he, but that is the sad reality."

Why should lawyers be necessarily happier and profitable than a fireman? Aren't firemen heroes? Garbage collection? American temporary attorneys on complaining sites like this want a caste system and first-world cleanliness and are afraid of the "dirty conditions" that are like the third world. Maybe they should move to India and work doc review, they'd fit right in.

Anonymous said...

3:19, Family Health Plus has some good medical coverage for unemployed/low-income people. I have Affinity medical coverage, and so far, it's been very good.
Affinity (866) 247-5678, 888-692-6116, 877-472-8411.
www.affinityplan.org

Anonymous said...

Can the offers get any lower?


P/T Associate Attorney 15-20 hrs/week (Chappaqua)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: helaine@brickcabotlaw.com [?]
Date: 2009-01-01, 5:08PM EST



Looking for part-time associate attorney for approximately 15-20 hours a week.

Must be admitted in New York.
Must have a minimum of 2 years of general practice civil experience.
No criminal, bankruptcy, or immigration law.
Westchester resident preferred.
Must have own car.
$25/hr
Respond by email with resume only.
Please do not respond if you do not have these credentials.




Location: Chappaqua
Compensation: $25/hr
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 976650418

Anonymous said...

12:07, maybe we thought that by going to law school, we'd be improving our lot in life. That was the big message I got as a kid: education improves your life.

Instead, my legal education has ruined my life. I was a B+ student throughout high school and college. I got into a 2nd tier school and was a B+ student there, top 25% of the class. Respectable, right?

Wrong.

After passing two bar exams (NY & NJ), I found myself unable to get a permanent job that would pay me enough to cover my living expenses and service the $120,000+ in student loan debt I incurred because of law school. So I was stuck taking temp jobs in which I could make enough money to scrape by, but in order to make enough, I also had to work 6-7 days a week, 10+ hours a day, with NO OPPORTUNITY FOR ADVANCEMENT. (If I was on partner track or otherwise going somewhere in my career, I'd happily work 9 days a week, 27 hours a day, without a complaint).

The point is that a fireman or garbageman doesn't have to lay out the $120,000+ for an education, as well as take rigorous licensing exams in order to practice their trade. And they get great pay and full benefits. Granted, the firemen put themselves at greater physical risk than a temp attorney does. And the garbagemaen have to deal with disgusting garbage. But can you see the point?

We were duped!

Anonymous said...

12:07 and many others in the same boat,

A lot of people were mislead by the law schools and their universities. The only way this madness will stop is if college students are told the truth about law school - that it is a losing proposition for most of those who attend non-elite private institutions.

I think that it is also possible that many of these law schools are guilty of consumer fraud. Most states have laws that prohibit publication of false, confusing, or misleading information about products and services. If you really feel that your school misleads prospective students, file a complaint with your state Attorney General, and encourage others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

3:32 - you forgot to mention that the student loan debt is NON-DISCHARGABLE in bankruptcy, thanks to the pigs from the student loan companies who lobbied Congress to rewrite the bankruptcy laws.

If you default, the jurisdictions in which you're licensed to practice law are notified and you can be disbarred.

There is no relief from this mess.

Washington Post guy, are you reading?

Anonymous said...

I would gladly surrender my law licenses in exchange for the discharge of my student loans. Clean the slate and start over with less debt while I still have some of my youth. I'd even give them my laminated law degree.

Anonymous said...

4:23, how will reporting the law schools for consumer fraud help those of us who went to law school already and incurred $120,000+ in NON-DISCHARGABLE student loan debt? We'll still have the massive monthly payments to deal with. And do you really expect the state Attorneys General to do anything about this? They're offices are part of the problem, part of the "Establishment" that allowed this problem to happen in the first place!

Anonymous said...

"Their offices" not "They're offices." Sorry for the typo.

Anonymous said...

Tell the Journalist that so many other lawyers have told me law school was the worst decision of their lives.

There are no real jobs, and have not been real jobs for years unless you happened to graduate from one of the elite law schools. This begs the question, why are there so many law schools pumping out so many lawyers when the jobs simply are not there?

Because law schools get paid whether or not students are actually able to pay back their student loans. It will not end well.

Anonymous said...

Also don't forget: If you're married and something happens to you (i.e. you die), your spouse is on the hook for your student loan debt, even if you weren't married when you incurred it.

Anonymous said...

There comes a time when you got to piss or get off the pot.

I don't disagree with the problems of the legal industry described here. But you are not going to change them. You need to figurie out an exit strategy rather than wallowing in the problems. By you, I really am using many of you as a means of pushing me to get up off my ass. So thanks.

I say this as someone who spent a great deal of time wallowing lately. It's a New Year. Time for a new approach.

Anonymous said...

There is no real exit. That is the truth of the matter and the real problem. The JD is almost 100% useless outside of law. In fact, it prevents you from getting jobs.

Attending anything below T14 will virtually guarantee that your life will be ruined in one way or another. Be it the debt or the rapidly evaporating career options, law school is a very bad deal for most kids. Some call it a scam.

Obama are you listening? You went to Harvard, but please help us toileteers out. You can start by:

1) shutting down the illegal and unauthorized practice of law currently ongoing in India by David Perla and is comrades.

2) Fix the student loan/debt problem at law school.

3) End the ABA's monopoly and stranglehold on attorneys and the legal education industry.

4) Allow for unionizing of contract workers, and promote better treatment and understanding of contract workers.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, 6:28. What's your plan?

Words are cheap and easy to type. Changing one's reality is a different story. How do we pay our bills, including living expenses and non-dischargable student loan debt, when there is little to no work in the profession we trained in?

Where do we go to work when we have a law degree and licenses and are thus considered 'overqualified' for most non-legal jobs? This is at the same time we're being shut out of good legal jobs because we're not part of the 'elite'?

How do we pay our bills when the work we were forced to do because our profession sold us out - slave labor-like temp work in sweatshops for evil agencies and law firms - is being offshored to India?

How do we pay our bills when the little work that is available has a rate of $30 an hour, straight time? (Thanks, Peak!)

In my dreams, I can do anything. I can even fly. Unfortunately, when I wake up (if I can sleep at all lately), I'm still under-to-unemployed and my bills are still due!

Anonymous said...

And when I wake up, the only flying I want to do is out my window and splat onto the concrete!

Sad, but true - I am contemplating the S word lately... It starts with a just a thought.

Anonymous said...

6:28
Smart move. You’re on the right path. You may have to put up with some BS for a few months or in your first job, but you’re on the right track. 4:36’s opinions notwithstanding, there are plenty of “real” jobs for attorneys out there, but they won’t fall into your lap. Do some pro-bono work (check with the bar associations) to get some substantive experience. It’ll make your job search much easier, especially if you’ve been temping for a while. Pro-bono work makes you seem serious about pursuing a career as a lawyer, and thus someone worth hiring.

Anonymous said...

7:59, how does one pay their rent and bills (including non-dischargable student loan debt) when one is doing pro bono work?

Anonymous said...

Forget pro bono. You will be just another lemming there too. The kind of clients they give you are the dodgiest, most unreliable ever.

I tried to do pro bono and they gave me someone that I could not help in any way, because they would never even show up! I would sit there waiting for hours. Here I have taken time off work, and the person for whom I am working for free cannot even show up.

It's very possible that even you do pro bono you will treated like just another garbage lemming. Be careful, it could just be a huge waste of time, like it was for me.

Anonymous said...

7:45
You’ve given up before you’ve even started. Getting bullied and screwed by the agencies and a few crummy projects has affected your confidence. You probably haven’t sent out a bunch of resumes lately, have you?

Also, keep in mind that most attorneys (even from TTT schools) aren’t temping – they have found a “real” job.

But to answer your question:
Defer your loans and do pro-bono work or low paid/volunteer work for a solo practitioner for a few months. It’s a recession at the moment so you won’t be losing that much income. Also set up your own webpage (it’s cheap) and solo. Both of these activities will give you the experience you need and make you look like you’re interested in layering; long term temp work raises a red flag and tells the employer that this person does not want to work as an attorney.

You can always do short temp assignments if you’re running low on cash. Plus, once you’ve got some experience and some income, you don’t have to put up with crap from the agencies.

With regard to being overqualified, that’s BS for the most part. Tell them (without whining or complaining) in your cover letter that the legal profession isn’t for you and you want to be whatever you’re applying to. Also try applying to paralegal positions, occasionally you’ll get a callback.

DO NOT use recruiters; they make it much harder to land a job. (I have my suspicions about the permanent jobs that the temp agencies occasionally post -- It’s more profitable to keep a permatemp temping instead of collect referral fee for a placement.) Send resumes to alumni and then use Martindale-Hubble to send resumes to small firms/solos that relate to whatever area you have experience in (from pro bono work). All you need is one success, but you have to deal with rejection along the way.

One other thing – if you’re sending out your resume cover letter, and getting zero feedback, get someone that knows what they’re doing to write it. Nothing will blow your chances of getting a job more than a screwed up resume/cover letter.

Anonymous said...

742

If you think of working outside of law as a "dream" along the lines of "flying" that says everything about you that needs to be said. You need better analogies.

Anonymous said...

“It's very possible that even you do pro bono you will treated like just another garbage lemming. Be careful, it could just be a huge waste of time, like it was for me.”

Keep doing trying until you find a real job or open a small low cost solo. So, you got screwed by a few clients. Big deal – get used to it. You have no other choice other than leaving the profession. Temp and then do pro-bono/solo until a real job finally comes by. Don’t give up.

The “huge waste of time” is temping. In the short term the money is good, but it leads nowhere. Each assignment digs you deeper and deeper into the hole, and it gets harder to get out.

As far as the money is
concerned, people live in the NYC metro area on a LOT less than a temp’s annual salary. Save some money and then use it to cover yourself while you’re building experience. You won’t have to do it for that long.

Anonymous said...

8:45, I never said that. I said I can fly in my dreams. Learn how to read.

Anonymous said...

It's just more terrible advice. There are no career options for 80% of law school graduates from 2nd or 3rd tier schools. They have to work temp to pay bills or take a huge paycut to work in so called small firm "shitlaw".

We cannot afford to work pro bono or go solo, because we have no money. We have to temp because we have no other options.

8:49 you are living in a fairy tale and dreamworld. I guess you have a good job, because you have no clue how the other half lives.

So stop spewing your garbage advice, it is bad information.

Anonymous said...

900

I know how to read, but do you understand what you are writing?

Its a pretty fucked up perspective no matter how you slice it.

Anonymous said...

9:35, maybe 9:00 is at the end of their rope. You don't walk in their shoes. You don't know what they're going through inside.

This isn't a trivial matter we're discussing here. We're discussing how people's lives have been ruined because they bought into the propaganda of the education indusrty and were sold a bill of goods (legal education) for a very high price and now cannot earn enough money to survive and pay back the student loans.

It's very sad.

Anonymous said...

9:32 is so right. No need to add to that. It was perfect.

Anonymous said...

Your problem is you, not that you went to TTT law school and made bad grades.

All you guys do is complain about how bad your life is, and won't take any steps to help yourself. Be a little more proactive in helping yourself. If you were, you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

Success doesn't come with a law degree, you actually have to work at it.

Anonymous said...

Please spare us the boring, snotty platitudes. It's the same garbage over and over again.

You are just a chimp and cheap floozy, 10:05

Anonymous said...

10:05, can YOU read? Have you read any of the posts or are you just here to blindly criticize?

Be proactive? The problem is that we weren't able to get "real jobs" out of law school because we couldn't even get in the door! No one would give us a chance and pay us a decent salary that we could survive on. We were corralled like cattle into the temp ranks. It was our only option.

Our problems don't come from not trying hard enough or being "proactive" - whatever you mean by that. Our problems are because we were never given a chance in the first place.

We purchased expensive educations and weren't given accurate information as to what our job prospects were after graduation. Instead, we had predatory temp agencies waiting for us, knowing we'd be forced to do temp work in order to eat and pay off our massive student loan debts.

What part of this don't you understand?

Anonymous said...

Do some of these people here with the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" posts realize anything about the reality of the situation we're discussing?

People have to eat, pay bills, and service NON-DISCHARGABLE student loan debt. They can't do pro bono work, not because they lack nobility or charity, but because they CAN'T AFFORD TO. Their bills aren't going away - they'll still be there after a day of helping the poor in their legal matters. None of our creditors will be giving us a break for our charity, will they? "Oh, what a nice person you are, helping the poor! Don't worry about making your student loan payment this month - you deserve a break." Yeah, right. Keep dreaming.

This is especially true in the NYC area, where the cost of living is rising every year, while the pay rates decline - if you're lucky enough to find work.

This 'blame the victim' stuff is amazing. WE are the victims here, and NO ONE can B.S. otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Knock it off. You are not victims. People have it much worse then you do. Why don't you move out of the NYC area where the cost of living is cheaper? Maybe move to a warmer climate for when you are sleeping on park benches.

Anonymous said...

11:34, we are victims of the education and student loan industries, as well as the ABA and BigLaw.

You knock it off.

Anonymous said...

It comes down to this:

A certain group of people believes that Temps don't have the will to suffer the "low" or zero pay to get experience to get a decent job or start a viable practice. "Tough it out", in a phrase.

Another group of people, some Temps, believes that their loans and living costs constrain them from taking lower paying jobs. "We gotta pay the bills", in a phrase.

Some of us could probably tough it out doing low paying work for small firms or solos or even pro bono. Some of us would probably become insolvent in a matter of weeks doing the same.

For those with huge six-figure loans, some at high interest rates, I say don't listen to those who are telling you not to temp. Jumping into a low or zero paying job when you have massive expenses is fiscally stupid. A disruption in cash flow could easily mean you can't pay bills or put food on the table. If your loans go into default, the interest and penalties will pile up so high that you'll be sucked into a black hole that you will never escape.

Temp like crazy to pay down any high interest private loans. If it means living sparsely for a couple years, rooming with people, etc., do it. You want to reduce your monthly expenses to the point where you can take a low paying job or take solo work on the side or even bail out of law entirely.

Anonymous said...

11:34 PM,

How "well off" or not someone is irrelevant to whether they were the victim of a scam.

Anonymous said...

Of course they want us to stop temping because they want to send whatever work is left to India. They don't want to do it in the USA anymore.

They want us to "move on" because they don't want Americans law school graduates and attorneys to expect that there will be document review and e-discovery work waiting.

"Just move along attorney, you're not welcome here any more". It's like these corporations are now the modern equivalent of Nazi Germany. They've ruined our econom and now want to expunge all lawyers from the legal profession. What a disgrace.

We have a right to do this work as American citizens. It is unconscionable that they have outsourced our work to foreign countries to be peformed by unlicensed foreigners.

We're not moving on and we're going to stand up for our rights. Get used to us.

Anonymous said...

2 equations for doc reviewers (including myself):

a) Equation 1: What is the impact of doing nothing to change your present career circumstances?

b) Equation 2: What is the impact of doing something to change your present career circumstances?

If you argue that Equations 1 and 2 are the same equations yielding the same results, that's the definition of wallowing.

No one has written that Equation 2 will definitely or even probably result in a career. Hell, even Equation 1 is not definite or probable.

It's a question of likelihoods. What I have read here is about increasing the odds.

The point about increasing the odds is something I only recently came to after wallowing.

The only thing that has been said is that doing nothing more likely to yield the result of more document reviews rather than a career.

I am not sure how this can be disputed?

I am writing these posts to remind myself of what I need to be doing.

I got to thank you for your pessimism. It keeps me real about what the odds are for doing nothing or something.

Anonymous said...

A law firm doesn't need temps to stop temping in order to move work to India. They can just fire everyone and move the operations overseas.

I think the issue of whether the outsourcing is legal is more relevant. A document review project often involves hundreds of thousands or millions of emails, and evaluation of those docs as to whether or not they are legally privileged. Making a privilege call is giving legal advice to the client on whether or not to produce the doc -- I don't think this can be done by unlicensed people. The 'supervised by attorney' argument is invalid when it comes to foreigners. It is impossible for a US based supervisor to double check every document and ensure the quality of the work.

I agree with 11:51 PM that this work should not be done by unlicensed foreigners unless they are subject to the same rules, fees, and penalties as attorneys doing the same work in the US.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me what exactly was promised to any of us entering law school? When I went to law school I was not promised anything, so I would like to hear some specific examples of promises made. Since we are all victims of fraud and we were all tricked, this should be easy to come up with.

Anonymous said...

Fraud does not require a promise. You are confusing contract law (ie, offer and acceptance) with the law regarding fraud. You can defraud someone into accepting contract without making a promise regarding outcomes. If they substantially lie about risks involved that may be considered material about whether there was fraudulent inducement. businesses sue over these things all the time. The question is who bares the risk.

Afterall, these are professional schools. Not a graduate degree in say French Literature. The value of the degree is the ability fo the school to help you obtain employment in the profession. That maybe understood as a reasonable business practice of the law school industry.

Fraud requires an intent to lie and a material lie that would cause you to sign the contracts to obtian loans for law school. That's not the official definition, but its closer than your definition.

For example, the material lie here for a law school is lying about post employment stats. '

If they say 90 percent have full time well paying jobs 6 months after law school. That's a lie that maybe considered material if the number is more like 25 percent after 2 years. Or, whatever, the question is whether that's a material lie that induced you to sign the contract.

But-for this lie, one would not have entered the contract for the professional education at school x.

Its a hard, but not impossible argument to make. Although it probably would fail because of the audience who would be judging it.

While I think people here are wallowing, that does not mean they are necessarily wrong about the practices of law schools or the profession regarding the market for lawyers. They are deceptive even if they are not proven to be fraud.

Anonymous said...

10:45

New York is so expensive --yeah right. Maybe if you're living in a studio in Manhatten.

There are plenty of people living with roommates and working blue collar jobs in commuting distance of NYC. Think about all the secretaries at law firms. Quit trying to live the high life on a temp salary and save some money. Then, you can get yourself out of the mess you're in.

Regarding student loans, they're deferable -- so defer them. What the hell are you paying them back for it you think you've been scammed?

Regarding finding jobs, right now it's difficult (not impossible), but in general it's not that hard. However, you have to put up with a lower salary and do some actual legal work.

Have you actually worked one of these "toilet law jobs?" Probably not. Maybe you should learn how to write a cover letter and decent resume.

The rest of the people that went to law school found a job. Get off your ass and find something. Quit expecting everyone to give you everything. You have to do improve your situation yourself.

Anonymous said...

12:04

You're right, and your argument is intelligently reasoned.

You must do something to improve your situation. Also, you'll find that employers will respect this attitude and sooner or later you'll be given an opportunity.

Above all, don't give up.

Anonymous said...

2:58, boy are you stupid!

Why am I paying back my loans if I think I've been scammed?

Can you use whatever brains you have to figure this one out yourself or do I have to waste more time explaining it?

Defer? OK, let's defer the loans and let the interest rates pile up. Then we can owe them even more than we already do.

Stop paying? OK, let's stop paying, so we ge disbarred and then can't even temp.

Become a secretary at a law firm? I'm a LAWYER. I went to LAW SCHOOL for THREE LONG YEARS, passed a BAR EXAM, and shelled out $120,000+ on student loans. I'm going to be treated like a LAWYER, with RESPECT, just like the ELITE LAW SCHOOL graduates are treated.

Got it? Good. Now SHUT UP!

Anonymous said...

2:58, I'd love to do some "actual legal work," but no one will hire me at a fair salary to do it, so I'm stuck temping, you idiot.

Anonymous said...

2:58, what are you talking about? The "high life" of a temp? What temp is living "the high life" in NYC on temp wages? Are you serious?

Most temps I know, unless they come from wealthey families or have successful spouses, are stuggling to survive. Do you think Manhattan is the only place in the NYC Metro area with expensive rents? Today, even the outer boroughs have ridiculous rents. Same with anything in NJ that's within a reasonable distance from NYC. Have you been out there lately?

Your ignorance would be laughable if this situation wasn't so serious. Instead your ignorance is upsetting.

Anonymous said...

'Wealthy', not 'wealthey'. Typo.

Anonymous said...

What 2:58 AM writes is so out of touch that I don't believe it was anything but a troll. He's doing it to get a rise out of people.

Anonymous said...

We are victims of the education industry and elite academics, who's only interest in keeping toilet law schools open is so they can get their tenure, paycheck, and get quoted in the New York Times.

I marvel at the number of New York Law School professors quoted in the NY Times for various stories. It's interesting to compare to the number of New York Law School graduates who paid $120,000+ for law school but are unable to find any work, other than temping.

Interestingly enough, NY Law was a victim of the Bernie Madoff scheme, via a third party 'feeder' fund. NY Law is suing. Using this example, maybe NY Law grads should sue NY Law, since they're victims of NY Law's scheme, which inflated and distorted graduate employment numbers. Ever check out the NY Law website, Career Services page, where they give links to the temp agencies? For New York Law School and Dean Richard Matasar, that's considered "career services." As long as Nadine Strossen has a front for her ACLU operations and a full cadre of Oompa Loompa students to work as slave labor for her, I guess it's ok, right?

We are also victims of the student loan industry, which, in cahoots with the toilet law schools, extended massive amounts of NON-DISCHARGABLE student loans to people who shouldn't have been accepted into law school in the first place because, being ToiletLaw grads, they would have no post-graduation job prospects to begin with.

Let me qualify that. I mean post-graduation job prospects that would pay the ToiletLaw grad enough to survive, put food on the table, and service their massive NON-DISCHARGABLE student loan debt. I do not consider a $37,000 a year shitlaw job to be viable, especially in NYC, nor do I believe temping should be considered 'employment' for the sake of this argument.

Pitch the values of 'education', pump people up with the dream that education is a wonderful thing and will improve their lives, then charge them top dollar for it, extending enormous NON-DISCHARGABLE student loans to them which they struggle for the rest of their lives to pay back.

This is fraud. This is victimizing behavior.

We are the victims.

Anonymous said...

The fact that New York Law School puts links to the temp agencies on the Career Services section of their website is testament to the fact that they know FULL WELL there are no other seats at the table for the vast majority of their graduates.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the only doors a New York Law School degree open are the doors to Lexolution, Hire Counsel, Hudson Legal, and the rest of the miserable, evil, lying, opportunistic temp agencies.

This hold true for Brooklyn Law School, Hofstra, Pace, and every other non-Tier 1 law school in New York - and the rest of the U.S., for that matter.

CUNY grads are actually lucky. Although they went to a lousy law school, at least they didn't have to take out $120,000+ in NON-DISCHARGABLE student loans to get a law degree they can now wipe their asses with.

Anonymous said...

1:49 what was promised to graduates of law schools? well simple, to do legal work you have to have passed law school, and passed a bar exam, and passed a character fitness exam. If you did ALL of those things,the promise was then, and ONLY then, would you be able to call your self a lawyer and do legal work.
With out sourcing, all of those requirements that LAWYERS had to pass and earn have been tossed out the window and people who are NOT licensed and ARE NOT lawyers can now do legal work, that is the promise that was broken. They did not do the work and pay the price for the right and promise to call themselves lawyers, but yet they get the reward.
That is welfare, they got something for free, and they are not even U.S. residences.
We had to play by the rules, we did the work, and now those rules have been thrown out. That is teh promise that was broken.
As for poster 10:45, who said you can defer loans. The truth is not really 10:45, in most cases you can only do it once in the life time of the loan and only for six months, after that you can get a forbearance, again only once and for only six months, where the interest continues to pile up, and then it gets re-capitalized into your original loan, and then you get to pay interest on the now higher (and rising) principal. A year is no where near enough time to do what you suggest, and it will leave person much much much deeper in debt, making the problem even worse.
Yes, there are plenty of jobs for lawyers making 45-50,000 a year, but after taxes that works out to about 38,000 a year, the loans minimum payment works out to around 14,000 a year (basically this only covers the interest and not principal, meaning no progress is actually made on the debt) which will leave a person with about 24k a year for all other expenses, such as rent which will run at least 12k a year,if not more, so now this person is down to 1k a month for food (around $400 a month) now has $600 a month for utilities (around $300 a month) and now is down to $300 a month, which after you subtract subway fare is about $180 left for the month , which is not enough to pay for health care.
This also ignores things like if you need to pay for CLE, bar assoc. dues, malpractice insurance, clothes, contact lenses or glasses, dentist bills, payroll taxes (if you go solo) office rent, office phone lines, office furniture, office equipment, file cabinets, etc etc. It also assumes a person is only paying 1k a month for rent for their housing needs, which is REALLY low for the NYC area. If a person is paying more of an average rent of $1,500 a month, then that leaves a person only able to pay for loans, rent, and food only, and NOTHING else, not even the monthly subway fare, so they can't even get to work in the first place. And oh yeah, that loan debt is now about 12k higher after one year,thanks to that highly touted deferment/forbearance you advocate, which also results in a higher monthly payment, due to the increased amount of interest that now has to be paid. You are a real genius 10:45
You advised moving out of the city, ok rents are about the same, maybe somewhat cheaper, but then you get the added cost of a $300 dollar a month (or more) for riding the metro north/NJTransit trains, which again then breaks the budget.
The fact is that alot of people, in fact thousands and thousands, have thought this through and the numbers simply don't work.
They are not all lazy stupid complainers. To assert such a thing, that all of these people are stupid and lazy, that they are all the ones who are messed up, and for yourself to think that you are some how smarter than everyone is a crock.
Its really silly to come on here and say to these people well if you were not so lazy an get another job you would not be like this. Lazy is not the problem. The problem is that most people come out of law school with levels of debt that are almost unsustainable, and the only way the debt model works is if you are making substantially more than 50k a year, or you have mommy pay it for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm taking the plunge this month and defauting on my student loans. No work, no income, no payment. And that's that.

Anonymous said...

2:33 Interesting comment. I've often wondered about the numbers that people use when they argue that 50k isn't enough to live on.

Your numbers helped me out a great deal. I believe your numbers for loan payments and rent are reasonable. Though, I would argue that the 14k a year in loan payments does in fact lower the principal a little, and isn't just all interest payments. I dont want to give too much info, but my loans all total up to about 180k, my monthly payments are about 13 hundred a month. And anywhere from a tenth to a third of those payments pay down the principal. (varies depending on the loan).

In addition, I guess I'm a super-cheap person, but I often do less than 100 bucks a week on food. If you really tried, you can bring your costs to roughly 10 bucks (or less) a day. You'd probably have to cook at least a few times a week, but it's doable. Also, I find your utility bill to be a little bit on the high side. $300/month? I dunno 'bout that. Granted I live in a somewhat small studio (500 sq ft.) but my utility bill regularly comes in at 100 or under.

I'm not trying to be super-argumentative or anything. It's just that my impression is that a person with a 50k job would be capable of paying living expenses, even if just skating by. I know the feeling though. There have been times when I've resorted to eating ramen and tv dinners for too many nights in a row. But I honestly believe a 50k job is doable. Of course, you should always shoot for something better.

Anonymous said...

Gee, 6:10. do you think after four years of college, three of law school, passing the bar, and taking CLE's, you could hope for a little better than just getting by on ramen noodles? And if not, doesn't that piss you off? Or are you blessed with the temperment of Ghandi? Not trying to be facetious, but c'mon, you know as well as I do, we didn't go to law school with such an existence as our ultimate goal.

Anonymous said...

5:25 PM please read the bankruptcy code.

Anonymous said...

6:28, what's your point about reading the bankrupcy code?

Student loan debt is assumed by your spouse if you die. What does that have to do with the bankruptcy code?

Anonymous said...

It's non-dischargeable debt. You can never get rid of it unless you pay it off.

Anonymous said...

Great response, 6:26 - you are absolutely, 100% correct. Who shelled out $120,000+ and went through all that work to merely survive? And what kind of person with a J.D. and licenses accepts a subsistence existence?

I swear - some people really make me shake my head in amazement. Ramen noodles every night? C'mon, 6:10 - wake up! You have been, and continue to be, taken advantage of! Get some fight into you! Fight back! Even if it's just expressing your anger and unhappiness on this blog. (I'm almost certain you can't be happy about your situation, can you?)

Do you know this blog won the ABA Blawgs contest by a landslide? People are watching. They are reading. It's not much to express oneself on a blog and it's not going to change the world overnight, but it's a start.

Anonymous said...

Defer your debt. The idea is to defer until your salary is higher and you can pay the debt off. Plenty of people do it. You're not going to get disbarred for not paying it. There's a thing called economic hardship.

Also, some temps spend way too much money. Studio apartments in Manhattan, expensive clothes, going out and blowing a ton of money on the weekend, etc. Then the project ends and they bitch about being broke. This time the market surprised everybody and the period of unemployment is considerably longer.

As far as job prospects, the problem is not the law degree, it's that people majored in liberal arts in undergrad. Try to make a living with a BA English, Poli. Sci., or Sociology degree and you'll see how tough things really are. I know people with a BA English degree working as editors that make less than 40K. At least with the law degree, you’re in a position to find a reasonable job.

There are jobs out there, but maybe you may have to start as a paralegal initially. This gives the firm an opportunity to get your foot in the door and the firm an opportunity to try you out at a low cost. One other thing, on practically every project, someone mentions that they quit a job at firm because they “weren’t paid the same as what they make temping.” Get over it and stick out the job for six months.

Keep in mind we’re in a pretty severe recession at the moment and things will improve.

Anonymous said...

8:31, I went to law school for three difficult years, passed two bar exams, and took out $120,000+ in NON-DISCHARGABLE student loan debt to be a lawyer, not a paralegal.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 8:59 crybaby, you aren't going to get to be a "lawyer". Boohoo! Go sue your law school. LOL

Anonymous said...

8:31 PM,

In my area of the country (NOT NYC), law firms generally do not hire JD's for paralegal work. It's worse if you're licensed, because the firms assume you will run away as soon as you get an associate's job, or are gunning to be an associate when they don't need one.

I've seen postings for paras that specifically say NO JD's.

I understand that this blog is NY centric because the author works in the NYC area, but NYC is not the whole country.

Apollo said...

9:51, this is a serious discussion of a serious problem. 8:59 is correct. We went to law school and earned the right to be lawyers. Why should we be expected to prove we can do the job we were trained to do by taking a job as a paralegal?

Every option suggested by people thus far to fix our problem is asking us to suffer more, to wait, to 'prove ourselves', and to expect and accept less. No - that is unacceptable. We went to law school and passed one, maybe more, bar exams. We worked just as hard as those from T14 schools. Yet they get all the good jobs and prosper, while we're forced into poverty because we have bills, living expenses, and massive student loan debt, and can't find permanent work that pays a decent salary. No firm will give us a chance.

This unjust system cannot continue. It must be redressed, both pro- and retroactively. Something must be done.

Anonymous said...

Something is being done. The scumbags that have consigned us to second rate attorney status have also destroyed our economy and convinced Congress to use our tax dollars to bail them out. These are the same incompetents that have shipped our jobs to India.

Can you imagine it? Lawyer jobs being performed with out a license in FUCKING INDIA?

It is beyond the realm of comprehension how greedy and disgraceful these corprations and firms are.

We must stop bailing them out! They have failed based on their own horrendous decision making. Let them fail.

No one is going to bail out any of us poor "toileteer" lawyer types.

Anonymous said...

The problem is you all think that doc review is legal work and its not, which is why it can be outsourced. Most states, such as NJ classify it as paralegal work.

Anonymous said...

10:35, then why do you need a license to perform most of it?

Anonymous said...

It is legal work, no question about it. Any responsible team will have attorneys doing the review. No way anyone should be sending it to India, which is completely reckless and potentially damaaging to the client.

Anonymous said...

1035

Link us to the section of NJ ethics codes or an article outlining the provisions that classify document reviews as paralegal work. While you are at it, provide similar citation for other states for the rest of yoru claim.

There are a lot of whiners on this site, but, there are also posters who seem to get their jollies fucking with the whiners.

Anonymous said...

12:02, who do you consider whiners? Just curious. I don't consider anything posted in this discussion to be whining. Rather, I think it's some of the best posting that's been done on this blog for a long time. Hopefully, it will give the Washington Post writer some good information for his story.

Anonymous said...

Define doc. review. Do you mean doc. review in anticipation of litigation or in response to a request for discovery. If it's for anticipation of litigation, my cat could do it for all the bar cares. However, if it's in response to discovery the rules change.

Anonymous said...

I will be waiting along time for citations about document review ethical requirements.

There is a difference between defining a problem and thinking of whining as the ONLY recourse to solve it. Others wrote that it's fine to bitch, but do more than bitch.

One poster compares these pragmatic suggestions to dreaming he could fly, but eventually he has to wake up. How is this hyperbole useful?

Anonymous said...

Oh Wise One,
How do you suggest we solve this problem?

Anonymous said...

Somebody last night claimed that New Jersey defines document review as "paralegal" work - I too am particularly interested in any citation to the Rules of the Supreme Court, Office of Attorney Ethics or most importantly, the Lawyers Fund for Client Protection/Office of Attorney Registration, since I've had to fork out big bucks to them every year to keep my NJ license even though I've done nothing but doc review for a while

give me a pleasant surprise, since that bill will be coming to my house in the next 6-8 weeks

Apollo said...

1:55, the poster was using hyperbole about flying in his/her dreams as a tool to show the impracticality and ridiculousness of the so-called 'pragmatic' suggestions offered here to solve the problems in which we find ourselves.

Every so-called 'pragmatic' suggestion offered here is unacceptable. In fact, I wouldn't consider even them to be 'pragmatic' because they're so unrealistic. They ask us to accept less than we deserve as LICENSED ATTORNEYS. Do pro bono work (no pay) to 'prove ourselves' while our bills are still due? Accept work as a paralegal? Come on, 1:55.

A U.S. licensed attorney made a huge commitment of time, energy, and money to earn their status.

A U.S. licensed attorney went to law school for three long, difficult years and sacrificed other opportunities to get their law degree.

A U.S. licensed attorney studied intensely to pass one, maybe more, bar exams to obtain their license(s).

A U.S. licensed attorney most likely took out enormous NON-DEFERABLE student loans to finance his/her education, loans which need to be paid back.

A U.S. licensed attorney has EARNED their status and doesn't need to prove they deserve to work as an attorney! They ARE an attorney!

(Note that this doesn't apply to the multitude of foreign-born attorneys who study abroad, don't have any student loans, then come to the U.S. to work. They haven't paid their dues here and shouldn't be recognized as U.S. licensed attorneys until they do.)

Appolo said...

NON-DISCHARGABLE student loans, not NON-DEFERABLE. Please excuse my error.

Anonymous said...

one other thing to think about, firms bill it out as legal work, so if its not legal work, then every firm who has billed it out as legal work has committed fraud and they should probably be disbarred.
Also, if its not legal work, then why, even in India, is an U.S. licensed attorney required to oversee the work?
If its not legal work, why do firms, even those who re-classify the job as JD reviewer, require that you actually be a lawyer to do the work?
Sorry, but to me, it seems that the argument that this is not legal work is too cute by half. Its the same as the old story about a kid who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court claiming he is an orphan. Can't have it both ways.
Either it is legal work, or if its not then 90% of the lawyers and partners at these firms need to get disbarred as they violated billing rules and stole from their clients.

Anonymous said...

They want it both ways, 10:37. And they get it both ways because the ABA and state bars allow them to.

Anonymous said...

if its not legal work, then why do conflict rules apply?

Robert said...

My favorite aspect about this is that my taxes are going to help bail out the auto industry, foreclosed or foreclosed-pending homeowners, and others. On the other hand, I cannot get a pre-tax deductions on my student loan payments...all I can get is a pre-tax ded. on my interest, and it is only for the first $60,000. When will it be time to help us out?

Anonymous said...

745

No one suggested that anyone could solve your problems. It was just suggested you do more than whine about them. You know the particulars of your life. Figure out what more you can do other than going from one document review to another. That's the extent of the advice given here. Yet, the response has been pretty much "you are telling us to the impossible." I am not wise. Just know if you do nothing, you are going get nothing. That's just being pragmatic.

Anonymous said...

1031

The poster's hyperbole is exactly why it's whining. It's fatalism. It's not addressing reality it's wallowing in the circumstances to say nothing will ever change.

When I suggested to that poster that he or she, like me, should be thinking of jobs outside of law rather than just staying where we are, I was met with this "there is no way life can ever change" attitude.

That's why it's whining. The hyperbole is only one symptom of the deeper fatalistic attitude. Ultimately, its unhealthy, but I got to say all of this is great emotional help for me to realize from many of you why that's the case.

Anonymous said...

The person who said its considered paralegal work in NJ is a dumb shit. You have to fill in your registration statement stating that you practice law in NJ, and maintain business and a trust account, if you do any document review in the State of New Jersey. I confirmed this with the Audit and IOLTA people.

Anonymous said...

"If its not legal work, why do firms, even those who re-classify the job as JD reviewer, require that you actually be a lawyer to do the work?"

My guess is that this has to do with malpractice premiums, not the nature of the work. For most NYC firms, the entire first-year class isn't admitted until the spring. The first-year associates can still do "legal work," they just have to be supervised.

Anonymous said...

It's just more lies and justification for jetting our jobs offshore, nothing more.

These disgraceful assholes will get what they deserve. I hope they all invested with Madoff!

Anonymous said...

148

There would be no risk requiring higher insurance premium if there were clear rules defining documents as paralegal work. That's simply applying logics to facts.

The purpose of having malpractice insuranc is to protect against risks. The risk here that concerns the insurance company is unauthorized practice of law. Your guess , therefore, proves the opposite of what you think it proves.

You also make another mistake- equating the first year associate to the contract attorney. The supervision is different. Generally, there is far less supervision of the contract attorneys work than that of the associate. This is the reality of the volumn of information reviewed and the review process of the work product of both parties.

Anonymous said...

1:48 maybe where you live first years are not admitted until spring, but in New York, most are DONE by November. Usually they come into a firm in mid-September and spend the the first couple of months getting mentored, how to use billing and time sheet programs, being assigned to a practice group, etc etc. The reality is that first years, even after admission, don't do much, if they are lucky they get to do legal research, but alot of em get stuck on doc review, which is not great because a) they are mad about it and b) they don't really know what they are doing yet.
There is not a single first year who is going to be drafting a motion or a summons and complaint or going to trial.
In a small firm or in government that happens, but not in big firms.
Having said that, once admitted they don't need to be "supervised". At big firms the reality is that they will be, that is part of how they decide who to keep and who to let go, and the salary structure, etc, but a small firm will throw them in the deep end, have em draft motions, going to court, doing client intake etc. Once you are an Attorney, you are an Attorney. Hence the requirement that you be an Attorney to do the work in the first place.
Your argument that it might be part of malpractice insurance requirement proves the point we are making, simply put: It is MALPRACTICE to use NON-ATTORNEYS to do legal work, and the fact that law firms pay big money for insurance is as clear proof of that as anything.
If it was not MALPRACTICE, firms would not be shelling out the extra money to pay for coverage they don't need.

Apollo said...

1:17, maybe the hyperbole is meant to light a fire under all of our asses to stand up for ourselves and take the action you so energetically stand up for.

There is no unity amongst temps - even those who have been temping for a few years and who know each other and are friends - because the great majority are afraid of the agency blacklists. They are afraid to stand up for themselves and each other, thus they accept poor treatment and subpar pay and benefits. That is why conditions are so bad on these projects. It's why there's no union. It also might be a contributing factor why the jobs are being offshored to India - no one fights back in a TANGIBLE manner that will hurt the agencies and firms and force them to take us seriously, other than posting complaints on blogs. (Although simple economics is the larger reason our jobs are sent to India - it's cheaper there.)

Plus, the great majority of temps need the money because they're so far in debt with NON-DISCHARGABLE student loans, in addition to their living expenses. They need the income. THAT is why they continue temping, not because they love document review or they're too lazy to find something else to do. Immediate practical needs (enough income to pay bills and live) outweigh idealism and future goals EVERY time. That's why people have difficulty switching to something permanent or non-legal. Believe me, I know I've tried VERY hard to get out of temping. I continue to try VERY hard. I won't give up, but it's been a steep uphill battle and I feel like I'm losing ground.

The point of the hyperbole is to counter the so-called 'pragmatic' posts here which give unfeasible and unacceptable solutions to the problems we face.

The point of this thread is to give the Washington Post writer and any other journalist information they can then use to help us advance our cause. Calling others 'whiners' is counter-productive. Let's try to unite for once instead of being divided. If we unite, we can succeed in bettering our situation. Remain divided and the staus quo won't just stay the same, but will get even worse.

Anonymous said...

331

The hyperbole seems to be about fatalism or "nothing changes." I certainly hope your interpretation is correct. I would prefer your view because it would mean people are going to stand up.

The problem with the hyperbole is that it does not seem to stem from standing up. Rather, instead, it seems to lead to justifications for accepting things as they are. "I have no choice, but to accept these conditions because to think otherwise is to think I am dreaming of flying" is how I viewed the comments. Again, I hope I am wrong, and, you are right.

Anonymous said...

If you take the exam in July, you are not admitted by Nov. I took the Febuary, found out my results in May and wasn't admitted till November 20th.

Anonymous said...

Admissions to the NY bar (assuming you are referencing NY) can be long or short depending on how fast they get to your application. For some people, it's quick. For others, it is slow. So, trying to discern a 1 size fit all rule based on your experience is a mistake.

Anonymous said...

response to 6:26

I'm the original "6:10"

You're right, I didn't go into law school thinking I'd live on ramen noodles every night. Nor did that actually happen. Truth be told, I had ramen maybe three times a week at most. Throw in a couple "lean cuisine" type frozen dinners a week, and then go out a couple times a week. If it was ramen non-stop all the time, my meal expenses would be like 2 bucks a week, right? Of course you shouldn't do that.

Am I saying you should expect to live a "subsistence living" after law school? Yes, but for the first year or so. You should be moving on up. And that was the point. Take a lower paying job and suck it up for one or two years. It sucks, I'm sure.

Did I expect something like this going into law school? Yes and no. I was hoping for the best, but part of me wanted to be a prosecutor and I knew those salaries would suck. So yes, I was partially prepared for it.

Would I live such a subsistence living forever? No. Not by a long shot. Like I said, do it for a year or two and then move up. If you can't, then by all means go back to temping. I was trying to make the point that it's possible to live on 50k (as opposed to IMpossible, like many argue), not that you should live on 50k for the rest of your natural life.

Of course, I believe people deserve better, even if brand new to the working world. But reality is reality, and I don't like people arguing that something is impossible when it isn't. It's not ideal, or even fair, but not impossible. Once again, just do it for a year or whatever. And lastly, I'm not telling you to do it, just that it's possible, okay? to each his own.

Anonymous said...

I'm 6:26 (and I think we should all start using screen names, lol.) I understand that it's possible to live on 50K a year. Here are the problems:
1.shitlaw firms are now offering $35 K a year to start. Check CL if you don't believe me.
2. most (albeit not all) low tier law school grads whom I know and have tried that career path, slave away for a few years, and never climb that ladder. And once they have that experience, other shitlaw firms won't touch them because they know they won't fall for the same trick twice. It's kind of like what happens to most associates at Big Law firms, except they make a helluva lot more than we do.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what's going on in White Plains on the project Hudson is staffing?

Anonymous said...

I should make it clear. I am one of the peo who think there is a little too much whining going on here, but that does not mean I advocate going into shitlaw. That's as bad as doc rev land.

Anonymous said...

If its real legal work, how come non of us can leverage into a job at a real law firm? Keep lying to ourselves about our importance, we are all screwed.

Anonymous said...

848

There is a difference between document reviews being legal work (admittedly first year associate work), and how that work is a) useful for moving to other positions and/or b) perceived by employers. One question has nothing to do with the other.

If you prefer an analogy, your post is like saying that a doctor who only diagnosis patiences is not doing medical work that doctors do because he or she does not engage in the other skills involved in practicing medicine. The problem is not whether this is legal work or medicine. The problem is that alone the legal work of document reviews is insufficient legal work to create transferable skills.

Anonymous said...

848

By the way, a follow up:

I suspect you have never performed legal work outside of documet reviews. And, if you have, you never thought about what you were doing.

Facts analysis is a basic part of the work products lawyers must do. You can not litigate a case or negotiate a deal with out the context that facts analysis provides.

Being legal analysis is not the problem with document reviews. The problem is that I would do this kind of anlaysis as only a very small part of my greater duties, which also included analyzing the law, writing, dealing with clients, dealing with opposing parties, etc.

It's like they divided up the labor of what an attorney does, and we were left with the least interesting analytical aspect.

Anonymous said...

Hudson told me that the White Plains project has been delayed, and they have no idea when (read "if") it will start. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

There are other projects starting.

Anonymous said...

Such as? Do any sound promising?

Anonymous said...

This is a follow up comment to 7:19 who wrote:

"Iunderstand that it's possible to live on 50K a year. Here are the problems:
1.shitlaw firms are now offering $35 K a year to start. Check CL if you don't believe me.
2. most (albeit not all) low tier law school grads whom I know and have tried that career path, slave away for a few years, and never climb that ladder. And once they have that experience, other shitlaw firms won't touch them because they know they won't fall for the same trick twice."

_____________________________

I can beat all of you. My first job out of Brooklyn Law several years ago was at an insurance defense shit firm that paid $29.500/year (non-admitted). The salary was advertised as "$500 a week". I had no choice but to take it because my grades were piss awful (bottom 10% of my class) and my bar results were even murkier at the time.

I am pretty sure there were only 5 people who sent their resumes to that job listing, and I was one of them.

To add insult to the injury, my salary was bumped up to $37K upon bar admission.

Somehow, on 37K a year - I actually made a living. I came out with roughly $70K in student loan debt (I went to a cheap state college and lived at home during law school). I made double payments on my student loans because my rent was pretty low (yes, even though I lived with my parents, they charged me a couple hundred dollars a month in rent).

No, I did not eat at fancy restaurants. My lunch at work was mostly brown-bagged or the "3 dollar hot dog and a soda" special from the chicken truck on the corner of Broadway and Fulton in NYC.

But 2 years later, I did climb out of it. I landed a lateral job at 70K which then led to my current job at $87K.

5 years after graduating from law school and I was able to (1) buy a small condo/co-op in Brooklyn, (2) buy a new car, and (3) significantly pay down debt.

I also have to mention that I have done all this and have not yet reached the age of 35. By the time I am 35, I will be married and moving into a home with my significant other (we are now engaged) in Roslyn Heights, NY. My student loan debt will be 35K at most since I am on target to pay it off well before the 30 years I had originally estimated.

To make a long story short - yea its a long hard road. But if you snooze, you lose.

Hustling is the name of the game, and either you know how to do it, or you don't.

Best of luck to my fellow TTT'ers who are just starting out.

Anonymous said...

Hi 6:26,

I'm the original 6:10 (and coincidentally the repeat 6:10)

I do agree, there should be a screenname option. haha.

35k is ridiculous and shouldn't be entertained. Hopefully there are much better opportunities out there in the near future.
I wish you the best of luck in 2009!

Anonymous said...

12:13,
Thanks for your inspiring story. I would just point out that it takes place over the better part of a decade. Sadly, what was possible even a few years ago, isn't now. The jobs are evaporating. Listings on Craigslist, Monster, etc. are getting noticably fewer by the day.

Also, I noticed how you carefully avoided the gender of your "significant other." Let me take a wild guess that you're female? We guys generally don't have the option of looking good and marrying up into Roslyn Heights. Such as life...

Anonymous said...

yeah 12:13 also you only came out with only 70k in debt that is way way lower (in many cases only half) than what most people come out with now.
Also, many of us live far away from parents, or no longer have parents, so living with them is not an option.
Essentially what you did was "have mommy" pay it off for you, so that really does take the shine off of your story a bit. You got bailed out, pure and simple.
If one only has to pay a few hundred bucks in rent, then the numbers improve, but most of us don't have the option to live some where for basically free.
In addition, none of us are "eating at fancy restaurants" we don't have the money in the first place to do that, and when you and others say things like that it really implies that if we were just not so irresponsible this would all work out fine, when the truth of the matter is that we have no choice but to be frugal and already are out of necessity.
It also seems that you got out of law school roughly 10 years ago, and thanks to rising costs 35K went a lot farther back then. In 10 years health care costs have doubled, law school tuition has more than doubled, energy costs have doubled, and food costs have also more than doubled, and rents are up by more than 25%.
The fact is that despite that, we are still expected to survive on 1998 salary, and those numbers don't work.
That is something, in addition to several other issues, that you seemed to not have picked up on.

Anonymous said...

11:13,

I think the point of 12:13’s post is that the situation isn’t hopeless. As a new lawyer you have no marketable skills. You don’t know how to be a lawyer and the only thing you have to offer employers is that you’ll work hard and eventually learn to be a lawyer (Note that big firms can pay big salaries because they have work available like document review and due diligence that junior associates can work on and that the firm can bill a lot of money for. That type of work doesn’t exist in the world of small law – when it does, clients will only pay paralegal rates for it). In order to earn a larger salary in the world of small law, you have to be able to generate a proportionate amount of revenue. That doesn’t mean being bringing in clients, but it does mean knowing how to handle the matters that small firms work on with minimal assistance (divorces, criminal cases, residential real estate closings, contract reviews, slip and fall cases, etc.) At that point you’re valuable to a firm and they’ll pay you accordingly. If they don’t pay you accordingly, you can either leave for a new firm or start your own (usually with a handful of classmates or colleagues in similar situations). Over time you will build up a client base, a reputation etc. In 15 years you’re the one who needs to hire associates.

Now, I’m not arguing that the situation doesn’t suck, because it does. It’s extraordinarily hard to support yourself on 35k a year while still paying your loans. You’ll probably need to defer your federal loans indefinitely and arrange for some sort of interest only payment schedule with your private borrowers. You’ll have to live in a crap are like Queens or the Bronx, and you’ll probably need a lot of roommates. But if you get the experience, you’ll be able to command a higher salary. If you don’t get experience, the best you’ll get are rapidly evaporating contract jobs that require a warm body and admission to a bar.

Anonymous said...

I am the 12:13 posted.

I just need to clarify a few things that were added after my post last night:

# 1: I graduated from college in 1998 and have been practicing law for under 5 years. So I do not think my situation (financially) was THAT much different from those that have graduated in 2006 or afterward. I graduated after 9/11 so I know that the job market stunk since 2002 to the present.

# 2: As you guessed it, yes I am female. However my future husband doesn't live in Roslyn Heights now. We plan to move there once we sell the houses we live in now (he owns a 2 bedroom house in another section of Nassau (no, not Hempstead) while I have my condo/co-op in the outer boroughs (Brooklyn/Queens).

# 3: My parents didn't contribute a DIME toward me 70K loan debt. I paid off 10K while I still lived w/ them and contributed to rent and household expenses. I actually earn MORE than both my parents combined since they weren't even born in the USA and spoke little to no English when they came here.

# 4: there are cheap rents available in Queens and Brooklyn that doesn't require roommates or living in true ghetto neighborhoods like Elmhurst, Jackson Heights or East New York/Bushwick in Brooklyn. You just have to know where to look
(I have seen $1,000 for a studio in Bayside, Queens for instance).

# 5: my point is this - yeah times are gonna suck, but if you are creative with finances, know when to borrow and when to defer loans - and maximize opportunities that are available to you, you will be okay.

I agree this market is probably the worst since the early 1990s. This market is bad for everyone, NOT just recent law graduates. Everyone is hurting - but once it goes down, it can only go up.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Actually, most experts claim this is the worst economy since the '30's. As far as having to learn how to be a lawyer, um, didn't I just spend three years of my life and six figures of my future income to do that? If not, where do I go to get those years and that money back?
All I know is I tell my friends and family who are thinking of going to law school to be careful, because if you don't do well at a top school, you're in trouble. That said, things are tough all over right now, and I've heard horror stories from other professions (especially doctors) too. Believe it or not, they're outsourcing reading of x-rays and talk therapy now too. If this continues, I think we will look back at 2008 as the good old days.

Anonymous said...

I am not here to whine. The fact is that I spent an unGodly amount of time and money on this law degree. I then spent time and money to pass a character review and Bar Exam. Now after a few years of struggling there is no silver lining. In most fields, you have a few years of time to "pay your dues" then things get better. Not here. I'm pissed. If the ABA could do 6 things to make this better here is what they are:
1) Stop accrediting new LAwschools 200+ is more than enough, close some.
2) have Law schools have prerequisites such as medschool to dissuade applicants.
3) remove part time Law school programs.
4) have a fourth year required matching residency for LAw students e.g. the UK
5) Stop legal work being done overseas by non-licensed lawyers.
6) put a reign on BigLaw

Anonymous said...

-Stop admitting foreign llm non JDs to practice.

Anonymous said...

1:19 and 1:25 are both right. You should learn how to actually practice law in law schools, but you don't. I think a residency program similar to what exists for medical schools would go a long way to fixing the problem. At the very least it will let new grads defer their loans for a couple years while they learn.

Anonymous said...

Re: Problems to be solved

Wage Deflation

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/1/6/85124/90803/713/680687

Since the 1970s wages in the US have remained stagnant or deflated while costs have continued to rise ouf whack with wages. Add to this the export of jobs, and you see why we face what other Americans have been facing for a while. This is, in actuallity, a larger story than us.

It calls into question the idea of free market capitalism based on laissez faire principles. We see a systematic dismanttling of the American middle class.

With these sorts of pressures, it is not surprising many face a middle class squeeze. We are just part of a greater problem going on in the American economy. We aren't producing jobs that sustain a middle class, and that will eventually lead to further economic collapse until its addressed.

Re Guy who lived at home

I agree that your story is less impressive because you had a lot of outside support.

Who paid for your other meals? For the utilities and other expenses while you lived at home? Where did you get the down payment on your house? Let's say it cost you minimally 300k for totoal price of the house- that's still a lot for a down payment. Where did you get it?

I'm not disparaging your accomplishment for you personally. But, first, it's clear that it was not done alone. So like others I question stories transfereability to others.

Second, what you are earning after 5 years is still bottom of the barrel , and we do not know if the law you do is substantive law or just shitlaw. Did you tell us did your work improve such that you have real transferable skills? Going from one shit law that pays horrible to another than pays slightly better is not that greater after five years of subsidization.

Anonymous said...

The solution is not to extend law school. The solution is to close 50+ of these disgraceful diploma mills, e.g. Cooley and Touro and many others that are just profit centers that offer no hope the bulk of their grads.

Make the coursework 1.5 years and add a compulsory .5 year practice and ethics clinic. The total of 2 years would greatly reduce debt and get the grads out in the workforce more quickly.

This would also allow the students to pursue public interest law. The key is to kill the law school "industry" mentality and get back to serving the students that are paying the tuition. Schools need to refocus on training students to be lawyers rather than forcing a liberal arts degree in legal history with the socratic method and silly arcane sidelights in the law like the Rule in Shelley's Case.

Let's overhaul legal education, with its central purpose not on making money and creating law prof jobs, but rather training people to be competent lawyers at a reasonable cost.

Anonymous said...

The Peak Prject just ended. The "three month" project went four days and two of those were not even full days. Also, check the NY state unemployment office website. They just issued a press release admitting they can't keep up with the numbers of claims being submitted. Those Albany bureacrats are freaking out cause they now have to work and are refusing to even review claims. This is total bullshit. I am sitting in a $5 for three hours internet gamer place in Chinatown submitting resumes in response to craigslist ads. Next to me some geek is watching porn. The thought crossed my mind. Do I take it up the ass from this geek so I can pay rent? I then remembered that I am a document review attorney. I take it up the ass from everyone.

Anonymous said...

Agree with suggestions so far. I would also say part of the solution is an enforceable standard that requires schools to disclose real employment numbers to students before they take on any loans from that school.

Rather than waiting until after someone attends a school, the regulations should require them to disclose as a condition of accepting the students money. I suspect the real numbers would cut down demand for these crappy schools fairly quickly.

The other factor is to cut out using law school as a way to finance other programs. What I mean is to cut tuition. Tuition should not be 35 k for even the top law schools. Financially, there is nothing that they are offering in the way of facilities or professors that justifies this cost. It's not like its a science program where you may need bleeding edge tech.

This is just a way for the school to funnel money into law school professors income and to support non-profitable programs off of the backs of law school students.

Anonymous said...

Well, now that we have no jobs and no hope of working document review again, what's stopping us?

Now is the time to do something, because we have nothing to lose! They have officially sent the doc review work to India. There are NO projects out there, in the pipeline. We are officially kicked out of the legal profession and penniless.

Anonymous said...

2:34 - we all offer the ass we have to the ones who want it.

Anonymous said...

Sort of off topic, but since we doc reviewers have to start looking elsewhere for work, I will bring it up. We all had to do 85 credits to get the JD. People getting MA's often do only 35 to 40credits. Why does the Federal government give the JD the same treatment as a MA for non-legal jobs?

Apollo said...

Does anyone have accurate information about what occurs when you default on a private student loan?

I realize it's very ungodlike of me, being Apollo and all, but times are tough, even for immortals like myself. With all you mortals out of work and unable to offer me tribute, I need to go out and get a job. Unfortunately, there isn't any work out there, even on Mt. Olympus.....

Anonymous said...

Pride was gone a long time ago. Try doing paralegal doc review, hoping that you can find a JD doc review. I'm in another major city, and even doc reviews are drying up. Forget full time jobs, I'd just like to work with other people that have these useless JD degrees.

Anonymous said...

652

It's complicated and will depend on the terms of the private loans. They are not subject to the same statutory limits as federal loans, but this also gives you a bargaining advantage. They do not have prioritization when it comes to repayment should your debts go bad.

Meaning, if you have to pay your loans, and you were ever sued on the issue, they would take a back seat to the public loans. How can you use this?

You can politely tell them- look- I got to pay my public loans as well. I know what the terms are, but can we renegotiate regarding deferrals and forebearances. They may say no, but it worked for me once in the past.

I don't think, however, they are dischargeable either. I may be wrong on this because I never let it get to the default stage. Just used the consequences of them fighting me over extensions as a way to bring them into line.

I hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Elmhurt and Jackson Heights are "true ghetto neighborhoods?" Since when??

Enjoy Roslyn Heights, 12:13, you boring twat.

Anonymous said...

7:19 (6:26)
That’s BS.

If you’re good at shitlaw, within 6 months to a year they pay you. If your boss sucks and won’t give you the money, then it’s time to move into solo or find another gig. If you haven’t been screwing up you’ll get a reasonable reference and the salary will improve.

My experience with law in NYC is that it is trial by fire. If you’re smart, then you’re making the money within a short period of time. If not, then you’re used as slave labor or fired.

Regardless, doc. review sucks. Don’t make a career of it. Take any opportunity to move out of it.

Success is 50% brilliance and 50% diligence. If things don’t work out the first time in shitlaw, fix your mistakes and try again. You have to make the effort to get out of the situation that you are in. Success in law is a marathon. Above all, don’t give up.

Anonymous said...

What? "Fix your mistakes"? "Try again"? Wouldn't that imply taking personal responsibility?

We contract "attorneys" don't do that. The agencies OWE us. Our law schools OWE us.

Have you not been reading this redundant blog for the last 3 years?

Anonymous said...

uh, no its not the blog about how law schools and agencies owe us, its the blog about how people are victims of the deceptive practices and fraud of the legal industry, nice try though with the typical smear tactic of blaming the victims. You are not fooling anyone with that nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Law.com today contained a story on
lead Cravath partner's article announcing the death of the billable hour. How far behind the curve has he been in terms of the reality of market needs for the client. The question becomes, how will this impact our little temp lives, if at all or if more negatively than always.

Anonymous said...

re: legal effect on defaulting on private student loan. You need to speak to an attorney in creditors' rights/BK. Depends on the scope of your assets prior to being involuntarily moved into Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 - unless they have really really nice people working in their "work-out department" who will allow you to restructure on payments. Not a good idea, however, to default. Go for a restructure.

Anonymous said...

"how will it affect our temp lives"...considering there is no work now, it is unlikely to change much.

I think the non-billable hour think is just a ruse. Law firms are not changing their model anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey 2:34, was that the $30 flat Peak gig? Helene Diamond emailed me like 5 times to get me on that turd of a gig. I said "no way."

Is it really over already? Wow.

That White Plains gig that was on the Hudson listserv last week never happened. They have "postponed it indefintley."

This industry is all but over. I don't see it picking up. Its been basically dead since Labor Day and the start of the financial meltdown.

BTW why did you take that Peak shit at $30? Taking those shitrates only encourages these scumbags to screw us even worse.

Anonymous said...

Hi 9:07,
You write, "If your boss sucks and won’t give you the money, then it’s time to move into solo or find another gig. If you haven’t been screwing up you’ll get a reasonable reference."
Huh? The same boss who sucks will give you a reasonable reference? Do you think before you write? Or read what you wrote?
As one of the people whom you responded to, I maintain they call it "shitlaw" for a reason. At least in doc review, assuming there's any left, I get paid, and I don't have to trust shitlaw attorneys who'd do in their own mom if there were a buck to somehow be made in it.

Anonymous said...

"Elmhurt and Jackson Heights are "true ghetto neighborhoods?" Since when??

Enjoy Roslyn Heights, 12:13, you boring twat."

______

I guess you live in one of those neighborhoods huh? Hey, not knockin' you - but hearing the "7" train rumble past your window located above the bodega on the corner of Roosevelt & Junction Blvd can get very annoying.

-the 12:13 poster and proud to be a "boring twat"

Anonymous said...

"Hi 9:07,
You write, "If your boss sucks and won’t give you the money, then it’s time to move into solo or find another gig. If you haven’t been screwing up you’ll get a reasonable reference."

Huh? The same boss who sucks will give you a reasonable reference? Do you think before you write? Or read what you wrote?"

9:53
___________________________
I think what he/she meant to write was:

"if you work at a crappy firm that doesn't pay you well or give you a decent environment/benefits and you aren't doing so great there, then you need to leave.

However, if you have been doing well at said firm and believe its worth staying there, then its worth it to secure a reference to use for your next law firm job."

Maybe you need a lesson in learning to read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

hah hah hah _ indian outsource firm admits fraud (from WSJ)

BANGALORE -- Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Chairman B. Ramalinga Raju Wednesday resigned admitting to falsifying company accounts and inflating revenue and profit figures over several years, sending the company's shares plunging 78%.

In a letter to the company's board, which was released to the Bombay Stock Exchange, Raju said that Satyam had inflated its operating profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 to 6.49 billion rupees ($136 million) from 610 million rupees reported previously, while revenue was inflated to 27 billion rupees from 21.12 billion rupees. It had reported an operating margin of 24% which was actually 3%.


Bloomberg News/Landov
Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju
Raju also said Satyam's balance sheet as of Sept. 30 had a non-existent cash balance of 50.4 billion rupees; nonexistent accrued interest of 3.76 billion rupees; an understated liability of 12.3 billion rupees; and an overstated debtor position of 4.9 billion rupees compared with 26.51 billion rupees reflected in its books.

"This has resulted in artificial cash and bank balances going up by 5.88 billion rupees in the second quarter alone," said the executive.

The latest revelation comes after Satyam raised investors' wrath when it announced Dec. 16 it was planning to buy out Maytas Properties Ltd. and acquire a 51% stake in Maytas Infra Ltd. -- two companies in which its founders Chairman Raju and his brother, Managing Director B. Rama Raju, have stakes in. But a few hours later, it canceled the plan after analysts and shareholders criticized the move.

Since then, shares in Satyam have plunged on concerns about corporate governance and the company announced the resignation of four directors, bringing its current board size to five from nine. The Hyderabad-based company also said last month it planned hold a board meeting Saturday to consider strategic options to enhance shareholder value, raising speculation it would seek to merge with another software company.

But that plan is now in question as DSP Merrill Lynch, which was appointed by the company to advise on strategic options ahead of the board meeting, said it had terminated its engagement with the company.

"The aborted Maytas deal was the last attempt to fill the fictitious assets with real ones," Mr. Raju said. "I am now prepared to subject myself to the laws of the land and face consequences thereof."

The founders' concern was the company would become a takeover target if its poor performance was exposed, given that they held a small stake in the company, he said.

Earlier in the day, Satyam said that its founders' stake has fallen to 3.6% from 5.1% after institutional lenders sold the stock.

More on Satyam
Raju's Resignation LetterSatyam StatementRecent Satyam News
Satyam Says Its Founders' Stake Is at Risk
12/30/08Satyam Computer Considers Its Options
12/28/08Satyam Drops Deals as Chairman's Ties Are Hit
12/18/08Satyam Net Rises 42%, Sales 39%
10/20/08Mr. Raju said that none of its board members or senior executives had knowledge of the company's falsified financial results. Managing Director B. Rama Raju also resigned his post.

"We are obviously shocked by the contents of the letter. The senior leaders of Satyam stand united in their commitment to customers, associates, suppliers and all shareholders," Ram Mynampati, board member -- whose appointment as interim chief executive is pending ratification by the board -- said in a separate statement.

Mr. Mynampati said Satyam's immediate priorities are to protect the interests of its shareholders, the careers of its roughly 53,000 employees, and meet all its commitments to its customers and suppliers.

Satyam's clients include General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Applied Materials Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sony Corp.

A Nissan spokeswoman said the company had no current plan to cancel its outsourcing partnership with Satyam but would closely watch the situation.

Sony confirmed that the company has a business relationship with Satyam but a spokesman gave no further comment.

Satyam will cooperate with relevant regulatory authorities to investigate this matter, Mynampati said.

"Satyam is now India's Enron. The independence of the board was already in question, now the auditors' complicity in what seems to be a multi-year misstatement of financials will also be explored," CLSA said in a note.

Price Waterhouse, which is the company's auditor, said it will issue a statement later Wednesday.

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India said Wednesday the unfolding fraud at Satyam is an event of "horrifying magnitude."

"Our main efforts are to make sure whatever facts are available with any regulatory agency are put out, and investors know the truth," C. B. Bhave said in an interview with local business television channel, CNBC TV18. Mr. Bhave said the country's capital markets regulator is in touch with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, adding that there is a need for coordinated action on the issue.

P.C. Gupta, the federal minister for company affairs, described the Satyam fiasco as a "shameful act." He said that government will take coordinated action with the Securities and Exchange Board Of India, or SEBI.

Shares in India's fourth largest software exporter by revenue, closed down 77.7% to 39.95 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange, pulling the benchmark index down 7.3%.

"This is a monumental scandal. It is terrible for the Indian IT industry," said Jagdish Malkani, country head at TAIB Capital Corp.

The news had a ripple effect on the sector with the 14-stock BSE IT Index closing down 9.3% at 2128.16. But IT majors Wipro Ltd. and Infosys Technologies Ltd. bucked the trend on hopes of gaining clients from Satyam. Wipro ended 0.6% higher at close to 243.30 rupees, while Infosys Technologies gained 1.7% to close at 1187.10 rupees.

Analysts said it was far too soon to say how much further Satyam shares might fall, though they predicted a continued impact on the tech sector and the market as a whole.

"This shakes the very confidence of investors in corporates. The company had (inflated its profit and revenue) and yet the auditors had no clue of the damage. The fear now is investors will disown the stock," said Deven Choksey, managing director of Mumbai-based K.R. Choksey Shares and Securities.

However Porinju Veliyath, director at Equity Intelligence, said "investors trapped with Satyam shares probably should not sell the stock now, as the government's priority will be to save Satyam because of its large" staff of 50,000 or so."

—John Satish Kumar contributed to this article.
Write to Romit Guha at romit.guha@dowjones.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123131072970260401.html?mod=testMod

Anonymous said...

10:49 - An article about a single Indian company, which is not a legal outsourcer, is hardly persuaisive evidence of your implied thesis that Indian firms are untrustworthy. One could compile a large list of American companies guilty of fraud. Remember Enron, for example?

Anonymous said...

1023,
If you're going to stay there, why request a reference? And don't tell me it's to hedge your bets, because your boss is thinking you have exactly that motive, and treat you that way going forward. And a reasonable reference (whatever that means) will still be double-checked by future employers, hence if you leave on bad terms, said past employer can certainly revise it in the ensuing conversation. Still waiting for those reading lessons...

Anonymous said...

hi 1143 aka david perla,
how does it feel that the gravy train is running on empty? You're just one notch above us, and don't fool yourself you're going to emerge from this Depression unscathed. Few will, and I doubt a fellow TTT lawyer such as yourself, will be one of them.

Anonymous said...

They are all untrustworthy, I've never met an honest Indian, they're all scam artists, especially the one's who escaped some rat-hole in India and came over here. (Most likely by immigration fraud)

Anonymous said...

9:18 I was out for three weeks before I took the $30 hour gig. I was also out two weeks in September and two weeks in April, all unwillingly. I was actively looking and sending out resumes for both temp jobs and permanent jobs. Also, the project was supposed to go three months. I figured I would jump off the gig once the market picked up.

Anonymous said...

What's the deal with unemployment? I can't get through to them to get my check.

Anonymous said...

And guess which U.S. Consulates worldwide reports the most documented cases of visa fraud: the ones in India.

Anonymous said...

11:43 AM - MY "implied thesis", I'm not sure you can glean that from my minimal comments. I wasn't trying to connect this fraud to Enron, but if you feel so predisposed, I won't stop you.

The larger point is of course, that indeed there is fraud everywhere. Why on earth would you have to go to India to save money when the risks of fraud are as great or greater than those here in the USA, where you can keep closer watch on your confidential work product.

What kind of a cheapskate dummy would send their work to Mumbai with everything that is going there and that fact is is almost 10,000 miles away?

Anonymous said...

11:52: This is 11:43, and pretty much everything you think you know about me is wrong. I am not David Perla, am not "one notch above" you, and did not go to a TTT. I did however learn something about not jumping to conclusions, and I don't think that the article established the theory that was implicitly advanced.

Anonymous said...

11:55

You assume that people behave rationally. They don't. Check out behavior economics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_economics

The problem is that we have been taught to think only of this quarter.

Your question could be asked of Lehman Brothers managers. Why did they ignore long term risk?

The answer is human psychology. Agencies and firms see cheaper wages, and, therefore, acting in bandwagon, they ignore the costs and risks.

Europe and the world describe American business management as gambling on a spree in Las Vegas.

Anonymous said...

11:55 - You have a source for your claim? Moreover, even if it is true that visa fraud occurs at greater numbers in India, one would expect greater numbers in a country with one billion people. Or are you saying that the RATE of fraud is higher?

Anonymous said...

11:53 - people in general are untrustworthy. I don't think Indians are any more so than others.

Anonymous said...

The level of racism and economic naivite on this site explain why so many of you are in the situation you now find yourselves.

Anonymous said...

129 and 139,
me thinks the lady doth protest too much. We are all temp attorneys here. I can pretend to be the Queen of England online; it doesn't make it so. And as sad as it is to be doc reviewer, it would be even more pathetic if you were real attorneys just trolling here.

Anonymous said...

Once the cheap hacks trying to steal our jobs are exposed as charlatans, they immediately cry "racism". Pretty sad.

You do realize, of course, that the jobs being exported are disprortianately people of color. How does your gibbering babble of "racism" hold any water? Going for the lowest bidder in a third wolrd country 10,000 miles away is incredibly short sighted and greedy on the part of American businesses. It has zero to do with race, except for the thousands of African American attorneys who are having their jobs exported.

Anonymous said...

1:54- certainly there are numerous false alter egos on the internet; my sex life is largely satisifed this way. But I don't know why anyone would pretend to be a doc reviewer. You, of course, are free to believe whatever you see fit.

Anonymous said...

Once the cheap hacks trying to steal our jobs are exposed as charlatans, they immediately cry "racism". Pretty sad.
---
This comment is faulty in two key ways. First, I am one of your fellow American doc reviewers, hardly a "cheap hack trying to steal our jobs." Second, the racism here is blatant and is objectively discernable regardless of one's position on outsourcing to India. Naked and absolutist claims that all Indians are untrustworthy or fraudulent are clearly racist. You cannot possibly make such a claim about an entire people, especially one that constiutes one quarter of the human race.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote: "Going for the lowest bidder in a third wolrd country 10,000 miles away is incredibly short sighted and greedy on the part of American businesses. It has zero to do with race, except for the thousands of African American attorneys who are having their jobs exported."
---
It may or may not be short-sighted and of course it has zero to do with race. No one said it did. The claim of racism was not that racism motivated outsourcing, but rather that racism was rampant among those Americans who see themselves as its victims (e.g., statements to the effect of "All Indians are untrustworthy.") That is a racist statement, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster who said there is a fair amount of racism in SOME of these posts. The post about visa fraud is REALLY over the top and clearly indicates that poster is compmletly unfamilar with the visa system and immigration in general.
While there maybe Indians who commit visa fraud, there is also an institutional wide problem with U.S.C.I.S. being corrupt and selling visas to the highest bidder which said poster is either ignorant of, of willfully omits.
Our own government employees are responsible for a MUCH larger percentage of visa and immigration fraud. If you don't believe me, travel to any third world county and walk into our embassy there and see it first hand.
Having said that, Perla's claim that Indian workers (I will not call them attorneys because if they are not licensed in the U.S. they are NOT lawyers as far as I and the law are concerned) are inherently better than U.S. attorneys is also blatant racism. Both are wrong and shameful.
People, keep your eye on the ball here, the real problem with outsourcing to India is that 1) non-licensed people are doing legal work, while in the U.S. you have to be a lawyer to do this work, this is NOT a level playing field, and 2)such practice should be considered malpractice and practicing law without a license and those engaged in it should be prosecuted 3) it also raises other issues such as client confidentiality, and whether export laws are being broken, possible violations of foreign corrupt practices act, etc, etc which should be prosecuted.
Some will keep trying to turn this into some sort of "moral" issue and argue free market "get over it loser, stop whining that somebody owes you" but the reality is this is anything BUT free market forces at work, and is in fact nothing short of criminal activity.

Anonymous said...

2:33 wrote: "non-licensed people are doing legal work, while in the U.S. you have to be a lawyer to do this work."
--
Let us leave aside for a moment the thorny question of whether document review is or is not "legal work." It is not "unauthorized practice of law" for an Indian attorney to practice law in India under the authority of an Indian license. Moreover, aren't there a great many doc reviewers in the US who perform doc review without a license to do so where they do it? Is this not the unauthorized practice of law? Why do you have a problem with an Indian lawyer practicing in India, but not with a California lawyer practicing in New York?

Anonymous said...

To 3:00
It's not unauthorized practice of law for and Indian lawyer to practic INDIAN law in India with an Indian law license. It is UPL, if this Indian is practicing California law in India (or anywhere else)with jus an an Indian law license, or less. Especially since the opinions sanctioning legal outsourcing require strict supervision requirements in order for it not to be UPL.

Anonymous said...

One thing that irks me about the scum who push India LPO's is the intellectual dishonesty.
The make a number of illogical claims. First the emphasize that India's law system is based on the English Common law. While this is true, it is also irrelevant in most cases. These Indian "Lawers" aren't handling common law slip and falls in mall parking lots, they are working on US statutory and regulatory laws, which aren't part of the English common law. Second, they downplay it and say lawyers don't have to do it. If that's true, then why do they hire Indian lawyers and not just Indian college grads? If its about cost savings, should't we be hiring lower paid/less educated Indians as well?

Anonymous said...

3:12 said "It is UPL, if this Indian is practicing California law in India (or anywhere else)with jus an an Indian law license, or less."
--
I am not completely sure what you mean by "practicing California law in India"; the only thing I can think you mean is working on a California-related matter in India, or perhaps researching or analyzing California law while in India. But this sort of thing happens in the US all the time. A lawyer in New York will assist his partner in LA on a California case while still located in New York, or he may analyze an opinion from the Cali supreme court. Is such a lawyer practicing California law in New York, and if so, is that not also ULP? I don't think your theory has any support in law or ethics opinions, but if you have some, please do share.

Anonymous said...

3:18 - you misunderstand the significance of India's being a common law jurisdiction. It's not that they are filling out common law writs, but rather the nature of legal proceedings in general and the relationship between a counselor and his client in particular.

Why not just hire lesser-educated Indians? Why on earth would they do that? Perhaps they are hiring people at precisely the educational level that is needed for the job.

Anonymous said...

COMMON LAW- SETTLING THE IGNORANCE

Many of you do not seem to know what common law means. All common law denotes is that a system was based on the English system of legal analysis rather than Germany or France (the two rival systems in Europe). Common law is based on judge decided precedents while Civil law (the structures of France and Germany) is based on a civil code.

This dervives from the English system. Saying that a country is a common law country tells you nothing of how its rules of ethics have evolved separately from one another or from England. For example, India's system of common law is a mixture of English law and Hindu law.


Here's a wiki link for the lazy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law#Common_law_legal_systems_in_the_present_day


The key difference between comparing an attorney trained in the U.S. (regardless of state) to an attorney trained in India is that we are generally trained on the law as it has evolved in the U.S. We generally learn the rules of federal procedures for discovery. Rule 11, anyone? We are also taught generally ethical standards as they apply in the U.S. We have to take a separate exam on ethics, remember that?

I think, as I have said, part of the problem is that many of you discount the training and testing involved in your having gone through law school (even shitty laws) and the additional testing involved in your becoming attorneys.

Document reviews, and this is not a "question mark" as some of you write, is pretty much first year asscoiate or lower level attorney work. It's what attorneys of all strips have to do as a part of the fact pattern analysis of law. There is no way around this for any attorney, including partners. That's why they are ultimately involved in this. It's a part of the discovery process. Just because it feels like automated factory work does not mean that it has automated concepts behind the legal questions often involved in fact based analysis.

Finally, saying that whatever education level they find in India to do the work si the educational level required is circular. The determinant can not be the thing itself or else it's not a standard at all. By that logic if they decided to go to China to obtain lawyers next, then that's okay because that's the standard that they thought was needed.

The unanswered question is not what they think is needed. The unanswered question is what is the objective standards that the Courts and local bars will require. No one knows that.

Its a question of first impression since because outsourcing is a new approach for law.

How you think you know the answer beyond me. It means that agencies and firms, by definition, are taking a huge risk because it is a question of first impression.

No one knows the line. As lawyers, we are taught to hate this kind of ambiguity. Torts, con law, whatever- its all meant to teach you to not cross the line of what is legally allowable. To know whats legally allowable, however, you have to know the line of where the law is.

Why? Because not knowing the line means that we can cross it without knowing we have crossed it. Ultimatley, lawyers are risk managers. Negligently crossing that line by ignoring that we were uncertain about where the line is is tantamount to malpractice.

Or, if you prefer, no one yet knows the impact of what will happen when the first real wave of case law based on Indian document reviews hits in a major way. Thus, the problem. Saying India a common law system will not matter.

Anonymous said...

why is it illegal practice of law (non-U.S. licnsed Indian worker doing New York Law case) and what is the difference between this and a lawyer in New York working on a California case?
Well there a lot of reasons why this is not the same scenario, but it is a good question to ask. Here are a few reasons why it is illegal.
A New York Attorney working on a California case in fact may be practing law illegally unless they fall into a "safe harbor" provision.
California tends to be pretty tough on this issue, more so than other states, but in any event, if a lawyer who works on a case in a state that said attorney is not admitted to, that can usually be found to be within a safe harbor provision.
Those provisions typically tend to rely on the fact that said attorney is admitted in another U.S. state, whose bar can sanction and discipline that attorney for conduct in the state where they are not admitted, and that said attorney must comply with profession rules of conduct and ethics, and in addition are generally bound by the same federal rules that all attorneys admitted in a U.S. jurisdiction are bound by.
Indian workers are not bound by those same rules of professional conduct, or bar sanctions, and thus they can not practice law in the U.S. as they are out of these safe harbor provisions.
In addition they are also not bound by federal rules either. Either way, this alone rules Indian workers out from law practice in the U.S.
As a side note, there are a whole number of areas of law where it is simply illegal to even send documents pertaining to the case out of the country.
For instance, anything involving a "duel use" technology getting sent abroad to India can subject the sender to provisions of anti-export laws, as well as the updated Patriot Act, this also includes patent disputes and pharma cases and anything else that could relate to ever expanding U.S. security issues.
Second, foreign lawyers can not practice here unless either 1) they came from a common law country and sat for and passed a U.S. bar exam or 2) they are "seconded" as an employee of a law frim.
An out sourcing agency IS NOT a law firm. As such since they have not passed a U.S. bar exam or work as an employee of a U.S. law firm, this practice is illegal on these grounds as well.
There a many more reasons why this is not legal but those are a couple of the easy ones.

Anonymous said...

Starving temps getting real experience by doing Pro Bono for the "poor"??? WE ARE THE POOR!!!!

Anonymous said...

to 326:
You missed my point entirely. There's NO signifcance to India being a common law jurisdiction. It's intellectully dishonest window dressing to make it seem as if they get the same legal education in India that US lawyer do. It's silly to argue that an Indian common law education educates you on the client/lawyer relationship etc in the US. Heck, even US law school education doesn't do that great of a job at that unless you do some clinical work. I think its true, but dishonest advertising, much in the same way a product that has never contained fat and wouldn't be expected to would advertise itself as "fat free" during a health craze.

Anonymous said...

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2008/1208/044_print.html

Anonymous said...

Become a secretary at a law firm? I'm a LAWYER. I went to LAW SCHOOL for THREE LONG YEARS, passed a BAR EXAM, and shelled out $120,000+ on student loans. I'm going to be treated like a LAWYER, with RESPECT, just like the ELITE LAW SCHOOL graduates are treated.

Got it? Good. Now SHUT UP!

8:56 AM

*******************
Exibit one - the single biggest stupidest post I have ever read here. Treated with respect? Really - ever earned respect or do you think you are owed it for just being you? No one fucking cares about you being a lawyer - you can swing a coach bag and hit five lawyers on any street in any major city. No one owes you a corner office. Get over yourself...

Anonymous said...

here is what one state state about it, note that it CLEARLY states "Admitted in a United States Jurisdiction, NOT a "common law jurisdiction"

"Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law

(a) A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so.

(b) A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction shall not:

(1) except as authorized by these Rules or other law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or
(2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction.

(c) Subject to the provisions of 5.5(a), a lawyer admitted in a United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in a jurisdiction where not admitted to practice that:

(1) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice in this jurisdiction and who actively participates in the matter;
(2) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in this or another jurisdiction, if the lawyer, or a person the lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;
(3) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(4) are not within paragraphs (c)(2) or (c)(3) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice.

(d) A lawyer admitted in another United States jurisdiction, and not disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction, may provide legal services in this jurisdiction that:

(1) are provided to the lawyer’s employer or its organizational affiliates in connection with the employer’s matters, provided the employer does not render legal services to third persons and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or
(2) are services that the lawyer is authorized to provide by federal law or other law of this jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

The crime of Unauthorized practice of law is being committed every day by Indian LPOs. Read the ABA opinion. While it does allow it, the requirements for superivision are quite strict. Do you really think that for every client on every matter they are interviwing these people, checking their backgrounds, making reference check call. Is the one US attorney they have over that their Bangalore sweatshop really "Supervising" the work production of 300 non US admitted attorneys? Is the client really making frequent visits to India to check on the work? Come on now.

Anonymous said...

The ABA is wrong, just cause they say it does not mean it is law. The regs and case law on this are crystal clear, a bunch of people, including the ABA are trying to argue that it is murky and is a "developing issue" thanks to emerging technology, but that is false.
One of my favorite cases on this issue is a New York case where a Mexican lawyer not admitted in teh U.S. was trying to advise U.S. clients, and this was found to be illegal

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of the opportunities available to recent JD graduates, courtesy of Los Angeles' Cragslist:

--------------------------------
National law firm is seeking interns to assist with
*Case Management
*Client Communications
*Legal/Non Legal Projects


*Minimum 6-month commitment required
*Compensation $2,000 a month for a 40 hour work week.
-----------------------------

If you count in the money spent on the commutes and bought lunches, the salary is less than the unemployment insurance payments.

This is what 7 years of education and six-digit school debt gets you.

Anonymous said...

If your boss sucks, you tell the firm you're interviewing at not to call them.

9:53
If you're happy spending your time reading other people's emails for a career than more power to you. I like being a lawyer and not some temp email reader with a status about equal to the mail room staff. I also like not having to kiss up to scum-bag agencies who habitually blacklist people and try their best to avoid paying benefits. I don't like being bossed around by accountants and paralegals either.

Anonymous said...

To say that Indian "attorneys" with an undergrad degree are equal to US attorneys with a JD, is intellectuallay dishonest.

When the Indian "attorneys" are graduates of ABA accredited law schools with JDs and bar passage, we will have some kind of comparision.

But these people get a 1-2 day crash course in the US legal system, and not even an LLM.

There is no comparison. It is the unauthorized practice of law and only the ABA's greed is allowing this practice to flourish.

Trollop said...

Become a secretary at a law firm?
RE:
I'm a LAWYER. I went to LAW SCHOOL for THREE LONG YEARS, passed a BAR EXAM, and shelled out $120,000+ on student loans. I'm going to be treated like a LAWYER, with RESPECT, just like the ELITE LAW SCHOOL graduates are treated.

Got it? Good. Now SHUT UP!

8:56 AM

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
You will be treated like trash. You are trash. The days of all lawyers being respected and unfairly powerful ended long ago--along with most class privilige. Your attitude is hell, and you deserve all the disrespect you receive. You need to come to terms with reality instead of making us all look bad.

Anonymous said...

"The days of all lawyers being respected and unfairly powerful ended long ago"

I don't know about you, but when I'm working as a lawyer (not a "temp"), I'm very well respected and compensated.

Most attorneys are respected and make a decent salary. However, some people who forego woking in a law firm because they can make extra money as a temp are not "well respected."

Anonymous said...

As I said, I think people here do tend to wallow, but the fake anecdotes about being sucessful etc, are b.s. Here's the thing- I don't believe you because you would not be on this site were that the case. Unless you are fond of slumming it, when post here at all? It sounds like a talking point that you would find a politician saying to rationalize some practice or another.

Anonymous said...

Of course there are fake posters here trying to promote offshoring. It's big business stealing work from Americans.

Anonymous said...

All I'm saying is that I've seen both sides of the fence, and temping sucks.

The money might be slightly better than working at a firm for 60K, but the lack of benefits, crummy working conditions, dead end career path, and above all the nasty staffing agencies don't make up for it.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what you think? Many people like to have the option of contract work. Not everyone is a corporate grindaholic or can be political enough for biglaw. Temping is great for many, many people. I guess you never even hacked it as a temp.

Anonymous said...

good news - Pangea / Perla are hurting and recently laid off half their work force.

Anonymous said...

"good news - Pangea / Perla are hurting and recently laid off half their work force."

Do you have a source for that?

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:04 PM - why don't you go back to grammar school for a refresher course on the English language?

"The single biggest stupidest post?" That's horrible grammar!

There is no such word as "stupidest" in the English language.

Your sentence should have read, "The most stupid post..."

So before you make grandiose (look that one up if you're too stupid to know what it means) criticisms of others, proofread yourself and make sure you're using proper English so you don't look like a most stupid asshole.

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