I emailed the below complaint to the powers that be at Labaton at 140 Broadway on Friday, and by Monday there was a big change in attitude at 225 Varick Street, the offsite location where we work. No more having to go search for a staff attorney to input your time four times a day. In fact, now you write your time yourself for when you arrive and depart for the day; you do not have to notate a lunch break on the timesheet. Staff Attorney is trying not to be an animal, but it's hard for him not to act like a dick. Stay tuned. Hold these people accountable if they mistreat you.
Thanks for making your blog available so that we can fight back against these abuses.
Subject: Countrywide Project
To: @labaton.com, @labaton.com, @labaton.com
Date: Friday, June 19, 2009, 2:30 AM
I believe you should know what is going on at 225 Varick Street. I am an experienced contract attorney and I have worked under some horrible conditions in my time, but your treatment of your so-called short-term attorneys ranks as one of the worst experiences I have had in my career. On any project that I have worked on, if you have to sign in and out when you arrive and leave for the day and notate breaks as well, you do so yourself. However at Varick Street, I have to locate one of your two staff attorneys who could be in any of the four rooms in order to inform them when I arrive in the morning, when I leave at night or when I take a break for lunch, both going to and returning from lunch. Then after I locate one staff attorney, I may be told by him or her that I have to track down the other one because the timesheet is with that person. Do you realize how time consuming this is when you have about fifty attorneys doing this, each doing it four times a day? Do you understand how demoralizing it is to be micromanaged like this? And you have the nerve to label us as employee attorneys on your website. This is insane! Why can’t we just input our time on the timesheet ourselves? Why does a staff attorney have to input our time?
How about these other rules? You can't eat at your workstation, not even a candy bar or a piece of fruit; you have to take an elevator and go to another floor. You can't use the microwave or the kitchenette on the floor; you have to take an elevator and go to another floor. You can't answer your cellphone and step out of the room to answer a call. You have to ignore the call and again take the elevator and go to another floor. It seems like that you are riding the elevator all day in order to do basic everyday activities. All this we are told because we can't offend Merrill Corporation. Who or what is this entity? I have worked at the top law firms in the city and they never subjected me to this kind of nonsense.
Do you think that when you treat attorneys so disrespectfully that they will do a good job for you and be conscientious in reviewing documents? I don’t think so!
It is bad enough that you are paying attorneys a pitiful rate, but they will not put up with lousy treatment for long combined with your low flat rate. You will have a mass defection when a decent project comes along. Also, your treatment of “employees” will be exposed in blog world and your law firm will be embarrassed.
In addition, your staff attorney John B, is nasty and unprofessional. He fosters a negative work environment and he has no people skills. The attorneys who work on your project there despise his pettiness. He should not be managing a doc review of a high profile case. He does not even dress in a professional manner and you expect your short-term attorneys to dress in business casual.
I suggest you make some changes before this project gets out of hand."