Friday, January 01, 2010
L4L is watching the store
Hello out there in coder-land. Law is 4 Losers here and you there, wishing all a happy New Year and how ya’ be?
Tom is taking a well-deserved vacation and asked me to look after the blog while he’s away (don’t worry, he bought a round-trip ticket and has not defected to Honduras to escape Sallie Mae.) As you probably know, I recently updated my own blog Big Debt, Small Law (er, sorry for the long wait) and even scored a feature over at ATL:
As usual, the pro-law shills circled like a school of piranhas when a monkey falls into the Amazon. It’s simply amazing how many attorneys just 6 months into solo practice are clearing over 300 K doing shitlaw “estate planning” and breaking 7 figures with their books of Allstate fender-bender files, as the ATL comments state. Who knew? That’s not just “networking”, that’s hijacking the goddamned airwaves! Me thinks that Susan Carter Liebel must’ve had all hands on deck and manning their battle stations within minutes of the ATL post going up. Like dumping root beer down a beehive, scores of angry shills swarmed out with stingers locked n’ loaded, ready to attack all “losers” and venom them into submission. The few legitimate comments were likewise pathetic, with some Wilson Elser cut n’ paster bragging about his 76 K salary four years into the insurance defense racket and other assorted Kool-Aid burpers that don’t even rate a mention.
But enough about me. Here are some L4L doc review predictions to ring in 2010:
Rates will continue their downward plunge. Over the next three months, 15,000+ starry-eyed lemmings will “take the oath of office” and gain entry to the exalted bars of NY, NJ and CT. Since even the no-fault boiler rooms paying under 40 K now require a SCOTUS clerkship, Ivy-league pedigree and 10+ years experience, look for many new faces lining up at DeNovo, Lex-Pollution, Hudson, Update and the other pimp-daddies just dying to whore these virgins out for peanuts. The child-sex trade in Thailand will look benign by comparison once the agencies taste the sheer volume of fresh suckers signing up. And just imagine how bad the “training seminars” will be with squads of newbie gunners raising their hands every 30 seconds to ask if “we need to keep our eyes out for UCC 2-207?” and “will quantum meruit be a factor here?” and other bar exam-type “substantive” bullshit.
Worse yet, these kids are going to be clicking faster than the Morse Code operators sending Titanic’s distress signals. They haven’t yet learned that lightning-fast coding doesn’t lead to one being “discovered” and promoted to associate. No one is panning for “diamonds in the rough” on a doc review gig. Lemmings, the law school lottery was already drawn. Your ticket lost, so quit re-checking the numbers. Get over it and slow the fuck down.
I really feel for you “veterans” stuck doing Q.C. on these gigs. Get ready for reams of false-positive “hot docs” where a newbie thinks some corporate sushi order was really an encrypted top-secret message about screwing over shareholders. The “attorney comments” boxes are going to read like mini-Law Review articles for a while, maybe even with footnotes. Relax. Just give them time. Like a tire stuck in the mud, it takes a while for this pent-up legal energy to futilely “spin-off” before finally burying itself in apathy’s quagmire. As Red said in The Shawshenk Redemption, “these doc review gigs are funny, boys. At first you hate ‘em. Then after a while you get used to ‘em. Before long, you start to depend on them.” Indeed.
Look for time and a half rates to finally vanish altogether. 2009 signaled the chest pains for OT, but 2010 will bring the fatal coronary. With the desperation level currently out there, there’s simply no reason for any agency to pony up OT pay anymore. We’ve seen the last of the OT dodo bird. Its extinction is imminent. Hell, even the rates for foreign language gigs are headed straight downhill. A new trend by Peak and esp. Strategic is to post Posse List jobs with an “up to” qualifier, such as “up to $32 an hour” and such. What’s going on is that they’re seeing how many resumes they get and then keying pay based on the response rate. Anyone here remember the last time an agency called them as opposed to the other way around? Enough said. And don’t be surprised to see “junior level” projects popping up in the $16-$20 an hour range in 2010, and probably even lower. (Jursitaff is already testing these waters). Rumor is that Helene Diamond (Peak) and Sean Treadwell (Strategic) both took a real hit in 2009, and as such could only afford to have their Bentleys detailed every other week. Everyone here had better buckle down and get to clicking to make up the slack for them here in 2010.
Expect the market to remain tight and projects few and far between. New software and other “coder-bots” have taken quite a bite out of first-level review. The herd of documents has been drastically culled. And of course the ABA (American Biglaw Association) is hard at work in 2010 sending more licensed attorney work to the cheapest third-world serfs they can find, all while tooting the diversity trumpet like a “rusty trombone”. Their tune sounds a lot like a Cleveland Steamer.
Also look for conflicts and background check forms/processes to become even more invasive and demeaning. With the nefarious corporate behavior of the last 10 years now coming to light in litigation, Biglaw is shitting its pants and subjecting all coders to a virtual anal cavity search before placing them on project. The recent Synergy/Huron debacle with its 12,490 page conflicts forms and invasive requests for SS#s and private info is a trend we predict will continue. You can, of course, kiss internet access goodbye forever. Even SullCrom pulled the browser plug about 3 months ago from all the basement workstations.
BTW, you SullCrommers better mind your P’s and Q’s, because Big Mamma’s Xmas stocking was lighter than usual this year. Paul Weiss already cleaned house and slashed scores of staff attorneys and paras, and SullCrom will be monkey-see, monkey-do once they catch 09’s profit per partner numbers at Paul Weiss. “Big Mamma”, if axed, will first swallow the recently re-opened Burritoville across the street before stampeding thru lower Manhattan and climbing the Woolworth Building a la King Kong. Shit could get ugly real quick.
Keep the horror stories coming, coders. It’s a brand new year…..
law is 4 losers
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