Sunday, January 06, 2008


While I was away last week, an interesting story came out regarding disciplinary action taken against a contract attorney in Chicago:

The story generated some interesting commentary on the various legal websites. One of my favorites:

"As Atticus Finch told his daughter Scout in the famous film To Kill a Mockingbird, 'you never really know a man until you've walked around a while in his shoes.'

Have you ever done document review? Do you know what it's like to sit in the windowless sub-basement of Paul Weiss in midtown NYC for 16 hours a day, lacking health insurance while people cough and wheeze in an unventilated room 6 inches away from each other? If there was a fire, we'd all have burned to death since the fire exits were blocked with box upon box of corporate documents.

Topping it all off, the pay was a whopping $21 an hour for admitted lawyers. We'd sit for mandatory 16 hour days on cast-off furniture from a dumpster staring into burned-out tube monitors from 1989.

They'd come and spray for roaches down there each evening, and the next morning the dead critters would be all over your keyboard and even on your chairs!

We weren't allowed to use the firm's bathroom- they made the temps use the 'concourse' restroom under Rock Center, which was open to the public. Homeless people would bathe in there and defecate all over the floor."

"Where was the ethics committee when Paul Weiss sprayed toxic insecticide in a windowless sub-basement where temps were confined for 18 hours a day? How about when Paul Weiss blocked the fire exits with their bales of makework shitpaper? People from shit law schools are less than fucking human to Paul Weiss. That {expletive} Alfred Youngwood (PW managing partner) lied to the American Lawyer about the work the temps were doing.

Fact is that many illegal aliens working in kitchens and slaughterhouses had better OSHA-compliant workplaces than the fucking ATTORNEYS at Paul Weiss.

I applaud that contract attorney- he's a modern day Robin Hood. Those {expletive} have all the money in the world & raise associate pay by leaps and bounds, yet contract lawyer pay remains stuck at the same $32 an hour it's been since 2002.

We need a contract attorney union to stop this shit cold. It's nothing short of scandalous what these "firms" get away with. Even the lowest lowlife ambulance chaser on Lower Broadway treats lawyers with more respect than Biglaw."


Anonymous said...

that PW basement action was 3 years ago. get over it.

Anonymous said...

LADY MACBETH: Out, damned spot! out, I say! Thou shalt never forget Paul Weiss concourse.

Anonymous said...

It is true that the action seems excessive - but the most obvious part of it is that a regular associate in such a situation would typically just be fired, not sued, brought before the ethics committee or anything else. It is not unheard of for young lawyers to pad their expenses or the like. and that's what happens if they are found out.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers Unionize, Vote to Join the Teamsters

Anonymous said...

back in DC attorneys, did they unionize?

Anonymous said...

How about DC attorneys...did they unionize?

Anonymous said...

of course they didn't unionize! they are lazy, good for nothing- except overbilling- temps.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. Please come up with a new act agency guy. You're as old and tired as Hillary Clinton!

Anonymous said...

Shut up, 11:29. Go organize another one of those successful million man strikes.

Anonymous said...

An article about attorneys forming unions.

Anonymous said...

from the above,


While there is surprisingly little NLRB precedent with regard to attorneys, they are no different from other employees in the area of unionizing activity. If the attorney works in an employment-at-will state such as New York, which provides virtually no protection to employees, unionization may be a viable option to consider.[67] The reasons why partners and other legal managers want to avoid a union are ultimately no different from those found in other industries, and union organizers should keep this in mind.

If there is interest, the NLRB maintains an excellent Web site which attorneys, unfamiliar with traditional labor law, can visit and use.[68] This Web site contains links to cases, a representation manual and copies of the requisite forms. Perhaps, unionization is something that attorneys might want to consider."

Anonymous said...

On a related side note, EP Dine in NYC has an ad on Monster for a Labor/Employment Law attorney position. Shawn Treadwell is the contact.


The agency which commits the most egregious violations of labor law is now trying to staff a Labor Law position.

And it's a permanent position!

The wonders never cease.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, law students may be able to skirt those outrageous loan payments by dropping out and interning at a small firm for three years. The one below, who advertised on Craig's List, will sit for the NY bar after his/her mission is accomplished!

I am seeking a Law Office Study position in a small to midsize law office. Preferably, with a very experienced Solo Practitioner or even Partnership. I am a former law student however, I ran out of funds to complete my JD.

However, The NYS Board of Law Examiners has granted me credit for my law school attendance whereupon I must now work as a full time employee engaged in law office study under the supervision of an Attorney(s) who is admitted to the NYS Bar for a period of 156 weeks. Upon completion of this requirement I am eligible to apply to sit for the NYS Bar Exam.

I would be a valuable employee to any Attorney who would offer me this opportunity. I have been a Paralegal since 1992. I have a Paralegal Certificate from Adelphi University. I am also a Columbia graduate. I will also, be completing a Masters program in Criminal Justice at John Jay college in 2009. I am a very fast learner, efficient, ambitious and hard working. I am also, very amenable, pleasant and enjoy stimulating conversation.

Anonymous said...

Smart move, why pay for a 4th tier toilet degree when you can practice law with a paralegal certificate?

Lol, I hope this is the wave of the future...let's really open the floodgates and unleash wave after wave of incompetent lawyers and completely bury those that did it the right way and are saddled with debt.

Another case of the NY State bar standing up for its ranks. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

Actually 10:48, that's the way it was done back in the old days: aspiring lawyers would apprentice themselves to more experienced lawyers to train. That's what Abe Lincoln did.

But if this guy/gal though they were poor while trying to fund law school, wait until they get hooked up with a solo or small firm in NY and get zero dollars for their work for 156 weeks. (It's hard enough for law school grads to get a living salary from these crap solo/small firm shysters.......)

Hope this person's refrigerator box has heat and a/c for the duration of their "apprenticeship."

Anonymous said...

Actually 11:46 we are all aware of the Abraham Lincoln story. But this attorney is a failed JD trying to back door her/his way into a career as an attorney. Not quite the same fairy tale.

It's a good move on their part in a sense, but I think it's unlikely it will work out for them.

Do really buy the "ran out of money" bit? My guess there is a lot more to the story. If they ran out of money then why the Criminal Justice degree? Something fishy here.

What's also really puzzling is that this person made the right choice to get out of the law, why jump back in at a lower salary? You've already failed in law school, cut your losses and move on.

I do think it is a smarter move than continuing at 4th tier toilet with a stack of loans, though.

My bet is that no solo will pay more than $8.00 per hour for this poor fool and she/he will end up knee deep in boxes in the Paul Weiss basement.

Anonymous said...

Lots of new projects have started for the new year. How is it out there? Anyone on the twelve hour a day Wanda L.S.P. project?

Anonymous said...

Once again, thanks. No one can cut and paste as easily as you. Find something original about things here in NYC, please!

Anonymous said...

Link to story is dead - pls fix. Also, how about a better way to naviagate to older posts? I have to go to bottom of each post, hit Older Post, and flip back one by one - why?

Anonymous said...

I am an elementary school tutor...with only a BLS...and I make more money than you do per hour!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nice Blog .This web time clock is used to track the time and attendance of employees, and at the same time track labor activity against specific parts, jobs, and operations.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go so far as to applaud the contract attorney in question for clear conduct involving dishonesty and fraud. To call him a "modern-day Robin Hood" is just ridiculously hyperbolic, and, frankly, absurd. Yes, we all know that contract work and doc review sucks. That doesn't mean that falsifying hours is laudable conduct. This attorney is cheating his employer, his fellow contract attorneys who are doing their work honestly and with integrity, his client and giving the profession a bad reputation. To give him praise is totally unwarranted.

I think the proper lens through which to view this incident is to say that the attorney is fully deserving of scrutiny and sanction, but the question must be asked -- why did the disciplinary committee focus on such small fry, when falsified hours are a pervasive issue at much more deep-pocketed and renowned firms? Clearly, they decided to duck the larger issue for fear of tangling with the high-powered firms. That smacks of craven hypocrisy.