Thursday, January 10, 2008

A couple of updates...have faith I am still looking at the Union and FLSA stuff it will post soon

Okay, everyone. As I said updates. Some friends have written to me to update my contractor pay information (updates in bold). Here it is...

Morgan Lewis: $28, time and a half for overtime. It may go as high as $32/hour, but as was pointed out to me there is the major drawback of periodic layoffs of a week or two at a time which may have you scrambling.

McCarter English: $30, after 6 mths $33, after 12 mths $35. Time and a Half for Overtime after 45 hours of straight time (which by the way would violate the FLSA).

Dechert (at least it was): $27, after 6 mths $30, after 12 mths $32, after 18 mths $35. Time and a half for overtime, and after 6 mths time and a half +$2 for Overtime. These were the Vioxx rates. Word is there is another drug case that they are reviewing that pays $30/hour ($25 if not licensed).

Stradley Ronon: $40, straight time for overtime. Only limited hours available.

Pepper Hamilton: $30. If you are not through an agency, then I believe they are paying $38 (independent/1099 employee). Non-agency employees might be making as much as $40.

Duane Morris: $32 or $30 depending on the agency. No overtime.

Schiffrin Barroway: $26/hour still.

DuPont: $28 with no time-and-a-half.

HireCounsel job at a plaintiffs' firm in Wilmington: $30/hour.

Here is the Website that Hoffa tried to provide in his comments:

Here are a couple of more websites that you might want to look at to whet your appetites for the unionization discussion:

Anyway, more on the union issue later.

The Black Sheep


stateofbeasley said...

This is good info. $30/hr + OT seems to be the going rate for the Philadelphia area. With Stradley's new project luring people at $40/hr, the competition is going to have to offer AT LEAST $35/Hr + OT to retain contractors.

Most people I've talked to want to jump to Stradley. The pay is just too low elsewhere.

Flocker said...

Yeah for Stradley, if StateofBeasley is correct.

The major problem that I have heard is that if you have ever worked for a plaintiff's firm in any sense, whether contractor or otherwise, you will not be hired at Stradley. This even extends to firms that do not actually practice the type of law that the case pertains to. For example if you worked for Schiffrin Barroway (a plaintiffs' Sec. Lit. firm), Stradley will not hire you to be a contractor on say a pharmaceutical products liability case.

I have heard that this is what the client wants, but that comes from someone at a staffing agency, which means it could be referring to a Stradley wish, or to a desire of the client of Stradley's on the specific case they are working on.

NewFlockMember said...

The pay stuff looks right on the McCarter job. Does it really violate the FLSA? Would the Team Leaders also qualify under the FLSA?

Over at McCarter things have started to get worse. There is a huge fear that it will turn into the Hell Hole that Dechert was (but worse).

There have been people saying that we are getting over 100 additional Doc Reviewers, making about 300 total, and that Dechert is going to be sending more Associates and/or Staff Attorneys on site. We only have one Men's room and one Ladies' room someone please send help!!!

Please publish something on particular Doc reviews, I want to commiserate with my fellow reviewers about some of this stuff, but don't always feel it is appropriate when you are talking about more serious things.

Zaphod said...


That is a nice thought, but they won't raise rates just because Stradley it is doing so. People that have not been able to get that job have simply been accepting whatever they can get. And they have to because they need to pay their bills.

You watch, when new graduates join our ranks they will be willing to take jobs that are even lower paying then the current going rate. And there is really nothing to stop contract firms from lowering starting rates on us if they choose, except us.

Speaking of which, ask newflockmember how many of the those new coders are new to the legal field generally (less then 6 months from the Bar or 9 months from Graduation).

The Black Sheep said...

Anyone still online?

Good conversation. What would you guys think about me posting some "business cards" with the web address, some sort of logo, and maybe my e-mail?

Would any of you print them out and hand them out? or leave them at your job sites? I want as much participation on this website from the community as possible, and I thought that it might be useful in giving it to other people.

They, of course, would be in black and white. said...

Beacon Hill is staffing a document review project in Philly.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

What, with new toilet schools (DREXEL) opening up all the time expect the rates to DROP even more.

Saul Tigh said...

(1) I disagree that the going rate in Philadelphia is $30. Hudson pays $30, but they always pay less than the other agencies (and with their recent dropping of MLK Day as a paid holiday, they are making their "benefits" less generous too). The going rate is at least $32 to $35 an hour.

(2) The agencies/firms would claim that overtime is not mandatory because we are "professionals." However, as all of you know, we are not doing professional-level work, and we often are not treated as professionals. The law is on our side here, but someone would have to take a stand.

(3) As a former Vioxx guy, I feel for the people over at McCarter. The project was supposed to double in size today to about 250 (don't know if it actually happened). They are clamping down on things like phone usage, playing games during breaks and talking at your desk. Also, Dechert is going to get more involved. Word is that both David Leone and Liesl Sachse are over there now. I don't want to partake in ad hominem attacks, so I will just say that both of them rubbed A LOT of people at 2 Logan the wrong way. To all the people at the Bell Atlantic Tower, I say good luck. It is becoming Vioxx Part II.

saul tigh said...

Interesting tidbit from a self-congratulatory Dechert press release-- "During the coming year, Dechert is scheduled to defend Altria, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Baxter, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and West Pharmaceutical, among other companies, in mass tort and product liability litigation."

The Amgen project is at the Bell Atlantic Tower ($30 an hour/ $25 if unlicensed) and headed up by Simon Nagel (who still splits his time with the Vioxx case at 2 Logan).

AstraZeneca also is at the Bell Atlantic Tower. Although McCarter is in charge of the Seroquel case now, Dechert is playing a more active role and may try to take over.

The GSK document review currently is done by Stradley (the $40 an hour job) and by some of the Pepper Hamilton reviewers. It is unclear if Dechert is referring to the same case (Avandia) or another drug.

As for Merck, they may just be referring to Vioxx, although there is ongoing litigation with Merck's osteoporosis drug Fosamax. Venable (down in Baltimore) has been heading up that litigation, but Dechert may try to use its success in the Vioxx case to leverage it away from them.

I have no idea what the Altria, Baxter, J&J or West cases are about, but keep your eyes and ears open for possible document review opportunities (if you don't mind working for Dechert). No word as to whether the large Hudson document review in Newark, NJ is related to any of these cases.

Anonymous said...

Great info Saul Tigh!!!

I hear that the Hudson/Newark project is McCarter English? I may be wrong. But I thought that's what one of the recruiters said. Don't know what the drug/company is if that's the case.

saul tigh said...

The only way we can fight back and empower ourselves is through the sharing of information. We need to discuss which law firms treat us well (Stradley Ronon, Morgan Lewis and Pepper Hamilton) and which don't (Schiffrin Barroway & Dechert). More importantly, we need to discuss which agencies treat us well (JuriStaff) and which don't (HIRECounsel and Hudson).

The problem is that too many of us live in fear. We hoard information and don't stand up for ourselves. We need to share information whether we are in a comfortable job such as Pepper, a rapidly deteriorating one such as McCarter or a crappy one such as Schiffrin (which actually monitors their contract attorneys with cameras).

The agencies use our lack of information to keep our hourly rates down and our benefits almost nonexistent. If we knew more, it would be easier to stand up for ourselves. Time-and-a-half for overtime should be standard. Mandatory breaks should be paid for by the agencies. You should qualify for health insurance within the first month of employment. And no one should have to live with the bathroom situation that existed on the 3rd floor at 2 Logan or that threatens to occur at the McCarter project with yesterday’s additions.

Ideally, we should encourage more law firms to do what Pepper Hamilton does and hire us directly. After all, what do the agencies really do for us other than screw up our paychecks and take a cut out of every dollar we make? By the way, does anyone know what the standard cut is? They refuse to tell us by claiming it is confidential, but the only party really protected by this information is the agency itself.

A quick follow-up to my earlier post, if you want to read more about Dechert and its mass torts and product liability section, go here:

According to the site:

“Dechert is lead national counsel for AstraZeneca in litigation involving Seroquel. Dechert handles overall strategic responsibility for the defense of the company in all courts, as well as with coordinating many attorneys from other firms in the ‘virtual law firm’ model.”

It also discusses Dechert’s involvement with Altria (née Philip Morris), GSK (Baycol), Baxter (blood derivatives) and others.

Having worked on the Vioxx review, I can’t recommend that any of you work on a Dechert-led review. However, they, along with their partner Hudson, seem to be trying to establish a monopoly on pharmaceutical document review in Philadelphia, so they are an important firm to watch.

newflockmember said...

I have heard that Hudson is not really so close with Dechert as they are with the Client that pays Dechert (and McCarter). Hudson has a relationship with the companies Merck and Astra-Zeneca. I have heard that traditionally Dechert varies who it uses.

As to the Hudson Review in NJ, it is probably the McCarter/Dechert/Sidley Austin (Astra-Zeneca) review as they have opened and been adding people to a NJ review site. Hudson does not staff on the Stradley or Pepper jobs that I am aware of, and if Dechert really has either some relation to those projects and the relationship suggested with Hudson, then they would be.

Since the Amgen review is in the same building, Leone and Liesl may be working there right now, but from what I have heard they have not been seen at the McCarter review yet. That doesn't mean that they won't as more people from dechert are supposed to be at the site soon.

I heard that Juristaff has a contract that they are trying to get that will pay reviewers $32/hour. They are excepting resumes, but there are no guarantees. This is also just a 2 month review.

Beacon Hill does indeed have a posting:

Our downtown Philadelphia law firm client is currently seeking attorneys with heavy document review experience to work on an anticipated document review case. Candidates must be flexible to work a long-term duration, and must be prepared to work over 40 hours per week. Candidates with prior insurance defense experience in their background are strongly preferred. All attorneys must be licensed and in good standing with the Pennsylvania Bar. Attorneys with solid litigation experience from medium to large firms are highly desirable! Apply today by submitting your resume to

saul tigh said...

From Tom the Temp's site:

"In other news, the Hudson Legal 'Newark' project is up and running full tilt. You have no doubt seen Hudson carpet bombing craigslist with ads for the $35 an hour Newark, NJ review, which has been generating a lot of noise online since it's the first huge 'cattle call' project in quite a while. Not since the infamous Paul Weiss sweatshop have so many entry-level doc reviewers been dumped aboard a single gig. Rumor has it that 500-600 heads will be on the job by early February. A full report in our next posting. Stay tuned........."

If that truly is a sister site for the McCarter/Avandia review, perhaps the Bell Atlantic folks should speak up. Sure, they recently got the raise structure, but why should they start at $30 while their brethren in Jersey get $35? And don't get me started on the "bonus time" structure that allows AZ/Hudson to weasel out of the first five hours of overtime pay.

The Stradley job is staffed primarily by Oxford and Special Counsel, but I believe that at least a few people were placed there by Hudson (knowing Hudson, they probably make less than the $40 the others pay).

By the way, that is something else to note. When multiple agencies are used by a firm for one case, the agencies may be paying different rates. They discourage people from talking about it because certain agencies are taking a higher cut of your money, and they don't want you to know that.

The agencies are so secretive about the whole process. Does anyone know a former recruiter who is disgruntled and will spill the beans about how things work on their end? That would be priceless information...

dr said...

McCarter English is definitely running things at the Hudson/Newark project. Rumor is that it's for AstraZeneca.

stateofbeasley said...

Black Sheep,

Would you consider creating a running chart of law firms, their current projects (client and matter), and the agencies that are staffing them?

saul tigh said...

I also suggested to Mr. Sheep that such a chart would be useful. I think including some quality of life measures such as Internet access and hours flexibility would be worthwhile. I would rather sacrifice a little money to be working on a project where I am treated with a little dignity (i.e., a project that isn't run by Hudson and/or Dechert).

Anonymous said...

26 an hour, 28 an hour, with no OT? What a joke. Are these projects nice at least?

Tek Jansen, Galaxy Hero said...

28 for DuPont is pretty low, but I know someone who once worked there. He said the project was pretty nice. They started out with a small group of people and they got their own private (tiny) offices, 2 coders to an office. It was his first coding gig and he was impressed by the surroundings.

Anonymous said...

I have been a contract attorney in Philly and Wilmington for three years. As a former labor attorney I have no doubt that our work qualifies for overtime under the FLSA just as law clerks do (this was established law at least 15 years ago). I can also tell you that some attorneys are organized already, including attorneys who work for the UAW Legal Services Plans (AFSCME). Unionization is growing among professionals, and those of us who do this work know why. Favoritism, discrimination and outright devious and manipulative employer behavior is rampant (one bathroom at McCarter for 250 employees sounds a little crowded to me!).

Anonymous said...

Very interesting web site. I passed it along to some other Contract Attorneys that I know. Does anyone know of any resources for Contract Attorneys looking to make the switch to a Staff Attorney positions? web sites? available positions?

Anonymous said...

I am currently representing a contract attorney who is a lead plaintiff in a collective action for overtime under the FLSA in federal court in Austin, Texas. If anyone has any questions concerning this matter or would like to discuss similar situations, please contact me at 512-773-6688.

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