Wednesday, February 13, 2008

From the Front—updates on the McCarter AZ project

  1. Familiar faces

It has been confirmed by at least 3 sources David Leone formerly on Dechert’s Vioxx project is now on the McCarter project. Love him or hate him he is working there on behalf of Dechert. One of my sources (published with express permission) wrote a week or so ago:

OMG, he IS here. Leone is here, this is going to suck. I guess I better be ready for unclear directions, weird rules, and multiple “special projects.”

Another source (published with permission) said:

Leone is on the project, but has only been in a couple of times. He must be working off site, looks like he is still working with Liesl and Matt Tate.

I am opening the floor a little on this one and trusting you guys not to be too severe without reason. What are your opinions of this crew?

  1. Newark site and Tom the Temp

The Newark, New Jersey AZ site is up and Running. For those of you who follow TomTheTemp’s blog, he has covered the opening of this site which occurred in mid-January at the same time that the Philly site began staffing up. I gather from the postings on that site there are several people up there that are working the project grudgingly. Some are actually happy to be traveling from NYC to Newark to work for a rate lower then the normal NYC rates (though higher than the Philly rates).

The Tom the Temp’s site can be found at: http://temporaryattorney.blogspot.com/

For the AZ posts look at the January 16, 19, 21, and 22 posts. It appears there was a good deal of talk about a possible strike or other concerted activity in favor of getting back the MLK day. Check it out.

  1. Bye Bye MLK Day, What’s Next Labor Day?

It has also been confirmed that Hudson has stripped away a Paid Holiday from all contractors. In the last few years Hudson has provided its contractors with 6 paid holidays. A few years ago that list included Memorial Day. Either last year or the year before Hudson changed from Memorial Day to Martin Luther King Day. This year, announced a bare 2 weeks prior to MLK day, Hudson will now only pay 5 paid Holidays. This means a loss of one day’s pay at straight time, and more importantly for those who have families, either the loss of any pay for that day, or finding someone willing to baby-sit on that day. Many of the contractors on the AZ project were understandably upset about this announcement, but the loss of this holiday was paid little heed primarily because the announcement was combined with new rules regarding the claiming of Paid days off which are earned every 400 hours. It seems that at the end of major operations on the Vioxx review, Hudson got hit with hefty requests by people for paid days which they had been stockpiling. Unfortunately the new rules are such that you can only use 2 paid days in any given pay period. This does suck for those people who bank these days to use for vacations, or when they have an actual day they need to take off, but my opinion on this is that you should claim them when they are earned anyway because the money in your pocket can earn interest for you. If they hold it, then they can earn interest.

Interestingly, this has provoked some real talk about a potential strike, walk out, sick out, and unionization. I support all of these ideas, but I some of them are impractical and dangerous especially without union support. A one day sick out is the most likely to be effective at this stage without a union, but two things would be required. First enough participation, and second a clear voice. If there is some support I will further discuss the specifics of how I think such concerted activity should proceed.

The great thing about a sick out would also be that with enough participation the firms would be afraid (with good reason) of Unionization. In addition, it also puts people in a position to believe that a union is possible.

  1. New Pay Structure

Another update that came in this the first week of February is that there is now a new pay structure on Hudson’s AZ review (and an incentive). I believe it is as follows (feel free to correct me if I am off, as this is recent information and has not been fully confirmed):

30/hr (or 33 or 35 depending on seniority) for the first 45 (remains the same)

1.5 time for 45-55 hours/week (remains the same)

1.75 time for 55-70 hours/week

Double time for 70+ hours/week

The top 10% or so of people who earn more then 70+ hours/week will be entered into a

drawing for a flat screen TV.

My belief is that they have 3 major issues that this is attempting to address. First, they have discovery deadlines coming up so they want people to put in more hours to meet those deadlines. Second, any time that there is a deadline it opens up the ability to negotiate either to get a deal done before the deadline so that new issues are not opened, or after the deadline (whether it was met or not adds a dimension to negotiations). Meanwhile, the law firm will try to bill all of the hours it can around these times because at any time it might wrap up. Third the potential discontent that has been raised on blogs like this one and Tom the Temp’s can be somewhat alleviated by making some of the contractors more happy with their circumstances and the hope that they can make a lot more money.

In truth this pay structure will likely only affect those attorneys that are on the cusps, and provide no major incentive to most.

One More Thing

There is a great report available at: www.jdwired.com/thenewlawyer. You should all check it out.

Later,

The Black Sheep

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hudson is trash.

Anonymous said...

What are David Leone, Liesl Sachse and Joseph A. “Matt” Tate, Jr. like? I worked with all three, and here are my opinions.

While I wouldn’t recommend working with Leone if you don’t have to do so, he isn’t quite as bad as some people say. His problem is that unlike most of the Dechert staff attorneys, he refuses to recognize that his job is ultimately as much a dead end as the contract attorney positions (look at poor Lionel Dyson, who was one of the good staff attorneys at 2 Logan, and has recently emerged from a one-year exile as a CONTRACT ATTORNEY at Stradley/Avandia). Leone really believes that he can impress the powers that be into making him a partner. Leone is so focused on his career advancement that he will use any contract attorney (while claiming the credit for himself), and he has been known to backstab his fellow staff attorneys on more than one occasion.

His other problem is that he has very few personal skills. He has a difficult time expressing himself to others and understanding others’ questions. He also tends to be very condescending to women and was known both to eye up the attractive women in the office and choose them for all his little projects (it became a running joke). For a time, it was an open secret that he was dating a woman whom he was directly supervising.

Liesl Sachse should be avoided at all costs. She got the job because her brother is a Dechert partner, and she goes out of her way to be unpleasant unless you are one of the select few she chooses to befriend. She picked certain people she liked (e.g., a good portion of the Vioxx Privilege team) and was very sweet, friendly and generous to them. As for the rest of us, she would openly express disdain for the contract attorneys within earshot of us. She really thought she was better than we were, and she didn’t care if we knew it (actually, she wanted us to know). At one point, I tried to make conversation with her, and she literally ignored me and walked by as if I hadn’t been there.

The one nice thing I will say about her is that unlike many of the people at 2 Logan (e.g., Jennifer Bronstein, Kevin Bucknor, Jaclyn Gerhard and Amelia Schock), Liesl knew what she was doing and was good at her job. As a matter of fact, responsibility was taken away from her after many started to believe she was too powerful and was the only one who knew what was going on at 2 Logan. For some reason (perhaps her brother’s position or the fact that the only associate there, Mike Bogdonoff, loved her), she seemed to be given carte blanche and even openly showed disdain for many staff attorneys and the associate Simon Nagel.

Tate Jr. is harmless. He isn’t particularly bright or useful, but he always was polite and friendly. Everyone knows he got the job because his father is a big-time Dechert partner (his most famous/infamous client is Lewis “Scooter” Libby), but Matt never pretended otherwise. The only problem with Tate is that he and Liesl were attached at the hip (to the point where rumors spread that they were dating). However, I have nothing against the guy. If I could get myself a job through nepotism that paid that much (at least $100,000) and required that little work, I would have done the same thing.

Tek Jansen, Galaxy Hero said...

I've heard rumors that the Philly site is going to do a lot fo QCing for the Newark site. Isn't it ironic that the QC people get paid less than the first levels? Even the new hires at Philly have been QCing. But I guess the Philly site has more collective experience since their site was up since last Spring.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the status of the AZ projects in Philly and Newark? Still going strong?