Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Okay, here is the deal. This is a holiday where we send flowers and good wishes to those we love, so is there anyone out there in Philly’s contract attorney land that you love?

Who do you think is the best? Who would you most like to send flowers?

The Best Law Firm to contract for

The Best Staff/Project Attorney

The Best Contract Agency

The Best Recruiter

Please tell us who you think is the Best and if possible tell us why you think so.

Talking about the best I think it is also a good time to talk about the worst. Now I know that Tom the Temp recently raised this question, and 2 of our local recruiters received plenty of jeers. So I want to know if that is the consensus.

Who is the worst? Who would you most like to send a dead fish or horse head?

The Worst Law Firm to contract for

The Worst Staff/Project Attorney

The Worst Contract Agency

The Worst Recruiter

Again, a few words as to why would be great.

I also have a gift. Below is a .jpg of some black sheep cards. They are about the size of a standard business card. You can probably tell that I personally prefer one of the two designs on the top, but I also want to give you guys the option of one of the other cards. Click on the cards, open them in a separate window, and make sure that the view is at 100% before printing. Feel free to express your opinions about the images, and at some point in the future I will put out a .jpg of the top vote getter.

Get as many of these cards out to fellow coders as you can because if we can all get on the same page regarding rates, PTO, work environment, etc. then we (the black sheep of the legal profession) can become a greater voice for change in the industry.

Finally, I have another request. Actually, two.

First, I want to ask all of you out there to share any information with us that you feel should be shared with other contractors. To that end, I have heard about a number of recent potential jobs, but I am hesitant to publish information that I cannot verify. For example I have heard allusions to a top secret document review in or near Liberty Place run by Hudson, but I have very little other information on it. Information on this review might be important to someone who is considering a position on it, or to establishing pay rates in the industry, or to work environment comparisons, etc.

Second, I know that some of you that have contributed in the comment strings, or for that matter some of you readers, have strong viewpoints and voices of your own. I want those voices to be heard. So if you want to post, in this space. If you want to be the “Black Sheep” for a post; then send me what you want posted via e-mail to with please post this. I will post removing whatever name that you send it to me under and will even post under whatever alias you request. It will be in confidence, and I will only post what I feel will not identify you to the contract firms, law firms, or the general public.

Anyway, Have a Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!


The Black Sheep


Anonymous said...

The Best Law Firm to contract for:

Pepper Hamilton or Duane Morris if you care about quality of life.

Stradley or Pepper Hamilton (direct hires only) if you care about money.

The Best Staff/Project Attorney:

Any of the former Vioxx contract attorneys who now work at Stradley.

The Best Contract Agency/ The Best Recruiter:

It’s too hard to answer these questions without possibly revealing myself. However, I do think there are some decent recruiters in Philly. They are just few and far between.

The Worst Law Firm to contract for:

I can say without hesitation that it is Dechert. They have no respect for the contract attorneys and run some of the most unpleasant work sites in the city.

The Worst Staff/Project Attorney:

This would be a four-way tie: Jennifer Bronstein, Kevin Bucknor, Jaclyn Gerhard and Amelia Schock. The problem with many of the staff attorneys is that they refused to do work, were openly disdainful of the contract attorneys or were totally incompetent at their jobs. These four were guilty of one or all of those sins.

The Worst Contract Agency:

It has to be Hudson. Hudson actually used to have a decent reputation, but they sullied that by running projects like Vioxx and now Seroquel. They did nothing for us and were so cheap that even Dechert personnel were annoyed (the 2 Logan site was run by both Dechert and Hudson). Also, their policy of refusing to place you in a permanent position while you are doing a document review project for them is both ridiculous and counterproductive.

The Worst Recruiter:

Two-way tie: Julie Dailey and Lauren Gibson. I liked both of them at first, but then I realized we were all just numbers to them, and they really didn’t care about us. They mislead/lie to people, and they never stood up for any of their “employees” when they were wronged by Dechert personnel. Also, they hold the contract attorneys to a double standard in that they never gave anyone notice when they were laid off but expected notice if you left for another project or a permanent position.

Anonymous said...

Great post!!!

The Best Law Firm:
Stradley, no doubt, but Pepper is a close second

Best Staff Atty - a no-brainer for me - Emil Isner at Morgan Lewis. Simon Nagle is also up there too

Best Agency:
Update or Oxford, but I agree - I dont want to name names b/c people will know (maybe) who I am. I will say that both agencies have great people too. Both places (Oxford moreso) actually answer and return emails and questions and such, you arent forgotten when they place you.

worst firm: Morgan - you work in a rat filled basement and are frequently out of work too...Dechert is a close second for the reasons listed before this post

Worst Staff Atty:
Scott Milner at Morgan (he actually runs the whole thing - he is an inadequate boss who always makes sure his boys are working above others who are better), and I agree with Kevin Bucknor - he is awfully lazy.

worst recruiter and agency - Julie and Lauren and hudson - no-brainers totally. They are awful honestly...

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree about Update. I interviewed there months ago, and the recruiter claimed they were very busy. I have yet to be offered one interview or a job. Also, when you call Update, the receptionist, Amy, acts like a guard dog and will not let you speak to the recruiter.

Anonymous said...

Right on the money with Hudson, Morgan (they actually had a radiation test in the basement I heard) and the bad thoughts about Update. The receptionist is really rude, and they dont return calls EVER.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone actually gotten a position through Update? I know no one who was placed anywhere through them.

Anonymous said...

I never met anybody who was placed through Update either.

Flocker said...

The Best Law Firm to contract for
There isn't one that runs a large project that qualifies for this. When on a smaller project(25-50 or less)especially at a large firm, are when the conditions are the best, at least until recently that was Stradley, and from what I have heard Duane Morris.

The Best Staff/Project Attorney
That's hard to say. I haven't worked for any that I absolutely hated or liked. The biggest problem is that they get on my shit list so quickly for 1) not answering questions (which is sometimes because they do not have answers, and don't want to bother trying to find an answer for a coder), and 2) because they tend to try to act so superior to coders when in many cases it is chance and timing that they are sitting where they are and the coders are not.

The Best Contract Agency
Currently Oxford

The Worst Law Firm to contract for
I think that it is Dechert, though Morgan and Schiffrin are close behind.

The Worst Staff/Project Attorney
I have to vote for Simon Nagel on this one. He hates his job so much it brings everyone else at a project with him down.

The Worst Contract Agency
I think that Update and Hudson fall into this category. Update because of false promise of a job combined with the suggestion that you shouldn't spread your resume around to other contract firms. Hudson because of its sweatshop mentality as of late (lower salaries and ever more contractors on site without adequate facilities).

The Worst Recruiter
Tough one. Julie and Lauren both get my vote because they do not care about their "recruits" and just treat them like replaceable numbers. But I feel like I should also name people that have inadequate or no jobs available like the bozos at Update.

Anonymous said...

Don't register with Update - complete waste of gas money, time and ink for filling out their endless forms. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a job through them.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I guess I am the only one who was treated fairly by Update. I am guessing that Update actually stinks? Sorry!!!

I also HEARD really, really bad things about Juristaff here and harrisburg (in Harrisburg, BARRED attys are getting 24.00 (YES, 24) an hour thru Juristaff.

It is funny to see that everyone HATES Hudson though, isnt it?

Anonymous said...

I also have a bad opinion about JuriStaff. The recruiters there (other than Leigh Novack)are full of themselves and rude.

Saul Tigh said...

Hudson worked hard to earn our enmity. I was one of the first people on the Vioxx project, and the third floor of 2 Logan wasn’t so bad initially. We each had our own study carrel. The kitchen was clean. The place was fairly large.

However, Hudson did nothing to prevent the place from deteriorating over the next three years. The microwaves got increasingly disgusting. The chairs started to fall apart. The carpeting wore out. It became increasingly obvious that they didn’t care about us. Even when people complained (including Dechert people), nothing was done because Hudson didn’t want to lose any of the obscene profits they must have been making off that place.

There was only one time in the history of the project when they did care—when a lot of people started quitting in 2005. It actually became a running joke that the best thing that could happen to you was to get fired because everyone who left ended up getting paid more and treated better.

It was at that point that Hudson raised our starting pay from the offensively-below market rate of $25 an hour to the below market rate of $27. They also instituted “Pizza Fridays,” wherein they provided free mediocre pizza EVERY OTHER Friday, and the contract attorneys embarrassed themselves by devolving into animals and fighting over the oh-so-wonderful pies.

Hudson initially pretended to care by doing things like holding happy hours, but then they decided that cost too much, and they stopped doing anything. When Simon Nagel tried to provide dinner for people who stayed late, Hudson refused to pay for it. And from what I was told, it was only because of Simon they the started having the Christmas party at the Public House (there was no holiday party in 2005).

Hudson also refused to get us a raise after the 18-month mark when you hit $35 an hour. The only thing we got on our two-year anniversary was a cake, and they got us nothing for the 2 ½ or 3-year marks. Even if Merck was unwilling to give us a raise, Hudson easily could have taken a $1 or $2 per hour hit from their cut, which probably is about $15 an hour.

When the project got too large for the space in 2007 (all the seats were filled, but Dechert wanted to create a new team dedicated solely to reviewing call notes), Hudson chose to rent out a storage closet and stuff 30+ people in there (and stuff even more into what was the conference room) rather than spend the money to find more real office space. By the time of the announced settlement in November 2007, there must have been 250 people on the Dechert/Hudson half of the third floor of 2 Logan. I don’t know the fire or health codes, but there must have been some sort of violation there.

Hudson also never defended any of the contract attorneys. Let’s face it—most of the people who were fired/let go from the project deserved it. However, there were a number of people who were not treated fairly—we all know who they were. Hudson never stood up for those people—nor did they stand up for the group as a whole when Dechert instituted group punishments. The mandatory break system never made sense, and the fact that it was announced the same week as our last-ever raise was a further slap in the face.

Hudson couldn’t even do payroll right. They would forget to give people raises. It was a constant struggle to get paid-time-off days. As mentioned earlier, their recent rule changes both took away one of the few holidays we are paid for and made it more difficult to get the PTO.

Finally, they mishandled the layoffs. From the initial misleading announcements about the number of people to be laid off to the fact that they would find them projects right away, Hudson misled people. Then, they failed to call a bunch of people (the second half of the alphabet?) on Friday night, so many people thought they were safe until they got the call the next day. They also accidentally laid off at least one person who wasn’t supposed to be laid off (he had the same first name as someone else) and forgot to call a number of people—who then showed up to work on Monday only to be told both that they didn’t have a job and that they weren’t allowed to go into the office and get their personal stuff.

Since then, the survivors have not been told a thing. Perhaps Hudson really doesn’t know, but imagine not knowing week to week if you will have a job. Maybe Hudson plans on transferring the remaining people to the troubled McCarter project? Maybe they are hoping to get the document review work for the nascent Vytorin litigation? Maybe the people will be laid off when the Vioxx settlement goes through and everyone will be on his or her own? Nothing has been said.

And that’s just the Vioxx project! I could create a post just as long about problems with the McCarter one—the most obvious of which is that when it became public knowledge that the recently-opened Newark office gets time-and-a-half at 40 hours instead of 45, Hudson refused to give parity to the two offices. You can justify the extra $5 an hour starting salary ($30 versus $35) due to cost of living, but the discrepancy in overtime policy is unjust and, unfortunately, typical Hudson behavior.

Anonymous said...

Well the Dechert partners are doing something right....

Anonymous said...

I'm currently contracting with Pepper Hamilton and I must say it's a pretty good gig. They don't have any staff attorneys, the supervision is light, they trust you to do your work, they're flexible on hours, there's no real overtime restrictions right now. The fellow contract attorneys are overall nice people, but if you want to just come in, listen to music and not talk to anyone, you have that option. Most importantly the project has been going on for five years and looks like it'll last at least through Jan. 2009. The downsides are no time and a half and it doesn't pay as well as others like Stradley, but given the stability and quality of life, you can make a case it's the best gig in town.

Anonymous said...

Well, Drexel law was given provision accrededation, sooo that means another fresh stock of bottom-tier, jobless attorney for the doc review dungeons! Good luck, doc reviewers, good luck.

stateofbeasley said...

Philadelphia does not need another private, overpriced, TTT law school pushing more law graduates into an oversaturated market. If it were up to me, Drexel law would never have opened.

Anonymous said...

I hired Lisa Goddard and Gikas AN ATTORNEY AT Georgetown Texas on July 2008, signed a contract and at that time she asked for a retainer of thousands of dollars
Lisa Goddard and Gikas after reviewing the documents, she made all types of promises
Lisa Goddard and Gikas time went by, and she started to not show up for the appointments we had, refuse to answer the phone calls, and simply, all her promises were not done
Lisa Goddard and Gikas breach of duty to her clients, breach of ethics, simply did not dod any work
The mistake to hire Lisa Goddard and Gikas, and after over a year, cost me dearly, the loss of my property, the loss of my rights, the loss of my son,
Lisa Goddard and Gikas is a truly deceptive attorney, who makes promises, charges money and does not do any work.
Lisa Goddard and Gikas has failed to reply or send bills, simply stolen the money sent to her
Lisa Goddard and Gikas never took any action, never did any work, and simply took the money
Lisa Goddard and Gikas will permanently harm your life if you decide to hire her, BEWARE.

Anonymous said...

It's 2011:

I worked at McCarter on Seroquel in '08-ish. Silly incompetent and lazy group of Team "Leads": never practiced law and were placed in charge of legal work. Each was having sex w the other: like HS w grad degrees... They each had internet and... well... read the internet all day: too important to work!

Such prestige: I WAS jealous, and wanted to be one of the IN crowd... Oh, to be a Team Lead.

There was also a loud, giggling blonde married female firm associate who would come in, talk loudly, sit on Pat's lap, and exclaim what a prize she was and do no work. She flipped her dyed hair and sa-shayed her large-ish be-hind. She had been exiled to the coding area by her superior(good career move)

She was finally fired and claimed tearfilled discrimination of an old boy's network: a legitimate fool: an incompetent weasel.

Margaret: you fired me and a group of other men on "your" team who obviously thought you were an old silly maid. Our work: we were doing QC. So, it was personal. And was perceived by all in the place as such, too.
No problem: it's such a small world, friend-o, and you made scads of enemies for no good reason. For the "power" of being a team lead. Yuk Yuk.

Recall the other team leads suggested you "step down" from the "lead" position because of rampant complaints about your inability to work cooperatively: and they opined, wisely, that: "Not all of us are cut out to be team leads"...

Oh, why didn't you listen: couldn't you see you weren't yet ready for that weighty responsibility, Margaret?

See you on the street, no doubt, and memories are long. Dreary, sad repulsive woman.

Hey, how about "team lead Kate", and her short squat companion known as Chim Chim, who followed Kate everywhere like her poodle, and literally f##cked Kate's cast-off co-team lead, fondly known to all as as McLovin'?

Yea, she's a "staff attorney" (ie no prospects still after how many years?) now at Barroway: wait till she finds out how they go through them like used Kleenex... An obvious career move for one who can't seem to get the practice of law after so many years... A very loud, self-absorbed droid. Can hear you from 100 feet: what you say IS vital to all, so keep shouting sister! That sailor mouth of yours is... sexy! And lawyer-like to boot. Who said law is limited to the upper classes has never met you darlin'.

And of course- "Pat: who never practiced law, a day. Put in charge: good scowl going there dude! Try for eye contact: that's what a man does. And you might want to ditch that way cool pink tie worn EVERY day: go to Goodwill and steal another one. It's de rigeur for a team lead to have at least 2 rep ties...

Hey: Remember y'all: Truth is an absolute defense to libel: care to prove none of this happened? Didn't think so...

F#@k on, Kate! Who you doin' at Barroway now?

Anonymous said...

Kevin Bucknor was briefly exiled to the Philippines, where he usurped the position of VP for the legal division of RR Donnelley without being qualified to practice law in that country. He eliminated all the local lawyers in positions of responsibility, and purged all the locals who opposed him. When he arrived, RRD had several clients; after his "relocation" just this month, RRD no longer had any document review clients -- all moved to other outsourcing companies. He is irritated easily when he feels he is disrespected, and gets angry when his foreignness is "not honored." Is it true that he is disbarred in Philly?