Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hudson/McCarter project continues Cutbacks

As I understand it, last Wednesday the McCarter project made further cutbacks to its hours, limiting the coders from the previous 50 to 40. This came in an announcement that made it impossible to make even 40 hours for the week because the site would close early on Thursday, and would not be open Friday. This comes as little surprise to many contractors as apparently there have been many periods when the site has been sitting idle because documents were not coming in fast enough. The only surprise here is why the client, McCarter or Hudson did not make the decision to limit hours, or close on Fridays sooner. There were apparently very similar lulls in productivity last year throughout the late summer and early fall. Why didn't they have more limited hours then?

I would submit that now something has changed. They are getting closer to the end of current discovery orders and now are on the verge of closing down or laying off many more people at the site.

Coincidentally, on Wednesday afternoon 30-40 contractors on the McCarter project were called upstairs as a group to Hudson's offices to be told that their services were no longer needed. They could have until the end of the week to clean off their workspaces (which was only one more day).

I believe this is a vast improvement over the way layoffs on the same project were handled this past April. In that layoff, there was a lot of assurances from people that should have known better that there was nothing to worry about. Even some of the more experienced Contractors were not prepared to be laid off that weekend. This time there were no assurances.

In April, Contractors were merely told to check their e-mail over the weekend. This was not out of the ordinary as the Team Leads frequently would use E-mail to tell the rest of the Contractors when and if there would be weekend hours. This caused many to assume it was business as usual. Instead, hundreds of people in PA and NJ were told by E-mail that they were let go. This was ridiculous. Here, Julie Dailey and Lauren Gibson actually delivered the news face to face (even if in a large group).

In April, Contractors were not even allowed into the premises to get their own stuff, rather, the team leads merely packed it into a box which they then had to get from the front desk. This time, they were allowed back into the premises and allowed to earn a couple of more hours pay, and could pack up their own stuff.

Incidentally, I have always wondered about this practice of not letting a contract attorney back into the offices after they have been let go. Why? Do they think we are going to commit acts of vandalism? Do they think we are going to steal the oh so valuable documents we have been working on and give them to opposing counsel? Do they think we are going to steal a client? that we would steal office supplies or computers? What is the point? The practice is inane and perpetuates the myth of the unstable or untruthful attorney. We are attorneys, we had to pass some sort of character screening to be licensed. And let's face it, there are numerous people that would be observing our actions. None of these ill effects is likely to occur.

So here are some questions for you. Was the way this layoff handled better then the one in April? I think so. Were Julie and Lauren influenced by the way the contract community (via these blogs) reacted to the April Layoff? Or is this the way that they would act if they were not pressured to lay off so many workers? Did the McCarter or the Client influence the way either of these layoffs were handled? Which would you prefer in person and 1 day, or by e-mail over the weekend?

We welcome your thoughts.

For those who were laid off, I do not have any real current leads for you. Things are a little slow right now. Make sure you apply for unemployment, you can do it online now. Good luck to you, and if I hear of anything I will try to let you know.

To the other contractors out there, I am sure these guys might appreciate a little help. And to those former contractors, what are you doing now, and how did you get there. I am sure that some of those laid off are looking to get out of contracting and into something else, maybe even out of the Law.

Anyway, that's it for today. Keep in touch.

The Black Sheep

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's true that the layoffs were handled better this time around. Why? Who knows? One reason might be that after the first round of layoffs, people were prepared for the "Happy Friday, please check your e-mail" poster at the door. I mean, if you saw that again, you'd know exactly what that meant and you'd be pissed and quite frankly, might be tempted to break something. Hudson couldn't very well pull another "Happy Friday" poster and expect nobody to know they were being fired. The mass confusion might even lead everyone to think they were all fired, and thus, the mob could potentially feed upon itself and who knows what crazy things might occur. The post above argued that acts of vandalism wouldn't occur because of "numerous people observing actions." What if everyone thought they were being fired? Or just that nobody really knew anything? The whole crowd might panic. The "numerous people watching" restraint on the fired people would only work if those numerous people watching knew they were safe. So there was no real alternative other than the face to face notice from Julie Dailey.

Second, although a technicality, there actually were some assurances that the site would continue on. Some people thought the site would continue on further into the future because shutting down Newark meant there might be more work to flow to Philly. One of the McCarter associates who ran the Philly site actually gave a quick speech to calm people down near the end of June, saying that although the Newark site was shutting down, Philly would remain open as Newark was merely an add-on and Philly was the original site. But I guess that didn't go quite as planned, huh?

The thing that really got me was that whoever made the decision to let people go "coincidentally" let people go just a couple days before they were supposed to get a raise on July 14th. Oh, AstraZeneca. Smooth move there.

Anonymous said...

For all those in Philly who think dave king is merely sick these past couple days, think again. He took another project in NYC with Hudson. Just another coder now. I figure I'd go ahead and "out" him this one. We all know he's good at keeping secrets.

Anonymous said...

your all going to get laid off soon! ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!
love,
david king

Anonymous said...

Getting laid off days before you get a raise? Yea, I bet that does burn.

But to all the laid off lawyers who haven't discovered this yet, there's about to be something that'll burn even more. There's a large project coming up. And guess what? You're all conflicted out of it!! It's one of AstraZeneca's competitors.

McCarter/AstraZeneca: the gift that keeps on giving (even after you no longer work for them)

Anonymous said...

Hoooof-uh

Anonymous said...

July 17, 2008 7:00 AM-- If you don't know the difference between "you're" and "your," that might give you one tiny hint as to why you're doing contact work versus regular work?!

Anonymous said...

So we've heard all the contract review horror stories. Are there any GOOD places? Has anyone actually ever had a positive experience? I'd be curious to hear.

Anonymous said...

Stradley is good, hard, good paying, but good. I worked at Pepper too, thats generally good also.

Anonymous said...

I hear Lauren from Hudson is really hot?? Anyone verify this??

Anonymous said...

I don't find Lauren that hot...she has nice legs, but a nasty face.

Anonymous said...

I'd bang her

Anonymous said...

I have worked for a couple of agencies in more than a couple of firms. I am one of the people who enjoys the OT, flexibility and occasional down time (obviously, within reason). In my opinion, while the firm is important, my experience shows me that the agency has more to do with the atmosphere than we all think. In other words, the firm (we will just say Morgan for instance, since they get bashed here more often than others, and I did work there too) will pick an agency for whatever reasons (cost I am sure is the number one reason) without actually thinking more about the people they have staffed there. So, Morgan uses Hudson or Update to staff their projects, then sort of forgets that while the contractors are NOT Morgan employees in the true sense, they ARE placed there, and any negative feelings and thoughts are always blamed on the firm. In other words, the agency, chosen by the firm as a direct part of the project being staffed, chooses their attorneys, places them and more often than not, forgets about them until it comes time for thier commissions or there is some sort of problem. How often does an agency actually send out an email with GOOD news, or even just a "hi?" Pretty much never happens. Yet, the firm is blamed for any issues. I think, and I have been in the worst and best places, through the best and worst agencies, that if the firm chooses their staffing agency and tells the agency that instead of picking them because they are cheapest, the firm should mandate that the agency (remember, the agency IS the employer) should treat the contractors better. After all, when the project ends, or the contractor is fired, who do they always blame? The firm. Now, obviously the actual conditions (cockroaches, smells, etc) can't be fixed by the agency, the firm has to be the one to take care of that, and I did work in the basement in a couple of places, BUT I was also told of that fact, so I knew going in what would potentially happen. That is the work of a good agency, with a good recruiter. If I was never told, I would likely blame the firm wouldnt I?
I guess what I am trying to say is that the firms should all be very careful as to who they chose to staff their projects, and instead of going with cost as a deciding factor (after all, it is the same pool of contractors that all the agencies chose from) pay more attention to the reputations of the agencies. That way, the contractors will all be as happy as possible, and in turn they would not say certain places are not good to work at.
Nothing for nothing, I see Morgan getting bashed a lot, and it is not fair. They have the best and friendliest contractors working there, and with the possible exception of 1 or 2 project managers (I am sure you all know who I am referring to, if you were on the "Z Team"), the Morgan staff is among the best. Nothing today compares with Stradley for everything, especially pay. I know many people there (I was sadly conflicted out since I did a lot of plaintiff work), mainly through the smaller company that staffs there, and to a person, they are all as happy as one can be doing this type of work. Is that a product of Stradley or the agency? Well, someone chose the agencies, and I like to think that it is both. But, if Stradley chose an bad agency, who treated everyone like crap and did not make sure the attorney knew what they were getting into - guess who wouldbe blamed again? Of course, the firm!!! How many of us were promised things by the agency and never got it? Be it a raise, a long committment, OT, whatever - but when someone promises a 3 month gig, and they struggle to get 3 weeks (Hudson is NOTORIOUS for this - as is Update) - without saying something like "anything can settle/change - just as the Vioxx people - it reflects on the firm, when it should not because, again, the recruiter/agency should not have lied.
So, as an alleged expert, I think that the firms should do a better part in chosing the agencies that staff for them.
Any thoughts are welsome.

Anonymous said...

Are there any large projects that are taking on more people, or is it all just short term stuff right now?

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that Julie Dailey (whose mother reportedly died recently-- such a shame-- karma is a bitch) and company are hiring at 2 Logan for Vytorin.

They are saying it will be 6+ months, and the pay structure is the same (starting at $27, OT at 40, raises every 6 months).

Keep in mind you will have to work with Simon, the same asshole staff attorneys and the same freakshow QCers.

Anonymous said...

Whats wrong with Simon? I never worked for him, but I may be sent to 2 Logan

Anonymous said...

Simon actually isn't as bad as some people say. However, he is very moody and can be an asshole on his bad days. He also has a lot of rules and enforces them arbitrarily.

The worst thing about working on the 3rd floor of 2 Logan (other than the lack of trust manifested in ways such as lack of Internet access)is everyone else-- it really is the office of broken toys.

Many of the staff attorneys are horrible people-- particularly avoid Leone and Kevin. And the remaining contract attorneys-- people like Mary Fran, Steve Mote and Kelsey-- are total freaks.

It truly is the worst job I ever had in my life. But you have to pay the bills...

Anonymous said...

I have to stick up for both Simon and Julie (4:05pm - you must be a pretty big asshole to be some insensative about her mother passing away). Simon is actually a pretty great guy...and Julie is a great gal. It's really not their fault that you are stuck doing contract work for a living. Thankfully, I don't have to do it anymore, but that's because I busted my ass and hustled to get a career job. But that's beside the point...point is, stop complaining about your bosses and the one's who are keeping you out of the unemployment line. Julie and Simon are simply your fall guys. They are not trying to make your lives miserable. They are not the ones making the calls. Last time I checked, it was Dechert, LLP...not Simon N. LLP and it's Hudson, not Julie D. Legal Staffing. So, why don't you lay off them (not that they really care about your mindless drivel), and consentrate on either (1) getting a real job, or (2) drawing little black boxes on computer screens.

Anonymous said...

5:27-- it is great that you got a "career job," but learn to f---ing spell! "To be some insensative?" "One's?" "Consentrate?" You graduated from law school?

I do think it is interesting that people like you are such apologists for the agencies and the firms. We aren't complaining about being temps. We are complaining that certain agencies such as Hudson and certain law firms such as Schiffrin Barroway and Dechert treat us poorly.

Yes, some people have unrealistic expectations about temporary jobs. However, there are firms that treat their document reviewers with respect and dignity. Is it really "mindless drivel" to insist that firms treat us like professionals until we give them a reason not to do so?

Anonymous said...

5:13 is so correct. Despite not having any "pull" in keeping projects active and staffed, Julie and the rest at Hudson CAN treat us better and NOT lie to us. Thats what it boils down to. I like the contract world, but I dont like being taken advantage of or being lied to.

Oh, and yes to a previous post, Lauren's legs are about the nicest I have seen too.

Anonymous said...

5:13 and 6:34,,,,wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah! Did I spell that correctly? Sorry I didn't proof my last comment, but the simple fact is that I have a real attorney job and you are a loser coder...and I graduated from a real law school, and you went to Widener...which is why you are a loser coder. Loser!

Anonymous said...

12:53-- Are you off your meds again?

Anonymous said...

Uh, 12:53 - getting a job at Daddy's firm isn't really something to brag about is it?

Anonymous said...

2:13 and 3:44...why don't you go back to your seats, sit quietly and start making some redactions. Who knows? Maybe some day day, you'll be a team lead too!! By the way, I think your 15 minutes on the internet is up. Back to work coders!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! It's funny cause it's true. Doh!

Anonymous said...

Dude, if you're so happy with a real "career job" why are you still lurking on this board? You're the one who needs to get a f--ing life!!!

Anonymous said...

cause it makes me feel better about myself

Anonymous said...

Back to the issue at hand - any news of any staffing going on??

Anonymous said...

Hudson just added to Vytorin, and I heard they are adding to the Amgen project at the Bell Atlantic Tower. Go work there and help pay for an addition to Julie Dailey's house!

Anonymous said...

yes, let's all pile on Julie Dailey because she has a real job and a career. wah! wah! why can't I have a real job?? why am I such a loser temp coder?? wah, wah, wah!

Anonymous said...

8:52-- are you Julie Dailey's husband?

Anonymous said...

yes, you found me out

wildweazel said...

I'd say working on the 3rd floor of 2 Logan was one of the 2 or 3 biggest mistakes of my life.

Anonymous said...

boy howdy!

Anonymous said...

I'd say that working on the 5th floor of 1717 arch was the worst mistake of my life.

Anonymous said...

i like to write in pencil

Anonymous said...

I like to write in crayon!!!

Anonymous said...

my feet itch

Irving Goldstein said...

my dog is asleep on the couch

Richard said...

The certifiably insane mind reader amazingly heralded the arrival of the diseased vat of refried beans. The flabbergasted extra terrestrial eventually liquified the hideous dolphin burgers.The knuckle-dragging brigadier general thoroughly bludgeoned the reheated goose burgers. The mummified wandering minstrel thoroughly bunny-hopped over the shriveled up synthetic meat by-product.The toga-wearing ventriloquist dummy sheepishly vaporized the chimp's hallucinogenic mushrooms. The half-crazed tourist haphazardly swam upstream to get to the rancid corndog. redact redact redact redact!

Anonymous said...

Dear critics of the Dechert/Two Logan Project:

I get that you blame people around you for your own troubles and I get that if Hudson lied to you about your working circumstances, you blame them. What I dont get is why you feel constantly compelled to trash your co-workers with snide, ignorant and ad hominem insults like "broken toys" or "freaks".

I have worked at 2 Logan since it started and (1) Hudson never lied to me, and (2) I dont consider my co-workers Freaks or Broken Toys (even you!). I get decent pay, easy work, plenty of overtime, good working infrastructure, (for the last 18 months) a good working atmosphere, and a sense of employment stability that few in this line of work have. I'm really tired of reading your posts about what losers we all are and how terrible your bosses are. I'm happy on this project and plan to ride it out as long as it lets me. As for you, grow up or move on. Maybe you would be happier collecting unemployment that putting up with a bunch of freaks and losers like me.

Signed, one of your co-workers.

Pat said...

i love testicles

Ron said...

me too!

Anonymous said...

5:15-- Who are you? If you're so proud of your pathetic job, state your name. Is this Derek-- the guy who is way too smart to be doing this kind of work? Is this Steve Mote-- the guy who thinks farting is the funniest thing in the world and is way too stupid to be doing anything more than this kind of work?

Whoever you are, it is just pathetic that after so many years of education and the passing of a bar exam, you are satisfied being a f---ing coder. Do you have any pride or are decent pay and plenty of OT the only things you care about?

And, yes, Pat, I love testicles too! We all love testicles.

J.R. said...

Dude...Derek is really not that smart! And farting is kinda funny. That being said, I agree...testicles rule!

Burnsy said...

damn it, my spaghetti got cold!!

Wayne said...

dude, just pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. it's not that big of a deal. relax.

vlad said...

my favorite day of the week is tuesday

pat said...

guys, guys, keep it down. people are trying to work.

Dick said...

Shut up Pat! You're not the boss of me. You're just a glorified coder. Maybe someday I'll be a team lead, and when I do, I'll remember all the little people. Cause when I make it to the top, like you, I'll know how hard it is for us regular coders...and I will work to make their lives more enjoyable. I won't take the title "Team Lead" lightly...unlike some of you who abuse your power. True, you have a awesome position of power and an awesome responsibility, but for Pete's sake, think about us for a change. Us, the people who work so hard everyday to make you look so damn good. Us, whose only goal is to lift you up in the eyes of both McCarter and English. Us, whose work makes it possible for you to wear all those nifty neck ties and tan chinos. Us...us...us. Just think about us for a change!!

Gerry said...

Settle down, Dick! This isn't a real job. We're all just coders who can be fired or laid off at any time...Pat too. Just be happy you have a job and are not sitting around collecting unemployment. Maybe you should aim a little higher than "team lead." Just a thought.

Cheryl said...

As if...cha!

steve moat said...

i like the number 7. a lot. i think that it is the greatest number ever. it is way better than 3 or 4. some people like 9, but i think that 9 is a little pretentious. if the number 7 and the number 2 got into a fight, 7 would totally beat up 2. i also like the letter r. i am not sure why, but i am fascinated by all things r. does anyone feel the same as me, or am i alone here. i sometimes speak in rhymes, but i think that writing in rhymes is stoopid. the olympics are on tv. i am watching them. speedos are neat. i am going to start wearing rubber hats with my name on the side. oops, i forgot to eat dinner. gotta go. i love you. bye for now.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What happend to this blog, it hasn't been updated in nearly a month!?

Anonymous said...

Black Sheep lost his job and is sad.

Rob said...

Me wants to work more. Me donts know what to do with all me free time.

Anonymous said...

write a new blog black sheep. we're lost without you.

Julie said...

Don't worry, Paul. Don't worry, Rob. Julie will take care of you. AstraZeneca may have caught on that we were stealing millions of dollars, but we're trying to get you more work. After all, how else am I going to pay for the latest addition to my mansion? I'm also thinking about hatching a younger sibling for my kids, Vioxx and Seroquel.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I don't miss document review that much after all.

Document Review Paralegal

Anonymous said...

It's all winding down now. Only about 30 people left and probably for not much longer. For the most part it was a pleasure to work with everyone but we all saw this coming. The writing is on the wall. Last person out, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out! (sorry ran out of cliches)