Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hey I am Back!!!

Is anyone still out there?? I am truly sorry to my loyal readers who were hoping for some help recently. But I want to say right here and now, I do not have all of the answers. I am just as stuck as the rest of you. I began this website in the hopes of trying to change things that I didn’t like about contracting, but there was another reason too. I wanted to learn if there were any answers that all of us could come up with together to solve some of the problems with contracting. While I try to keep people informed of opportunities that I hear about, I am not the best source for that. (I would try the Posse List, they seem pretty good. Or just call/e-mail any other contractors that you know, they likely will have heard something.)

As far as jobs out there right now, I would suggest trying to call securities litigation firms directly (both plaintiff and defense) and see if there is any work. With the markets falling, this type of work might see an uptick right now. There are 2 benefits of a direct call, first you might get on board ahead of the contract firms and thus be in a better position to turn the job into a longer term proposition, and second, you might get paid more as an independent contractor then you would through an agency.

Anyway, sorry again, that I haven’t posted anything in a while (wow, almost 4 months). There were numerous reasons for that. First, as I think I said, I was enjoying the sun and warm weather before it was gone. Second, I started getting hooked on blogging generally, and started to do some political stuff, and I wanted to keep my personal voting choices and endorsements off of this site. Third, as many of you were, I was impacted by the market. I have been scrambling around trying to put an income together with shorter jobs.

It is time for me, and I imagine many of you, to take a serious look at this employment and think about doing something else. This is not a career, it is a holding place. And that is all it looks like on the resume too. If you want further education, now might be the time after all there is not much employment out there.

Back to the lack of reliability of the market, it sucks and has gotten worse because of the economy, and the number of attorneys out there who have been doing this in recent years. Since my last post I have heard about mass layoffs in September at both McCarter English and at Stradley Ronon. These layoffs effectively eliminated hundreds more positions for contractors which means there are many more people on the street looking for contract work. Some of those people have landed positions, some of those people have taken jobs out of town (DC or NYC--both markets which if you want to do contract work you should monitor). Many, however, are on unemployment. At the same time, all of those recent grads just got their bar results back, and a large number of them now meet the minimum qualifications for about 90% of contract work in the area. The bad news is that there are no truly massive projects to stick all of the contract lawyers on. I would wager that the last quarter is not looking so hot to Hudson right now. They essentially were funded by 2 major projects in the last 3 years. Now they are back on par with the rest of the agencies fighting to place people.

A little side note, apparently Stradley Ronon has decided to hire a few more contractors, the word is that they are not using Oxford anymore, and they are now using Juristaff who is paying $35/hour instead of the $40/hour that Special Counsel is still offering for the same position. Talk about a pay discrepancy. One reason that I heard they did this is because of economy. They were trying to save money and got a better deal with Juristaff. Another reason I heard is because sometime in August there was a major problem on the project and the coders were not consistent with the way they were coding. That is either bad contractors or a problem with poor instruction/supervision. In other words, the powers that be at Stradley may screwed up in the way they had people coding, or put inadequate checks in place and blamed it on the coders.

I will try to go back to once every couple of weeks, but we shall see. Does anybody have any stories or advice out there that they would like to share?? E-mail me at: