Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wolf Block is dead!!!

Well, one major Philadelphia legal institution for the past 106 years passed away. Wolf block voted to disband the other day. The reasons that have been put forward are: mergers and acquisitions, structured finance or real estate focused practice; the economic recession; the current credit crunch; and oh, the fact that the partners did not want to stand behind their own firm. One report I read indicated that a large part of this was that not very many of the partners wanted to personally ensure the line of credit that they needed to take out for operating expenses, and that they were upset that profits were down so the partners only made $321,000 on average in 2008 (Down from $400,000 in 2007).

Some Links:
Philly Inquirer--Wolf Block Lawyers Face Difficult Job-hunting Climate

Philly Daily News--Wolf Block Lawyers Left Only With Fond Memories

Legal Intelligencer--No Easy Answers in Wolf Block's Demise

Legal Intelligencer--Credit Woes, Failed Merger Bids Take Toll on Wolf Block

Wall Street Journal--Wolf Block to Dissolve Philadelphia Law Firm

Business Journal--Wolf Block law firm to dissolve

The thing is that I believe that many firms large and small do not get the concept that there needs to be at least a vague semblance of a pyramidal structure of leadership. The fact is that most firms, even those mega firms like Dechert are too top heavy. There are too many partners and equity partners and not enough accountability. When you have too many partners, you can not get them to all agree on anything, and in fact you are likely to have many of them making more conservative moves without their names on the door or their own personal money invested. The partners will rarely put themselves out of work, and you can be sure that all of the partners from this dissolution will end up somewhere else. The young attorneys will be scrambling, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some of them on contract jobs in the future.

As far as why you should be concerned. While I have not heard of Wolf Block hiring any contractors in the last five years (so we are not really losing a contract employer), as I just mentioned, there are that many other lawyers out there looking for work. Will they deign to do contract work? In this economy, probably. Will they be able to find associate or partner positions? It sounds like many are already lining up these positions, but of course that means any contractor looking for an associate position is going to find it that much harder to find one. And with some firms already delaying first year start dates, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that offers are rescinded putting more recent grads in the desperate position of needing to work anywhere. Also, don't forget that many firms suffer from a top heavy management structure, and layoffs at major firms have been touching all levels. A dissolution could happen to any firm in the near future, even Pepper Hamilton, Morgan Lewis, or Dechert. So even those of you who have been contracting at those places for years, are not necessarily safe (and certainly less safe than the associates or partners).

For those of you who would use this to point out that contracting is just as secure as any other job out there, think again. If you are an associate somewhere, even if all you have ever done is Document Review work, you are perceived to have a skill set, as a contractor you are not. As an associate, even in situations like this you are entitled to certain benefits, or portions thereof, as a contractor you are entitled to nothing. As a contractor, you will likely be the first one out on the street, and the last one to be hired by a new firm. There is more job security as a full-time employee, and a recognized skill set that comes along with the position which makes you more mobile when it comes to looking for new employment.

Contract attorneys actually do have a skill set, but you wouldn't know it from the way firms treat applicants for full-time positions that have primarily contract experience, nor from the way that they treat contractors on document reviews for the firms (firms tend to treat contractors as idiots who barely graduated high school, and believe that anyone can do the work, though the last associate that I saw code a document screwed it up and crashed the system). The real question is how to make that skill set known and transferable.

I digress though, what are your thoughts.

As far as those of you asking about additional work, I have no updates other than to say it sounds like several contract firms are trolling for resumes. And I am sure for positions to post people in, but many of them do not have positions ready immediately.

Feel free to comment.

Black Sheep


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Anonymous said...

It's not THAT surprising about Wolf Block. I mean, being a Philly-based large firm, they saw this coming for a LONG time considering most clients jumped ship to go to New York or DC firms with national presence.

I'm curious as to what people think about THIS article! Write your congressperson IMMEDIATELY!

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is the correct link:

The article is entitled Asking for Student Loan Forgiveness if that link also doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

you mention in the original post that some WolfBlock young associates may be relegated to taking contract jobs, at least in the short term -

I have no proof of this so if someone with firsthand knowledge is on the board, feel free to correct me: I've heard that agencies don't like to place recent biglaw associates in doc review because they always have one eye out the door for the next permanent gig and have an outsized sense of entitlement fostered by their time being kissed up to in biglaw

conceptually, this makes sense, but I have no idea if its true in practice - indeed, I would think some prestige-whore agencies and firms would love to have doc reviewers like this so they can brag to clients about the "pedigree" of their labor pool

Anonymous said...

many firms are now even using associates for doc review

so the associates who are laid off DO get first choice even with temp jobs- believe me, I am very close with someone who does most of the hiring at one of the big firms here in Philly. He has told me that he would chose an associate anyday over someone who has only done doc review. I think then, they feel that they can use this contract lawyer for more if they have worked as an associate--- they won't just use them as a coder. And voila-- even cheaper labor!

they know that all of them are temps, so they don't care if the former associate leaves the minute they get another job. they would rather hire the associate for whatever reason, mainly because of the stigma firms associate with temps. Regardless of whether they are correct in this- they do place a stigma on temps, esp. if they have never had another job other than temping.

and face it--- the associate hired to do doc review now doesn't really have much of a shot at getting another job for the time being anyway. They are pretty much there to stay until this whole thing turns around.

but indeed, now you have former PARTNERS applying for temp jobs. They would LOVE to pay temp wages to get someone with that experience over someone who has just coded since the day they graduated law school. They can use them for more than coding, and now, these people are damned glad to get whatever hourly salary they will get.

Anonymous said...

Dechert lays off 63 attorneys. 62 staff. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Did they lay off 63 nationwide?

Simon said...


Anonymous said...

Student loan forgiveness is an interesting idea. But I think there would need to be a cap on the amount to be forgiven. Some people purposefully went to less expensive schools to avoid deep debt, and they would not be too happy if they felt like they were subsidizing "losers" who went all out and got themselves a high debt burden.

Attorneys (myself included) would benefit for sure. But can you imagine the fury of people who didn't go to law/medical/grad school? They would see it as "the rich" taking advantage and might turn into a pitchfork-wielding angry mob, demanding that we publicly apologize, and either hand over the money or commit ritual suicide. I'm telling you, this thing can backfire.

Anonymous said...

Ok haven't been on an assignment in a while. Can someone tell me who is hiring and what projects are ending? Pepper, Dechert, Morgan? Who is laying off?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone ever actually read the previously-posted comments? How many times do we have to answer the same questions about whether or not Pepper, Dechert, Morgan, etc. are hiring and laying off? I know that situations change, but what is the point of answering if two days later,someone else is going to ask the same exact question?

Anonymous said...

I disagree: i think updates are helpful since the situation seems to be changing day by day, literally. And some people may hear things thru the grapevine.

Anonymous said...

I heard some people that were supposed to start on a huge Dechert project on Monday were called and told it was postponed "indefinitely" and others haven't gotten called. ANYBODY KNOW FOR SURE?

Delaware Job Hunters said...

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To register for the event call Joyce Dungee Proctor at 302-504-9922 or visit and click on seminars and choose the Delaware Job Hunters event to register.

Anonymous said...

so this blog has degenerated to the point where it allows job spam?

Anonymous said...

is there a big review going on at Reed Smith? Anyone know if they are hiring?

Tyler Durden said...

I understand what both 5:11 and 12:31 are saying. I think it is good to discuss with our comrades which agencies are hiring and whether there are new projects available. However, 5:50 reeks of desperation like a stalker ex-girlfriend.

If you are looking for a job, register with ALL the agencies. While you are unemployed, contact all the agencies once a week. But don't do it hourly. If you have friends on a project contact the hiring agency and let them know you are available and have interest in that project.

I know that sitting in your mom's basement waiting for a call can be stressful, but desperation is a turn-off in any kind of relationship.

By the way, 8:54, just call Juristaff and ask about the Reed Smith project.

Anonymous said...


You're wrong. Tenacity keeps you employed. I called HireCounsel daily until I got placed at my current job.

That's how you get to the top of the pile. Unemployment sucks.

Anonymous said...

What's going on at Morgan? haven't seen a single soul...did they lose more accounts?

Anonymous said...

Watch out Reed Smith employees, apparently there were some associate layoffs there yesterday. If any were in Philly, you may be joined by formaer assocites.

Anonymous said...

New hires were brought in yesterday by Stradley. At Stradley, this usually means "in with the new & out w. the old." Good luck to those who get the dreaded phone-call this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the new people like the fact that they are making $35 an hour while almost everyone else is making $40? Thank you, Glaxo!!!

DirtyLAWndry said...

With the economy in its current state and the outsourcing crisis, there are no jobs for attorneys - associates or contractors. Being an associate is great and all, however, the longer they remain unemployed, the less valuable they will be to firms. So, these associates better think about going solo to at least get more experience. Because when firms start hiring again, I'm sure they'll give those that can bring their clients to the firm preferential treatment.

Anonymous said...

Hey April 4 @ 8:00 AM, some of us are only making $30. We can thank HIRECounsel and Kelly for that.

Anonymous said...

7:58 AM,

Has it been standard practice at Stradley to fire people working at higher rates, and hire new people at lower rates?

There was a time when the Stradley project was the plum assignment in town. Every time I read something new about it, it seems worse and worse.

My dealings with this firm and its employees (former and current) have always been unpleasant.

Anonymous said...

I've been working on the Avandia project at Stradley for a while now. Yeah, it sucks, but I am paid $40 an hour, and they mostly leave you alone if you meet quota and keep your head down.

I've heard the negative things about Stradley-- they are racist and they are a second-rate firm trying to pretend to be a first-rate one-- but the truth is that they keep us quarantined on a lower floor, so I really can't speak to that. I will say that while there are plenty of African-American contract attorneys, there was a certain lack of diversity among the people they hired as project attorneys.

Do I like it here? Not particularly. The unpaid hour break is bullshit, the hours are extremely limited, the sign-in policy is demeaning and the quotas kind of suck (although I guess you could say that is karma since I made so much money while doing no work at Seroquel). However, name for me another project where I can be paid $40 an hour.

I feel for my new coworkers who have to put up with all the crap here and do the same amount of work as I do while making $5 less. However, as the earlier person pointed out, $35 still is better than almost every other job in the city. Agencies such as HIRECounsel and Kelly have succeeded in driving the hourly rate down to $30 an hour straight time.

And name for me another project that is this long-term (they still are saying a year or more) that doesn’t require working for Simon Nagel on the Vioxx/Vytorin project or Matt Hamilton at the increasingly unpleasant Pepper Hamilton one.

Anonymous said...

In case you didn't know, Pepper/Matt Hamilton is pretty much in charge of the Stradley project as well. They report to Pepper on that.

Anonymous said...

W. regard to the required 1 hr unpaid break at Stradley, there are a good # of folks who probably don't even take that entire time for a break because otherwise, they won't make the quota by the end of their day.
I have on several occasions bypassed taking the full "mandatory" 1hr break simply because I'm afraid I won't meet the quota. You can imagine how much it sucks for me to write that I still took a 1 hr break on my time sheet at the end of the day when I really worked through my break, and just want to avoid getting noticed by the powers-that-be. Let there be no doubt, the 1000 doc quota can give you the experience of what a pressure cooker is like.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what this is?

Staff Attorney
Apply Now >>
Save it | Email It | Print it Report It
Job Snapshot Location: Suburbs, PA 19019 ( Map it ) 1 miles1 miles© 2009 Microsoft Corporation © 2009 NAVTEQ © AND © 2009 Microsoft Corporation © 2009 NAVTEQ © AND

Loading Map... This push pin is only accurate to city level. It does not reflect the exact job location. Base Pay: $60,000 - $65,000 /YearEmployee Type: Full-Time EmployeeIndustry: LegalManages Others: NoJob Type: LegalEducation: Graduate DegreeTravel: NoneRelocation Covered: NoPosted: 4/6/2009Contact Information Ref ID: 2009 STAFF ATTNYS
Prestigious PA based law firm seeks licensed attorneys to fill staff positions on large projects and document reviews for complex corporate litigation. Must be licensed and in good standing, able to pass a background check and provide good professional references. Professional demeanor and the ability to work at least 40 hours per week are required.
Successful candidates will have demonstrated abilities in the use of Word, Outlook, Excel, Summation, Concordance, IPro and Lextranet. We offer competitive salary and benefits. These are full time staff positions.

Please send resume with cover letter, references and salary requirement via Word attachment.

No third party submissions will be accepted.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Barroway Topaz

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Given that the ZIP code was listed at 19019 I thought it might have been somewhere in lower Bucks County. I wonder if they'll put cameras on the staff attorneys as well.

Anonymous said...

Is anybody hiring right now? I have been to every agency for the obligatory "interview" but I haven't gotten any feedback about any actual projects.

That is, of course, aside from the project where the agencies hoard resumes and waste people's time.


Anonymous said...

Seriously, an update on all the doc reviews going on would really help. I know some people don't like the updates but they would really be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

The update is that there are no updates. There may be some smaller, under-the-radar jobs, but there aren't any big projects hiring right now.

Anonymous said...

are the projects at dechert, pepper, and morgan still going? if so, are they ending any time soon? maybe they will need more people?

Code Monkey said...

Why does it matter what projects are still running and might need people?

Until the recruiter posts or calls you, it doesn't matter. You're either on your project or on the couch. If you have an alternative, take it.

The Underachiever said...

I must beg to differ with Mr. Monkey. If you wait until the recruiter contacts you, you'll be on that couch for a while. The dirty little secret that we don't like to acknowledge is that we are all interchangeable to the recruiters. You need to keep bothering them, or they will forget you exist and use someone else.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Dechert may be hiring- 6 month commit't is needed. Try Hudson Legal. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'd heard that MLB hires people just to have "on call"- is this true? can you get much work this way?

Code Monkey said...


I don't think it's a dirty little secret that we're mostly interchangable to the recruiters. I say mostly because I've found some recruiters prefer to hire contract attorneys that lack serious personality/substance abuse/behavior issues.

Keeping in touch with recruiters doesn't hurt. But if they don't trust you for whatever reason , you're going to be lower on their list to call.

But knowing what projects are out there doesn't really help you if you're unemployed. You're not going to get a gig by hanging outside of 2 Logan looking expectant. It's not going to change your decisions.

If you're working, you choose between grabbing every hour you can or trying to have a life. If you're not, you can choose between waiting for the next gig or finding something else to do.

Anonymous said...

Reports are coming in that there was a purge at Pepper this week. At least eight people have been fired. Anyone know any details? Is it related to the meeting on Friday when everyone was told how much they suck and that if they had a problem with the firm, they should just leave?

Anonymous said...

The purging at Pepper seems to be on schedule. The "new rules" instituted a few months ago were implemented to shave down the workforce. I'm no longer there, but was the firing last in, first out?

Anonymous said...

No, I think they finally are getting rid of some of the Pepper freak show. I used to work there, and if I were in charge, I just would clean house and start over again. The sixth floor, in particular, is a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

The firings were simply based on performance statistics- nothing else. Those with the lowest production were let go. It was that simple.

Anonymous said...

I love that so many of these reviews care so much more about quantity than quality. I realize that this is mostly monkey work, but quality should be a factor too. This whole racket is such a joke.

Anonymous said...

The reviewers ARE graded on quality as well. The Pepper situation was "performance." that is more than just numbers. It includes accuracy.

But yes, the racket is a joke...and aside from the Dechert/Pepper projects, it seems like the big document reviews are just about over...that much is obvious...unless anyone has any evidence to the contrary?

It certainly seems like the days of getting on a 1+ year project in Philadelphia is over....

Can anyone deny that?

Larry said...

I ate a chicken sandwich for lunch today.

Codo Monkey said...

I forgot to wash my underwear.

Matt Hamilton said...

You're all fired!!!

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that Matt Hamilton never fired anyone.

He is mostly well-known for sending emails scalding the entire group for a few people's bad behavior (the bad behavior usually involved rude or childish behavior that very few people exhibited).

By the way, Pepper has not fired eight people from the contract positions. Several people who recently left did so for better jobs. That's how life for contract attorneys works out sometimes, if you're lucky.

Anonymous said...

No one left for a better job- and the decisions were based on performance alone. They were all terminated. Get your facts right. Clearly, if you think a temp got a perm job in this economy, with nothing but coding experience, you are believing in the tooth-fairy as well. Or, you just believe someone's story who is trying to save face.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, only TWO people were fired, based on performance. Not eight. Jesus. Where do these rumors start?

Anonymous said...

Collective punishment seems to be the norm at large law firms in the area.

This is unfortunately the result of partners and associates being almost completely unaccountable to an HR department for anything. This kind of behavior would never be tolerated in business or government.

Getting out of this dying profession is the best option for most people. The firms consistently demonstrate poor leadership. They will walk off a cliff -- don't follow their lead.

Anonymous said...

If a law firm practices collective punishment, the good people who have options eventually will get so sick of it that they will leave.

The tipping point will be if the "collective punishment" impacts their pocketbooks.

Anonymous said...

I tell everyone I know who wants to go to law school to look into other options.

There are just too many lawyers out there, especially in Philadelphia. It pushes everyone's salaries down.

Anonymous said...

People have options if they go into Bankruptcy practice or plaintiff's civil practice as their own bosses. It's not easy, no matter what area of law you go into.

The practice of law is getting harder and harder to make a living at. There are too many law grads being churned out year after year.

Anonymous said...

What "good people with options" sitting in a temp pool do you know, 2:32?

Anonymous said...

"the bad behavior usually involved rude or childish behavior that very few people exhibited."

1:47, you've obviously never been to the 6th floor. You just described half the people there.

Anonymous said...

I keep calling my agency and they say there is nothing at the moment. Does anyone have any leads? Is anyone working ANYWHERE besides pepper and dechert?

Anonymous said...

Anyone here do "stuff" on the side beside doc review- i.e. small business, side-practice, real estate/stock investing? I'd like to start something on the side so I'm just inquiring.

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if you're on unemployment right now. But if you are, I'd be careful about doing "stuff" on the side. It might disqualify you from unemployment.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the concern, but I'm currently employed at a project, and am just starting to explore other areas of interest. That's all.

Anonymous said...


Here's something that might interest you if you're thinking about starting your own side law practice:

It's a free CLE about possibly starting your own solo. But it's during the daytime, so not sure if you want to miss work for it. Also, it's more geared towards lawyers "in transition" but it says they don't really verify that.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Thanks 3:17. Much appreciated!


fartface said...

i like my eggs runny.

Honker said...

Any updates on the Philly doc review scene?

Anonymous said...

yes, please! any updates would be appreciated...I can't be the only one who wants to know!

Anonymous said...

All you fine folk living in Philadelphia should be outraged!

While broke law graduates are toiling in the sweatshops and toilet firms, employees of the Board of Revision of Taxes are making $50,000 or MORE per year, often with no qualification other than a high school diploma! A lot of these people do nothing and don't help city residents with erroneous tax bills. BRT is a recordkeeping disaster. They don't even seem to know who qualifies for the property tax abatement.

What is worse, they are using YOUR tax dollars to help the rich commit tax fraud by falsely under valuing their homes.

Will District Attorney Lynn Abraham step up to the plate and crush these scumbags? How about AG Corbett, who has ambitions of running for governor? Will the State Bar conduct an ethics investigation against some BRT board members who are attorneys? Or will the board members, with their extensive patronage networks, escape justice?

This is the sad, sick truth of law and government in Philadelphia. The powerful and connected, safe in their big law firms and judgeships, don't want the system to change. Vince Fumo and his buddies at Ballard Spahr was just the top of the anthill. It's scum and tax cheats all the way down.

Anonymous said...

uh..any updates?

Anonymous said...

It seems like it's Dechert, Pepper, Stradley or out on the street as far as Philly doc review jobs go. I don't think any of those three are hiring right now. If they are, someone please post.

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:19, how about trying to find a "permanent" job instead where you won't have to ask people to post
doc-review updates every few days/months. Doc review isn't a "gimmee" job right now, so you might as well put the effort into finding a permanent job that'll get you at least a few years of stability.
Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the projects at MLB? werent' there several?

Anonymous said...

the associates who are low on hours are doing the work until business picks up

Anonymous said...

what did MLB do with the temps in the meantime? so associates at MLB are doing document review?

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard, MLB is running a hush-hush offsite review.
Maybe someone there reads this blog knows more

Ned Weiser said...

I've heard that most of the above mentioned projects are going strong. If YOU have not been called there is probably a really good reason.

Anonymous said...

Pepper and Dechert aren't hiring, period

well which is true for MLB? someone just said that the MLB associates were doing the doc review, and another said the above. Both can't be right...

is anyone working there right now?

Code Monkey said...


Both are right.
Some projects are using outside reviewers. Idle MLB associates have been asked to do DR on other projects.

Has anybody been called by the usual Philly agencies recently? Or are we just supposed to watch the Juristaff twitter feed?

Anonymous said...

I know this is kinda ridiculous to ask, but does anyone here REGRET going to law school in the 1st place? I've been doing doc review for the past 3 years and it's been the only work that's payed me decently for my 7 years of schooling, and despite reading all these doc rev. blogs, I don't find myself regretting having gone to law school even though doc review is all I do.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I regret going to law school. After the first year I realized that law school was little more than a sham. It was galling that professors could not explain to me why I received grades on exams. "It's the curve" was the standard explanation, and not that I fucked up on the application of the law or omitted something important.

Then there was the matter of having to explain mediocre grades to every single employer, even to ambulance chasing firms offering $39,000 a year. And then there's having to explain to the family that you're not going to be making six figures, and can't even afford to rent your own place.

This profession is a whole lot of nothing. It's all based on perception and prestige. If you don't start out on the right foot, it haunts your job opportunities.

I hate reviewing documents. It's a boring, thankless task that any literate child could be taught to do. However, I am thankful every day that the work exists, because there is literally no other way that many of us can free ourselves from the chain of student loan debt. I've worked hard for a couple of years and paid off my loans to the point where I can afford a lower paying job, but now I fear that my resume is too damaged by the black hole of doc review to do anything else in the legal arena.

I'm getting out of this sham of a profession as soon as possible. The older attorneys I know are shocked and dismayed at what has happened to the legal field: that earnings for most are stagnant, that law school costs have risen astronomically, and that the public looks upon lawyers with more and more disgust as the years go by.

Code Monkey said...


I do regret my decision to go to LS. I foolishly thought my background + law degree would equal intellectually stimulating work that would make me wealthier.

Instead, I'm doing DR, making enough to pay my loans. My standard of living has gone down. I'd like to go back to my old career, but my skills are outdated and the Access Group vig makes it really difficult.

If I could go back, I'd do it. I'm not totally trapped, but I don't have many options.

Some inspire with experience or brilliance- I'm more of an example to avoid.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is that Ed Caufield is no longer at Hudson. Anyone else hear about this??

Anonymous said...

how in the heck are the temp agencies staying alive? there are no jobs to place anyone at! any word on how they are doing?

the days of DR are over, it's pretty clear

Anonymous said...

I can offer this: no one I know is still working at MLB right now

Anonymous said...

12:37, then you obviously don't know the 25 contract attorneys who are working there.

Anonymous said...

25 temps is pretty small amount compared to Dechert and Pepper

Anonymous said...

weren't even their core contract lawyers sent home for a period of time..people who'd been temping there for 3 years, even? i thought a lot of their contract lawyers were off work for weeks

Anonymous said...

Is anyone here considering going into inactive status for the Pennsylvania attorney registration? Has anyone here ever tried that?

I'm considering it. I know, it's only a couple hundred bucks. But still, it's something. Is there really any danger? Because you can really just flip it back on at any time you want, right? Plus I'm also barred in N.J. and just paid the registration there, so I'd still be active in a jurisdiction (just not PA). Man, these registrations hitting me back to back are no joke. Didn't anticipate a $400 hit like this.

Any thoughts??

Anonymous said...

4:17- sounds like you have a question that could be best answered by the license registration office. Try calling them w. your questions.

Anonymous said...

I'm barred in PA and NJ, and the NJ license is pretty much just a vanity license for me as a Philly doc reviewer. In fact I don't know any doc review project, even the ones in central and north Jersey, that specifically require an NJ license. That being said I just suck it up and pay to stay active, I guess just in case for some reason I could get a job that I couldn't get without it. If nothing else, at least just about all of their CLE credits are honored in PA, which is helping me stave off taking PA CLE's for awhile (except the stupid Bridging the Gap one).

Anonymous said...

I used to contract after I got laid off, then got another perm job a year ago

it seems to be a different market now...many fewer jobs, and i hear associates are doing doc review?

it is sad for those who have no other experience, other than coding, two years after graduation, as the prospects of a perm hire become more and more unlikely

are people collecting unemployment ? How long must you have worked before you can collect? are people working at the mall or what to make ends meet?

It is just sad to see doc review nearly shut down. It was somethign that could pay the rent for grads who weren't hired. now it seems to be dying.

Anonymous said...

I saw this ad on craigslist, any idea what firm it is?

We are seeking admitted attorneys for an upcoming document review project with a large firm in the downtown area. Must be admitted in PA in order to be considered. Proficiency utilizing Catalyst is preferred but not required. Please have at least 1 year of document review experience.

Project is slated to last 2-3 months. Pay rate is $32 per hour.

If this is of interest to you please email your resume as a Microsoft Word document to and refer in the "Subject" line to the "Doc Review in Philly

Anonymous said...

I want to see the comments total to 100! Who else?!?!

Anonymous said...

4:43, it is Dechert.

Anonymous said...

To hell with Fuckert and all who work for them. I don't understand why any lawyer, not matter how desperate, would work for that shithouse outfit. I say this as someone from the inside - don't touch this firm!!!

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Dechert?
At least their projects run for a long time and still pay well from what I know. I used to work on the Vioxx project, and made a ton of $ while I was there. People just need put up or shut up!

Anonymous said...

8:41, Please! I would hardly hold Vioxx up as an example of an enjoyable work experience. Everyone at that place was miserable. If all you want is a long-term temp gig and you can tune out the draconian conditions then maybe that is for you. I will be happy to have nothing to do with that firm ever again if I can avoit it.

Anonymous said...

Any of the large 'cattle call' reviews are going to be much less fun than the small gigs.

Anonymous said...

Coders throw their poo.

Anonymous said...

9:00 AM and others:

With all the complaining, WHERE is a good place to work then?

Dechert - people complain about the draconian rules.

Stradley - people complain about the idiotic management and the high pressure brought on by document quotas.

Pepper - people complain about being bossed around by some guy named Matt Hamilton.

Morgan - people complain about lack of work and constant layoffs.

Seems like everywhere sucks to work.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add:

Small firms and Insurance Defense firms - you work biglaw hours for worse pay than doc review.

Anonymous said...

But at least at a small firm/insurance defense firm, you get actual experience and can GET PROMOTED. Doc review? you get to code. The rest of your life.

Anonymous said...

Promoted? Yes and no.

At a small firm, one could become a partner, but that requires not only a good track record, but rainmaking skills. Not everyone has the skill or inclination to bring in business.

If I wanted to become a salesman, I wouldn't have gone to law school.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'd certainly rather be able to say I was an associate at a small firm than a "coder" after 3 years of law school. It's embarrassing to admit to friends and family that you never made it past "temp" after all your efforts. And that you have no office, no job security, and sit in front of a computer all day just coding doc after doc.

And we knew it required rainmaking skills when we went to law school. What job doesn't? Even a doctor has to worry about clients.

THis is pretty much the bottom of the law barrel. No question about it.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about matt hamilton, but the guy is loved by Nina Gussak, argues (and wins) one of the biggest federal summary judgement motions in court last week, and probably earns close to half a million a year. He gets to deal with the major clients directly and is basically an expert in his field. Yeah, what a moron. I"d hate to be him. WHo'd want that life? The part i"d hate if i were he and sean is just managing all doc review people in addition to all his real legal work. Funny; all of the valued doc review people love matt and dont' have a problem with him. He's damned easy to get along with and is always kind and respectful to everyone, despite his position. Fact; you'd be hard=pressed to find a PERM EMPLOYEE (associate, partner) at Pepper who doesnt' love matt. The only people who don't like him are probably not even qualified to staple his briefs together to be filed. He pretty much has the respect of every associate and partner at Pepper.

Anonymous said...

9:08 PM, most jobs don't require rainmaking skills. Nurses, teachers, policemen, engineers, pharmacists, auto mechanics, District Attorneys, and others generally don't need to go out and get clients, unless they own their own business. That's what sales and marketing departments are for. Gov't doesn't need to make rain, because it serves the people.

I don't think the vast majority of people going to law school are aware that much of legal practice is actually sales if you are in the small firm arena.

9:16 PM, I make no judgment on Matt Hamilton, as I have never met or worked with him. I only said that some people have complained about him on this blog.

A lot of people here are obviously fed up with temping, but with the recession, any job is a "good" (as in you get a paycheck, but no more) job. What are people doing to get out of document review?

Anonymous said...

Law is like any other profession. It rewards those who take an entrepreneurial approach. Those who expect a job for life are naive. If you just want to be some desk-jockey until you retire and that is your only ambition, don't bitch that the law done you wrong. Remember, you are only entitled to that which you do for yourself. A law license is merely a tool to accomplish that - no more, no less.

Anonymous said...

12:54 AM,

I don't think "job for life" (or at least readily available employment) is naive in the context of people who grew up in the middle class 'burbs around Philadelphia.

Some of our parents work/worked for companies like Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin), Rohm and Haas, PNC, and Vanguard. Maybe they were "only" desk jockeys, but they made a good living. With a bit of financial smarts, many of them put their kids through college and lived in a house that they'd completely paid off in 15-20 yrs. You may write of these people contemptuously, but what have you accomplished?

There were ups and downs. Companies occasionally did bad or fell apart, but people could always find work.

Kids' perception of the world is largely what they seen in their community. You didn't *have* to be an entrepreneur. So long as you were professional in demeanor and creative, you could make a good living.

The law in of itself hasn't done anyone wrong, but the law school industry and the student loan companies have a lot to answer for in terms of shady marketing and making lots of irresponsible loans.

So I ask you again: if you're fed up with it all, what are you doing to get out of document review?(assuming that you work in this field)

Anonymous said...

Matt is a good guy, a tough but fair boss and very bright. It is unfair to bash him (and others on this board) in such broad strokes. There are some very bitter people in this field, many have been fired for cause and they decide to get their pound of flesh by bad-mouthing those in charge as a means to have something to say. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

If people were smart, they would try and learn from matt. He is a guy who is at the top of his profession, particularly in his practice group. He has promoted several contract attorneys who have demonstrated interest and capability. He maintains a professionalism while being kind and fair. For a man of his stature, he is always very down-to-earth and respectful.

Anonymous said...

AMEN May 24 11:53 and May 25 1:20!!!

Anonymous said...

Matt Hamilton is a guy who is at the top of his profession? And makes $500k per year? He is nothing more than a glorified document reviewer with a title.

The guy is "of counsel". Last time I checked, "of counsel" means a person is not on the partnership track.

He doesn't dress like a guy who makes $500k per year.

I think all the "Matt is great" postings above were posted by his mother.

Anonymous said...

Of counsel is partnership track. He attends all the partnership meetings with every other partner. All of the of-counsel people have been promoted to partner, as well.

And he actually litigates. You might want to check your facts if you think he's a document reviewer. Just last week, he won one of the biggest motions in the Zyprexa litigation.

Anonymous said...

What motion was that?

Anonymous said...

If you think Matt hasn't accomplished about 1000000 percent more than any doc review monkey, check the website, since you are on there so much. Like any temp is ever going to see a courtroom, let alone even write a brief or substantively work on a case. Please. At least I know my limitations after doing this shit for 2 years. Like any of us will ever be an associate, let alone of-counsel anywhere. Jesus. Talk about bitter. Somehow I just don't think knocking Matt's accomplishments, or anyone else's, is going to make what we do look better at all. Bashing anyone else isn't going to make your accomplishments or mine look any better. We have shit resumes after doing this crap since graduation. Nothing, other than maybe taking on cases on our own, is going to build our resume.

At this point, after doing coding since graduation (however long that may be for most of us), NOTHING is on our resume. We haven't gained an iota of experience since graduation, and for me, that's 2 years wasted. I have the exact same level of experience as someone who just graduated from law school, and I'm two years out. I have to figure out a way to get something valuable on my resume, and at least I know that me being "critical" of someone like Matt or anyone else isn't going to make my resume look less crappy.

Somehow, I just don't think Matt, or anyone else in his position, had my lack of experience after 2 years and somehow I don't think Matt Hamilton goes to bed at night wondering if he will have a job next week (and back out on the job search with no substantive experience). Laugh it up, knock hiim all you want, but I think he's living a pretty good life while we sit here bitching. As doc review itself collapses.

It's mighty hard to build a resume doing this. I remember when my brother went to law school- people giggled at the kids who had to take clerkships in Common Pleas in Philly or Montgo or wherever. That, along with the PD's, was the lowest job you could take.

Those jobs now look like a top job to me.

Anonymous said...

Check what website?

Anonymous said...

I know a few doc reviewers who conduct business on the side. However, it is difficult to get clients. Just open up the City Paper or Metro, and there are ads everywhere for solos willing to work for rock-bottom prices. The amount of competition, and the need to bill doc review hours in order to get income, makes this a difficult path.

For those who want a practice, it is the only way.

Anonymous said...

At least if you get a client, you can say you handled ONE type of case on your resume, which is better than saying you coded....

Anonymous said...

Dear Matt Hamilton fanboy @ 7:35:

Dude, you need to calm down.

Two things:

1. Tone down a notch your Matt Hamilton idol worship. I mean, respect the guy as your boss (which he seems to be) but you don't gotta put him up on a pedestal like you've got a schoolgirl crush on him. A million percent. Wow. That's a lot of percent. But I guess if your argument is that a "code monkey" has accomplished zero in life, than a million times zero is still zero, right?

2. Tone down your self hatred. I get that you are depressed about your life, but still, you're only two years out of school for cryin' out loud! That's not that much. I'm sure even the great Matt Hamilton did a year or so of doc review as an associate. You've got your whole life ahead of you. Yes, your idol Matt Hamilton seems to have achieved a good amount in life. He should be applauded for that. But don't just automatically assume that he is better than you are. He came out of school at a better time. It sucks, but we all know timing has a lot to do with life. You graduate in 2004, and you graduate into a good economy and a good job market. You graduate in 2007 (as I think you did) and you're outta luck, though not as bad as '08/'09. But yea, if I recall correctly, summer 07 was when the finance bubble first kinda popped. Not completely, but the started August '07?? So you can't compare yourself to Hamilton. You came out at a bad time. (You should know this by just comparing your own timing to your older brother's). Doesn't mean you're any less a person or any less an attorney. If you had been born 5 years earlier or whatever, who knows what you could've accomplished?

So... chin up. Ride out this storm and try your best.

Anonymous said...

Agree that some people here shouldn't be so down on themselves. There was really nothing that people could do once the economy crashed.

However, there is a practical problem for people who have been waiting 2+ years on the sidelines: a resume gap. It's going to be even worse for people who have graduated this year. I think the reality is that unemployed law graduates are piling up. We are competing for entry level jobs with 2007, 2008, and 2009 graduates, and that doesn't even include the older people who have been laid off from work.

My hunch is that a lot of us need to face reality: There is not enough room in the legal profession for all law graduates, and a good % of us will need to leave.

In 2006, a year before the financial crisis started, there were approx. 761,000 people employed as lawyers (incl. solos, firm employees, gov't, and corporate counsel). This is according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

The total number of people admitted to the bar is much higher however.

The American Bar Association reported 1,162,124 licensed attorneys in the United States as of June 2008, and over 141,000 people enrolled in law schools.

I think it is reasonable to infer that there are far far more lawyers in the workforce than there are jobs for lawyers.

Given a large resume gap, a lack of employment opportunities, and a flood of new graduates, I believe it would be prudent for people to (1) pay off school debts ASAP (2) learn skills for a new line of work. It is discouraging that I basically wasted five years of my life in this so-called "profession": 3 yrs law school, a bit more than 2 yrs reviewing documents. But I don't think hanging on to any hope of a steady job at a firm or government is realistic.

Anonymous said...

Was passing by MLB's review space in basement today, NO ONE THERE, does ANYONE still work at MLB anymore? Anyone out there? Or just on the Providus project which isn't based there? I haven't seen one MLB reviewer in that space in a while...

Anonymous said...


The Providus project ended last week. Is anybody staffing projects in Philly anymore?

Anonymous said...

how about the general MLB doc reviews (non-Providus?) They done too? haven't seen anyone i know and no one is in that basement rat hole

Anonymous said...

3:43 AM, there doesn't seem to be much work. A quick survey of Monster, Careerbuilder, and Craigslist doesn't turn up much, except a few listings for expected projects that may or may not pan out.

Anecdotal evidence also supports the observation that the contract market has stalled badly. I've read theories that the firms and agencies are unable to obtain the financing to run large projects.

Anonymous said...

Has been taken down?

Anonymous said...

I'm getting a blank page when I go to jdunderground.

They were having hosting problems last week. I don't know if that's related to the current problem.

humpty said...

All right!
Stop whatcha doin'
'cause I'm about to ruin
the image and the style that ya used to.
I look funny
but yo I'm makin' money see
so yo world I hope you're ready for me.
Now gather round
I'm the new fool in town
and my sound's laid down by the Underground.
I drink up all the Hennessey ya got on ya shelf
so just let me introduce myself
My name is Humpty, pronounced with a Umpty.
Yo ladies, oh how I like to hump thee.
And all the rappers in the top ten--please allow me to bump thee.
I'm steppin' tall, y'all,
and just like Humpty Dumpty
you're gonna fall when the stereos pump me.
I like to rhyme,
I like my beats funky,
I'm spunky. I like my oatmeal lumpy.
I'm sick wit dis, straight gangsta mack
but sometimes I get ridiculous
I'll eat up all your crackers and your licorice
hey yo fat girl, c'mere--are ya ticklish?
Yeah, I called ya fat.
Look at me, I'm skinny
It never stopped me from gettin' busy
I'm a freak
I like the girls with the boom
I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom
I'm crazy.
Allow me to amaze thee.
They say I'm ugly but it just don't faze me.
I'm still gettin' in the girls' pants
and I even got my own dance

The Humpty Dance is your chance to do the hump
Do the Humpty Hump, come on and do the Humpty Hump
Do the Humpty Hump, just watch me do the Humpty Hump
Do ya know what I'm doin', doin' the Humpty Hump
Do the Humpty Hump, do the Humpty Hump

People say "Yo, Humpty, you're really funny lookin'"
that's all right 'cause I get things cookin'
Ya stare, ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me
but ya can't get near me
I give 'em more, see, and on the floor, B,
all the girls they adore me
Oh yes, ladies, I'm really bein' sincere
'cause in a 69 my humpty nose will tickle ya rear.
My nose is big, uh-uh I'm not ashamed
Big like a pickle, I'm still gettin' paid
I get laid by the ladies, ya know I'm in charge,
both how I'm livin' and my nose is large
I get stoopid, I shoot an arrow like Cupid,
I use a word that don't mean nothin', like looptid
I sang on Doowhutchalike, and if ya missed it,
I'm the one who said just grab 'em in the biscuits
Also told ya that I like to bite
Well, yeah, I guess it's obvious, I also like to write.
All ya had to do was give Humpty a chance
and now I'm gonna do my dance.

Oh, yeah, that's the break, y'all
Let me hear a little bit of that bass groove right here
Oh, yeah!
Now that I told ya a little bit about myself
let me tell ya a little bit about this dance
It's real easy to do--check it out

First I limp to the side like my leg was broken
Shakin' and twitchin' kinda like I was smokin'
Crazy wack funky
People say ya look like M.C. Hammer on crack, Humpty
That's all right 'cause my body's in motion
It's supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion
Anyone can play this game
This is my dance, y'all, Humpty Hump's my name
No two people will do it the same
Ya got it down when ya appear to be in pain
Humpin', funkin', jumpin',
jig around, shakin' ya rump,
and when the dude a chump pump points a finger like a stump
tell him step off, I'm doin' the Hump.

Black people, do the Humpty Hump, do the Humpty Hump
White people, do the Humpty Hump, do the Humpty Hump
Puerto Ricans, do the Humpty Hump, just keep on doin' the hump
Samoans, do the Humpty Hump, do the Humpty Hump
Let's get stoopid!

Oh, yeah, come on and break it down

Once again, the Underground is in the house
I'd like to send a shout out to the whole world,
keep on doin' the Humpty Dance,
and to the ladies,
peace and humptiness forever

Anonymous said...

Dude at 2:12

That song ain't quite complete without the background going: "Oh, oh. Do me bay-beh."

Anonymous said...

...uh, doin' the humpty hump, doin it baby...

Anonymous said...

clearly, there are no jobs----

TheKing said...


Anonymous said...

any word on when the MLB contract attorneys will be called back? Heard various rumors...anyone hear anything?

Ned Weiser said...

Everyone that is going to be called back has been. We've been asked not to talk about it, because we are off-site at a suburban location.

Anonymous said...

I just knew of a few people at MLB who were sent home and hoping to be called back to normal doc they are waiting for nothing?

Anonymous said...

yeah I have a friend who contracted for MLB and is saying, oh, I hope to get called back soon to work...

why are they leading people on?

so is the doc review in the basement dead?

Code_Monkey said...


Is this the Singulair review in Four Falls?

Bud said...

I know they will call me. Why would the cookie lie?

DavidKing said...

Ow, my anus hurts!

Anonymous said...

Did anybody get a call from Juristaff? What did they want?

Anonymous said...

It was a $27-an-hour project related to the Risperdal litigation.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the Morgan Lewis concourse center is completely deserted? What about work in their other buildings?

Anonymous said...

i haven't seen a soul there....anyone out there who used to work for Morgan Lewis and laid off???

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing about a secret MLB project at an off-site suburban location. Is this true?

Anonymous said...


Where else have you heard about the MLB secret project?

After all, the first rule of secret doc review is:

Don't talk about MLB secret review.

I shouldn't have to talk about what the second rule is.

Anonymous said...

ok everyone keeps asking but no one is answering, besides the "secret" review, what happened to the MLB review in basement at Suburban? did they lay everyone off?

Anonymous said...

I think the Suburban Station is closed for now, but I assume it can be used again once more work comes to them.

Anonymous said...

so what happened to the temps who worked there? they just sitting waiting to be called back?

Anonymous said...

I am sure that some of them are waiting, and some have gone to other jobs. Isnt that sort of obvious?

Anonymous said...

so how many people did they lay off at Morgan Lewis?

Ned Weiser said...

None were laid off. I heard that an equity partner fed most of the unneeded contract attorneys to his pet lyger for laughs.

Anonymous said...

seriously, anyone know how many were laid off? kinda scary considering there are really no other jobs around at this time

Equity Partner said...

Bring me the blood of another virgin!!

Anonymous said...

Dude, contract attorneys dont get laid off (usually) - their project ends...there is a difference. And Ned, it wasnt the pet lyger - he made them all fight to the death in hit Suburban Station Pit like Gladiators

Head in a Jar said...

This is rumor control.

The MLB deuce is empty. There is at least one MLB off-site review.

Firms will continue to use idle associates and staff attorneys to do review until their clients force them to use cheaper coders.

Don't wait by the phone. If you're unemployed your job is to get one.

That is all

Jar Jar Binks said...

Mesa Jar Jar Binks

Mesa tink yousa should call Oxford Legal.

Mesa hear Oxford Legal has projects.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

What is going on over at Oxford? A while ago, all their employee profiles disappeared from their website, and there were rumors that they lost the Stradley account.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Oxford has anything, They called and asked for updated records and to ensure availablity, then they havent called back since. There are no ads anywhere either. Face it, it is scary in this realm.

the king said...

hey...does anyone know a good recipe for sour dough ice cream balls? I'd really like to get me some of dem balls in me mouth right bout now.

Clickin' away in Margaritaville said...

Black Sheep- when are you going to update this? The comments are infested by 3-4 people with rotating stupid names.

I heard that Juristaff underbid Oxford for the Stradley project, so Oxford's out

Rotating Stupid Name said...

I just farted. It really smells!

Rotating Stoopid Neme said...

Yeah Black Sheep...update this thing already!! This site sucks and we can really only write so many stupid comments before it starts to become stale and tiresome.

Now, I need to go grease my ball sack. When I get back, I expect an update!

Tyler Durden said...

Here's an update: a Reed Smith/Juristaff project ended on Friday, sending 20-30 of your comrades to the breadline ready to compete for your next job.

To Clickin' Away: You are woefully out of the loop. Juristaff stole the Stradley project from Oxford 6 months ago. That's when Oxford imploded. Some of their recruiter's ended up at other agencies. Give them a call. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

By the way, the Reed Smith project was a continuation of a project that Hudson had last summer. Apparently Juristaff was able to underbid Hudson also.

Secret Reviewer said...

I can’t tell you what I do or where I do it, but I can tell you that it is bad out there and will probably get worse soon.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. I have been in this field for over ten years. The contracting thing got big about 8 years is obviously now over. It was a phase and it's over. Sure, you'll have 2 week jobs here and here, but by and large, the 2-3 year employment at a firm as a contract attorney is done.

Code Monkey said...

Is anybody actually working as a coder nowadays? I have one friend who is finishing up a project

I'm collecting unemployment.

Anonymous said...

how long do you have to work to collect unemployment? is it six months? And does it have to be a straight six months, or can you have breaks and work one month, off one, and just total six months?

Anonymous said...

I heard that the off-site MLB review ended. I guess Stradley, 2 Logan, Pepper and Reed Smith are the only games in town now.

Anonymous said...

didn't reed smith just end too?

Pepper isn't hiring and Dechert is winding down

Anonymous said...

Hold on dear coders! The recession is hitting everyone right now, so do not fear! It's only a matter of time before the document review tide rises again! Good Luck to all!

Anonymous said...

So to summarize:

Morgan Lewis: Concourse level is empty, off-site review is over.

Reed Smith: Project ended.

Dechert: No news - rumors of winding down.

Stradley: No news

Pepper: No news

Does anyone have any information about what is going on at Dechert, Stradley, or Pepper?

Anonymous said...

I think news at the firms is not what is most important because there are sometimes a few smaller reviews. So, I suggest we ask about the agencies instead.

Jar Jar Binx said...

To the guy asking about unemployment:

You should just apply for unemployment and see what happens. What's the worse that can happen? You get rejected? There's no penalty for getting an application rejected, and the application costs nothing.

That being said, here is some general information about unemployment. I am not sure about the particulars of your situation, but maybe it'll help. Here it is:

Hopefully, you got laid off very recently and luckily crossed into July. If that is the case, your employment from Jan to Mar of this year WILL count, but April to June will NOT. Your "base year" will be April '08 to March '09. In those 52 weeks, you hopefully worked at least 26 weeks. If so, I'm almost certain you will qualify for unemployment.

If you were laid off in the past month (June), then your employment during this entire year (since January til June) does NOT count. In this case, your "base year" is from Jan '08 to Dec '08, basically the year of 2008. In that year, if you worked 26 weeks, then you should qualify for unemployment.

On quick thing, you are capped at about 7k or 8k a quarter, regardless of how much you made in the past. So plan on living on like 2300 a month (roughly) at the most. Amount may be lower depending on your situation, but that is the max.

Another catch, if you were an "independent contractor" (I'm pretty sure none of the agencies do this) or were otherwise self-employed like your own law firm or whatever, you will run into potential problems. Unemployment isn't for self-employed people. (otherwise, shopowners would just file for benefits when mall traffic fell or whatever).

Lastly, I wish you the best of luck.

Mesa Jar Jar Binks. And mesa been on the breadlines for a long while now. It's rough out there.

Jar Jar Binx said...

Jar Jar Binks here again.

Sorry, might've made a mistake. If you file in July, it might not matter if you were actually laid off in June. The UC system will consider it July and count your wages from April '08 to March '09.

your direct question:
Your six months need not be consecutive.

(I went through all that crazy stuff above just in case you had six months total but were counting the months of April to June of this year).

Anonymous said...

At least the weather is getting better. It's much more fun being unemployed in the summer when you can actually enjoy it. hahaha

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know for how long you can collect unemployment in Pennsylvania right now? Is it six months with an extension of another six months?

Anonymous said...

What if you don't have 26 weeks of work in the base period? (in other words, what if you worked August till Feb 09 total?) The base year wouldn't include Jan/Feb which you need to hit 26 weeks. Is there an alternate base year?

Anonymous said...

Heard that a few people from MLB concourse basement hell were called this true? or was it just a select few?

Anonymous said...

Jar Jar Binks here (yea, I know it's juvenile, but that's what I started with.)

Answer to the length:

In Pennsylvania right now, you get at least 26 weeks. After the 26 weeks, there is an emergency extension of 20 weeks from the federal government. (note: there are no more emergency benefits by December 29, 2009, unless congress decides to push that date further). So, depending on when you first filed, you'll get a different number of weeks. Basically, if you've been on unemployment for a while now, it all ends December 29, 2009. If you just started unemployment, it'll end 26 weeks from now. No more extensions. If you started unemployment a long long time ago, then you'll get the 20 week emergency federal benefits soon. If you run out of those, and it's still like Sept. or whatever, then you will switch back over to state extension, which will push you further for another 13 weeks. Another note: if you are into the 13 weeks extension, you will have to pound the pavement and get interviews. It is my understanding that you need to fill out a form that lists out three interviews each week. And your benefits will not arrive until the UC office checks those out. So I guess kinda like George Costanza's "Vandelay Industries" from Seinfeld.

In total, if you were unemployed since the meltdown of last fall, you could theoretically stretch it to 26+20+13=59 weeks. But, timing-wise, it looks like the extension benefits all end by this year, so if you were unemployed in Jan of this year, you'd probably only get like 52 weeks (which is still not a bad deal considering the normal benefits exhaust at 26)


Okay, as for the alternate base year question: my understanding is that there is no alternate base year unless you were hurt on the job. You should call the unemployment line at (888)313-7284 for better information. If you worked Aug til Feb 09 total, I think you'll be okay for filing now in July, because they'll only dis-count the April to June quarter but count the Jan to Mar quarter. Theoretically, you should be fine, but once again, i'd call up the UC office.

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

JJB here:

One last thing: to the guy who ended employment in Feb '09, UC will ask why you didn't file for unemployment back then. There might be a requirement for you to have filed for unemployment at the time you were laid off. Hopefully they'll give you a break.

Secret Reviewer said...

Well, it looks like my project isn't long for this world. Another one bites the dust.

Anonymous said...

Thank you (big time) to Jar Jar for UC info--- one question, to clarify--- you have to have worked 26 weeks, right? Cause I was online on PA's UC site and it says something about 16 weeks. Totally confusing. Is it a must-have-worked six-months requirement?

And btw, I have heard rumors of big coder layoffs today....

anyone know if the MLB site is back UP? or only certain people called back?

Anonymous said...

JJB here

Actually, you are right, you can work as little as 16 weeks in that base period. Though, if it's 16, then your benefits length is shorter. Like, instead of 26 weeks of benefits, plus the 20, then plus the 13, you will instead get 16 + 12.8 + 8 for a total of 36.8 (I know, the .8 is weird)

I'm not sure where the six-months originated from. I guess that was a "safety" buffer built in there. I think you'll be just fine.

Anonymous said...

I am hearing rumors about mass carnage out there in temp land today. My sympathies go out to those impacted.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about any other sites, but the MLB offsite review dropped about 80% of staff. 17 coders in the wind.

At least it's the summer. I can convince myself that being laid off is like a semi-paid vacation.

Ned Weiser said...

You know what I do when I lose a job? I just file a claim. Immediately. I don't discuss it for weeks. Go to There is an 800 number to call listed there. Someone on the other end may know at least as much as Jar Jar.

Anonymous said...

How about MLB basement? I heard people got called back?

Anonymous said...

Nobody got called back.

Anonymous said...

I heard of a few people going into MLB over the weekend

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. If you aren't working right now, you are pretty much screwed. That two-to-three-month Dechert project turned out to be a week long. Those 60 people are looking for work.

It looks like the Vioxx/Vytorin project finally is shutting down. Hours have been cut back, and thirty people were laid off.

The Reed Smith project ended.

The off-site Morgan project is on its last legs with all but five people being laid off this week.

Meanwhile, no one knows what is going on with Pepper as everyone continues to receive "grades" on their work. It wouldn't surprise anyone if they finally decide to get rid of the deadwood.

Will there be jobs in the future? Yeah, I'm sure there will be. However, unless you get lucky and get on one of the few remaining long-term jobs, it is going to become impossible to support yourself doing document review.

Companies are demanding that costs be kept down. The software is getting better. The jobs are being sent to other cities and other countries. The hourly rate is getting lower and lower.

Meanwhile, shit schools such as Widener continue to churn out lawyers, and new schools such as Drexel continue to open. Heaven knows where all these unneeded lawyers will go.

Like it or not, it's over folks. It is time to try to figure out another way to earn a living.

And one more thing-- stop desperately asking about whether a few people were called back to the fucking MLB basement-- you sound pathetic.

Dungeon Dweller said...

But what happened to the temps in the basement?

Anonymous said...

i seriously heard about a few getting called back.

Rotating Stupid Name said...

Hey Blacksheep,

Seriously, how about a comprehensive update on the Philly document review scene? (firms/agencies/rates/conditions/

Ned Weiser said...

Here's an update: At this time there is no "scene."

Rotating Stupid Name said...

I wonder if Blacksheep is even temping anymore?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone out there know the approximate number of people working on the Stradley project? What about Dechert's stealth site at Liberty Place?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Black Sheep isn't temping anymore.

Anonymous said...

If 12:09 PM is correct, and the document review industry is in fact dying, what are people planning to do?

There are just not enough attorney jobs out there to support all the law graduates.

Anonymous said...

Pepper isn't hiring, period. Heard it from the horse's mouth.

Dechert's Vioxx is almost over.

No one seems to know what is going on at Morgan (anyone? we know the offsite proj. is over but how about 1701 Market?)

Stradley isn't hiring either.

The days of doc review are done, and long before anyone's loans are paid off.

Some of us have been out of school 2-3 years, and have never held a non-coder job. At the point, pretty safe to say that even if firms are going to hire, they won't hire an 06, 07 grad with only this on the resume. Face it. They have their choice of more recent law school grads and people with law firm experience who lost jobs.

Time to give it up. There are no coding jobs, and certainly, if you've never done anything BUT code and graduated 2-3 years ago, you aren't going to be the next firm hire. Keep in mind, there are now 2 years worth of more recent grads below you, and the doc review experience counts for nada.

Anonymous said...

6:32 AM, when you say "Time to give it up." do you mean completely give up on law?

This still leaves the question of what people are supposed to do after "giving up". Most of us have obligations, whether it's student loans, mortgages, dependents or something else. Unemployment only goes so far.

In this economy, is it possible for ex-document reviewers to survive? Or will we be grinding out the barest existence on whatever menial jobs we can find? I don't think anyone knows the answer, but this is a tough question that needs to be put on the table.

Anonymous said...

Well it will obviously have to be in another field because it's pretty clear that with just coding on a resume, a law firm/agency isn't going to hire (esp. after 2-3 years out of law school) and it's also clear that doc review is dead. There are no jobs. We will all be scrounging for the 3 or so little 2 week jobs that come up.

Face it--- there are now 2 or 3 graduating classes in the market since we graduated. They aren't "blackmarked" with coding histories yet--- and they will get jobs before us. We have been temping for too long and it doesn't look good-- not when there are 2 more classes of law students available. And face it...the employment rate for those classes is even worse...let alone the class that is about to graduate next year....

we aren't even on a firm or govt agency radar. so yes--- we have to find something else to do. Teaching, retail, insurance...who knows.

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