I will have to say that, in many cases, the doc reviewers don't do themselves any favors by usually abusing, exploiting, or otherwise f-ing up any little privileges the firms give them. For example, at Paul Weiss they have a really great cafeteria called the "Jury Room." They gave the coders $10 a day in credits to use in there- it was a little card that they punched each time you used it. The prices in there were cheap- they have a grill section and you can get a small delmonico steak with 'fixins for about $7 (this was in 2005). I ate the steak every day and it was always very tasty and often downright delicious. I eat my steaks Pittsburgh rare, and the grill guy got to know me and called me "p-burg" and always made my steak just the way I liked it. We used to roll up there as a gang and play "Price is Right." In this game you have to get as close as possible to the $10 food limit w/out going over (cause you have to pay out o pocket if you exceed the $10 food card limit). Some things like salad are sold by weight, so the game can get dicey if you start loading up with croutons and such.
The sodas, coffee etc are all free in this cafeteria. You can just grab a cup and have as much as you want. You can see where this is going. This one really dirty guy we called "ShitFingers" (because he never washed his hands after taking a dump- there were like 10 witnesses to this fact) goes up there to get a soda, but he's pressing on the little bar that makes the soda come out with a glass he'd already used and had like slobbered all over. So this old lady next to him says "did you already use that glass- if you did that's gross, you're getting your spit on the soda fountain." It was kinda gross, the glass had like mayo and shit smeared all over it.
So ShitFingers gets into this huge argument with her and they have it out there at the soda fountain (most of these coders have bad tempers and get offended at the drop of a hat). Turns out she was a partner- oops. So the next day the agency guy comes into the basement and says we can't use the cafeteria anymore. The agency said we would get a non-taxable $10 added to our checks so we could get food from outside. Goodbye delmonico steak- hello street meat. The only good thing about this is that we got to meet Rachel Ray- there is a really good Halal food cart at 56th st and one day her and her film crew rolled up and offered to buy everyone in line lunch who let her cut in front of them. In real life she is literally like 4 feet tall. She was also smoking a cigarette.
The other problem with getting banned from the cafeteria was that everyone was now eating at their workstation. We were in the basement under the Rock Center, down in the bowels of the building with the furnaces and HVAC equipement, etc. With all the food garbage from like 200 coders eating down there, the place got infested with cockroaches. They were even crawling inside the computers and such. So Paul Weiss had the place roach-bombed and the day after the dead roaches were everywhere- on the keyboards, in the printers, all over the floor. Pretty gross. Even ShitFingers thought it was a little too dirty, even for him.
I forgot to mention that we weren't allowed upstairs period after ShitFingers pissed off the partner with his soda fountain debacle. So we couldn't use the Paul Weiss bathrooms- we had to use the public bathroom in the Rock Center. It only had one stall and a homeless dude named "Bones" pretty much lived in there and would holler "i'm in here motherfucker" every time you went to take a leak. So everyone started using the Heartland Breweries bathroom, which was pretty dirty too.
Anyway, that was a JD project- you didn't have to be admitted to work the gig. Because of that we only got $21 an hour. Most everyone there was waiting to get admitted to NY, because the minute you did you could jump to a SullCrom gig which paid $32 an hour plus OT. I got admitted right after the roach bomb, and was at SullCrom the day after getting NY Bar admission up in albany. After Paul Weiss, the SullCrom cellar was like a 5 star hotel. At Sullivan the coders have their own bathroom, break rooms, and even a little kitchen to use. That makes a lot of sense. It's kind of like "steerage" on those old ships- hell, would you want a dirty old TTT colder coming upstairs to use the firm's associate-level facilities? Of course not. Sullivan thus gives their coders their own little basement "world" which they never have to leave.
It was really funny one day about 3 years ago when I was starting a gig at SullCrom. My project was starting the same day that the SA class was starting, and they had this big reception table set up in the lobby with 'Welcome Class of '08" or whatever. I went up to the table and told them I was there for the doc review gig- they actually told me to wait outside and they'd come get us when the SA's had cleared the lobby! God forbid a TTT grad contaminate their little party!
Later in the day they took all the SA's to the basement (i think they were getting a grand tour of the firm) and the associate was telling them "these are all just temps." The SA's looked at us like we were animals in a zoo or something, it was degrading in kind of a funny way though. In doc review you work at whatever spare broom closet, furnace room, or other hovel they stick you in (manhattan office space is pricey and why waste good $$$ on space for TTT loser temps?) On big projects you literally sit elbow-to-elbow with each other, for up to 16 hours a day. You also have to use the beat-up old furniture from the 1970s that really belongs in a dumpster. Its very much like prison, with everyone so cramped into small spaces and tensions all flaring up. Chairs are a big, big deal- sometimes a wiseass newbie will try and switch his chair with a "veteran's" chair if he gets their early that day or something. Big mistake. You see, since the furniture is all pretty much garbage, there's a real pecking order as to who gets the "best of the worst" when it comes to chair allocation. Most of the time the backrest or the swivel (or both) are broken, so if you end up with a decent chair you hang on to it for dear life. If the staff attorney or supervisor moves your seat for talking too much or causing problems, you have the right to take that chair with you to your new workstation- it's part of the "unwritten code" of the temps. I have literally seen fistfights start over people trying to nab chairs that didn't belong to them.
Another problem are those "one serve coffee" machines that are often in the break room. You know those "Green Mountain" machines with the little one-serve pods? Being dirt poor, the coders are prone to "hoarding," and the popular flavors like hazelnut will often vanish the second the case/box is opened. That's because some coders will take like 50 of them and hide them near their workstation, usually in a file cabinet or under document boxes, etc. So usually all that's left for coffee is like Dark French Roast Decaf and other crap flavors. Another big thing is the take-out menu folder. There are certain Chinese restaurants that rarely give out menus, so people are very fussy about keeping the "rare" menus in the folder. It is very bad form to take that menu from the folder to your desk, because if you lose it it's the only one we had. Also do not write on the menu, ever, unless it's something funny.