Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

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buckilaw
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby buckilaw » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:53 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:this is one of the best threads ever on tls.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:55 am

thesealocust wrote:
MrKappus wrote:A: People who strike out at both OCI's, can't get anything else, but still want to work in law. This might be the single stupidest thread I've ever seen on TLS. Great work.


Just for the record, but my thread turned out to be the greatest thread ever, so sorry about your tiny pink failure to appreciate the greatness that is my thread starting ability.


TBF, MrKappus seems aspie as fuuuuuckkkk. This is an awesome thread.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:57 am

TaipeiMort wrote:Today I went to the hospital with stress issues and couldn't shake the weird effects they was having on my heart.

Then I logged onto top law schools, read this, and laughed so hard I cried. Then all of my chest pressure and heart palpitations were gone!

Thank you so much!


I have one word for you: ATIVAN.

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theturkeyisfat
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby theturkeyisfat » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:06 am

areyouinsane, you should go publish that stuff or something I'd spend money reading it


seriously.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:28 am

Bildungsroman wrote:This thread was funny until I realized how scared it made me. :(

+1

clone22
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby clone22 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:51 am

So can we sticky this thread to be mandatory reading for all newly registered tls members?

liLtuneChi
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby liLtuneChi » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:27 am

areyouinsane wrote: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?)


I literally can't breathe I'm laughing so much reading this post. The exact story happened at my firm a couple of weeks ago.

During the first day when they were showing us around the office at my firm, the associate leading the tour led to us to where the kept the temps (aka staff attorneys at my firm) and the disgust in his voice talking about them was evident. Quickly after showing us the closet they were kept in, he repeatedly assured us that we wouldn't be getting any doc review crap. I didn't make much of it that day but looking back now and reading this thread just cracks me up.

I actually believe this guy what he said is pretty much what I saw that day. The poor temps are really treated like sub-human creatures.

shoeshine
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby shoeshine » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:12 am

ITT: The Sealocust makes an ALT and tries his hand at law related comedy. I enjoyed reading them but nobody types in this much detail except Sealocust. He made this thread to give himself a platform to troll.

It seems inspired by the XO thread from last summer (but not as funny).

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:47 am

liLtuneChi wrote:I literally can't breathe I'm laughing so much reading this post. The exact story happened at my firm a couple of weeks ago.

During the first day when they were showing us around the office at my firm, the associate leading the tour led to us to where the kept the temps (aka staff attorneys at my firm) and the disgust in his voice talking about them was evident. Quickly after showing us the closet they were kept in, he repeatedly assured us that we wouldn't be getting any doc review crap. I didn't make much of it that day but looking back now and reading this thread just cracks me up.

I actually believe this guy what he said is pretty much what I saw that day. The poor temps are really treated like sub-human creatures.


I can't imagine working for an employer that treats anyone working there like "sub-human creatures." It's a huge red flag. There but the grace of god and all that.

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thesealocust
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby thesealocust » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:32 am

shoeshine wrote:ITT: The Sealocust makes an ALT and tries his hand at law related comedy. I enjoyed reading them but nobody types in this much detail except Sealocust. He made this thread to give himself a platform to troll.

It seems inspired by the XO thread from last summer (but not as funny).


roflcopter. People's paranoia with respect to the authenticity of posts on the internet is astounding. Make sure your tinfoil hat fits snugly buddy.

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Jack Smirks
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Jack Smirks » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:02 am

buckilaw wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:this is one of the best threads ever on tls.

flcath
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby flcath » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:18 pm

areyouinsane wrote: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.

This little segment is my favorite.

Can we force the other JDU fuckheads on TLS (MTal leaps to mind) to produce really funny content like this to earn their keep?

areyouinsane
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:00 am

Another funny thing about doc review is that you can get "promoted" on long term (like 3 or 4 month projects) to QC (quality control) or "second level review," which means you double-check the work of the regular coders on some sort of random audit basis. That way you can't just "green light" the shitty or non-existent coding of your friends (you see, there used to be projects in the more primitive days of software where you could "batch code"- this is where you hold down CTRL and just mark a whole batch of docs "non-responsive" w/out even opening or reading them). It was great b/c you could do like 100 docs in 10 seconds and then surf the Internet or bullshit for the other 59 minutes of the hour. But the firms wised up to this and can now see how much time you spent on each doc, etc and get all other kinds of stool pidgeon software to abuse and monitor the temps.

Usually you get this QC "promotion" by being a hot chick or; alternatively, not constantly falling asleep and/or drooling on your keyboard. It helps not to cause all kinds of problems either like complaining the room is too hot or chewing up all the pens, etc. Sometimes it's just plain dumb luck- they spin the "Wheel O' Coders" and your number pops up.

You don't get any extra $$$ to be a QC coder, but you often will get to hang on a few extra days after the gig wraps up to finish any stray docs and double-check docs that might actually be responsive (though almost none are- would you trust TTT coders with anything potentially important? enough said).

So I was on this huge doc review for a pharma tort case and somehow got promoted to QC. One day the staff attorney tells me to go help this old bald Indian dude who called himself "Gahdhi" (like prison, most people in doc review have "street names" while on project, in case you haven't noticed). He was a really nice guy and was saving money so he could retire in India. His wife was already over there scouting out houses, etc. His real name was impossible to pronounce unless you have a certain kind of tongue or something, according to him.

Bigger problem is, apparently Gandhi had zero experience using computers, which isn't exactly great news when your job involves using one 16 hours a day. According to the staff attorney, all of the PDF docs that Gandhi was doing redactions on were seriously screwed up, with like half the page blacked out. Rather than "redactions," Gahndi's docs looked like random grafitti or modern art or whatever. Furthermore, his redactions were over parts of the page that were blank to begin with, so something was seriously wrong.

So I go to his workstation to see what's going on and have him pull up a PDF doc. He does and the doc is displayed on the screen sideways. I tell him to rotate the doc and Gandi grabs hold of the whole computer monitor (this was pre-flat screen) and starts trying to turn the entire rig sideways. It was mounted on one of those swivel, ball-joint type bases (remember those?). Before I could tell him that he didn't need to move the monitor upside down and shit, somehow the wires from his monitor unplugged the computer of the chick sitting next to him (as I said, everyone sits elbow to elbow and there are wires all over the place, and like 500 things plugged into one outlet, etc).

So the screen of the chick next to home goes dark, and she starts going utterly batshit crazy and says "This guy is a terrorist, I can't fucking stand him- he does this like 50 times a day! " She was livid and said 'he shouldn't fucking be here if he can't use a computer" and things of that nature. I guess it never occured to her to investigate why Gahndi turned his monitor extremely sideways like 200 times a day, but coders aren't always the most helpful or cordial people. This chick in particular had a reputation for being really aggressive, and for some reason she had like a hundred Bic lighters all over her work table and used to chew on them, etc. They were all gnawed down like those toys you give a gerbil or whatever.

Anyway, Gahndi got really offended that she called him a "terrorist" (this was back when the Iraq war was still big news and such). He was threatening to report her to the staff attorney for racial slurs, etc, and the whole situation was becoming a huge scene. I crawled under the table to try and get the wires plugged back in while the two of them were having at it. It got out of hand pretty quickly and Gandhi starts marching up and knocking on the staff attorneys door.

I got the computers back up and running and like 2 minutes later the staff attorney comes out and calls the chick into the office to get her side of the story. Then like 2 minutes later the aggressive chick storms out, grabs all her lighters and shit off the table, says "Fuck you" to me, and rolls off the project. These randomly aggressive incidents are actually pretty common on doc review, so it wasn't really as big a deal as it would be at a normal job. In fact, my definition of "normal" is now so screwed up I could probably never return to any type of legitimate office environment.

Another funny guy on this project we used to call 'Sloshburg" because he showed up for work reeking of booze every day. One time he came back from lunch all lit up and started turning the lights on and off and like "breathing on people" and such. We're talking heavy Stage IV alcoholism here. He was always bragging about this million-dollar injury case he was "this close" to settling, and how as soon as it came through he was leaving doc review for good. It wasn't unusual. Many coders suffer from what I call "Willy Lohman" syndrome- their grip on reality and their place in the economic pecking order is just totally lost on them. There isn't a coder alive without a stack of cheesy Vista-Print business cards with all sorts of official titles and such like "Law Office of Thomas Montgomery Coder, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, Master of Chancery, King's Bench, Member of the Bar, Juris Doctor, Esquire." It's like some kind of closet "prestige injection" for them, apparently. I think one guy even has his LSAT score on his card, but it was probably like a 149 or whatever.

These cards are of course for their "side practices," which involve getting their brothers/moms/realtives etc. out of speeding tickets and other occasional rinky-dink stuff. What's really funny is that almost all of them use the same Regus mail-drop company in NYC as their "office address," and when they swap cards they'll say things like "oh, our practices are in the same building" and act all important for a few minutes. It gets depressing after awhile seeing these fools carry on this pathetic charade on project after project. The only time I ever had business cards was when I was an associate at the personal injury shop, and they were those cheesy ones from Staples that come on perforated cardstock sheets to print yourself. About a week after I started working there the secretary printed them up and left a stack on my desk. I'd carry the whole sheets in my little briefcase and if someone wanted a card I just ripped one off the sheet, like a dispenser. It was kind of handy, really.
Last edited by areyouinsane on Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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theturkeyisfat
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby theturkeyisfat » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:28 am

what does "jdu" mean? and why are doc review people called "coders?"

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Bronte
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Bronte » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:41 am

What's painful about areyouinsane's posts is not so much the fear they inspire but that they inspire such fear. It's such a superficial thing to be so afraid to be a "lowly" person. That's probably the worst thing about the legal profession. The relentless, unapologetic elitism.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Bildungsroman » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:44 am

Bronte wrote:What's painful about areyouinsane's posts is not so much the fear they inspire but that they inspire such fear. It's such a superficial thing to be so afraid to be a "lowly" person. That's probably the worst thing about the legal profession. The relentless, unapologetic elitism.

This post was painful to read because it leaves such a massive part of the brain to atrophy.

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Bronte
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Bronte » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:48 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
Bronte wrote:What's painful about areyouinsane's posts is not so much the fear they inspire but that they inspire such fear. It's such a superficial thing to be so afraid to be a "lowly" person. That's probably the worst thing about the legal profession. The relentless, unapologetic elitism.

This post was painful to read because it leaves such a massive part of the brain to atrophy.


In other words, you didn't like what I said? I like his posts. I was one of his early fans (see the OCI attire thread). I'm just saying I feel guilty for so desperately not wanting to be a schmuck.

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Paraflam
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Paraflam » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:00 am

+1 for the idea of areyouinsane getting a book deal

areyouinsane
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:08 am

What's painful about areyouinsane's posts is not so much the fear they inspire but that they inspire such fear. It's such a superficial thing to be so afraid to be a "lowly" person. That's probably the worst thing about the legal profession. The relentless, unapologetic elitism.


Nah, the worst thing about the legal industry is how mind-numbingly boring the work is. For example, on the Dechert case where I did the priv. log, the case was (from what we were told as temps) about some audit of all these complex credit-swap "deals." Each deal had a code name like "Peachtree" or "Applewood" or other fruit-inspired names.

The training session for this was the day before Thanksgiving 2008, and we sat in a small conference room with the associate from 9:30 am until 10 o'clock that night going over a huge Powerpoint presentation all about the tr-lateral sub agreements, addendums to the agreements, etc etc. Take the most boring thing you've ever read or done in life and multiply it by 10,000, and that will give a rough idea of how boring most Biglaw cases are, even for the associates. This associate was like 29 going on 60. The dood told us he hadn't slept in like 4 days and was going to miss Thanksgiving for the 3rd year in a row, etc. Those years and memories he will never get back. I really do hope the $$ is worth it to him, because he struck me as someone depresssed to the point of suicide.

Toward the tail end of my coding career, I actually had the chance to become a "perma-temp" case anaylst at Weill Gotshall. My ex-GF grew up in Manhattan and her two best friends (a husband and wife) worked there as 4th year associates. They both absolutely despised (not just merely hated) their jobs, but as usual got way overboard with a huge apartment, a maid/nanny, etc and couldn't afford to quit. They offered to get me in their as a staff attorney on a doc review gig they were running, which was going to last over a year.

It was depressing hanging with them, since we all graduated law school the same year (albeit they both from Columbia), and were all technically "lawyers." Yet I would never be anything more than a dead-end lackey at the firm, a 4th class loser on par with the janitor or restroom attendant. I tried to explain this to my non-lawyer GF, but she just didn't "get" it. She was like "oh, won't it be great to work with Mike and Kate at a big firm?" She had no idea (and they were too nice to tell her) that I was going to be in the basement and have no future at the place. So one night I got drunk and told her how we were NEVER going to have anything, and the best I could ever do was probably 65-75 K a year and no health insurance. Since she wanted kids, she dumped me shortly thereafter.

So yes, the pain of not "making it" in this industry can indeed bleed over and ruin almost every aspect of your life. It sure did for me. It's not that I'm jealous of people like them who make the big $$$, just "awkward" since they knew damn well what I was and the type of "lawyer" (if that's what you want to call it) I would always be. They were very nice people and never in any way condescended or berated me in any way, but that sting is just always kind of "there," you know?

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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby flcath » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:10 am

theturkeyisfat wrote:what does "jdu" mean? and why are doc review people called "coders?"

JDU is jdunderground, a legal blog that really must be seen to be fully appreciated; they literally believe that being an attorney is worse than working a permanent career in the fast food industry. Many posters there seem psychologically damaged from their negative experiences working/job-hunting.

Coding refers to the task of categorizing documents for discovery into categories such as responsive, non-responsive, and privileged, and sometimes sub-codes thereof.

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Paraflam
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Paraflam » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:23 am

areyouinsane, all kidding aside, why haven't you just ditched the legal field altogether and tried to find a job at a company that doesn't necessarily require a JD where you'd have health benefits and room for advancement?

merc280
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby merc280 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:59 am

Paraflam wrote:areyouinsane, all kidding aside, why haven't you just ditched the legal field altogether and tried to find a job at a company that doesn't necessarily require a JD where you'd have health benefits and room for advancement?



yeah like you could run a franchise of some sort of restaurant and make close to six figures and probably work less hours.

areyouinsane
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:28 am

areyouinsane, all kidding aside, why haven't you just ditched the legal field altogether and tried to find a job at a company that doesn't necessarily require a JD where you'd have health benefits and room for advancement?


I have tried, but there isn't much of a market (esp. in this recession/depression) for people with no useful business experience, a TTT law degree, and a resume with about 30 different temp jobs over 5 years time. Plus, with substantial student debt, I can't really afford to "start from the bottom" and make 25-30 K a year in another business or industry. I already have loans in default and there's really no way out of this mess. Hell, bar dues alone are $375 for NY and $400 for NJ, plus another $300 for CLE's. I was scraping by last year doing re-fi mortgage closings for Quicken Loans, but a new loan manager took over for NJ and now they send notaries for $50 to cover the closings rather than $150 for attorneys. More and more, businesses & people are phasing out lawyers wherever they can. I covered a traffic court appearance for a buddy yesterday and, of the 200 or so people there, only 4 had attorneys with them. (And no, you can't go up to people in court and ask them to hire you- it's against the ethics rules and can get you in trouble). A couple people actually did ask if I was a lawyer, and they wanted to discuss their cases, but of course had no $$$. From TV shows and such, the general public have become enamored with the idea that lawyers are provided free to everyone for every problem.

Even personal injury, once the "golden ticket" for TTT grads, is really, really tough nowadays. The carriers will NOT settle any car accident cases without bone fractures, and fight to the death over all the herniated disc cases and such. You can do OK with employment law- I did settle a sexual harrassment case for my sister's friend for 18 K last spring with a letter and half dozen phone calls. But to get enough cases like that to earn a steady living is very, very hard unless you already have a "spare" 50 K or so laying around for google adwords or your own sleazy TV commerical, etc. The typical newbie solo gets only drips & drabs, hence their contantly running back to these temporary doc review projects to supplement their meager incomes from their own "practice." NYC and NJ are really just too saturated with lawyers to make a go of it as a solo, and I'm too ground down by this industry to sit another bar and relocate to another state. At this point it just isn't worth it.

Non-legal employers don't understand the world of doc review, and often ask "why were you never made permanent anywhere" and things like that. They don't understand that doc review is transient work, and that lowlife TTT coders like me are not offered associate positions no matter how many docs you code.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that most firms make you sign a paper before you start the temp job which states you may NOT put the firm's name on your resume or do anything to make others think you actually worked there. God forbid a bunch of TTT grads were shopping their SullCrom or Paul Weiss resumes around! Instead, you are only allowed to put the name of your temp. agency (like HireCounsel, Lexolution, Update Legal, etc) and the duration of the project. The firms want to make damn sure some TTT'er doesn't soil their name by putting it on their garbage resume.


And as I said, my only substantive experience was in personal injury law. Understand that most injury lawyers who don't advertise on TV bribe "runners" to get cases for them- like hospital orderlies, nurses, ambulance drivers, etc. Here's how it works: the runner gives an accident victim the lawyer's card with a $20 bill wrapped around it and says "call that # and you'll get another $100 later today." The runners do this to people they "know" will not think it's anything unusual, like someone who's homeless or otherwise not very educated (most of the really good cases come from very poor urban areas- they tend to have more accidents since they frequent places which are in bad repair- housing projects, dive bars- and also tend to not wear seat belts or have cars with airbags).

So when the accident victim calls, the lawyer sends another dood out to the hospital (or their apt. or house if they've been discharged), gives them the $100, and has them sign a retainer. Bingo- they get a case worth thousands in lawyer fees for fronting the client $120 bucks. The runner gets paid a "commission" based on the quality of cases he/she brings in.

This isn't some TV show script, it's business as usual for NYC/NJ personal injury. How the hell else do you think some solo in Brooklyn or Queens you've never heard of makes big $$$ doing PI? Hardly anyone ever gets caught, about twice a year the AG's office plants some undercover folks in the ER to catch a few ambulance chasers, but mostly it gets ignored.

The other way these places get cases is by paying sleazy "medical mills" in the outer boroughs to "refer" cases to them. If someone is treating at a walk-in clinic and the "doctor" learns they were in an accident, he calls the PI lawyer and offers him the case. The catch is that the fee for the "medical reports" (wink wink) vary based on the injury. For sprains and soft tissue cases, it's usually 1200-1500 bucks, for a fracture it can be like 3 K or more. It's really sleazy shit and most of the clinics are run by Russian mobsters. To play this game you have to have enough cash to get the "medical reports," which is more expesnive than paying runners. But there is much less chance of getting busted.

So for anyone considering a career in personal injury law, that's the 5 minute primer. You can see now why associates in this area are paid almost nothing: they don't bring anything to the table. Getting the case is all that matters: the "legal work" is mostly cut and pasted stock pleadings and depostions where you try your best to get these illiterate, often crack-addicted clients to put some kind of coherent story together about the puddle of urine they slipped on at Roy's Billard Hall or wherever. Trials are very, very rare and mostly are reserved only for VERY high value cases (like 200 K+). Usually the trials are "farmed out" to a stable of silver-haired shysters who are very slick at getting juries to open the floodgates and get a huge payday. The per-diem trial guys get a 1/3 curt of any verdict they get. No lawyer in their right mind would let a young associate do a trial, because when you guy to trial you have to pay for the doctor upfront to testify, which is 5 K or more. And this money is coming from the firm's pocket since these are contingency cases (YOU DON'T PAY UNLESS WE WIN!- you've all seen the commericals lol).

The "typical" auto or trip n' slip case you just scrounge whatever you can from the insurance company and move on. It's a volume business, as that's the only way to make $$$.

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Verity
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby Verity » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:32 am

areyouinsane has writing talent, and some great stories to tell. If he's a well-executed flame, then, wow, that's fucking impressive. +1 for the book deal. I mean, what else does he have to do?

random5483
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Re: Where do contract / temp attorneys come from?

Postby random5483 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:01 am

Definitely a good read.

If you come out with a book, I will buy it.




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