Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

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Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 17, 2018 11:41 pm

To the extent Courts analyze and approve fees awarded in settlements, the cynical and usury ways in which the firms (with Court approval) take advantage of unemployed attorneys to line their pockets is quite abhorrent to me. I understand firms not wanting these "second rate" lawyers on their roster, or the possible cost cutting reasons for not offering any types of benefits or bonuses - but paying $30-$40 an hour for work that makes up over 78% of your hours and awards you calculated fees from $250-$385 an hour (for the contract attorneys mind you not the associates or partners those are obviously awarded much higher rates), well - that is just beyond depravity.

All this on the backs of debt laden attorneys - and the reason no one addresses this particular injustice is?

http://www.citigroupbondactionsettlement.com/docs/2013.12.19_Opinion_&_Order_re_Attorneys_Fees.pdf

2013

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby 2013 » Fri May 18, 2018 7:48 am

Do you think firms would keep these doc review attorneys if they had to pay them more? They’d probably outsource it or just write off associate time.

I get that you think it’s unfair but these attorneys are doing these jobs because they can’t find a better gig.

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 18, 2018 8:11 am

Courts do not typically have to approve the fees of biglaw firms, unless in bankruptcy court, so the firms you are talking about are plaintiff’s side shops. I am a senior associate, and we do not bill our contract attorneys to the client at rates higher than what the vendor is charging us for their time, usually the vendor will bill the client directly.

We do have in-house doc review attorneys that are billed out at around $300 an hour, but the notion that your horuly rate is much less than what your time is being billed to the client as isn’t limited to doc review attorneys. Biglaw firms make similar margins on associates - I have had years where my hourly rate (base + bonus/billable hours) was 1/6 or 1/7 of my billable rate hourly. Some of that is facilities/infrastructure, but the rest is pure profit to the partners.

Also IMO, doc review attorney time is much more likely to get written off, for some reason.

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 18, 2018 11:02 pm

2013 wrote:Do you think firms would keep these doc review attorneys if they had to pay them more? They’d probably outsource it or just write off associate time.

I get that you think it’s unfair but these attorneys are doing these jobs because they can’t find a better gig.


Not sure how you can outsource or write off associate time for 78% of the case's billable hours. They would need to hire a lot more associates to put it mildly... and obviously whoever does doc review can't find a better gig, still doesn't mean the entire business model isn't entirely usury.

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 18, 2018 11:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Courts do not typically have to approve the fees of biglaw firms, unless in bankruptcy court, so the firms you are talking about are plaintiff’s side shops. I am a senior associate, and we do not bill our contract attorneys to the client at rates higher than what the vendor is charging us for their time, usually the vendor will bill the client directly.

We do have in-house doc review attorneys that are billed out at around $300 an hour, but the notion that your horuly rate is much less than what your time is being billed to the client as isn’t limited to doc review attorneys. Biglaw firms make similar margins on associates - I have had years where my hourly rate (base + bonus/billable hours) was 1/6 or 1/7 of my billable rate hourly. Some of that is facilities/infrastructure, but the rest is pure profit to the partners.

Also IMO, doc review attorney time is much more likely to get written off, for some reason.


I get what you are saying - but there are two main differences in your equation
1- you didn't factor into your compensation paid vacation, holidays, sick days, personal days, health insurance, 401K, life insurance, disability insurance, secretary, office space and all other perks you get as associate which the firm pays for on top of what you see in your paycheck.

- even if with all that you are making 1/7 of actual billed amount - whatever you are making is still not an amount that would barely pay for student loans + rent... which makes it more than just unfair.

JusticeJackson

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby JusticeJackson » Wed May 23, 2018 11:15 am

I’m having a hard time figuring out what your gripe is.

Paying $30-40 dollars an hour? That isn’t a bad wage in the grand scheme of the American job market. People making $30-40 an hour aren’t going to get much pity for their wages, and I doubt many lawmakers, judges, or voters would see that wage as “usury,” “depravity,” or an “injustice.”

Charging clients a premium on top of someone’s wage? That’s a tried and true business model for lots of professions. The guy who painted your house? He makes way less than you paid his company for the services. Same with IT consultants, accountants, any handyman or construction company, and almost every lawyer I know.

I actually don’t even see a viable alternative structure for certain document heavy litigation. Firms can compete on billable rates, which certainly impacts the markup, but at the end of the day, firms are in business to make a profit and if they don’t, then the partners with business will leave the firm and go somewhere that will make them more money.

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2018 11:31 am

I really wish an introductory economics course becomes mandatory in every high school.

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2018 1:17 pm

JusticeJackson wrote:Paying $30-40 dollars an hour? That isn’t a bad wage in the grand scheme of the American job market. People making $30-40 an hour aren’t going to get much pity for their wages, and I doubt many lawmakers, judges, or voters would see that wage as “usury,” “depravity,” or an “injustice.”



$30-40 is excellent pay, considering how easy document review work is. Most delusional K-JDers have just never had a real office job or even worked full time, so they whine about document review work when it's incredibly easy for the money. It's the type of overpaid work that's overpaid because you have a JD.

If document review work wasn't legal related or if some firms didn't require JDs in their departments, it wouldn't pay nearly as much. Similar work that requires going over documents or to review content all day in the non-legal sector, pays minimum wage to under $20. If I recall correctly, Google was posting openings for contract content reviewers for $27~ an hour, no benefits, job requiring experience and a university degree. I've seen similar described work paying $13-15 from big companies.

Anonymous User wrote:I really wish an introductory economics course becomes mandatory in every high school.


Classes they should make mandatory in law school if law student didn't take in undergrad:
1) Economics
2) Accounting
3) Personal Finance
4) Statistics

Traynor Brah

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Traynor Brah » Wed May 23, 2018 1:59 pm

+1 to the side that thinks OP's point is dumb.

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
JusticeJackson wrote:Paying $30-40 dollars an hour? That isn’t a bad wage in the grand scheme of the American job market. People making $30-40 an hour aren’t going to get much pity for their wages, and I doubt many lawmakers, judges, or voters would see that wage as “usury,” “depravity,” or an “injustice.”



$30-40 is excellent pay, considering how easy document review work is. Most delusional K-JDers have just never had a real office job or even worked full time, so they whine about document review work when it's incredibly easy for the money. It's the type of overpaid work that's overpaid because you have a JD.

If document review work wasn't legal related or if some firms didn't require JDs in their departments, it wouldn't pay nearly as much. Similar work that requires going over documents or to review content all day in the non-legal sector, pays minimum wage to under $20. If I recall correctly, Google was posting openings for contract content reviewers for $27~ an hour, no benefits, job requiring experience and a university degree. I've seen similar described work paying $13-15 from big companies.

Anonymous User wrote:I really wish an introductory economics course becomes mandatory in every high school.


Classes they should make mandatory in law school if law student didn't take in undergrad:
1) Economics
2) Accounting
3) Personal Finance
4) Statistics



FWIW I have been working since I was 15. Babysitting, waiting tables and whatever else I could find to have some extra money. After college (which I graduated at the age of 20 btw) I worked in the business world for 3 years before going to law school. This was all before the 2008 crash.

If you would read the original post the gripe wasn't about $30-$40 an hour being low - it was about firms pocketing 7-8 times the hourly rate they pay out while not paying any benefits such as medical, holidays or time off, meaning they NET the entire markup. All the while, the final return they get on their cases is comprised more than two thirds of contract attorney hourly billables.

And, for anyone who did doc review - the job isn't "easy" it is mind numbingly boring and tedious which makes it extremely difficult to partake for 40-50 hours a week. Finally, you try supporting 2 kids in NY on $30-$40 an hour while paying for student loans and child care.

lawposeidon

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby lawposeidon » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:39 am

Plaintiff's firms do it too.

malibustacy

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby malibustacy » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:19 pm

No one actually cares anon. If these attorneys can't find better work during a boom economy, then they're earning what they deserve.

Netting as much of the mark-up as possible sounds like a successful business. If your entire argument is "feel sorry for these poor people please", no one's going to give them much sympathy. Everyone was well warned about the dangers of law school. No one said anyone had to have 2 kids in NYC. No one told people to take on so much debt. Literally, caveat emptor.

Npret

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Re: Big law make a killing using Doc Review Attorneys

Postby Npret » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:00 pm

malibustacy wrote:No one actually cares anon. If these attorneys can't find better work during a boom economy, then they're earning what they deserve.

Netting as much of the mark-up as possible sounds like a successful business. If your entire argument is "feel sorry for these poor people please", no one's going to give them much sympathy. Everyone was well warned about the dangers of law school. No one said anyone had to have 2 kids in NYC. No one told people to take on so much debt. Literally, caveat emptor.

Not everyone knows though. People make mistakes and shit happens. It’s a boom economy but that doesn’t stop the oversupply.

It’s like this weird disconnect where people here think everyone is educated about law school, but they clearly aren’t. Even 0Lswho find their way here seem to not understand the risks of law school and there is pushback about educating them.

I think contract attorneys could be paid more but they don’t seem to get much support. Biglaw cares most about money and that profit from doc review helps keep profut going and slightly improving.



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