Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Your worst doc review stories

as a temp it was some hard copy review, where you had to ask notreallyalawyer10/03/17
You presume that it is bad. The people that I know who do do nighthawk10/03/17
I've done it for years. Every day doing it is the worst day notreallyalawyer10/03/17
I worked on one project where there were 20 of us in a room blackholelaw10/03/17
Maybe it would get really hot if they had the lights on? I k notreallyalawyer10/03/17
there was AC. blackholelaw10/04/17
Yeah, that sucks. You gotta do what you are told. I was in a notreallyalawyer10/04/17
I assume your first day at doc review is the worst day of yo isthisit10/03/17
Mine was comforting. I was in a room full of people who had blackholelaw10/03/17
Imagine how embarrassed I was knowing I graduated top 5% of notreallyalawyer10/03/17
There are other people with good credentials in doc review. onehell10/03/17
I'd be better off in their shoes, as they made associate mon notreallyalawyer10/03/17
Do many biglaws who don't make partner really fall into doc loblawyer10/04/17
If it makes you feel better, I have an acquaintance who grad jorgedeclaro10/04/17
I wish I had assburgers, at least I'd have an excuse. This i notreallyalawyer10/04/17
Aspergers was recently dropped from the DSM because it was a onehell10/04/17
I do and they just say I have anxiety/depression. NOthing th notreallyalawyer10/04/17
What happened to him anonlaw12310/13/17
Mine was actually comforting too. I'd just lost my crappy jo perkinwarbeck10/03/17
That's standard, everyone knows that happens. I'm talking re notreallyalawyer10/03/17
Yeah, I know it's standard. It's all I got though from the y perkinwarbeck10/04/17
Every minute of the three months I spent in doc review would pauperesq10/03/17
how'd you get out? petunia10/03/17
Got lucky and was offered a clerkship, never looked back. I pauperesq10/03/17
The story above where the project leader insisted on keeping patenttrollnj10/03/17
There's still plenty of it, but it is leaving big cities to notreallyalawyer10/03/17
I just hated the bathrooms but then I realized but most crap triplesix10/03/17
I don't mind doc review. NB: I haven't done an English revie dieter10/03/17
Why were you doing doc review overseas? I've been on assignm notreallyalawyer10/03/17
Every once in a while, there are foreign-language reviews fo dieter10/03/17
What do they pay? If you have to pay for a hotel, it's certa notreallyalawyer10/03/17
Client covers the hotel, and there's usually a per diem too. dieter10/03/17
One of the weird things about doc review is it's one of the therewillbeblood10/03/17
You mean for purposes of responsiveness and the doc doesn't notreallyalawyer10/03/17
Not my experience at all... I did fair share of fcpa work triplesix10/04/17
I've never ever had anyone do that to me for finding a bad d notreallyalawyer10/04/17
Most defense firms don't give a crap if their client is guil bsj2310/04/17
I was only on the circuit for four months but every time I t barelylegal10/03/17
Review was in the basement of a high rise office building do joecoder10/04/17
Rosslyn, VA? notreallyalawyer10/04/17
Check out the posts by the handle areyouinsane in this threa flyer1410/04/17
I've actually worked with doc reviews, at least in managemen notreallyalawyer10/04/17
So sad; it's true... I particularly enjoyed this gem of a sanka10/04/17
I find that unlikely. It would be more profitable for them t notreallyalawyer10/04/17
Part of the story was that it was midnight and there was no bsj2310/04/17
My favorite was on page two, although the poster continues t flyer1410/05/17
I was in doc review in 1997. Think Thai baht and PM Mahathir cantimaginenocountry10/04/17
I live/work in DC, and when I started doing doc review, DC d notreallyalawyer10/04/17
Is that United Contract Attorneys group still active in NYC? perkinwarbeck10/04/17
I would check every so often, but i haven't seen any new act petunia10/05/17
Yeah, I always figured that the effort would suffer from the perkinwarbeck10/06/17
I probably don't make as much as a lot of doc review folks b themapmaster10/05/17
you should be grateful! it's rough out there. besides, you h petunia10/05/17
It's not THAT bad. If you do your doc review at a firm inste notreallyalawyer10/07/17
The link to that thread on TLS was PURE GOLD. Thanks to who caj11110/06/17
My worst story is likely yet to come. I'm now trying to regi notreallyalawyer10/06/17
Kind of shocked nobody mentioned the obvious, but when I sta notreallyalawyer10/07/17
worst days of doc review are when you're at some kind of soc petunia10/07/17
or maybe when you take the same train or bus as the associat petunia10/07/17
or maybe it's the day when the project manager gives you a s petunia10/07/17
THIs is one reason why I don’t socialize notreallyalawyer10/07/17
I just tell people I read other people's mail for a living. bittersweet10/10/17
I don't volunteer it, I used to be terribly ashamed. Back in notreallyalawyer10/10/17
Curious, do you still have to go in to register with agencie notreallyalawyer10/10/17
it depends on the agency and also the urgency of the start d petunia10/10/17
I have never registered in person only online sometimes I di wolfman10/10/17
New one from a few weeks back: Been doing solo/appearance wo wellisuck10/24/17
be careful with that. They often don't allow concurrent lega notreallyalawyer10/24/17
If they were really interested in determining who was a solo nighthawk10/25/17
Hell when the QC team has a god damn side practice you know wellisuck10/25/17
I always wonder if I should envy it pity the lifers who make esquire13811/01/17
If you are a nasty person, I can imagine it being a dream jo notreallyalawyer11/02/17
I always enjoy seeing non attorney paralegal types on review esquire13811/02/17
I've been doing doc review for a short while; and never real dbesq11/15/17

notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 12:17 pm)

as a temp it was some hard copy review, where you had to ask permission to use the bathroom, and they would time you in there.

As on staff at a firm: There was one project that had a deadline, they were desperate to get it done, so they added people who weren't on the team to help out on the final day of the project. I made the mistake of volunteering. Because we didn't meet the deadline we all got bad reviews and didn't get raises as a result. For just one day on one project that I volunteered to help out on.

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nighthawk (Oct 3, 2017 - 4:07 pm)

You presume that it is bad. The people that I know who do doc review tell me that it is the best job possible. $30 an hour, no benefits, grimy basement? It is still the best gig in their eyes. I have heard this from a number of doc reviewers, not just one person.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 5:14 pm)

I've done it for years. Every day doing it is the worst day of your life. I really envied the people in the movie Office Space, they don't know how good they had it.

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blackholelaw (Oct 3, 2017 - 12:24 pm)

I worked on one project where there were 20 of us in a room sitting across from each other at two long tables. The project leader insisted that the overhead lights remain off. We were there until 10pm some nights, and after the sun went down, the room was PITCH BLACK.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 5:17 pm)

Maybe it would get really hot if they had the lights on? I know of people who worked in places that had no AC..

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blackholelaw (Oct 4, 2017 - 12:24 pm)

there was AC.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 2:36 pm)

Yeah, that sucks. You gotta do what you are told. I was in a similar situation at my last job. Client insisted on everyone being in the same room, and so we were in a conference room for months (you weren't allowed to take any leave, even if a family member was hospitalized, which happened to me).. and the team leader insisted on the room being dark, and the thermostat was set to 64 degrees or something low. i'm normally someone who complains it's too warm, I was freezing.

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isthisit (Oct 3, 2017 - 1:10 pm)

I assume your first day at doc review is the worst day of your legal career.

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blackholelaw (Oct 3, 2017 - 2:33 pm)

Mine was comforting. I was in a room full of people who had failed just as miserably, or even worse, than I had. At least I wasn't alone.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 5:15 pm)

Imagine how embarrassed I was knowing I graduated top 5% of my class and was on law review. At least they probably had bad grades. I got doc review because i'm socially inept.

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onehell (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:05 pm)

There are other people with good credentials in doc review. People who got no-offered, people who got Lathamed, people who took time off to raise kids, even senior associates who stayed too long after learning they would not be made partner and who ended up too senior to attract recruiter interest without a book of business.

That whole biglaw track to success is a very narrow one. If even the slightest thing goes wrong at any point from taking the LSAT to exiting biglaw at EXACTLY the right time to go in-house or whatever, you can end up in doc review.

Don't beat yourself up so much. There but for the grace of God goes almost everyone.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:41 pm)

I'd be better off in their shoes, as they made associate money for those years, while I didn't, so they could pay off their student loans, buy homes, pay off a good portion, I never got to do that. I've been doing doc review since I graduated law school 13 years ago, and I never even had the chance they had. I didn't get a summer associate position to get a no offer from.

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loblawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 2:10 pm)

Do many biglaws who don't make partner really fall into doc review? In my market they just lateral down to midlaw or small law for the most part. Seems to be enough jobs for a career associate that can interview well enough.

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jorgedeclaro (Oct 4, 2017 - 12:23 am)

If it makes you feel better, I have an acquaintance who graduated top 10% from a T14 on law review and couldn't get a job as a lawyer anywhere. Granted, the guy has clearly recognizable Asbergers and is effeminately gay, which makes him one of the weirdest and most socially awkward people I have ever met. I wouldn't want him interacting with my clients or staff either.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 9:38 am)

I wish I had assburgers, at least I'd have an excuse. This is why I think there shouldbe personality testing as part of LS admissions process.

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onehell (Oct 4, 2017 - 12:58 pm)

Aspergers was recently dropped from the DSM because it was always just a way of referring to high-functioning autism, which itself is on a "spectrum" where the most severe cases are obvious but the mild forms can be in a gray area. The whole autism thing is not a bright line at the high-functioning end. It can often be more art than science distinguishing between mere awkwardness and high functioning autism or something else like social anxiety disorder.

In any case, DSM diagnoses are just a shorthand for a set of symptoms; it's not biological but based on the symptoms the client reports. Autism spectrum disorders are also rarely diagnosed in adults simply because, like ADD/ADHD, no one is looking for them once you're out of primary/secondary school and since you've been out of LS 13 years it's probably safe to assume that there wasn't widespread screening when you were a kid.

Point being, there might indeed be a diagnosis that you fit and treatments that could help. See a professional and find out. Many people do indeed derive a lot of comfort from a diagnosis, not to mention that there are effective treatments. If you honestly describe your experiences and feelings like you do on here to a clinician, you might well find out you fit something like depression or social anxiety disorder or maybe even very mild ASD. You won't know unless you seek the help you need. Your insurance probably covers it and if you don't have insurance, you would probably qualify for Medicaid when you're unemployed in between doc review assignments.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 2:21 pm)

I do and they just say I have anxiety/depression. NOthing they've done has helped, at least with anxiety. This impacts every aspect of my life. I haven't had a girlfriend in 10 years, whenever I did, they were very short relationships, and she'd leave me. I probably interview better than I date, and I can't stand doing both because they are exactly the same and have had little success with either. I would not describe myself as a functional person, especially now since I have no job, no prospects, and cannot even support myself. I'll only do doc review again to prevent myself from being homeless. I guess it's pretty hopeless for me, been 6 months, 100+ applications and nothing.

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anonlaw123 (Oct 13, 2017 - 8:17 pm)

What happened to him

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perkinwarbeck (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:39 pm)

Mine was actually comforting too. I'd just lost my crappy job, and I was thrilled to be already working again a few days later. It was only later that the tedium, drudgery, and uncertainty began to take a toll.

I don't have any real horror stories. I didn't work for any truly awful contracting companies. Probably my worst story is the time we all came to work and were told that the deal was off and we were canned. They'd been telling us for two weeks that the project would probably last months and months. Suddenly: deal off, no work, go home.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 8:03 pm)

That's standard, everyone knows that happens. I'm talking really bad stuff. On one assignment I had a fling with another doc reviewer, then she started working her way up to associates. Sucked to be still in the same room with her.

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perkinwarbeck (Oct 4, 2017 - 9:41 am)

Yeah, I know it's standard. It's all I got though from the year and a half or so that I did it. All in all, I was pretty lucky.

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pauperesq (Oct 3, 2017 - 3:11 pm)

Every minute of the three months I spent in doc review would qualify as my worst story.

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petunia (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:42 pm)

how'd you get out?

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pauperesq (Oct 3, 2017 - 9:36 pm)

Got lucky and was offered a clerkship, never looked back. It was a sizable pay cut but I couldn't have cared less.

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patenttrollnj (Oct 3, 2017 - 4:16 pm)

The story above where the project leader insisted on keeping the overhead lights OFF just floored me.

One question: do doc review jobs still exist? I know they were big 15 years ago when I graduated, but it seems fewer and fewer such jobs are available for attorneys.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 5:16 pm)

There's still plenty of it, but it is leaving big cities to work centers in places like Charlotte. Cities do primarily second level review stuff. Just as horrible, but they QC the work center people stuff.

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triplesix (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:07 pm)

I just hated the bathrooms but then I realized but most crappers in biz world aint that savory.

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dieter (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:19 pm)

I don't mind doc review. NB: I haven't done an English review since 2010. Most foreign-language coders are treated better, since they aren't as fungible as English or Spanish coders. $30 is tough in places like DC or NYC, but $55 or $75 is not so bad, especially if you're making OT. Yeah, it's dull work, but how many people actually love their jobs?

As for stories, I have all kinds. Worst work space was a basement in Mexico City, below the client bank. Coders had to enter via a hidden side entrance, on a back street with raw sewage running down it. On that callejón there was a taco stand that sold delicious carnitas for about 70 cents apiece - I never got sick from them. The basement was windowless, with elbow-to-elbow work stations under flickering fluorescent lights. Rats patrolled the alley at night, and the review space after people left. (Rat turds.)

I worked at a LSO in India where there were several hundred Indian lawyers working for slave wages, and a handful of expats wondering what they fukk they were doing there. Everyone - I mean everyone - gets sick within a few days of arrival in India. The toilets at this LSO were good by Indian standards, which is like being an ebola survivor - still something you'd prefer to avoid. Imagine the dismay of having to face an Indian toilet in extreme urgency after sharting yourself for the third time in your shift.

My last English review was at a large review center in suburban Twin Cities. I biked 17 miles each way to that gig. One morning, I arrived to see a handful of people standing around outside, looking puzzled. Project had concluded early, but the staffing agency didn't bother to call until 9. (Hours were 7:30 to 6.)

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 7:45 pm)

Why were you doing doc review overseas? I've been on assignments here where the bathroom facilities couldn't handle the number of reviews. This was working at an annex of a lawfirm, not their main building. And there were other tenants on the floor so they must have really really hated the law firm.

The worst temp job I've ever had though wasn't even legal doc review. It was some indexing assignment before i did law school, at a pharma company. We were indexing stuff. they stuck us, about 12 people in a room maybe for 5 people maximum. There were bankers boxes stacked from the floor to the ceiling on all walls, not on shelves, but stacked on top of each other, and they were wobbling. Someone had mentioned in passing the conditions of the room, one of the vice supervisors overheard it, reported the person to the temp agency, and they got removed from the project. I eventually got fired from it due to my handwriting.

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dieter (Oct 3, 2017 - 8:20 pm)

Every once in a while, there are foreign-language reviews for American lawyers abroad. Mexico City was a huge one that was ongoing for years. Others have been in Buenos Aires, Brussels, Madrid, Hong Kong, Macau, and Sao Paulo. Forget it if you don't have language ability though. Zurich gets a fair amount of German reviews, but you usually need Swiss or EU citizenship to work on those.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 8:32 pm)

What do they pay? If you have to pay for a hotel, it's certainly not worth the money to do that.

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dieter (Oct 3, 2017 - 10:29 pm)

Client covers the hotel, and there's usually a per diem too. Hourly is usually a few dollars lower than it is in the States, but the per diem more than makes up for it. I've made between $47-54 on overseas projects. In India, I was on salary plus housing allowance. Given the low cost of living there, I saved about two-thirds of my after-tax earnings.

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therewillbeblood (Oct 3, 2017 - 8:51 pm)

One of the weird things about doc review is it's one of the few jobs I can think of where in many cases your employer wants you to do a bad job. On the document production side many of these places would love if you missed a damaging document.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 3, 2017 - 9:00 pm)

You mean for purposes of responsiveness and the doc doesn't get produced? But they could get in huge trouble. If the other side suspects something, they can get the database, run searches and if they find it, huge trouble I bet. I've always found doing doc review, zero tolerance for any mistakes. You make any mistake and you get fired, at least if you are on staff at a law firm doing QC of what the first level reviewers likely off site did.It gets even more complicated, if you have a question, and ask it, then they say you can't work independently. But if you miss something because you didn't have your question answered, you get fired. There's really no winning.

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triplesix (Oct 4, 2017 - 10:52 am)

Not my experience at all...

I did fair share of fcpa work and the associate called me into office on really bad doc. I told him to get fuked, it says what it says, I am not recoding it haha

Fuk 'em, I was not paid enough or had a career to cover up for mnes.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 3:22 pm)

I've never ever had anyone do that to me for finding a bad doc. In fact they were happy, they wanted to know about it. I've never seen anything like this before on any project I've ever been on. They want to know, and they are very honest about producing everything that's responsive unless it is privileged or work product.

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bsj23 (Oct 4, 2017 - 10:09 pm)

Most defense firms don't give a crap if their client is guilty or not--they get paid for their hours either way. It's not worth the potential ethics violations to hide stuff. Plus, the only way they're going to lose business is if they screw stuff up themselves. If their client screws up, it's not their fault.

Of course, they'd prefer the case last until at least summary judgement. So they'll delay producing the hot docs until the very last minute.

It's not like plaintiffs firms where you have to win or you're screwed.

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barelylegal (Oct 3, 2017 - 9:14 pm)

I was only on the circuit for four months but every time I think about doc review I can't help but think of this bit of dialogue:

I know what you're thinking. I've been there myself.

You're thinking you'll go somewhere safe.

You'll luck out.

Tigerland is where you stop BSing yourself.

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joecoder (Oct 4, 2017 - 8:47 am)

Review was in the basement of a high rise office building downtown.

There was a McDonald's on the ground floor and their garbage chute fed dumpsters right outside the review room.

That one was miserable.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 10:48 am)

Rosslyn, VA?

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flyer14 (Oct 4, 2017 - 10:46 am)

Check out the posts by the handle areyouinsane in this thread:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=157855&sid=9d1b8f5b9ba86cc3c47e17e4060fdb50

Some of them are pure gold... and a warning to all prospective law students.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 10:50 am)

I've actually worked with doc reviews, at least in management type capacities, that went to Georgetown, GWU, Michigan, even NYU for law school.

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sanka (Oct 4, 2017 - 2:54 pm)

So sad; it's true...

I particularly enjoyed this gem of a post:

"Here's a funny story- this one really preppy dude "Pat" from a good school has once been an in-house counsel at some large company, etc. Somehow he "washed out" and ended up down in the SullCrom cellar with the rest of us T losers. So one night at like 1 am this associate came down and asked if anyone was willing to go upstairs and vaccum/clean up the large conference room. Some geek partners from SullCroms London office were on their way from JFK for some zero-hour deal and the big conf. room was a mess from some reception earlier in the evening. All the cleaning crew were gone for the night, so it fell to the coders to go up there and clean the mess. So me & Pat volunteered and went up there and cleaned up all this dried-up food, empty glasses, papers, and other rubbish. It was pretty funny to think back on my law school days, hoping to have a nice career and actually amount to something in life. Instead I'm on the 30th floor of SullCrom at 1 am cleaning up garbage like a janitor. If you can't laugh about it, you'll quickly end up committing suicide. It kinda sucks having no idea when your project will end, if you'll get another one quickly, what to do if you get sick (as i said, no health ins. for temps), plus all the student loans and having to pay your own CLE and bar dues, etc. Plus you do boring, miserable dead-end work for hour upon endless hour with no hope of promotion, advancement, or positive career development. "

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 3:02 pm)

I find that unlikely. It would be more profitable for them to be billing than to do janitorial work. And wouldn't they have mailroom staff do that before they have doc reviewers do it? Someone who doesn't work on billable hours?

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bsj23 (Oct 4, 2017 - 10:13 pm)

Part of the story was that it was midnight and there was no one else around.

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flyer14 (Oct 5, 2017 - 11:14 am)

My favorite was on page two, although the poster continues to relate stories throughout the thread:

***

"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 "Sh*tFingers" (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 sh*t smeared all over it.

So Sh*tFingers 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 Sh*tFingers thought it was a little too dirty, even for him.

I forgot to mention that we weren't allowed upstairs period after Sh*tFingers 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 mother**ker" 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 T3 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 T3 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 T3 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."

***

And the rub is, in my brief time in law practice, I ran into many personalities who seemed liable to do crap like this. I'm so glad I left law.

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cantimaginenocountry (Oct 4, 2017 - 1:03 pm)

I was in doc review in 1997. Think Thai baht and PM Mahathir and Soros.

All was cool until a day in the fall when all heard that bar results were in. This was before smartphones and computers were everywhere and so like 60 people were on edge. I had already passed the bar so I wasnt nervous but you could feel the tension in that room. I come in next day you would could have thought I was at a wake. It seemed like 75% had failed!

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 4, 2017 - 1:10 pm)

I live/work in DC, and when I started doing doc review, DC didn't require bar membership to do doc review, then they wanted to collect the fees, so a few doc reviewers had to quit because they never passed the bar or for some reason couldn't or wouldn't become a member of the DC bar.

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perkinwarbeck (Oct 4, 2017 - 7:42 pm)

Is that United Contract Attorneys group still active in NYC? I was checking their website every month or so for a while, because they would post minutes of their meetings. There haven't been any updates in ages though. Did it die off?

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petunia (Oct 5, 2017 - 9:35 pm)

I would check every so often, but i haven't seen any new activity in quite some time. I used to wonder why people don't organize. people think they're going to get out soon and don't want to invest the time to make something like that work, or they think that the firms would relocate to another area or replace the attorneys with paralegals. someone once told me that doc reviewers wouldn't be willing to pay the union dues. maybe if there was more publicity about the sweat shop nature of it, things would change. many many attorneys aren't aware of how it all works. At least in small firms. i've been getting some interviews and having to discuss the "industry" and even the ones who have an idea, really don't get it.

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perkinwarbeck (Oct 6, 2017 - 10:24 am)

Yeah, I always figured that the effort would suffer from the fact that so many would rather spend their energies angling to get out of doc review, rather than try to make it more livable. Perhaps it was futile regardless. It's unfortunate.

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themapmaster (Oct 5, 2017 - 7:54 pm)

I probably don't make as much as a lot of doc review folks but after reading stories I am grateful just because I get to do actual legal work and don't have to be humiliated like doc reviewers are. I simply could not put up with the arrogance of biglaw partners or associates for which you work. I still have to encounter that arrogance being from a small firm when I interact with big firms but at least I can hate them without, at the same time, being fed by them.

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petunia (Oct 5, 2017 - 9:37 pm)

you should be grateful! it's rough out there. besides, you have a lot more security and upward mobility. That's a HUGE plus!

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 7, 2017 - 9:37 am)

It's not THAT bad. If you do your doc review at a firm instead of at a review site, they usually treat you okay. I've been on an assignment where people complained about even seeing us, or if there was any noise made when the room door was closed. In other firms they'd even accept suggestions from doc reviewers, and implement them, give them access to the firm gym, stuff like that. It's still horrible work though and I wish I had never went to law school.

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caj111 (Oct 6, 2017 - 11:12 am)

The link to that thread on TLS was PURE GOLD. Thanks to whoever posted it. I'm still reading the stories on there and have been really entertained! The guy with the "areyouinsane" handle really needs a book deal. I've got a title for it already - "Tales from the Document Review Dungeon".

If there's one thing I took away from that thread, from his and other peoples' stories, and other posts giving anecdotal evidence about the general state of the profession, it seems like the only who have a fair shot at the profession and really belong in law school are those whose parents are lawyers as well - whether it means joining the parents' firm, or a parent is in BigLaw or government and can get them into it with the connection. Because now even people at the top of their class and/or at top law schools either get laid off or are just plain miserable, and the saturation level of lawyers has gotten to the point where most can't make money anymore. Law has become one of those heavily closed, "family" type industries, like the funeral home or pawnbroker business - if you weren't born into it, you will probably struggle heavily or just plain hate it. The law schools of course don't want their would-be applicants to know this.

I realize I'm overgeneralizing and there are many exceptions to what I just said but the legal industry has become like real estate agents - virtually anyone can become one (no matter how crappy your grades and LSATs are, there is a law school somewhere in the US that will accept you) and a result is that few make any real money at it (remember the 80/20 rule in real estate?). But it costs much less to become a real estate agent and if you haven't caused too much damage to yourself, the exit options are easier. Most new real estate agents quit within three years or less if they aren't making any real money. Not so easy for lawyers to do, whether they're at a good firm, shit firm or in the doc review gulag.

Plenty of people get told they aren't smart enough to become a doctor, dentist or veterinarian and no school will accept them - why can't it be the same way with lawyers?

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 6, 2017 - 7:15 pm)

My worst story is likely yet to come. I'm now trying to register with doc review temp agencies and they don't even reply to me sending in my resume. I respond to a specific gig, and in the past two weeks I've done this twice, and they didn't respond at all, not even a "we have enough people for this project, but would you like to come in and register with us?". Nothing.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 7, 2017 - 9:40 am)

Kind of shocked nobody mentioned the obvious, but when I started doing doc review in 2003, the standard pay was $30/hr, but with lots of overtime. 14 years later, that's still the same standard pay, now where OT is very rare. 14 years, and no pay increase, and then when you factor in inflation. Soon minimum wage will be barely less than half of what doc review pays. High school dropouts will be better off.

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petunia (Oct 7, 2017 - 5:11 pm)

worst days of doc review are when you're at some kind of social gathering and one of your non-attorney friends introduces you as an attorney to another attorney they know, but that attorney is a "real" attorney and they ask what you do. Then you have a a couple of seconds to try and cover or tell your embarrassing pathetic truth. And then when you decide to tell the truth and they are so removed from this aspect of the profession that they ask you detailed questions about it, horrified and in disbelief. Then they give you some false encouragement that things will work out and that they'll see if they can help. Then you see them at the same function the next year, and they come up to you, figuring you have moved on. you admit that you're still stuck there, and with all the regrets you have due to all the poor decisions you've made and ended up here, you add another regret of not lying about what you do in the first place.

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petunia (Oct 7, 2017 - 5:15 pm)

or maybe when you take the same train or bus as the associate on your case that you've been working with for years and watched his career soar and yours languish and they actively avoid you and pretend not to see you so they don't have to speak to you. You wonder if it's because they can't stand you as a person or if they wouldn't want to tarnish their image by being associated with you.

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petunia (Oct 7, 2017 - 5:22 pm)

or maybe it's the day when the project manager gives you a stern talking to or nasty email about how you are moving too slow and aren't keeping up with the rest of the team in an effort to motivate you to go faster by threatening your job. and as much as you hate being there and taking crap from one of these prostitutes who have a hand in keeping working conditions poor, wages flat, and instability high, you get in line because you genuinely believe your job is in danger because your spirits are completely broken, you know you're unemployable, and you got bills to pay.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 7, 2017 - 7:04 pm)

THIs is one reason why I don’t socialize

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bittersweet (Oct 10, 2017 - 5:14 pm)

I just tell people I read other people's mail for a living. Some attorneys understand. Everyone else looks quizzical, but in the DC, it's believeable. I tell them I can't talk about it, but it is legal. ;)

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 10, 2017 - 5:59 pm)

I don't volunteer it, I used to be terribly ashamed. Back in 2003, when i saw someone with a blackberry, I thought they were government lawyers or associates, so I felt completely inferior, a complete failure. Now I don't care as much, I just need to survive.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 10, 2017 - 6:02 pm)

Curious, do you still have to go in to register with agencies these days, or do they do it over the phone and you just email them your ID and conflicts? I'm thinking of registering for a project, but I'm going to be staying somewhere where I can't bring my car for the next few days and it would make life a lot easier if I didn't have to bring a suit with me in case I have to go in to register.

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petunia (Oct 10, 2017 - 8:11 pm)

it depends on the agency and also the urgency of the start date. a lot of time you can show up with your passport the day you start.

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wolfman (Oct 10, 2017 - 10:51 pm)

I have never registered in person only online sometimes I did it from a public library computer among the homeless vagrants...

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wellisuck (Oct 24, 2017 - 4:41 pm)

New one from a few weeks back: Been doing solo/appearance work for a year while having doc review supplement income.

Have a small case, motions date set weeks ago, so I don't want coverage. Doc review place tells me there will be a job soon. Doc review delays start date and then tells me that start time is at the same time as motions date. Not anyone's fault, but doc review told me to pound sand when I asked if I could come in after the training b/c of my vague "cannot move my prior commitment."

I get it, review company wants to put on a good show for their client. I'm doing the same for mine.

But still. Fuuucccckkkkkkkkk.

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notreallyalawyer (Oct 24, 2017 - 4:50 pm)

be careful with that. They often don't allow concurrent legal employment when you do doc review. They might figure it out of you are sneaking out doing appearances.. For next time naturally as you've missed out on this doc review gig.

I'm currently waiting for a project to start, but the start date keeps on getting pushed back. I'm thinking they actually have the job, and it really is just delayed. In the past i've experience their wishful thinking they'd win the bid, and they didn't.

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nighthawk (Oct 25, 2017 - 11:12 am)

If they were really interested in determining who was a solo with some business on the side then the review company would stakeout in the mensroom, where they would hear these guys talking on the phone like it is their branch office.

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wellisuck (Oct 25, 2017 - 1:01 pm)

Hell when the QC team has a god damn side practice you know they don't take side work seriously. These places really care about 40 hrs (with some flex time).

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esquire138 (Nov 1, 2017 - 6:14 pm)

I always wonder if I should envy it pity the lifers who make team lead or higher. I can see it both ways.

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notreallyalawyer (Nov 2, 2017 - 8:33 am)

If you are a nasty person, I can imagine it being a dream job for them, because they can blame anything that goes wrong on lower level staff attorneys or contract attorneys. You basically get ahead by getting other people in trouble, though I'd hate to have all that contact with partners and associates.

Or if you are referring to off site doc review team leaders, from what I saw in my one time doing that, the guy could have been a concentration camp guard. He took pleasure in yelling at people for being two minutes late because of a metro delay.. yelled at them in front of the entire room, waiting outside the bathroom to see how long you've been in it, stuff like that. If you are a fascist type, that's probably a dream job.

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esquire138 (Nov 2, 2017 - 5:00 pm)

I always enjoy seeing non attorney paralegal types on reviews acting superior to unlicensed jds sweating the bar exam wait or repeating
Bragging about making. An extra dollar an hour than the guy who started two days ago since they've been there since before said new guy was born or at gigs just like it. And of course the plain straight up Secretary who's boss let's them act and THINK they are in charge....

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dbesq (Nov 15, 2017 - 9:44 pm)

I've been doing doc review for a short while; and never really had a bad experience.
I do think, however, this parasitic industry is changing "sneakily."
DTI-EPIC must be boycotted. They're becoming a monopoly and they are bad actors.
Boycott.

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