Sunday, June 2, 2013

I've told you before and before that and even before that that this industry is looking less healthy by the day. While not conclusive evidence, I have yet another nail in the coffin, as illustrated by this recent posting on The Posse List, which those of you in the know realize is a vital job-finding listserve for contract attorneys:
[An agency I have worked for upon occasion] is currently recruiting JDs for a deposition review project starting Wednesday, May 29th in Washington, DC. 
* Location -- Downtown Washington, DC 
* Pay Rate -- $21/hr 
* Duration - 2 weeks 
* Hours -- 40 hours per week 
Please email a current copy of your resume in Word format to [the resume-receiving email address of this particular agency]  if you are interested. Please reference"Deposition Review Project" in the subject line. 
Several things make this unnerving. First, it is yet another JD-only project, indicating that clients are more and more willing to ignore the June 2005 advisory opinion by the DC Court of Appeals Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law that threw it out there that contract attorneys must be DC Bar members. (Yeah, my Bar dues have to be in this month. Lots o' money for fuck-all.)

Second, the rate is even lower than the JD-only project advertised in the first link. The rate on this one is insulting, which brings us to the third point: this is supposedly substantive work. Reviewing depositions is not like document review, where you basically look to see if a document references one of a list of key topics and then mark it responsive or non-responsive accordingly. Deposition review requires reading the entire transcript and making a decision on what is relevant, and on what is important. Theoretically, the lawyer taking the deposition asked relevant questions, so all of the answers are "relevant." The task, then, is to find the good stuff. 

This is not the same as nearly mindless document review which, frankly, could be done by monkeys (and increasingly is done by computers and people in India, as we've discussed, because US-barred attorneys aren't really necessary). This is, done properly, real lawyer work. And they're paying two-thirds of the going rate for document reviewers? Really? I'll be they get some quality product there. Not. But it is yet another bad sign for Temp Town. The devaluation continues

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