Thursday, June 15, 2006

DOCUMENT REVIEW HELL

I keep up with these websites about the legal profession and stumbled tonight on a blog about temporary attorneys. It's found at temporaryattorney.blogspot.com.

Basically it's about that poor, unfortunate class of lawyers who passed the bar exams ( woo hoo!) but cannot get good jobs at law firms or aren't able to get the jobs they want. Instead, they take temporary attorney jobs through placement agencies who send them off to work on document review projects at big law firms in places like New York or LA.

Bloody hell! Document review is absolutely the most boring activity you can do as a lawyer, in my judgement. You don't get into court, you don't even take depositions- all you do is sit there and read documents, and tag them as to whether they are relevant or not to the litigation. Yes indeed, this is what a lot of new lawyers get stuck doing for their living; they aren't advising clients or getting into court like Ally McBeal. They're doing this garbage. A lot of the people who do this sort of thing are graduates of "Tier 2" law schools who didn't finish in the top half of their law school class, or even the top 25% in some cases. This temp work is reserved for the people whose immediate job options might include, if they are lucky, public defender or insurance defense work, usually outside the big city. These aren't attractive options for a lot of people who don't want to leave the big city or are repelled by the pay or the type of work. So they do document review. Lousy dead-end work, but the pay is better.

Mind you, there's a lot of full-time associates who get stuck doing document review, too, early in their careers. But at least they might get a chance to get out of doing this grunt work some day, and do depositions or something like that. I read Barman by Alex Wellen, and that was his life as an associate, doing document reviews in a warehouse. No wonder he quit to go into TV.

Anyway, I thought it was a pretty eye-opening website. Being a temporary attorney sounds really terrible. Even articling students at Canadian law firms do more than this. At least they are able to get a variety of experience, though I must say I'm kind of opposed to the way the articling system is set up in Canada and actually want the whole system reformed or scrapped completely. Law students get no say in what type of articling experience they get in a lot of cases and there are all kinds of other issues. But that is a rant for another day.

Anyway, that's my rant for the night about temporary attorneys. Another reminder for those of you out there that you should forget about being a lawyer. Go do an M.B.A. instead. Or go to medical school. At least you'll have a shot at a decent career. Life for law grads is bad, period.

And this is probably my last rant on the legal profession as I go back to writing about more interesting stuff.

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