Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Talk Amongst Yourselves

with 3 comments

Total Black: $696.43
Total Red: $229,650.21

Walking to work this morning, I received an email from the other remaining contract attorney asking that I and one of the law firm’s paralegals stop by her office for a meeting.  Day-to-day now we’re on our own because all of the attorneys and one of the paralegals we work with are in federal court for the trial.  We’re left to talk amongst ourselves. 

My experience as a contract attorney has been fairly atypical since the start.  The first project involved inventorying the contents of boxes.  Document review in only the most technical sense.  The second project brought me that stereotypical document review experience: hundreds of attorneys in large office spaces working crazy hours in uncomfortable conditions.  The third project had me working on a small team—ultimately down to only three other temporary attorneys—reviewing documents within the law firm.  That project also created work to keep us around until real work surfaced.  My final project (I can now say that with a bit of certainty) has me doing everything from associate-level work, legal research and analysis/memo drafting, to ordinary contract attorney work, document review, and down to secretarial work, photocopying and assembly.

Yesterday was the first real day of trial.  And the past two days felt a bit like “cat’s away, mice will play.”  Not so much that I, or anyone else were goofing off, but rather that we’re left here to work on our own.  And that’s fine, if we had any sor tof organization or system in place to assess remaining or outstanding tasks and track our progress completing them.  But we don’t.  Instead, upon returning to the firm the past few nights, the associates and partners pepper everyone with emails, requests, assignments, and so on.  Yesterday evening, when the other contract attorney and I stopped by the law firm to check-in, we pretty much were shooed away.  Understandably.  The last thing anyone wants after ten hours in court is a flurry of questions and updates.  But see, we’re out of that larger loop and have been told not to email the associates while they’re in court—unless it’s urgent, of course.  That’s fine, but we’re leaderless throughout the day, which makes things very frustrating.  More so for me because she started a few months before I did and so she’s at the firm and thus is more connected to outstanding tasks.  I’m nearby in the temporary attorney reviewer space, so I kinda handle assignments or tasks as they come to me.  But that’s not working so much any longer.

See, although she has an internal email address, she doesn’t have a blackberry.  Emails sent very late or very early don’t reach her until she arrives in the morning.  I, however, am using my personal email address.  My iPhone goes off whenever they email.  And this morning it went off at 8am with an email from one of the senior associates requesting an update.  I knew I’d be the only one seeing his email that early, but I just couldn’t deal with the associate-like stresses being placed on us now.  So, instead I rolled over and went back to sleep.  I just didn’t want to respond that early.  Still, it got me thinking on the walk to work this morning that we need some sort of system to coordinate all the multiple request and outstanding tasks.  The other day I felt like I wasn’t really needed.  I didn’t have anything to do and I let the associate know.  The assignment she ultimately asked me to work on wasn’t all that much.  Looks like the other contract attorney had the same idea because she called our meeting this morning.

It was good meeting.  We had a bit of a bitch fest.  Got to vent frustrations about duplicate or unclear tasks and the overall lack of coordination.  But more importantly, we started coordinating among ourselves.  Now, if we have to talk amongst ourselves, we’ll know what we needs to get done and hopefully we’ll be a step or two ahead.  Not very typical of contract attorneys to be the persons taking charge and keeping things organized.

The amount of work has prevented me from keeping up with the blog as I’d like.  But that hasn’t stopped the comments, as one commenter noted.  So . . . yeah . . . if work keeps me a bit verklempt, just talk amongst yourselves for a bit.  It’ll pass and I’ll be back to my little coffee talk here just as soon as possible.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

April 8, 2010 at 23:11

3 Responses

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  1. Well I’m glad to see at least one contract out there is busy!


    April 9, 2010 at 21:45

  2. Contract ATTY. Words are hard, ya know.


    April 9, 2010 at 21:46

  3. My scenario:

    LOL was sitting in a bar mulling his clerkship offer and was approached by a silver-haired gentlemen who offered to pay off his debts (within 3 months, 4 weeks and 2 days) and take him away from all this drama. That’s right – our LOL took off to the Alfafi Coast for a few weeks of love, fun and sun.

    Yeah, that’s what going on….


    April 10, 2010 at 00:09

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