The Dirty Little Secret of Document Review Sweatshops

Law is a profession.  I’ve heard lawyers boast that law is one of three only three true professions on this planet. The others being  divinity and medicine.

It seems some in our profession more closely resemble members of the “oldest profession on earth” than someone with a higher calling.

Breaking into the profession right now is tough with widespread layoffs and government cutbacks.

Traditionally, those awaiting bar exam results or job offers often took temporary jobs either doing document review or clerking in a court.

Right now there is fierce competition for document review jobs.

A friend who is waiting to get sworn in in another jurisdiction landed a document review job. He was excited to get paid because he needed a job and willing to pay his dues doing tedious work.

After about a month on the job he got fired along with everyone else he was hired with. He asked why he was laid off and was told that it was company policy to fire everyone after 30 days because that’s when they notice productivity starting to slip. He was told that there are plenty of people waiting to take his job.

He was terminated not because he was unproductive but rather because the company finds that people become unproductive after 30 days.

Here’s a guy looking to make some money to pay his bills.  With the hourly rates paid for document review, he really can’t hope for much more than that.

Times are tough but shame on firms that hire companies that prey on the most vulnerable members of our profession. Getting fired the way he did, harmed not only his wallet but his perception of the profession of law.

The days of apprenticeship are long gone.

There comes a point where it’s nothing more than the business of law and gone is any semblance of a profession.

With things like this happening there’s more that’s been lost than my friend’s job.