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Dumping on Contract Attorneys

Like Rodney Dangerfield, contract lawyers don't get no respect. While law firms earn substantial profits off the labor of contract attorneys, these lawyers have no job security, work long hours but aren't necessarily entitled to overtime and they don't have any bargaining power to demand better. To top it all off, contract attorneys also get the blame when things go wrong, reports  The Recorder.

Apparently, two critical e-mails in a stock option prosecution against McAfee's former general counsel weren't turned over because temp attorneys had marked them as not relevant, Howrey partner Robert Gooding Jr. explained to federal district judge Marilyn Hall Patel.  Gooding characterized the error as inadvertent, and said senior lawyers were supposed to have reviewed the contract lawyers' work but somehow the mistake was overlooked.  Defense lawyers weren't convinced, and filed a motion to dismiss shortly after the hearing.

For now, Howrey hasn't been required to offer up the heads of the lawyers responsible for the gaffe.  And that's fortunate for the contract lawyers, since firms are more than willing to harshly penalize contract lawyers for infractions. 

For more coverage, see Gabes Guide to the e-Discovery Universe and WSJ Law Blog.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 19, 2008 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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