Why Do Some People Reject Priv Log Work?

I don’t get it. Why do some people try to avoid joining the privilege review team? One of the important things that contract attorneys always strive for is longevity. By denying privilege review work you are essentially cutting yourself short. My current project was slated to end weeks ago after months of first level work. By joining the priv team, I ensured that I would work for a while longer. At the looks of things, I might be around for many more months based on my assessment of the privilege review pace.

Weeks ago, the associates went around recruiting a select few for the privilege review team and made their selection based on those who had prior related experience. However, more than one person turned it down when they were asked to take on the assignment. Their real reason? It’s too much work and they don’t get paid more to do it so they don’t want to take on the extra responsibility.

That’s the part I don’t understand. We are all professionals so we should act like professionals. You don’t just turn down additional work because you aren’t getting paid more to do it. It’s very tacky and makes them look like slackers.

Let me clarify, I’m not one of those “supertemps.” I do take it very easy at times, but I do try to do the work to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, it’s not hard sometimes to see why contract attorneys get such bad reps.

7 Responses to “Why Do Some People Reject Priv Log Work?”

  1. Joe Miller Says:

    The issues you raise are so interesting. I think that what happens to temporary attorneys is that many of us begin to buy into the idea that we are at “the bottom of the barrel” and so we give up. As you said, this is the absolute wrong thing to do.

    In many ways, people conform to the labels and stereotypes which are assigned to the groups to which they belong–whether they be ethnic groups, professional circles, religions, etc. But I think that many of us, like you, work hard to reverse the stereotypes that are assigned to contract attorneys, or at least to resist conforming, in a spirit of optimism, as oppose to the pessimism that threatens to cripple us.

  2. Temp Partner Says:

    I’ve been on many projects where the associates and even partners treated us like true professionals. The contract attorneys on the project were genuinely engaged in the assignment and wanted to turn out the best product possible. It’s true, professionalism begets professionalism.

  3. Maxima Rnj Says:

    I agree with your criticism of people who turn down offers to remain on the project. However, there is one related issue that I think needs to be raised. Some of us are foreign language specialists who are paid a premium for our skills. When a project runs out of foreign language documents earlier than expected, one should not be expected to stay on for a lower, “English only” rate. I know of at least two projects where this has happened and caused friction among the firm, agency and contract attorneys.

  4. TechGirl Says:

    In short, the reason has nothing to do with being unprofessional, or being a slacker. The reason is a lot of contractors do not want to be saddled with a task where they will be blamed for letting a privileged document get through. Although someone is supposed to review the privilege review team, namely a staff attorney or an associate, too many times I have seen contractors blamed who have not been reviewed.

    The other part is that often first-reviewers do not like to do privilege work at all. Personally, I find it quite boring and I have been on several privilege review teams. My choice is the QC team and usually they hang around a tad longer depending on the substance and length of the review. I find it much more interesting to find patterns in errors and removing them. And, yes, there is usually some science to the errors.

    The other part is that often privilege review teams have unusual characters or personalities. Sometimes, you do not want to be sitting in some room with a bunch of odd folks for any length of time. I’ve had that happen and it was not a rewarding experience. It was utter hell!

  5. Edward Smith Says:

    uhhmmm….not to be rude, but I think you’re idiots. The only way you enforce even an offer of rate differentials for various levels of work is to have a spine and refuse to accept lowballing pay. You’re GIVING them free labor. The person who wrote the initial blog note is a “super temp”???? LOL…please–obviously, you like giving away your labor b/c it makes you feel warm and cuddley inside that you’re a ‘professional’…you sound like a taken advantage of pansy who has fed into every law school/firm/agency line. Very sad. The people who refused were ABSOLUTELY right…the only thing that would temper that is if they faced unemployment and the priv team would be running a little longer. Keep in mind children, you’re not associates or employees of the firm—you were contracted to perform a job that consists of providing an hourly product…and you are AT WILL employed. The new job is that, a new contract…it is not an obligation, it is completely right to demand more pay for more work.

  6. mwj4c Says:

    Doc review or diligence is one tiny f*%#@ part of the whole process. There are stomach-acid generating moments that contract attorneys are, take your pick, lucky enough or unlucky enough, to never see that are the final product of the legal profession.

    Basically, judgment calls that have fiscal and, more importantly, moral echoes to the clients’ on whose behalf those calls are made and the lawyers that make them.

    I’m a 6th year associate at an AmLaw 100 Firm. We have a screaming need for bodies for the volume of work we have.

    The problem is that the job requires a lot of hours in the chair and a lot of responsibility. I gather from this thread, that none of you want either.

    That’s fine.

    But realize that that’s your choice; it’s not a bias in the system.


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