Must read this article!
"The $16 billion merger of SBC Communications Inc. and AT&T Corp. represented a high-water mark in the legal cattle call known as document production. Some 600 contract attorneys converged in Washington, D.C., to work on the SBC side of the deal, where the telecom giant’s antitrust counsel, Crowell & Moring and Arnold & Porter, ran a massive antitrust regulatory review. A few hundred more in Chicago labored for Sidley Austin at AT&T’s behest.
"Crowell’s use of an army of temps for document review is hardly unique. In an age when law firms spend huge amounts of money on marketing efforts to build their brands, they also increasingly rely on off-label, generic lawyers, most of whose resumes would never get a second glance for an associate-track job. Law firms do it because they have to: Clients are pressing counsel to trim costs, and labor-intensive document reviews are a natural target. Firms, for their part, increasingly find they can’t handle the work alone anyway-even if they wanted to-as each new class action or securities fraud investigation brings on a landslide of electronic documents. As a bonus, firms can bill out at higher attorney rates the kind of work that a decade ago might have been assigned to paralegals."
OMG! Instead of firms hiring temp paralegals for document review work, they’re now hiring temp attorneys — at paralegal rates — billing clients at higher attorney rates. This goes against what paralegals were brought in to do — save the client money.
What’s going on here?