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(The New York Times)   You'd think that lawyers, of all people, would know the rule about never putting something incriminating in writing, especially not in an e-mail   (dealbook.nytimes.com) divider line 33
    More: Dumbass, D-La, perverse incentives, DLA Piper, New York University School of Law, Samford University  
•       •       •

3360 clicks; posted to Business » on 26 Mar 2013 at 2:01 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-26 02:19:41 PM
Breaking news: You can't trust lawyers. More at 11.
 
2013-03-26 02:24:49 PM
Lawyer #1 :"gee isn't funny how we are drefruading our client"?
Lawyer#2 "Sure is, but it's the same thing we do to every client these days"
Lawyer #1 "good thing we are talking in private e-mail and there is absolutely no legal mechanism known to mankind that would result in us ever having to turn theseover to our client hh?"

seriously  this is what passes for a $300/hour Piper DLA lawyer these days?  Sad, sad, sad.   I'm hoping Bar Counsel for their state bar ends up reading these e-mails too, this is disbarment material frankly
 
2013-03-26 02:32:56 PM
They busted Al Capone on less.

whysoblu.com
 
2013-03-26 02:35:05 PM
Requiring billable hour minimums for associates, combined with the general lack of interaction and instruction for young attorneys...

What do there large firms expect the culture to become?

You survive by being shiatty and taking a long time on everything - often because no one has ever bothered to actually explain tasks to younger attorneys (they have their own billables to hit after all) OR by inflating bills on purpose.

Maybe the issue isn't that they don't pay their associate enough - like one manager apparently suggested. Maybe it's evidence of the general American lack of organizational allowance for job training in large corporations.
 
2013-03-26 02:38:28 PM
I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.
 
2013-03-26 02:43:58 PM
Subby, you would think that the CEO and other executives of a major telecom company would know better than to put something incriminating in email, but they didn't.

And those of you who don't know what I'm talking about need to get off my lawn.
 
2013-03-26 02:45:27 PM

Russ1642: I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.


Some industries are required by law to save all emails for a specified amount of time. And trust me, it is way longer than 90 days.
 
2013-03-26 02:47:10 PM
Typing the known word "churn" into a discoverable database is pretty frigging stupid.  SELECT * FROM Messages WHERE Body LIKE '%churn%';  Done and won in one.
 
2013-03-26 02:54:25 PM

ongbok: Russ1642: I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.

Some industries are required by law to save all emails for a specified amount of time. And trust me, it is way longer than 90 days.


I'd bet there is a bit more to this policy than published here.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-03-26 02:57:04 PM
In the old days these discussions would be in person or on the phone.

Russ1642

I worked for a big tech company with a similar policy. The servers deleted email. If you wanted to save email past 90 days it had to be on your laptop drive. Corporate lawyers had determined that a standard discovery request like "all email in the history of the universe" did not require them to search laptop backups for archived email.

We also had training on how to phrase messages to make us look less guilty, just in case.
 
2013-03-26 02:58:53 PM

ongbok: Russ1642: I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.

Some industries are required by law to save all emails for a specified amount of time. And trust me, it is way longer than 90 days.


At my place (university) we have a policy of keeping an archive of all email for 7 years, due to state law.  But if you get an email, then delete it before the backup routine happens, it can disappear for good and it's 'OK'.
The president of the university deletes every email he gets and empties the trash, also has his secretary send out 99% of his messages.  Why yes, he was once a lawyer....
 
2013-03-26 03:00:21 PM

Deneb81: Requiring billable hour minimums for associates, combined with the general lack of interaction and instruction for young attorneys...

What do there large firms expect the culture to become?

You survive by being shiatty and taking a long time on everything - often because no one has ever bothered to actually explain tasks to younger attorneys (they have their own billables to hit after all) OR by inflating bills on purpose.

Maybe the issue isn't that they don't pay their associate enough - like one manager apparently suggested. Maybe it's evidence of the general American lack of organizational allowance for job training in large corporations.


AS I once said to an attorney visting our law school on "professionalism day", after he in one breath claimed his firm provided an atomosphere for work/life balance and family, and then i nthe next talked about billing 3200 hours the previous year:

"There are 8760 hours in a full time year.  Assuming you slept just five hours a day, showered and dressed daily and had a very short commute to work 2555 of those were already consumed.  Even if you were a paragon of lawyers you'd still need ot actually work about 1.5 actual hours for every hour you bill (truthfully its much closer to 2).  that would leave you with just 1405 hours a year, or under 4 hours a day to eat, engage in any recreational activities and spend time with your family,  and that's IF you worked 7 days a week,  and every single major holiday including Christmas and New years.   If you also took just  Sundays off, you'd have 1/2 an hour daily not spent working or sleeping.  So, my question to you, sir is, are you A) a workoholic who is a complete stranger to your family B) A spectacular liar or C) an unethical lawyer who "pads" his bills and inflates his billable hours?"

Let's just say the Dean of Students made it very clear that he did not appreciate me asking such questions of the school's "guests"  (though my clinical professor gave me a huge "attaboy" for my cross-examination style)
 
rka
2013-03-26 03:17:42 PM

ongbok: Russ1642: I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.

Some industries are required by law to save all emails for a specified amount of time. And trust me, it is way longer than 90 days.


Some do. Some just require you have a policy and stick to it.
 
2013-03-26 03:19:22 PM

ZAZ: In the old days these discussions would be in person or on the phone.

Russ1642

I worked for a big tech company with a similar policy. The servers deleted email. If you wanted to save email past 90 days it had to be on your laptop drive. Corporate lawyers had determined that a standard discovery request like "all email in the history of the universe" did not require them to search laptop backups for archived email.

We also had training on how to phrase messages to make us look less guilty, just in case.


I think it might have been you that said it best in an earlier case of lawyer misdeeds.

Call the person up on the phone and tell them how you really feel, then follow that up with a professional email thanking them for their time.
 
2013-03-26 03:58:13 PM
Most lawyers think e-mail magically flies through the air in a pneumatic tube by a carrier pigeon that self distructs when the message is delivered.

/in other words - luddites
 
2013-03-26 04:01:30 PM
No shiat.  The union picked an attorney to provide legal advice concerning an ADA claim.  He called me up, completely misread the ADA act, and actually read snippets of the Wikipedia entry on the ADA to me.  He charged the union $650 for that 15 minutes or so.  When I hired a regular attorney to represent me, I think I spent a total of $2000, which included all of his paperwork and a pair of fairly long meetings.
 
2013-03-26 04:03:24 PM

gingerjet: Most lawyers think e-mail magically flies through the air in a pneumatic tube by a carrier pigeon that self distructs when the message is delivered.

/in other words - luddites


Not all.  Most know that it lives in Outlook.  And through basic logic, since they can find an email in their outlook with about 2 minutes of searching, that means you can find all messages from any member of a group to other members of a group regarding an nebulous topic in about 4 minutes.  And if you can't find it, you need to prove it never existed. How hard can it be, right? Its all in Outlook 'ya know?
 
2013-03-26 05:04:24 PM
Honestly, the only way you'd ever get them to stop is if they started executing the lawyers. But as that would never happen, just get used to it continuing. They'll just get better at hiding it.
 
2013-03-26 05:21:17 PM

Magorn: Lawyer #1 :"gee isn't funny how we are drefruading our client"?
Lawyer#2 "Sure is, but it's the same thing we do to every client these days"
Lawyer #1 "good thing we are talking in private e-mail and there is absolutely no legal mechanism known to mankind that would result in us ever having to turn theseover to our client hh?"

seriously  this is what passes for a $300/hour Piper DLA lawyer these days?  Sad, sad, sad.   I'm hoping Bar Counsel for their state bar ends up reading these e-mails too, this is disbarment material frankly


$300/hour? Try double that, since the emails expressly disparage "junior" lawyers.
 
2013-03-26 06:52:47 PM

angrymacface: Honestly, the only way you'd ever get them to stop is if they started executing the lawyers. But as that would never happen, just get used to it continuing. They'll just get better at hiding it.


You wrote the same exact thing in the bank thread. Are you trolling or just inflating the amount of posts you have on Fark like a lawyer does with his clients' bill?
 
2013-03-26 08:01:54 PM

Bartle J.: Breaking news: You can't trust lawyers especially bankruptcy lawyers. More at 11.


Bankruptcy lawyers are just the worst.  They know they're getting paid first, before any creditors, and the bills are usually okayed by a trustee so there's rarely any incentive for any party to seriously question the hours put in.
 
2013-03-26 08:42:30 PM

rugman11: Bartle J.: Breaking news: You can't trust lawyers especially bankruptcy lawyers. More at 11.

Bankruptcy lawyers are just the worst.  They know they're getting paid first, before any creditors, and the bills are usually okayed by a trustee so there's rarely any incentive for any party to seriously question the hours put in.


Flat Fee Bankruptcy FTW!  Showed up with $150 and my bills.  Then went to court, stated my name, and *poof*, $30K in medical/credit card bills were gone.  Most painless experience ever.

/except for showing up to court with a screwdriver in my backpack.
//forgot it was there, security was skeptical.
///occasionally, wheelchairs need adjusting, and people need stabbing.
 
2013-03-26 08:48:13 PM

Magorn: Deneb81: Requiring billable hour minimums for associates, combined with the general lack of interaction and instruction for young attorneys...

What do there large firms expect the culture to become?

You survive by being shiatty and taking a long time on everything - often because no one has ever bothered to actually explain tasks to younger attorneys (they have their own billables to hit after all) OR by inflating bills on purpose.

Maybe the issue isn't that they don't pay their associate enough - like one manager apparently suggested. Maybe it's evidence of the general American lack of organizational allowance for job training in large corporations.

AS I once said to an attorney visting our law school on "professionalism day", after he in one breath claimed his firm provided an atomosphere for work/life balance and family, and then i nthe next talked about billing 3200 hours the previous year:

"There are 8760 hours in a full time year.  Assuming you slept just five hours a day, showered and dressed daily and had a very short commute to work 2555 of those were already consumed.  Even if you were a paragon of lawyers you'd still need ot actually work about 1.5 actual hours for every hour you bill (truthfully its much closer to 2).  that would leave you with just 1405 hours a year, or under 4 hours a day to eat, engage in any recreational activities and spend time with your family,  and that's IF you worked 7 days a week,  and every single major holiday including Christmas and New years.   If you also took just  Sundays off, you'd have 1/2 an hour daily not spent working or sleeping.  So, my question to you, sir is, are you A) a workoholic who is a complete stranger to your family B) A spectacular liar or C) an unethical lawyer who "pads" his bills and inflates his billable hours?"

Let's just say the Dean of Students made it very clear that he did not appreciate me asking such questions of the school's "guests"  (though my clinical professor gave me a huge "atta ...


I made partner in a firm that required 1800 billable hours per year (and was/is on the Am Law 50 list).  If you are honest 1800 billables is enough to require work nearly every weekend, many evenings, and with very little vacation time.  There are lawyers consistently billing over that amount honestly, but they are usually on their 3rd marriage, complain that their kids are monsters, and are gobbling handfulls of Prozac at every opportunity.  Anyone claiming to consistently bill over 2500 per year is either lying to their clients or mentally ill (but likely both).
 
2013-03-26 11:30:09 PM

caddisfly: I made partner in a firm that required 1800 billable hours per year (and was/is on the Am Law 50 list).  If you are honest 1800 billables is enough to require work nearly every weekend, many evenings, and with very little vacation time.  There are lawyers consistently billing over that amount honestly, but they are usually on their 3rd marriage, complain that their kids are monsters, and are gobbling handfulls of Prozac at every opportunity.  Anyone claiming to consistently bill over 2500 per year is either lying to their clients or mentally ill (but likely both).


Indeed. A couple years ago I was working at a major New York firm, and failed to get a any bonus after practically killing myself and ending up at around 1900 billable hours (the firm wanted 2000). Pissed me off to no end. That was the beginning of the end of my time in biglaw.

The most common hour boosting practice is so-called "portal-to-portal billing," when (for example) an attorney works from 9 AM till 9 PM, and bills 12 hours, not discounting for breaks, food, talking to colleagues, bathroom, etc. I've always been convinced that's the only possible way people can bill 3000 hours in a year. It's a shameful practice, andunfortunately gives all attorneys a bad name (when in reality only a handful of bad actors do it).
 
2013-03-26 11:51:33 PM

Russ1642: I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.

Thats retarded. 90 days in construction is nothing. If youre being honest, why delete?
 
2013-03-27 12:25:54 AM

ZAZ: Corporate lawyers had determined that a standard discovery request like "all email in the history of the universe" did not require them to search laptop backups for archived email.


They would have been dead wrong under current Federal ESI discovery rules.  And if there is a memo where they were telling employees to remove emails from the server to other devices, and then wipe the server, the company could get nailed for spoliation of evidence.
 
2013-03-27 12:33:58 AM

poe_zlaw: Russ1642: I work for a big multinational engineering and construction company. They have a company wide policy to delete emails after ninety days. They do not archive them, they actually destroy them.
Thats retarded. 90 days in construction is nothing. If youre being honest, why delete?


Regardless of a company's "honesty," having a clearly delineated data retention policy is a good idea for a corporation in any industry. The length of such data retention varies widely, based on numerous factors.

Ignoring regulatory and privacy concerns for a second, at it's most basic level it's the best defense against a subpoena. It's a pain to keep all data, and even more of a pain to produce all data in response to a subpoena. Even if there are no incriminating emails and you haven't done anything wrong, having an official policy saves a huge expense.
 
2013-03-27 03:41:29 AM
I'm a lawyer, but I get paid salary so I have very little incentive to overbill.  In fact I regularly reduce my bill if I feel I took a little too long to do something, or I feel guilty about a client e-mailing me "Thanks!" or something similarly short that I could technically bill for.  I do get a yearly bonus based on billable hours, but I have absolutely no clue what that bonus is or how it's calculated since the boss never bothered explaining the system to me (I think she didn't actually have a system and now that I've been here over a year and asking about it, she's frantically going through my timesheets to figure one out).

In any case, I bill about 3 hours per day, which translates to about 750 a year after two weeks of vacation is taken into account.  That excludes all flat fee work, however, which I do quite a bit of, and I work approximately 8:45-5:15 with a half hour lunch, so I'm working very close to a 40 hour work week.

That being said, I'm sure I'm getting paid about a third of what the people at the big firms are making, but it's probably worth it.
 
2013-03-27 03:48:15 AM
Magorn:
AS I once said to an attorney visting our law school on "professionalism day", after he in one breath claimed his firm provided an atomosphere for work/life balance and family, and then i nthe next talked about billing 3200 hours the previous year:

"There are 8760 hours in a full time year.  Assuming you slept just five hours a day, showered and dressed daily and had a very short commute to work 2555 of those were already consumed.  Even if you were a paragon of lawyers you'd still need ot actually work about 1.5 actual hours for every hour you bill (truthfully its much closer to 2).  that would leave you with just 1405 hours a year, or under 4 hours a day to eat, engage in any recreational activities and spend time with your family,  and that's IF you worked 7 days a week,  and every single major holiday including Christmas and New years.   If you also took just  Sundays off, you'd have 1/2 an hour daily not spent working or sleeping.  So, my question to you, sir is, are you A) a workoholic who is a complete stranger to your family B) A spectacular liar or C) an unethical lawyer who "pads" his bills and inflates his billable hours?"

Let's just say the Dean of Students made it very clear that he did not appreciate me asking such questions of the school's "guests"  (though my clinical professor gave me a huge "atta ...


I'd like to hear what the attorney replied to that with.
 
2013-03-27 08:04:58 AM

Vega.: Magorn:
AS I once said to an attorney visting our law school on "professionalism day", after he in one breath claimed his firm provided an atomosphere for work/life balance and family, and then i nthe next talked about billing 3200 hours the previous year:

"There are 8760 hours in a full time year.  Assuming you slept just five hours a day, showered and dressed daily and had a very short commute to work 2555 of those were already consumed.  Even if you were a paragon of lawyers you'd still need ot actually work about 1.5 actual hours for every hour you bill (truthfully its much closer to 2).  that would leave you with just 1405 hours a year, or under 4 hours a day to eat, engage in any recreational activities and spend time with your family,  and that's IF you worked 7 days a week,  and every single major holiday including Christmas and New years.   If you also took just  Sundays off, you'd have 1/2 an hour daily not spent working or sleeping.  So, my question to you, sir is, are you A) a workoholic who is a complete stranger to your family B) A spectacular liar or C) an unethical lawyer who "pads" his bills and inflates his billable hours?"

Let's just say the Dean of Students made it very clear that he did not appreciate me asking such questions of the school's "guests"  (though my clinical professor gave me a huge "atta ...

I'd like to hear what the attorney replied to that with.


He sued him for defamation and slander.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-03-27 09:34:41 AM
ZAZ: Corporate lawyers had determined that a standard discovery request like "all email in the history of the universe" did not require them to search laptop backups for archived email.

HotWingAgenda: They would have been dead wrong under current Federal ESI discovery rules. And if there is a memo where they were telling employees to remove emails from the server to other devices, and then wipe the server, the company could get nailed for spoliation of evidence.

Employees were not told to wipe evidence off the server. The company's standard data retention policy wiped evidence off the server. Employees were told to save to a personal file any email that they wanted to keep.

In the event of actual litigation corporate lawyers could order specific data to be retained. I was never involved in actual litigation. I got the generic training on (1) why the server deletes email, (2) how not to embarass the company in front of a jury by putting certain statements in writing.

I suspect the IT guys didn't fight too hard over the "delete after 90 days policy" because they would otherwise have to find backup space for all the huge attachments, or impose mailbox quotas.
 
2013-03-27 09:48:52 AM

Vega.: Magorn:
AS I once said to an attorney visting our law school on "professionalism day", after he in one breath claimed his firm provided an atomosphere for work/life balance and family, and then i nthe next talked about billing 3200 hours the previous year:

"There are 8760 hours in a full time year.  Assuming you slept just five hours a day, showered and dressed daily and had a very short commute to work 2555 of those were already consumed.  Even if you were a paragon of lawyers you'd still need ot actually work about 1.5 actual hours for every hour you bill (truthfully its much closer to 2).  that would leave you with just 1405 hours a year, or under 4 hours a day to eat, engage in any recreational activities and spend time with your family,  and that's IF you worked 7 days a week,  and every single major holiday including Christmas and New years.   If you also took just  Sundays off, you'd have 1/2 an hour daily not spent working or sleeping.  So, my question to you, sir is, are you A) a workoholic who is a complete stranger to your family B) A spectacular liar or C) an unethical lawyer who "pads" his bills and inflates his billable hours?"

Let's just say the Dean of Students made it very clear that he did not appreciate me asking such questions of the school's "guests"  (though my clinical professor gave me a huge "atta ...

I'd like to hear what the attorney replied to that with.


Very little actually, he hemmed and hawed for a few seconds , said something about the last year being "atypical" because of a big case, and stammered a little more before the dean who later chewed me out came on and rescued him by ending questions and introducing the next speaker.  I was a little older than most of my fellow law students (going at age 30) and I was in a bit of a mood since they'd brought his guy in on a day that was supposedly about teaching young lawyers how to manage their furutre career and balance all the competing demands of work and life.  Earlier speakers had included a guy who was doing a dime in federal prison after getting busted for stealing from is IOLTA account to feed a gambling addiction, and one who'd  nearly been disbarred because she took on too big a case load as a solo practicioner.
 
2013-03-27 02:46:50 PM
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