Contract Attorney Rips Biglaw Supervisor In Farewell Email By JOE PATRICE

Contract Attorney Rips Biglaw Supervisor In Farewell Email By JOE PATRICE

Outing the Biglaw attorney managing your project as callous and mean-spirited is probably not the right strategy for a contractor. Unless, of course, that contractor expects to be living in a van down by the river. Law is a remarkably small world, and these sorts of outbursts have a way of making the rounds — even without ATL getting involved.

On the other hand, through the dry sarcasm of the letter, the contractor’s complaints ring very familiar. It’s hard to blame a lawyer whose dignity is pushed to the limit for a pittance for lashing out.

And at least the parody of a heartfelt farewell is kind of funny….

After much consideration, I’m not naming the individuals or the firm involved. Not in the interest of protecting anyone in particular, but to impress that this letter could be about almost any firm. No doubt hundreds of review projects around the country boast characters like this: Biglaw attorneys lording a superiority complex over the contract attorneys they manage.

And I use the word “manage” loosely. Lawyers are notoriously poor managers who presume their ability to draft a motion automatically qualifies them to properly lead a team. From the email:

Working with you and the Batch Request Team has been a great honor for me. Your communication style and management skills are no doubt a great asset to the [XXXXX] family, and I hope that one day you’ll consider joining my solo practice as a client. Indeed, your lack of sarcasm, in addition to your kindness, has been paramount to our success on this project.
Up until this point, this could have been genuine sentiment, or at least thinly-veiled contempt. The guy wouldn’t necessarily have been torching every bridge from here to Wheeling (or wherever they put contract attorneys these days — probably Charleston). But no one in the history of ever has used “lack of sarcasm” as anything but snark. Hey buddy, I think if the firm attorney has as overactive a sense of sarcasm as you suggest, they’ll pick up on this. (Our tipster also assures us that this email is most definitely tongue in cheek, given the personality and managerial skills of the supervisor in question.)

Unfortunately for all the contractors out there, the lack of empathy from Biglaw lawyers is only going to get worse. Historically, managers earned their positions by excelling at the same job their subordinates are tackling. But with document review increasingly outsourced, soon the young Biglaw attorneys charged with running these projects are going to be drawn from a generation that never engaged in the soul-crushing task of document review themselves. Have fun contracting for a kid who has no idea what the job entails!

I think I speak for everyone when I say that your unrelenting compassion, coupled with the tremendous respect you’ve shown to my colleagues, has been nothing short of inspirational. You communicate with poise and sincerity, and keep project members informed on a minute-by-minute basis. It is rare to find a company that treats its employees with such graciousness, hospitality, and affection.
I am not an animal! I am a human being! Contractors come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, some of them crawled out of the TTT and into their review job. But others are solo practitioners trying to make ends meet while they build their practice, Biglaw refugees who didn’t have a chair at the partnership table when the music stopped, or accomplished lawyers who made lifestyle choices. Biglaw lawyers, especially younger Biglaw lawyers, need to maintain a dose of humility when managing review projects, because you never know that reviewer’s pedigree.

And even if they aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed, you’ll get more flies with honey than unmitigated contempt. Or something.

Dear [XXXXX],

It is with sincere regret that I announce my resignation from the [XXXXX] contract review project, effective two weeks from today.

This was not an easy decision for me. The past three and one-half months have been very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed working for you and the Batch Request Team (please!), in addition to the opportunities for growth that Tier 2 reviewing has provided me.

Working with you and the Batch Request Team has been a great honor for me. Your communication style and management skills are no doubt a great asset to the [XXXXX] family, and I hope that one day you’ll consider joining my solo practice as a client. Indeed, your lack of sarcasm, in addition to your kindness, has been paramount to our success on this project.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that your unrelenting compassion, coupled with the tremendous respect you’ve shown to my colleagues, has been nothing short of inspirational. You communicate with poise and sincerity, and keep project members informed on a minute-by-minute basis. It is rare to find a company that treats its employees with such graciousness, hospitality, and affection. It’s just nice to know that people feel comfortable approaching you and asking questions; we always know you’re going to have a quick response that will be helpful and direct! And for this, I thank you.

It’s been a real hard job, but for the best I’m sure. I just hope you take care of my friends – my colleagues – and keep the client happy.

Thank you,

[XXXXX], Esq.
Tier 2 Contract Attorney
(Non Batch Request Status)
New York Off-Site/On-Site

Source: Above The Law

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