Jill Rorem, Esq., is senior manager, legal staffing at Blackman Kallick (www.blackmanstaffing.com). Jill oversees the successful recruitment of attorneys, paralegals and contract legal professionals. Jill (and the Blackman team) staffs document reviews using qualified contract attorneys and thus, works with attorneys-in-transition daily. You can follow her at twitter.com/roremlegalstaff.
Attorneys in transition who have been regularly working as contract attorneys have probably seen just about everything when it comes to the space used to house them from project to project. As a staffer, I hear horror stories all the time. One contractor told me that “we were packed in like sardines” and that someone called the fire marshal and described it as not fit for humans.” Another time, I was told that the internet connection was so bad that it crashed and shut them down several times. Another reviewer told me that he had to see a chiropractor for weeks after a project where the agency provided banquet chair seating (as opposed to ergonomic task chairs). Just recently I heard that the reviewers were working in a moldy basement.
Wake up out there – contractors dissatisfied with their work environment will hit the road! If they don’t they will certainly lack incentive to produce. Turnover or lack of effort on any document review is disturbing. Replacements need to be trained and get up to speed and deadlines can’t be met. I wish that the clients and law firm leadership would look past the pure cost per hour paid on a document review project and take in the bigger picture. It’s called productivity guys!
Here are some fairly simple rules to consider when choosing contractor housing options:
Workspace pitfalls that cost production
1. Rented space. If you or your agency has to rent space, odds are there will be space issues that are unknown which could later cause problems on the document review. You must consider space that is dedicated to document review day in and day out. Amenities such as access to a kitchen or lounge are also a nice option for better productivity.
2. Furniture not intended for long term use. Few jobs require someone to sit for a straight 8-12 hours per day with little movement and contract attorneys do just that. The space must have comfortable task chairs and work stations that are the proper height for typing and review.
3. Slow internet speed/dated computer equipment. The advantages of having contract attorneys working at an affordable hourly rate are negated if you incur internet troubles. Your review space must have top of the line equipment, a lightning fast connection and an onsite tech team that is available to troubleshoot 24/7.
4. Lack of personal space. Contract attorneys must have 3-4 feet of space to spread out. Sitting any closer will not only be uncomfortable but also will hurt productivity.
5. Remote or off the beaten path locations. Look for space that has easy access to public transportation and free parking.
This is simple stuff really. The space need not be sleek and stylish, just comfortable and functional. Your document review is imperative and no doubt – you are under the gun. Don’t lose people and time by choosing inadequate workspace. The contractors will thank you for it by sticking around and being productive!