Monthly Archives: May 2013

Co-Workers (A & B)

A dozen years ago I worked on a large scale multi-district litigation discovery project. Part of the process included a review of several millions of pages of material. The activity occurred at a time prior to the advent of modern e-discovery software and methods. Thus, we reviewed the material in hard copy. The project was staffed by firm attorneys as well as contract attorneys engaged to review the documents and identify each for responsive/non-responsive, potential privilege and complete the redaction from responsive pages of material that was not relevant. There were approximately 20 contract attorneys employed for these purposes. The review took place in a large office area furnished with meeting tables and used office chairs placed in the room’s center. Every inch of wall space, from floor to ceiling, was covered (in some cases 2-3 deep) with bankers boxes stuffed with paper.

Co-Worker “A” earned the nickname of “Skippy.” In her late thirties she often told us that her friends said she looked “as if she had just graduated college.” As a consequence, we were treated to the daily depiction of her interpretation of appropriate business attire from an inexperienced person’s point of view. Inordinately proud of her style (or lack thereof) and having little sense of modesty, she strode through our presence in short shorts and short skirts, skin tight slacks, revealing tops and footwear designed for the beach. Most of these outfits lacked any degree of color or style coordination. All of this one might have enjoyed but she lacked both the physical attributes to carry off this manner of dress and more importantly her personality (see nickname) prevented any appreciation. Over the months there were countless inappropriate behavioral demonstrations from her relentless pursuit of a gay colleague to her distressing dining habits to her over the top flirtations with firm attorneys. One evening after the departure of the contract reviewers I emerged from my office and was treated to the soft scents of lavender in the review room. Imagine – surrounded by stacks of banker boxes filled with paper, tucked away in a corner I find a reclining Skippy next to a burning aromatherapy candle.

Co-Worker “B” might have had a nickname but I do not recall what it might have been. He too was part of this very substantial hard copy review and, he too was responsible for countless stories. Towards the end of the review we had obtained e-discovery software and loaded pages and pages of material for electronic redaction. Computer workstations were placed in one area of the review offices. In addition we had 3 small glass fronted offices adjacent to that area that contained work stations. There was a long hallway leading to this area. Several contract attorneys were randomly assigned to the redaction review on a daily basis. Workstations were not assigned to specific contract attorneys. The contract attorneys were advised that the workstations were not for personal use and they were not to access the web for any purpose except to use the program. A desktop icon allowed connection to the program all other icons and shortcuts were removed. Co-Worker “B” managed to get himself assigned to the redaction review frequently and established himself in one of the small glass front offices. Late one afternoon, the outer door to our review offices burst open and all 6’5” of the firm’s CIO rushed in and pounded down the hall screaming “What the f—k are you doing???” Co-Worker “B” had found a way onto the web and had downloaded software in order to listen to music. As a consequence he introduced a virus into the firm’s network and shut down all the European offices. A colleague from IT later told me they were running down the server banks yanking cable to prevent further damage.

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