Contract Attorneys

Malpractice Suit Targets Quality of BigLaw's Temporary Lawyers

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A legal malpractice suit filed against McDermott Will & Emery raises questions about outside lawyers hired to help screen documents for clients.

An amended malpractice suit filed last week by J-M Manufacturing, also known as JM Eagle, claims McDermott’s outside contract lawyers “negligently performed their duties” while screening documents, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. The newspaper says the suit “is seen in the industry as an important case concerning the quality of work performed by a growing cadre of temp lawyers who are paid as little as $25 to $30 an hour to review documents.”

The suit alleges that McDermott lawyers “negligently performed limited spot-checking of the contract attorneys’ work,” leading to the disclosure of about 3,900 privileged or irrelevant documents.

McDermott had denied the initial malpractice claims. A spokesperson defended the firm against the new allegations. “JM Eagle keeps changing its story,” the spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal. “Now, JM Eagle has amended its complaint by revising its equally baseless claims that McDermott failed to supervise the contract lawyers that JM retained, and somehow was damaged by the production of documents that JM Eagle cannot even identify.”

Prior coverage: “Uncertainty and Stigma Plague Growing Legions of Contract Lawyers”

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