Friday, June 17, 2011

Hogan & Hartson: Work History

I was employed as an agency-supplied temporary employee in the Computer Applications Department (CAD) at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson from mid-September 1985 to late February 1988.  My supervisor from September 1985 to April 1987 was Sheryl Ferguson, who had founded the department.  On February 12, 1987 Sheryl Ferguson announced her resignation.  In late May 1987 Miriam T. Chilton assumed the position of department manager.  I wrote the following memo in early June 1987 as a form of self-promotion to help ensure that I would be permitted to continue my temporary assignment at the firm.

I recall that in about May 1988, while I worked as an agency-supplied temporary at Akin Gump, I shared the following memo with my direct supervisor, Lilliam Machado.  Lilliam Machado, I believe, showed the memo to others, possibly legal assistant administrator Margarita Babb, who hired me at Akin Gump in mid-June 1988.  I recall that Lilliam Machado asked me what motivated me to write the memo.  I explained that I wrote the memo as a form of self-promotion; I feared that my new supervisor at Hogan (Miriam Chilton) might not continue my temporary assignment at the firm.  Psychoanalytically, the memo perhaps shows my identification with the Biblical Joseph: "And a new Pharaoh arose in Egypt who knew not Joseph."  I wanted to make sure that the new CAD manager, Miriam Chilton, was aware of my contributions to the Computer Applications Department.

TO:        Miriam T. Chilton

FROM: Gary Freedman

DATE:   June 2, 1987

RE:       Work History at Hogan

The following is intended to detail the work I have performed at the firm since the commencement of my employment as a vendor-supplied temporary in September 1985 and, further, describe my present activities.

My employment at the firm began in mid-September 1985. I, together with two other vendor-supplied temporaries [including Charles Leon Green, Esq., who graduated Emory Law School in the spring of 1985], was called on assignment to the firm to perform the coding of documents in the AVCOTAC matter. At the conclusion of the coding of AVCOTAC in mid-October 1985, the CAD manager, Sheryl Ferguson, requested the three-member AVCOTAC coding team to stay on to assist in the coding of MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools desegregation litigation under billing partner David Tatel]. The coding of MPS had begun in November 1984, and was being performed by a crew of coders, numbering approximately seven employees, including Matthew Allendar, who worked at the I Street site (Cafritz Building) across the street from the firm’s main site on Connecticut Avenue.

Since it was apparent to Ms. Ferguson that the AVCOTAC team’s work attitude differed markedly from that of the MPS team on I Street (with they exception of Matthew), she determined that it was in the best interest of the project that I (and the other vendor-supplied temporary [Charles Green] who decided to stay until December 1985) work at the Connecticut Avenue office rather than join the MPS team at I Street. (There is thus historical precedent for my being kept separate from the other coders).

It might be noted that at the conclusion of the bulk of the coding of MPS in August 1986, all of the remaining MPS/I Street coders, with the exception of Matthew, were dismissed. Further, despite the fact that my participation in the coding of MPS did not begin until a year into the project, and despite the fact that I was only one of a sizable team of coders, fully 1 in 5 -- or 20% -- of the approximately 27,000 records comprising MPSD represents a document that I coded.

In a memo to Sheryl Ferguson dated October 1985, I detailed proposals for revised data processing procedures. One of the proposals was adopted, which called for data entry of IU’s [information units]  immediately after coding. This procedure eliminates the necessity of proofreading output since QC [quality control] of the record for technical content is performed simultaneously with proofreading for typos by the QCer directly from the printout. Formerly, a document was coded, the IU was Qced, then keyed, and finally proofread. The revised procedure eliminated the proofreading of records as a separate step, thereby resulting in both a cost savings and improved work flow. The same revised procedure has been employed with success on CHRYAIR.

In April 1986, Ms. Ferguson provided, upon my request, a typewriter so that I might type my IU’s rather than hand write them. The keyers find the typewritten IU’s far easier to read than the handwritten IU’s, which necessarily results in improved keying accuracy.

In mid-May 1986 Matthew Allendar and I ceased work on MPS and began working on the Mercedes-EPA matter. The coding of Mercedes was carried out at the firm’s main site on Connecticut Avenue and was performed by a team of coders hired expressly for the project, who were to go on to code Chrysler documents in July 1986 upon completion of Mercedes. Of the existing team of MPS coders, only Matthew and I were selected to work on Mercedes.

Many of the Mercedes documents were German language documents. Because of my (limited/self-taught) German language ability, I was requested by the associate on Mercedes, Ms. Catherine J. Lacroix, to translate the titles and abstract approximately 100 German language documents (deemed to be of lesser significance than the remainder of the German language documents, which were sent to Berlitz for full-text translation).

In May 1986 Sheryl took the unusual step, in view of my non-employee temporary status, of directing my temporary agency to grant a wage increase.

By late June 1986, the bulk of Mercedes documents was completed and the Mercedes team proceeded to complete the bates labeling and begin the coding of Chrysler documents. Ms. Lacroix (the associate on Mercedes) requested that I alone stay on to complete the coding of Mercedes. I spent the period from late June until August completing MERCEPA. A memo to Sheryl Ferguson dated July 1986 details in full the work I performed on Mercedes during this period.

From August until the second week in October 1986, I worked full time coding Chrysler. By mid-October, the firm had begun receiving, once again, MPS documents in sizable quantities. Matthew Allender, who had recommended coding MPS in September 1986, requested permission for me to assist him in coding MPS. I began working full time once again on MPS in mid-October 1986.   In order to assure completion of approximately 1120 records for a scheduled load on December 9, I worked on Thanksgiving and the Friday following, both firm holidays. The approximately 1120 MPS records were loaded, fatal error free, as scheduled.

In December 1986, one of the associates on MPS, Ms. Maree Sneed, requested my services to create a list of MPS trial exhibits. The approximately 2000-item list was created by stripping the required data (author, title, data, & microform number) from the records already in the system. Matthew Allender assisted me in this effort in its later stages.  (It might be noted that I worked all day December 25th and January 1st on this project. Additionally, during one week while engaged on the task, I worked 83 hours in order to assure timely completion of the project). Upon completion of the computer “stripping” phase of the exhibit list project in mid-January 1987, Maree Sneed took the highly unusual step--in view of my temporary non-employee status--of granting me one day of paid leave.

By February 1987, the partner on Chrysler, Mr. James Hourihan, concerned about the progress of Chrysler coding, directed that I cease work on MPS and begin work on Chrysler once again.  After some discussion between the partners Hourihan (Chrysler) and Mr. Elliot Mincberg (MPS) it was agreed that I would devote a fixed number of hours to each of the projects. (It might be noted that the contest among the partners and associates over my time continues to this day). Sheryl Ferguson directed that my time on Chrysler be spent reviewing the other coders’ work to ensure stylistic consistency and thereby help ensure the integrity of the data base. (The process of reviewing the Chrysler coders' work, termed “super-QCing” was just completed on May 21). (One of the other coders began assisting in this process in early May).

In February 1987 I suggested to Matthew that a test be devised to screen prospective coders. Matthew approached Sheryl with the idea and Sheryl in turn directed that such a test be devised and implemented. On 3 occasions in March 1987, I was requested to review the work of coder applicants, raising the anomalous circumstance of a nonemployee appraising the work of a prospective employee.  (On one occasion Sheryl directed that I meet with the applicant).

In April 1987 I began to assist Matthew in miscellaneous tasks related to the completion of the MPS trial exhibit list. During one weekend in early April I worked from 2:00 PM Saturday afternoon until 10:00 AM Sunday preparing MPS trial exhibits for shipment to Milwaukee.

On June 1, 1987 I received a telephone call form Milwaukee from the paralegal assigned to the MPS litigation, Ms. Lee Kelly, directing me to begin, at once, digesting MPS trial transcripts. The request that I digest transcripts apparently originated with one of the MPS attorneys in Milwaukee.

At the present time, my work involves largely coding of Chrysler documents and miscellaneous tasks for MPS.

As for my future goals within the department, I am willing to help out where needed and I welcome any opportunity for new challenges.

On a purely subjective note, allow me to state that the charge was often leveled, while Sheryl was CAD manager, that I was singled out by Sheryl for preferential treatment. I hope this memo helps to refute that charge by showing that it has been the attorneys, familiar with my work and desirous of the most expeditious completion of their projects, who have expressly requested my services on numerous occasions.

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