Well sports fans, its that time again. The once-every-four-years glory that is the World Cup is nearly upon us. And unlike the other prominent, quadrennial sporting event, the Olympics, this won’t be packaged into digestible and heartwarming primetime clips. No, the meat of this event — the stuff you don’t want to miss — will be smack dab right in the middle of the work day. Right when you are supposed to be coding documents.

By their very nature, temporary jobs, such as contract attorney positions, are less secure than full-time work. Case managers don’t even need a reason to cut you from a project, so keeping up with the beautiful game requires a little more savvy….

We all know how most lawyers, ensconced in their cushy full-time jobs, will be watching the World Cup. Streaming video has radically shifted the way we consume live sporting events, and when you have your own office, (bandwidth issues aside) this seems like a logical choice. Doc reviewers are not so lucky. If the Soviet era computers they’ve dragged out of storage for document review are even capable of streaming video there are still other hurdles to watching soccer from the relative comfort of your desk.

Fun story: a couple of World Cups ago I was on a big doc review project. The project managers were trying to be the “good guys” and allowed full internet access on all of the computers we were using. Then soccer rolls around, and literally 80% of the room is streaming matches. Not only did productivity take a nosedive, the bandwidth got crushed. After a brief IT investigation, we were asked nicely to stop streaming video. Exactly no one listened. Then when we get to work on Monday, all of the internet (save the document review platform) had been blocked. And this is why we can’t have nice things.

Now it is standard operating procedure for doc review projects to block internet access. So we need a better strategy.

One of the benefits of contract work is the flexibility (it’s touted in all the brochures). So to maximize my viewing pleasure I take advantage of that. Maybe get to work a half hour earlier than I usually do, then strategically take my breaks during the game. And if said break happens to be at a local bar that is showing the game, well so much the better. Or your location might even have a break room with a television (my personal set-up during the Olympics) which definitely encourages frequent bathroom breaks.

But if you don’t cotton to daytime drinking and aren’t lucky with a break room set up you can still enjoy World Cup action… just the way your grandfather did. Good old-fashioned radio usually gets the all clear at job sites and you can share the game updates with the other sports fans in the room. Making it a social event, even when you’re glued to headphones, helps cut through some of the isolation document review can engender.

Though I don’t claim to be a year-round soccer fan, and will barely know the names of even the superstars I am still looking forward to the World Cup. Yeah there is all that BS about the world coming together to celebrate sportsmanship, but the truth is, following the matches beats the hell out of coding documents and I’ll take my diversions wherever I can get them.

Check out this World Cup schedule widget courtesy of FindTheBest:


Alex Rich is a T14 grad and Biglaw refugee who has worked as a contract attorney for the last 7 years… and counting.  If you have a story about the underbelly of the legal world known as contract work, email Alex at tips@abovethelaw.com and be sure to follow Alex on Twitter @AlexRichEsq


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