Until recently, Daren Maddox, a 14-year-old attending Jacobson Middle School in St. Louis, never considered a profession in the legal world. For teenagers such as Daren, summertime is usually filled with outdoor activities, or, for the more ambitious, a first entry into the workforce. Daren, in fact, had plans this summer to take his first paid job for minimum wage at Cleansies, the area laundromat.
Earlier this summer, however, Daren accidentally submitted his resume through Craigslist to Barings & Whitmore, a top St. Louis law firm, for a document-review job. “The posting said I’d have to scan lots of incoming documents,” said Daren. “I thought I was applying to work in the mail room.” After e-mailing in his short resume on a Saturday evening, Daren was surprised to receive an offer Sunday night to start work the very next morning.
“We were in an intense time crunch. Our firm needed to review millions of documents in a very short time,” said Kenneth Barings, managing partner of the firm. Considering Daren was on summer vacation until September, the immediate start date worked perfectly.
On his first day, Daren arrived at Barings & Whitmore and was quickly placed in a cubicle, where he was tasked to review 50,000 documents as either being “privileged” or “not privileged.” By mid-afternoon, Daren reported that he had finished the task, labeling all 50,000 documents as “not privileged” because, according to Daren, he was upset that his parents had recently revoked his phone and video-game privileges.
“It’s total crap that they say they can take away my privileges,” Daren said. “I mean, I paid half of that Wii game with my own money.”
After taking a brief snack break, Daren was given an additional 500,000 documents to review. As Daren had done so with the previous bundle, all of these documents were labeled “not privileged” by the following morning. Additionally, Daren learned that, because of the speed of his review, Barings & Whitmore had terminated all of their other document-review attorneys, leaving only Daren to tackle the remaining five million documents.
“Daren has been a breath of fresh air in the office. His ability to quickly analyze thousands of documents is remarkable,” said Barings. “We’ve never seen anything quite like it. … This kid is our best lawyer.”