9/11, Bad Ideas, Crime

Harvard Law Grad Sets Fire to 9/11 Chapel (and His Future Legal Career?)

brian schroeder halloween photo.jpgDelaying start dates for incoming associates may have another downside: leaving them with nothing to do but get into trouble.

Brian Schroeder has an impressive résumé. The Texan graduated from Duke in 2005, having majored in theater studies, and went on to Harvard Law School. There, he was an editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review and a co-president of Lambda, an LGBT student group. He also took part in Parody, the HLS comedy show (which Elie was involved in during his time at Harvard Law).

After taking a year off to travel around Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe, he graduated from HLS this spring and moved to New York for a Biglaw job. He was supposed to start at Sidley Austin. [Update: Tipsters say Schroeder had taken the Sidley deferral package and was doing pro bono work.]

On Friday at 6:31 p.m., Schroeder’s Facebook status read, “Brian Schroeder is all tattooed and ready to go.” He included a link to these tattooed self portraits.

That night, Schroeder got very drunk and got up to some serious trouble on the morning of October 31. Yesterday a friend wrote on his wall:

“I totally just read this article that someone with your name and age set a fire…just a coincidence huh?!”

Unfortunately, it’s not a coincidence.

On Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Schroeder set fire to an East Side chapel, reports the New York Post. The chapel at Memorial Park on 30th Street houses the remains of unidentified 9/11 victims.

Why would he do this? Police tell the Post it was a drunken dare.

The remains, destined for a permanant home at the World Trade Center memorial, were not damaged, but mementos and candles left there “were destroyed or possibly stolen,” according to Mayor Bloomberg.

Schroeder did not get up to any other tricks on Halloween night. He turned himself in at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. (Maybe while wearing Ivy League gear. See his shirt in this photo.)

Tipsters say Schroeder summered with LeBoeuf (pre-merger) in DC, Heller in San Francisco, and Sidley Austin last summer. We understand that he was to start at Sidley this month he had taken Sidley’s deferral package. If true, that means he was getting a $75,000 salary to do pro bono work until January 2011.

The damage to the chapel sounds minimal but the damage to Schroeder’s career is not as easily extinguished. A recent arson conviction can’t be good for Schroeder’s New York bar admission.

We’ve reached out to Schroeder and Sidley Austin for comment, but have not yet heard back.

Update: Sidley comments and rescinds Schroeder’s offer. See new post.

Sept. 11 chapel ‘arsonist’ gives up [New York Post]
Ivy League Law Grad Torches 9/11 Chapel [Gothamist]
Memorial Park arson: Drunk out-of-towner sets fire to sacred WTC area [New York Daily News]
Recent alum torches New York 9/11 chapel [Harvard Law Record]

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