Some law school students are getting famous for reviewing t-shirts. Other law students got busy making their own.
I caught up with one of the founders by phone last week. Pong Chulirashaneekorn is the team’s creative genius. His two JD/MBA partners handle the finance and marketing side of the business. One of their marketing ploys was to send the ATL team a Christmas card and three t-shirts: it worked and caught our attention.
Pong said the last year of law school — the partners graduated in 2009 — was a perfect time to launch the business. “The third year is not very taxing,” Pong told me. “It would have been impossible as a 1L.”
The three partners each invested in the company. Pong’s $2,000 investment came out of his summer associate salary at a prominent Philly firm. That’s all that ended up coming out of the summer gig. Though the firm covered his bar expenses, he did not wind up getting a full-time offer there. That’s meant more time to invest in 3muchapparel…
Pong told me:
We originally started 3muchapparel in the fall of my 3L year as a hobby for me (since I pretend to be creative) and as a business experiment for my partners (because they were joint JD/MBA kids and wanted to put to use the only degree more worthless than a JD), but once the legal market tanked here in Philly and I found out that I wouldn’t be starting at [the firm where I summered] (and my partners wouldn’t be landing jobs from their summer gigs), it became our primary source of income while we looked for legal work.
The company sells about 45-60 shirts a month, at about $20 each. It’s not enough for the three of them to make a living on, but is a nice secondary source of income, while Pong does a public interest fellowship and his partners do contract work in New York and California. They’ve sold over 1,000 shirts since launching in Fall 2008.
They market the shirts through word of mouth, blogging, and “social networking gateways” — they have a Facebook group. In a particularly savvy move, they send letters to SBA presidents introducing themselves and offering their services to the student body.
“We’ve done shirts for schools out in California that I’ve never even heard of… Though if it weren’t for Gerald Ung, you might never have heard of Temple,” said Pong. “We’ve had some bites from law firms, but no orders yet.”
Lessons from Temple Law have proved useful for Pong’s partners, who handle the transactional work, like registering the company as an LLC.
“I’m more interested in litigation,” Pong said. “Thankfully, we haven’t been sued yet.”
What exactly are dicta? Dicta are like the unloved step-children of judicial opinions. Judges love to insert them in their opinions, but they always get neglected by the Rule of Law. So, if dicta are not technically law, why would judges insert them into their judicial opinions? Who knows… but we love them, and it is really fun to say!
For further commentary on the use of dicta, see 142 U. PA. L. REV. 1997 (1994).
Check out some of the company’s other shirts below, modeled by fellow Temple Law students. The “Law School Curve” shirt has proved least popular — Pong has a bunch of those in cardboard boxes in his apartment.
3muchapparel [Official Website]