Career Alternatives, Cars, Food

Ex-Lawyer of the Day: Cupcake Queen Is Not Above the Law

Meet Kate Carrara. Like a surprising number of other attorneys — e.g., Lev Ekster and Mia Bauer, of New York Law School, and Sam Whitfield, of GW Law — Carrara left the law to start a cupcake business.

Alas, it appears that Carrara, a 35-year-old graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, has run into some trouble with the law. From the Philadelphia Inquirer (via the ABA Journal):

The popular vending truck run by Kate Carrara, known as the “cupcake lady,” needed to be confiscated because she had been warned where not to park and continued to break the rules, a top city official said Wednesday….

Carrara’s truck was taken Tuesday afternoon by officials from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which said it was parked in University City without a vending permit for that area, said L&I Commissioner Fran Burns.

The truck was parked on Market Street at 33d Street. “She thought that spot was legal,” said Andy Carrara.

But as any law school graduate should know, ignorance of the law is no defense….

Carrara was allegedly a repeat offender in terms of permit-less peddling of pastries:

On Aug. 12, L&I inspectors found the truck within the prohibited University City area and gave Kate Carrara, 35, a warning, Burns said.

When the truck reappeared in University City on Tuesday, L&I decided to confiscate it. Carrara’s husband paid $200 to get it back from a garage in Philadelphia.

Confiscating a cupcake-filled truck? Sounds delicious — literally. Someone should inspect Commissioner Burns’s fingers for frosting.

Meanwhile, it sounds like Carrara plans to challenge the cupcake crackdown as void for vagueness. As she told the AP, “It’s just the laws. I’ve been trying to figure out where I can go and where I can’t go.”

(If that’s Carrara’s take on “the laws,” she’s probably best off as a cupcake-monger. To quote her website, she “used to practice law but decided that it was more fun to be ‘the Cupcake Lady’ than ‘the Deposition Lady'” — or the “Legal Analysis Lady,” presumably.)

Commissioner Burns, in response to Carrara’s complaining, waxed Scalia-rific: “We don’t write the law, but we do enforce it. We don’t get to be the arbitrators on whether we agree with the law.”

In fairness to Carrara, it sounds like Philadelphia isn’t the most welcoming place for entrepreneurs:

For years, the city has been dubbed unfriendly to business. Companies and employers have long loathed the city’s wage tax, paid by people who work in Philadelphia — whether they live in the city or not.

Others simply point to the arcane paperwork involved in getting permits at City Hall or what many describe as onerous taxes on businesses. This week, the blogosphere erupted over a business privilege license the city says is required of bloggers who make money.

(We poked fun of the “blogging license” idea over here.)

Notwithstanding her legal troubles, Kate Carrara’s cupcakes sound delicious. Check out the menu on her website.

If you ever get tired of fighting with the bureaucrats in the City of Brotherly Love, dear Kate, please feel free to drive your truck of scrumptious treats up to New York — and park it in front of the offices of Breaking Media. We’ll be waiting for you!

Cupcake trucks confiscated in Philadelphia [Philadelphia Inquirer via ABA Journal]
Inspectors confiscate Philadelphia cupcake truck [Associated Press]
Another Attorney Leaves the Law to Drive a Cupcake Truck [ABA Journal]
Buttercream Philadelphia [official website]

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