Now with the internet, you don’t even need to spring for a nice plate to panhandle.

In the before times, in the long, long ago, there was no internet. There was no Shark Tank. There were banks and capitalists. You had to go to them with your business ventures, beg them for start-up money, and that’s the way the world worked.

Now, anybody can beg anybody else for money. There’s no dignity anymore. There aren’t eight Jewish bankers who control everything. You don’t have to borrow money for your house from Mr. Potter. You don’t need to promise eternal salvation before passing the hat around. Now, any idiot with a dream and a keyboard can go on the internet and beg people for money.

Kickstarter is at least a place where ideas beg for money. A tipster sent us a link to “Upstart,” where individuals ask you to fund them in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings. So far, four people with J.D.s think they’re so special you should give them money so they can do what they want…

Let me explain a little more what Upstart is, since it’s not obvious why anybody would contribute money on this site:

Upstart allows you to raise capital in exchange for a small portion of your future income. It’s a new and very different service, but it’s not for everybody. By becoming an upstart, you are telling the world and your backers that you want to build a compelling and worthwhile career. And you’re committed to repaying the backers who have taken a chance on you.

After you get funded, you agree to give your “backers” a percentage of your income — according to your tax returns — for ten years, capped at seven percent.

Here’s what Upstart suggests you spend your funding on:

As you see, this isn’t Kickstarter, where you are investing in an idea; this involves you investing in a person. You’re investing in a person’s ability to be awesome for ten years. I don’t understand why you would do that. I guess sometimes rich people just become bored with their money.

As you can imagine, the people who are saying “look at me, look at me, invest money in me” are some of the douchiest people you’ll ever see. The profiles are basically, “All I do is win. Give me money please.” So far, there are four people with law degrees advertising themselves on the website. I didn’t see any person asking for money to go to law school, but I’m sure that’s coming. Instead, there were four people who have already been to law school and now would like you to invest in them.

Everybody needs to give a little description about themselves, and some pull quotes. Here’s one:

I don’t know yet know what I want to build or when I’ll build it, but I will build it.

Here’s another:

Culture, content, tech, & law – this is where I live, and it’s where I’ll change the world.

The first one is from an HLS graduate who works used to work at Gibson Dunn. [UPDATE (12:15 p.m.): We've been advised that Jeremy Glapion has left the firm and is now clerking.] The second is from an associate at Greenberg Traurig. That’s two people who are working or have worked in Biglaw who want you to invest in them…. so they no longer need to work in Biglaw.

Remember, your return on your investment is a percentage of their income. So, for instance, giving this Greenberg culture warrior money is saying, “No, no, I don’t want a cut of your lucrative and stable Biglaw career. Instead, take this money — I’d like to tie my return to whatever tech/culture/law thingy you think of over the next ten years. Also, I’m terrible at investing in things.”

The investors just seem crazy to me. The people who want investment are just amazing. Back to the HLS kid:

I once convinced my mother that Uncle Sam and Samuel L. Jackson were the same person. That’s when I knew I was destined to be a lawyer.

So lying to and confusing your own mother made you want to be a lawyer? Is your plan to only get money from people who are as gullible as your own family?

Another lawyer on the site wants to open his own firm, a firm that’s hard to open because lawyers in this practice area don’t really make any money:

I have worked in the public sector almost my entire adult life. I have interned at the Department of Justice, worked for the state of South Carolina, and currently work for the U.S. Navy. While I have a passion for public service, my current employment does not allow me to pursue my true passion – representation of individuals in appellate courts.

Again, I just shudder to think of the stupid people willing to invest in an “appellate oral argument” practice who haven’t done the research into how little those specialties really make. Very few appellate lawyers wind up billing like Ted Olson.

Jesus being frowned upon in this establishment, talk to Chuck before you invest on the internet.


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