Bad Ideas

Jodi Arias

I do not believe it is in your best interest … I strongly urge you to reconsider.

– Judge Sherry Stephens, shortly before she granted Jodi Arias’s request to represent herself during the second penalty phase of her murder trial. In April 2013, Arias was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend.

When it comes to paying for law school, most of us fill out paperwork to secure shiny loans that haunt us for years to come. But there are a few students who think outside the box. Law school tuition Kickstarter campaigns crop up from time to time. There was also a website set up to sell future income streams in exchange for debt payments. Generally, these efforts to outsource student debt are the work of narcissists unwilling to take personal responsibility and pay for their life decisions.

And then we see something like this:

God asked me to go to Law School for the good of the Kingdom of God. Help me raise $28,500 by 5/1/15!

Well, that’s a horse of another color! It’s not that you want a law degree without having to suffer the consequences of your actions, it’s that God wants it. Nothing reflects the model of Jesus Christ more than getting what you want without suffering at all.

Let’s check out this plea for a free law school education — complete with its own movie trailer!

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Sophie Dalzell

If you’re not familiar with the illustrious modeling and performance work of Sophie Dalzell, the 20-year-old “star” of late-night adult TV, we can summarize it in just one word: boobs.

Alas, it seems the poor girl is now facing legal problems because of her huge assets…

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This will probably end badly.

I don’t know what kind of “logic” makes prospective law students think that they’ll all end up in the top five percent of their classes. But I’m pretty sure the same kind of fallacy arises when a male law school graduate thinks that two women want to take him home from a bar and make love to him at the same time.

Maybe it’s not a logical fault. Maybe it’s the old Achilles heel for lawyers; they’re bad at math. Just because something is possible doesn’t make it probable. What’s probable is that the two women intend to rob you (you know, just like most law schools)…

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One thing I’ve learned as I get older is that most people are incapable of learning from other people’s mistakes. It’s just not something humans are good at, I guess. If you see somebody jump off his roof and impale himself on a fence post, the human reaction seems to be “Wow, what a stupid place to put a fence post,” not, “I’M NEVER GOING TO JUMP OFF A ROOF.”

Everybody thinks that they can do it better. That impulse probably helped us go from stone tools to weapons of mass destruction, but it’s also what helps unaccredited law schools stay in business. Whatever, it all ends in radiation poisoning.

Which brings me to the story of a former student loan debt collector who heard countless stories from people drowning in debt with degrees that turned out to be useless. Armed with that information, she turned around and took out $40K to go to an unaccredited, online law school in California. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills…

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A new law school is finishing up its first year of operations. Unfortunately, there are 28 souls out there who don’t read Above the Law and ended up attending this new, unaccredited educational enterprise.

Of course, the new school had hoped to fleece educate 100 new students, not less than 30. The market might be a little more knowledgeable than the dean believed. In any event, the new dean of the new law school is stepping down. He’s not even staying on as a professor; he’s leaving to pursue “other employment opportunities.”

That makes sense. Being a dean of a new law school doesn’t look as bad on your résumé as being a graduate of a new law school….

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Keith Lee

As has been discussed ad nauseam, it’s a tough time to be a lawyer right now. The legal industry is in a rut and the economy continues to limp along. With the flood of lawyers that have been forced to hang their shingle over the past few years, there has been increased competition for clients. This has led to some fairly cutthroat competition in the world of attorney advertising.

Many types of practice don’t advertise. Or rather, their advertising is of the tried-and-true “display expertise” variety. Write articles for your bar association magazine, speak at clients’ industry events, join boards and committees. Not so much talking about yourself, but showing that you are active and engaged in the legal industry. Let your reputation speak for itself; let others talk about you. Develop a reputation, not a brand.

But building a reputation is hard. Developing a brand is expensive. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just mooch off of someone else’s hard work or money? Such was the proposition to New York attorney (and occasional ATL writer) Eric Turkewitz  this past week…

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Who is this fellow, and how long will he starve for?

Social media has opened many new doors in terms of people’s ability to be fired from their jobs, especially in extremely conservative businesses like law. In order to maintain your appearance as a professional, you’re expected to be on the clock all day, every day. Kiss your keg stand pictures goodbye and turn your Facebook privacy settings all the way up, lest you face undesired consequences.

Not to worry, Americans, because one lawyer has got your back. Likely unemployed due to his own social media antics, this fellow is going to forgo life-sustaining food and water in an effort to bring greater attention to how we as a society can mitigate the risks of social media — by demanding that employers stop “searching the social media accounts of their employees and firing [them] because of unpopular opinions or lifestyle choices.”

Who is the man who intends to starve himself on the steps of America’s highest court for this cause?

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Students have enough to worry about during finals period, between the finals and papers themselves and remembering to alert ATL when some professor uses the same exam as last year. So why would a school intentionally send students a false email threat during finals week?

Because they have nothing but contempt for their students, of course.

Who wants to guess which school pulled this boneheaded move? Hint: It’s a top 50 school in the U.S. News rankings (and unranked by ATL — sounds like we had it right)….

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That pesky expert witness is claiming that a AAA battery can’t injure your client as much as you claim. How do you undermine his testimony? Confronting him with strongly-worded questions informed by careful scientific research is one way.

Trying to electrocute him is another way.

Guess which one the lawyer chose in this case?

Oh, Watt the hell, I’ll spoil it, the lawyer tried to electrocute him….

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