Bad Ideas

Today, via Craigslist, we have a guy who maybe needs to give up the ghost on going to law school. He’s probably a very nice person who is a credit to his family, but the experience might not be for him. Hopefully he figures that out before somebody takes him up on his $10,000 tutoring offer.

Yeah, there’s a guy on Craigslist who is willing to pay a private tutor $10,000 if he or she can help him get a 160 or better on the LSAT. To this point, he’s taken two test prep courses and studied using various books, but hasn’t broken 155.

At least the kid has the good sense to not go to a law school that would be thrilled to have him at 155. But I think he should continue acting with self-restraint and find something better to do with his ten grand….

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Want to join them? Bring a writing sample -- and twenty bucks.

In some imperceptible yet significant way, the experience of American legal education has reached a new low.

We all feel this. Between tuition that is out of control, deans who don’t tell the truth, and students who are willing to fight other students to the death to get jobs in a market where there aren’t enough to go around, law school feels like less of a good experience than it used to be.

And we feel that in the air even if we can’t put our finger on it. And then we see something like what’s happening at one state law school, and the whole sad experience of getting a legal education in America suddenly has a new mascot.

Today we have a flyer from a group of three 1Ls who want to hold “tryouts” for the other two members of their study group. We’ve seen this type of thing before — remember the study group at a top-ten law school that required a transcript? — but this latest application process takes things to another level.

This study group wants to charge people $20 for the opportunity to try out….

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Last month, there was some controversy out in California about public nudity. In San Francisco, it’s totally legal to prance around naked all day long, but local nudists were upset when they found out they might soon be forced to put down a towel before sitting buck-ass-naked on public seats.

Now a similar controversy has traveled to New York — not over increased restrictions on nudity, but whether there can be public nudity at all. Holly Van Voast, a 45-year-old activist for the cause, has had her fair share to say about it. And by “say,” I of course mean “show.”

Van Voast has grinned and bared it all — in Times Square, on the Staten Island Ferry, and most recently, in the middle of Grand Central Station. One of these public displays of middle-aged nudity landed her in Midtown Community Court yesterday, where the naked truth was revealed….

WARNING: A photo of a topless Van Voast — tastefully redacted, of course — appears after the jump. If you can’t handle it, or if you’re not in a place where you can view a (tastefully redacted) photo of a topless woman, please stop reading here.

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I feel like we have this story every fall. Every year, new 1Ls get to law school campuses and invariably, some of them quickly look around to see which boots are most in need of licking. The first few weeks they kiss so much faculty ass they look like they’re applying for tenure. And right around now, they start looking for fellow students to suck up to.

Well, there’s a way to suck up to fellow students, and usually kissing butt requires you to be in the same room as your betters. Cold, unsolicited emailing — while fine for general networking — is almost always the wrong way to approach your peers. We’ve explained this to you before.

If you find yourself sending out cold, unsolicited, mass emails, well, welcome to Above the Law, little 1Ls….

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At this point, the lengths companies go to in order to protect data, keep it secure, and prepare for e-discovery is old news. Data breaches — and the news coverage that usually follows — have frightened many companies into at least attempting to ratchet up data security policies. Likewise with retention practices. There have been enough e-discovery horror stories that most companies, and especially their lawyers, know they need to start prioritizing this stuff.

Strangely though, you don’t often hear much about data security within corporate boards. But it turns out that the boards of many multinational corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue are way, way behind the curve on data security.

Company boards are doing everything from printing out physical copies of thousands of pages of sensitive material, to sending unencrypted information to personal e-mail accounts, unsecured iPhones, and home computers. The Thomson Reuters report, released Wednesday, gives a harrowing account of disasters waiting to happen….

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If learning to do this was mandatory in 3L year, law schools would be doing you a favor.

The stripper with the heart of gold who shakes what her momma gave her to make it through school would be a Disney movie if it didn’t require so much T&A. We know that “I’m doing it to pay for school” is the go-to line whenever you meet a stripper in a situation where she’s expected to keep her clothes on. Most of the women who claim that they need to strip to pay for school haven’t actually read anything since their last visit to the clinic. But for a fair number of strippers, tuition or debt repayment is a chief motivator.

Most women who go to law school think that their advanced education will buy them out of taking their clothes off for money (unless, you know, it’s partner money). But as a practical reality, stripper skills are very useful. It’s a job that can be done while in school or immediately after that pays a lot of money for relatively brainless work. It’s no more exploitative than working a law firm job. And in this economy, that law firm job is probably only available to the few women who are too ugly to strip or are willing to put out.

Hell, as we’ve previously reported, some strip clubs are even proactively screening for advanced degrees.

For today’s tale of a lawyer cum stripper, we have a young lady who has ended up stripping to pay her bills and law school debts. It’s not a sob story, though; she says that in one sense the job is less hostile than any law office she’s worked in…

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From the Bar to the Pole

Are you oversharing?

It’s strange how quickly the world changes. Things used to be so simple, but now Steve Jobs has resigned from Apple and we’re having earthquakes in Washington, D.C.

Moreover, some fundamental rules of online conduct are beginning to look like artifacts from a bygone era when people were crazy for RAZRs and nu metal.

Gone are the days of not Facebook friending coworkers. Online oversharing on social networking sites has simply become sharing. And workplaces have to adjust their rules and policies accordingly.

A National Labor Relations Board report released last week attempts to explain the changing legal standards for social media usage in the workplace. Written by the NLRB’s general counsel, Lafe E. Solomon, the document provides several case studies to illuminate how much smack-talking employees can do online while remaining legally protected.

In short, it’s a lot. Still, not quite everything is different. Calling your boss a “super mega puta” will still land you in the chokey. More on this and some of the other case studies, after the jump….

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Would you force your kid to eat this?

Sometimes kids can be really annoying and behave really badly. Luckily for my parents, I was a little bit of both when I was younger. After throwing a spare rib at someone’s head in a Chinese restaurant, my parents didn’t take me out to dinner with them for months. After throwing a puzzle at the wall and making a huge hole in it, my parents didn’t allow me to have playdates for a while. Apparently, I was a big fan of throwing things when I was a little girl.

But my parents never hit me, and they certainly never abused me. They just took things away, and made me see that there were consequences for my actions. My parents are awesome. And look at what a fine specimen I turned out to be! Now I make fun of people on the internet for a living. They’re so proud.

Now, I don’t have kids, but from what I see happening around me, I feel like parents just don’t know how to be parents anymore. But they do know how to be drama queens. Case in point: an Alaska mother was so desperate to get on the Dr. Phil show that she filmed herself forcing her child to hold hot sauce in his mouth and shoving him into a cold shower.

Is this child abuse? You bet your ass it is, and this bad mommy might be going to jail for it….

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Ah, the good old “how many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb” joke. It’s pretty stupid, but all of its variants never seem to get old.

For example, here are a few from James Fuqua’s Law Jokes:

Q: How many lawyers does it take to [change] a light bulb?

A1: How many can you afford?

A5: Three. One to change it and two to keep interrupting by standing up and shouting “Objection!”

A8: You won’t find a lawyer who can change a light bulb. Now, if you’re looking for a lawyer to screw a light bulb…

Well, thanks to a mid-size firm in Minnesota, we now know that it takes exactly five lawyers to change a light bulb….

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I rode BART into San Francisco on Monday for dinner. As our train approached the Embarcadero station, the driver came on the intercom.

“We aren’t stopping at this station. Don’t want to drop you in the middle of a protest.”

So my roommate and I got off a block later and backtracked. We encountered a few clumps of would-be protestors wearing Guy Fawkes masks and bandanas. They might have been more intimidating, but many had hipster neck-beards curling out from underneath the masks. Mostly, though, there were a lot of riot police. A lot. Who were mainly just standing around.

The protest was in response to Bay Area Rapid Transit’s recent decision to temporarily turn off cell phone reception in four San Francisco stations, which was in anticipation of another protest, which was in turn a response to a recent police shooting in a San Francisco BART station.

Only in California do we have protests about protests. It’s all very dramatic, but where do law and technology fit in? As is the trend these days, pesky hackers broke into the BART Police Officers Association’s website on Wednesday and released personal information about the men and women who patrol the local subway system.

Read more about the allegedly horrible, no good, very bad policy decision that led to the hack after the jump….

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