Bad Ideas

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgI spent all day yesterday trying to summon the rage, trying to figure out a way to trumpet the cause of a sixty-something, recent law school graduate who is still having trouble discharging her student loans in a bankruptcy proceeding. The National Law Journal has the tear-jerking story:

When she graduated four years ago with a law degree at the age of 61, Denise Megan Bronsdon likely did not foresee bankruptcy court in her future. But that’s where she ended up — as a debtor.

The former farmer’s wife, who operated a tractor before going to Southern New England School of Law in 2002, convinced a Massachusetts bankruptcy court in January that repaying the more than $82,000 she owed in student debt would create an undue hardship. However, the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, considering an appeal by the lender, Educational Credit Management Corp., found on Nov. 20 that Bronsdon’s decision not to participate in a loan repayment assistance program should be part of the bankruptcy court’s undue hardship analysis.

If I was half the man I used to be, I’d take a flamethrower to this place. Hoo-Ha!
But the problem with my flamethrower is that I do not know where to point it. I could get angry at the entire system that makes student loans so difficult to discharge through bankruptcy. Or I could get mad at the law school that essentially stole this woman’s money. Or I could get angry at the woman herself — who failed the Wisconsin bar three times.
Oh, I know, let’s get pissy at all of them.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Discharging Law School Debt in Bankruptcy Doesn’t Get Any Easier When You Are Old”

Falcon Heene Balloon Boy hoax.jpgOur long, national, helium induced nightmare is almost over. CNN is reporting that Richard and Mayumi Heene — parents of Falcon “Balloon Boy” Heene — will plead guilty tomorrow:

The Larimer County district attorney’s office Thursday said Richard Heene has been charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant, a felony, and Mayumi Heene has been charged with one count of false reporting to authorities, a misdemeanor.
Richard Heene turned himself in Thursday afternoon and was released on his own recognizance, authorities said.
The Heenes will appear Friday in Larimer County Court, where they are expected to plead guilty, their attorneys said.

I think we’ve all learned an important lesson. Children, be they in a balloon, down a well, with a fox, or in a box, do not constitute breaking national news.
Not that there is going to be a lot of sympathy for the Heenes, but it does appear that they got strong armed into this guilty plea.
Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Balloon Boy Parents to Plead Guilty”

swat officer.jpgTrick-or-treaters can get into serious trouble on Halloween. Especially if their Halloween activities involve arson. Or blackface. Or guns.
A student at BYU Law School donned a costume last week that was police-raid worthy. From the Salt Lake Tribune:

When Attorney General Mark Shurtleff spoke at a BYU Law School criminal procedures class Thursday, one law student came to class dressed in full SWAT gear, including an armor belt, and some students said he had carried a gun on campus, although they weren’t sure it was real.

Yeah, that’s probably taking All Saints’ Day Eve a little too far.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Student of the Day: Bad Idea Costume”

brian schroeder halloween photo.jpgDelaying start dates for incoming associates may have another downside: leaving them with nothing to do but get into trouble.

Brian Schroeder has an impressive résumé. The Texan graduated from Duke in 2005, having majored in theater studies, and went on to Harvard Law School. There, he was an editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review and a co-president of Lambda, an LGBT student group. He also took part in Parody, the HLS comedy show (which Elie was involved in during his time at Harvard Law).

After taking a year off to travel around Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe, he graduated from HLS this spring and moved to New York for a Biglaw job. He was supposed to start at Sidley Austin. [Update: Tipsters say Schroeder had taken the Sidley deferral package and was doing pro bono work.]

On Friday at 6:31 p.m., Schroeder’s Facebook status read, “Brian Schroeder is all tattooed and ready to go.” He included a link to these tattooed self portraits.

That night, Schroeder got very drunk and got up to some serious trouble on the morning of October 31. Yesterday a friend wrote on his wall:

“I totally just read this article that someone with your name and age set a fire…just a coincidence huh?!”

Unfortunately, it’s not a coincidence.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Harvard Law Grad Sets Fire to 9/11 Chapel (and His Future Legal Career?)”

tajudeen-oladiran.jpgLast week, we posted a highly unusual motion from Arizona. Attorney Tajudeen “Taj” Oladiran filed a “Motion for a [sic] Honest and Honorable Court System” in his racketeering case against Suntrust Bank before the “dishonorable” Susan Bolton.
Taj was extremely disappointed in a ruling by Judge Bolton, calling her “a brainless coward.” He ended the motion with the following:

[M]any good lawyers in town told me the bank’s executives would never be deposed, and that the case would go nowhere. I stupidly stuck to the notion that everyone is equal under the law etc. Boy was I wrong…
My thanks go out to Larry Folks and Kathleen Weber [Ed. Note: opposing counsel] who both warned me that I would lose (I should have listened to them).
I apologize to all my clients. I know, I’m sorry does not repair the mess I made but, that’s all I’ve got.
To my family, words can’t express my apologies; please remember me kindly.
Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where. :-)

Some readers of last week’s post worried that was a suicidal sign-off.
We got worried too when Taj failed to respond to our emails and phone calls of the past few days. Today, we sent him a Facebook message. When our phone rang with a strange number this afternoon, and the voice on the other end had a Nigerian accent, we were relieved.
Taj lives! He sent us a lengthy missive. Here’s an excerpt:

I hope my explanation will stop the jealous haters that sent me nasty comments from holding their breaths in anticipation of news that I’ve committed suicide. Sorry, no such plans. The Whistleblower Pleading is not about a suicidal lawyer, it is about how an out-of-state bank that made bad mortgage loans in Arizona was able to obtain a horribly biased ruling in its favor. An occurrence that I thought was impossible in the federal district court. .

Full statement, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Taj Lives! (And He’s Pissed)”

tajudeen-oladiran.jpgTajudeen Oladiran is an Arizona attorney who is currently of counsel at Aguilera International Counsel. A Biglaw refugee, he spent a year at Greenberg Traurig, as well as a year working for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Given those credentials, we were surprised that he would file one of the craziest motions we’ve come across here at Above The Law.

From the U.S. District Court of Arizona:

Taj crazy motion.jpg
It is a motion in a case that Tajudeen Oladiran and his wife filed against Suntrust Bank for racketeering. We gather from the motion that Oladiran was not pleased with the ruling by “the Dishonorable Susan R. Bolton” (as she’s identified in the caption). Oladiran wrote: “I just read your Order and I am very disappointed in the fact that a brainless coward like you is a federal judge.”

A lesson on how not to address the court, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Motion of the Day: “We shall meet again you know where.””

Falcon Heene balloon boy.jpgOn Thursday morning, a “homemade flying saucer” took off from the Colorado yard of Richard and Mayumi Heene. The Heenes drew nationwide attention when they claimed that their 6-year-old son Falcon was inside.
When the saucer finally landed, Falcon did not glide down with it. Instead, he was hiding in the family attic. The Heenes said he was hiding because he feared punishment, but he told CNN that he “did this for the show.”
Now it looks like the Heenes were full of hot air. Robert Thomas, a former assistant to Richard Heene, penned a column for Gawker calling it all a big hoax by his attention-hungry boss, claiming to have discussed a plan like this with Heene earlier this year. Plus, Thomas says the attic in the Heene home is virtually inaccessible and that Falcon would have needed help to fly up there.
The authorities appear to agree and announced last night that they will be filing charges. From the New York Times:

The office did not identify the specific charge or charges on Saturday, but said a Class 3 misdemeanor charge was possible, according to The Associated Press. False reporting of a crime falls under that class of misdemeanor.
The sheriff, Jim Alderden, said a Class 3 misdemeanor “hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances.” He added, “We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren’t additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance.”

It’s too bad the balloon did not make it across state lines.
Charges to Be Filed in Colorado Balloon Incident [New York Times]
Exclusive: I Helped Richard Heene Plan a Balloon Hoax [Gawker]

orly taitz.jpgOrly Taitz is a California attorney described by Wikipedia as “a leading figure in the ‘birther’ movement, which challenges whether Barack Obama is a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as President of the United States.” She started the Defend Our Freedoms nonprofit in order to wage the birther battle. We’re glad to see that its website does not have a photo of Obama with a question mark; instead, it has a tasteful image of Taitz’s head photoshopped over the Constitution, the American flag, and ALR volumes.
Earlier this year, Taitz went to federal court (M.D. Ga.) to request a restraining order on behalf of Army doctor Connie Rhodes preventing Rhodes’s deployment to Iraq. Taitz claimed that the deployment order was illegal because President Obama is not legally president, and attached among her evidence the obviously-faked Kenyan birth certificate for Obama that has circulated on the Internetz.
Federal judge Clay Land aborted that birther suit and reprimanded Taitz for filing a frivolous lawsuit. Shortly thereafter, Connie Rhodes wrote Judge Land a letter saying she found out about the lawsuit via media reports and had neither asked Taitz to represent her nor wished to resist her deployment.
Yet Taitz is still laboring over this suit and filed an order challenging Land’s dismissal of the case. He responded by giving her a two-week deadline to explain why he shouldn’t sanction her and fine her $10,000. On the deadline, she filed a motion to recuse Land from the case. He didn’t like that…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Orly Taitz”

Remember Jane Allen Clark? She’s the Texas attorney who originally used the quasi-racy photo on the left for her lawyer profile on the state bar website. After we wrote about it, she replaced it with the more staid portrait on the right:
Jane Allen Clark Jane Clark Jane A Clark before after Texas State Bar lawyer.jpg
But where did that first photo come from? An eagle-eyed reader drew something to our attention….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Further Misadventures in Lawyer Advertising: Where Did Jane Clark Find Her Hubba-Hubba Photo?”

Belmont Law.jpgSomewhere there is a giant invisible hand that really enjoys jerking around the earning potential of attorneys in good standing. Belmont University is opening a new law school next year. The Tennessean reports the latest evidence that university presidents hate lawyers:

The Belmont College of Law would be the state’s sixth law school, the third in Nashville and the first new law school to open in Middle Tennessee in a century.
“This is far, far, far bigger than anything we’ve done before,” Belmont President Bob Fisher said. “Twenty years from now, there could be 2,000 Belmont law school graduates out in the community, hopefully doing some good.”

Excuse me.
After wiping off the blood streaming out of his eyes, Elie bangs his head on his desk. Unsatisfied, Elie removes copies of Streetcar and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from his bookshelf and throws them, burning, from his window, while shouting general obscenities at any he believes to be from the great state of Tennessee.
Fine, so Bob Fisher doesn’t mind keeping local lawyers financially hobbled due to the oversupply of attorneys. Surely the local bar association will stand up for its current members:

News of the new law school has been a closely guarded secret. W. Scott Sims, past president of the Nashville Bar Association, issued a quick statement greeting the new law school as a “wonderful addition” to the legal scene.

At tonight’s performance, W. Scott Sims will be playing the part of Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House.
You know what? As bad as this is for students at Tennessee’s other law schools, how colossally dumb are the people who sign up for a Belmont law degree next year?
Tuition details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Belmont (TN) To Open New Law School — Just Because They Can”

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