Bad Ideas

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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In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Friday, Justice Stevens wrote about his proposal to correct the Second Amendment. His proposal to “add five words” to the Second Amendment to fix it comes from his new book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution (affiliate link).

It’s a worthy endeavor for a former justice to examine the Constitution and propose the changes that judicial interpretation alone cannot reach (or at least are not reaching for political reasons). However, if his solutions to the other five amendments are as dumb as his answer to the Second Amendment, we’re all in trouble….

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It’s fun to look at lists of bar exam passers. You can celebrate the success of your friends and derive schadenfreude from the failure of your enemies. And you can marvel or laugh at the names that some people have been saddled with by their parents.

We recently learned about two bar passers with such wacky names, it’s a miracle they survived the playground — then graduated from college and law school, and passed a very tough bar exam….

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Where to even begin?

Models often find themselves in awkward poses. Models whose work borders on the porn industry often find themselves in really awkward poses. The model in this story works in the latter milieu. She’s Elizabeth Dickson, and she models for Playboy. As part of this career, she shoved a golf tee in her tail.

What could possibly go wrong?

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It’s got to be annoying for judges when lawmakers write laws that are designed to be so freaking vague that courts will be forced to fix them once the inevitable lawsuits come around.

Florida lawmakers are trying to make your Facebook account safe from your boss who wants to get his or her Orwellian hands all up in your personal business. The legislation prohibits employers from demanding your social media passwords as a condition of employment.

BUT… the business lobby has been able to force an amendment that still allows employers to demand your passwords if your account is used for a “business purpose.” What’s a “business purpose”? Nobody knows. It’s probably going to be whatever your boss says a “business purpose” is. Then, they’ll fire you, you’ll sue, and a judge will have to figure it all out, because the legislature couldn’t get its act together….

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