Ed. note: When Zenovia Evans (a.k.a. Ethan Haines) outed herself as the law school graduate going on a hunger strike for the cause of law school transparency, she revealed that she lives in Denver. Also living in Denver: Caleb Newquist, lead editor of Going Concern, Above the Law’s sister site for the accounting profession. Zenovia ended her hunger strike today, but Caleb was able to sit down with her for a revealing interview over the weekend. His thoughts — and pictures — appear below.
I met with Zenovia Evans last Friday at a Starbucks in Denver on Colfax Boulevard. The 28-year old, barely-employed law school graduate has been making a stir in the mainstream press and the legal blogosphere ever since she started a hunger strike on August 5th. Admittedly, I was (and remain) skeptical as to her approach as a way of promoting law school transparency and career counseling reform.
When I met Evans, she had a glass of water and a nearly empty 32-ounce Gatorade sitting in front of her.
The purpose of Evans’s hunger strike is well-documented in the coverage here at ATL and in several other news outlets. The bottom line for her is that law school transparency and career counseling at law schools are overdue for change. Major change.
On the day we met, Evans had allegedly abstained from solid food for the last 23 days, so I was expecting someone who was knocking on death’s door. Having experimented with fasting (for health reasons) in the past, and knowing the mental and physical preparedness that is involved, I was surprised to find her lucid — although extremely weak, fatigued and slow-moving…
A couple of weeks ago, we reported on “Ethan Haines,” a law school grad who is allegedly on a hunger strike to support the cause of law school transparency. Today, Ethan has outed herself in USA Today, as Zenovia Evans (pictured).
Here’s the USA Today report about her hunger strike:
One recent grad even went on a hunger strike on Aug. 5. “We have a new crop starting, and no one’s telling them anything about this,” says Zenovia Evans, 28, of Denver, who uses the name “Ethan Haines” on her blog, UnemployedJD.com.
The first in her family to finish college, she says that “no one wants to say, ‘Hey, career office, you failed me,’ ” but “I couldn’t take this lying down.” She says she owes more than $150,000 in loans.
So she’s a girl! Well, that’s one twist.
At least one anti-law-school blogger (aka “law school scamblogger”) who initially supported Haines / Evans now feels like the whole thing is a publicity stunt, maybe even a hoax…
As of this writing, Ethan Haines, writer of the UnemployedJD blog, has gone 32 hours without food. I think the kid might be joking, but Haines said he is going on a hunger strike — to convince law schools to be more transparent about the employment options of graduates, before the schools rope them into three years and six figures of debt.
He’s even served official notice of his hunger strike on five law schools, and he’ll put five more on notice today. From his self-styled media advisory:
On August 5, 2010, Ethan Haines, self-designated J.D. Class Representative, emailed an Official Notice of Hunger Strike to administrators of ten randomly selected law schools ranked in the Top 100 of the 2010 U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. These schools were selected because they stand to gain the most from keeping the current rankings structure in place.
Ethan intends to bring awareness to the concerns of law students and recent law graduates by having them addressed by law school administrators. Their primary concerns are inaccurate employment statistics, ineffective career counseling, and rising tuition costs. The strike was motivated by a recent American Bar Association (ABA) investigate Report, which concluded that educational leaders are unable to timely combat the adverse affects of U.S. News’ rankings on legal education.
It’s a worthy cause, even if Haines’s methods seem a little tongue-in-cheek. At the very least, unemployed law graduates with mountains of debt don’t have a lot of spare money lying around for food. Might as well put all those hunger pains to good use.
And maybe he’s not joking? Like all legitimate hunger strikers, Haines has a list of demands…
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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