The paper describes the lifetime of misfortunes that helped steer Robert Bowman, who’s 47, toward that astronomical sum.
His road to becoming a lawyer involved a childhood spent in foster homes, two tragic accidents and years of rehab, Hastings law school and international travel. He passed the New York bar exam in February 2008 on his fourth try.
While the committee of New York lawyers that reviews bar admission applications found his tenaciousness awesome, a group of state appellate judges didn’t agree.
They denied Bowman entry into law practice in the spring. “Applicant has not presently established the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counselor-at-law,” the NYT quotes them.
Bowman is now preparing to sue his way to practice, which, we’re guessing, won’t help lower that debt load. Any guesses on when he'll make his very first payment?
So, you're a law student, and you have to figure out a way to pay for your next year, two years or three years?
Sure, you can get state and federal aid, ace the LSAT to attract scholarship offers, enroll in a work-study program, or fight your way to the top of your class, but where's the fun it that?
Here are two ideas of how to pay for law school, courtesy of your fellow law students:
Appear on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. According to the New York Post, Cardozo School of Law 2L Dave Johnston used a lifeline for a question asking in which movie was "one woman writing a book, while another woman was reading the book, and yet a third was living the book." The person on the other end of the line was TruTV (formerly Court TV) personality Ashleigh Banfield, who correctly answered The Hours. Because of Banfield, Johnston won $16,000 and continued on to win $50,000.
To thank Banfield for her help, Johnston took her out to lunch. Banfield told the Post, "He took me to Gus' Place in the Village today and brought along
friends from the office where he's a summer intern. But since he's
using his winnings to pay the nearly $40,000 tuition for next semester,
I picked up the check."
Call a lawyer on his $1 million bluff. According to the Orlando Sentinel, South Texas College of Law grad Dustin Kolodziej is suing Orlando defense attorney Cheney Mason for breach of contract.
"At issue is a statement Mason made about the state's theory of how
Nelson Ivan Serrano was able to kill his former business partner, a
prosecutor and two others at a Polk County manufacturing plant in 1997."
The prosecution stated that Serrano's murder plot involved buying airline tickets under three
names from Orlando and Tampa airports so he could appear to be in
Atlanta the afternoon of the slayings. The route involved Serrano flying from Atlanta to Orlando, driving to
Bartow, where the murders occurred, and then catching a flight back to
The Sentinel said that Mason was confident his client couldn't have gunned down four people in
the time prosecutors said he did, and told Dateline NBC
he'd pay $1 million to anyone who could show otherwise.
Kolodziej took the challenge literally and videotaped himself following Serrano's route and doing so in the time Mason said couldn't be done.
Now, he wants to collect, a move that Mason says is "ridiculous".
One of the downsides of the recent trend toward every Joe and his grandma developing an app for Facebook or the iPhone is that a lot of crap slips through. "What color is your aura" and "what kind of sausage are you" quizzes, and maps the allow you to track every public bathroom you use on your roadtrip back to Iowa over the summer. Great.
Aaron Tenzer, who according to LinkedIn is a 2009 graduate of Chapman, has brought the #barbri angst and the crap app trend full circle to their rightful union by developing a quiz on Facebook: Which BarBri Lecturer Are You? Ever-curious about the weird things law students do to fill up their spare time, I took it. I wasn't holding my breath, though, because the quiz has received a lowly 1 star out of 5 from users.
My result, and the questions for those not willing to add the app, after the jump.
Have you hugged a law student or lawyer lately? No? Well, maybe you should.
Turns out, underneath their hard exteriors, some of them have squishy insides that just need some squishin'.
Thanks to my Google Reader "law student" alert, I stumbled across GroupHug, a website that allows users to post anonymous confessions online a la PostSecret. Unlike PostSecret, however, members of the community can interact with the poster and send them a cyber "hug".
Here's the post that my GR picked up on:
Confession #294244324: "I’m a law student who repeated 1st year 3x. I feel so ashamed. I know
what my peers think of me. And while I love being a law student, I feel
like I’m wearing an 'I’m stupid' shirt all the time."
Curious to see if other law students had posted as well, I searched the site and came across these:
Confession #228748274: "I lied to my family and everyone else about applying and getting in to
law school because I felt too much pressure and wanted to take a year
off before going. Now if I don’t get into the school that I have
supposedly deferred from I might be found out! I hate lying because you have to follow your web of deceit around and make sure it isn’t found out."
Confession #762490921: "i’m a workaholic lawyer and i wish i could sit around all day smoking pot and playing video games."
Here's the kicker, though. Even though it's sad that a law student or a lawyer can't reach out to their families or friends and instead feel they have to post to the GroupHug site, what's even sadder is that the "hug" feature on the site has been disabled indefinitely.
If you’re among the crowd of job-seekers, you’ve probably gone to your career services office, visited job search Web sites, or talked to your friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s friend who knew some guy that worked at a law firm.
Chances are you may have even looked on Craigslist in the “Legal/Paralegal” jobs section.
The latest cautionary Craigslist tale comes to us from The O.C., and this time it involves an attorney. Well, "attorney."
Cindy Carcamo of The Orange County Register reports that Harold Goldstein – a man who previously served a five-year prison sentence for posing as an immigration attorney – was arrested by the FBI on Sunday after the agency found a Craigslist advertisement he placed soliciting law students for the same activity that he was convicted for in 2005.
Carcamo writes: “At the time of his 2002 arrest, he ran a Newport Beach law firm that employed a staff of 12, including three licensed lawyers.”
Apparently, Goldstein's attorney fakeout was only discovered by an associate after Goldstein asked the associate to
modify the terms of his supervised release from prison for fraud in another case.
Once a con man, always a con man.
According to the L.A. Times, in 1976, Goldstein was convicted of mail fraud for selling $1 million in phony gold contracts in 1976, and in 1980, the Los Angeles district attorney charged him with stealing $4
million from small businesses seeking loans at a phony overseas bank he
and a partner had established.
I'll admit it: I really enjoy Twitter. I've had some brushes with comedic genius on the site (others, not my own), and I am so lazy that 140 characters actually feels like a feat once written. I also particularly enjoy searching the Twitter feeds for subject matter that interests me. Snack foods, Jay-Z, shopping in Los Angeles, reactions to plane crashes. A recent search of "#barbri" (inspired by a friend on my list who is currently in BarBri) resulted in some funny/sad/otherwise empathy-inducing finds:
@errorlesss: In the first hour of #BarBri tonight, the lecturer has referenced necrophilia, showering with Sharon Stone, and insulted Louisiana.
@markadams44: thinks there must be a better way to provide legal education. But maybe not. #barbri (And I'm not bashing Barbri.)
@jakblackwood: Another day of bullshit taped #Barbri lectures.... I hope I'm paying less than the guys seeing it live.
My newsfeed's fine sense for the absurd, which manifests by juxtaposition, never fails to deliver: Last week I received "good news" about the slipping economy (it has reduced traffic congestion) alongside "this week in layoffs" at ATL. Today Senator Burris swore to his innocence in the NYT while his peers began clucking and posturing for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing.
Also today, I received a passionate defense of lawyer advertising, alongside a collection of five truly hideous, completely genuine, lawyer advertisements.
The defense of lawyer advertising, by Professor Stern from Florida State University College of Law argues that "[b]ans on self-laudatory lawyer ads are paternalistic, overly broad and elitist" and also unconstitutional. There are many reasons to think he's mistaken, but I'm going to skip the constitutional babbling and simply rest on the Hammer, the Bitter, the Good Guys, the Daredevil, and the California Switchblade (who is from Oklahoma), all of whom peddle their wares with a straight face in the YouTube videos below.
So, who is paternalistic, overly broad, and elitist? You be the judge:
Look, call me a stodgy, old-fashioned, curmudgeon. But isn't this supposed to be a profession?
Just a few months ago, I wrote with surprise
about the comforting words ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas had for worried law students. Apparently, his
ultra-conservative colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia, doesn't share
Justice Thomas' genial nature. Also surprising, I know.
fact, a few weeks ago, Justice Scalia called a group of students at
American University College of Law "sow's ears." Ohhh, snap!
you can probably imagine, I've taken this all wildly out of context.
I'd like to just leave it like that, but I suppose that would be
irresponsible. Here's some context for you:
According to Jonathan Turley,
Justice Scalia was speaking to a group of students at American
University College of Law a few weeks ago when a student asked how she
could go about scoring one of those sweet Supreme Court Clerk gigs.
Scalia pretty much told her she had no shot, saying:
and large I'm going to be picking from schools that basically are the
hardest to get into. They admit the best and the brightest, and they
may not teach very well, but you can't make a sow's ear out of a silk
purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they're probably
going to leave the best and the brightest, O.K.?"
So, basically, Justice Scalia thinks the law school experience is pretty worthless and he's a raging elitist. He's also just being honest, which I guess is a good thing except when it's just mean.
This isn't the first time the nation's first celebrity justice has stuck his foot in his mouth. Back in February, he made news when he refused to answer a law student's question about his quest for publicity. Also, did I mention Justice Scalia hates poor people?
During a fundraising auction for the Equal Justice Foundation, Penn 2L Sarah McConaughy placed a winning bid of $290 for the privilege of having her car washed by two Penn profs. The catch? They had to wear rollerblades while scrubbing.