Thursday, October 10, 2013

Students scamming students???

You've heard of Lawyers Helping Lawyers, where substance-abusing lawyers can avoid getting real treatment and avoid being disciplined get help from other lawyers?  Well, now there's Students Scamming Students.

I guess they learn quickly from their professors.  Forget making money from the law.  Make money from scamming other people.  That's the professors' area of expertise.  And one in particular has put this into action while barely out of his 1L diapers.

I was alerted to this subscam the other day: inGenius prep.  Much like CommonBond, the discredited private student loan lender with the business model that was literally "Suckers Luv Prestige!" scribbled on a sheet of paper (and sadly a business model that actually works time and time and time again), inGenuis prep offers much of the same thing we've seen from private law school admissions consultants over and over, except with More Prestige!

 
What this prep company needs is more prestige.  Give me more prestige.

Sick bags at the ready?  Here's a little info from their site:

You are worthy of your dream school. Is your application? Like standardized tests, applying to competitive programs is a hard-earned skill. At inGenius prep, we've mastered the art of the application. Our extensive team of admissions officers work hand-in-hand with student coaches from top schools to provide the most thorough and effective admissions counseling. Wherever you want to go, we can help get you there.

Our directors of admissions hail from the top-ranked schools: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and more. Our student coaches are at the top of their class in the most competitive programs. Name the school, we have the acceptance letter framed, the admissions T-shirt in our closet, and a former admissions officer standing by to help you. Work with those who understand the process from the bottom up, and from the inside out.

And the site itself is littered with the latin-mottoed crests of Harvard and Yale and Stanford and every other school that oozes prestige.  (Sidenote: perhaps I should give myself a latin motto so people throw money at me for no good reason...)

Admissions consultants are a waste of time and always have been.  If you're smart enough to get into Harvard, you're smart enough to write well, have a high GPA and LSAT (which no admissions consultant can help you with), and be able to figure out the application procedure yourself from the instructions on school web sites and from the countless good resources available for free online (such as this site.)

Admissions consultants are a trap for the stupid.  They try to sell prestige to people who have no business trying to obtain it.  Like law schools which sell a dream of being a fancy high class international space environmental lawyer, but fail to deliver and you don't know it until it's too late, the money has changed hands, and you're the sucker who fell for the scam.  Like many expensive private schools in general which fail to mention that it's family connections that are the leading indicator of potential success, not expensive school names on a resume.  Like admissions consultants, who will gladly take your money and sell you a dream of Harvard, but who rarely deliver.  (Rather like the lottery, except countless times more expensive, and countless times more stupid.  At least with the lottery, you know your slim odds of success up front, and you don't incur $200,000 of nondischargeable lottery debt by playing.)

No prices on the web site though.  Hmmm.  So I wrote to them and here's what I got in reply:

Thanks for contacting inGenius prep! We are excited to help you with your admission to the Ivy League law schools that you wish to gain admission to!

I'm David, a second-year student at Harvard Law School and the head of the JD Division. I am just one of the great inGenius prep team who will be working with you.


I would love to set up a time to chat with you by phone about your aspirations and the services we offer at inGenius. We do have a soup-to-nuts package for application counseling and anything else you might need. This package would pair you with a student coach (who has years of counseling experience and has succeeded in this process himself/herself and a former admissions officer from a top 4 law school (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford). The package costs $3,749. We also have our typical hourly "full-curriculum," which is the same as the aforementioned, but would involve paying for packages of hours. The baseline price is $150/hr, but we have discounts for buying hours in advance (the discounts become larger the more hours you purchase). Normally, our students use around 15-20 hours throughout the process.

We are not an LSAT prep company, so that package would not include LSAT tutoring. Our counselors have all scored well over 172 on the LSAT though and would certainly be able to answer any emergency questions you might have and definitely will be terrific at providing strategic advice about preparing for the LSAT, when to take the test, and setting out an ideal study schedule that suits your needs. Also, we have several LSAT preparation companies that we partner with that through which we could provide you a large discount on their services. Despite all of that, if you were interested, we could get one of our counselors to work with you on the LSAT as your LSAT tutor and create a truly global package for you.

My only concern is the timeline you have slated for you enrollment in law school. It looks like you said you wanted to enroll next falI, which would mean you would have to take the December LSAT. This already puts you at a minor disadvantage because most schools work on a rolling admissions basis. We should talk ASAP in order to make sure that we can meet that rushed timeline if that is indeed your goal. Please let me know when a good time to talk would be. I am available anytime after 7 p.m. tomorrow and after 3 p.m. any other day this week. I look forward to speaking with you! 

The sender was David Mainiero.

Let's just hit the high points of this insanity:

1 - David is "head of the JD division".  He's a 2L at Harvard Law.  So he has, in reality, no experience other than having gone through the admissions process once himself.  Sounds familiar...where have I heard something like that before...oh, I remember now, it's like law professors, with no experience other than having gone through law school, trying to teach law!  Oh my, David is a fast learner.  Go through the process once and you're an expert.

2 - $3,749?  That's crazy.  That includes no guarantees, no LSAT prep, no nothing other than probably some personal statement guidance (again, not needed for those actually smart enough to get into Harvard in the first place), plus some bullshit resume advice, putting a rather expensive spin on things that are out of the hands of inGenius prep in the first place.  Who is foolish enough to pay for this?

3 - $150 per hour?  There are lawyers who would kill for $150 per hour.  There are lawyers who would kill for $50 per hour.  Who on earth would pay $150 per hour for what amounts to nothing more than proofreading?

Interestingly, it appears that David learned to scam people long before he set foot in law school.  Let me introduce you to David Manero, a former restaurateur from Florida.  According to news reports, Manero has been sued by his former business partners for embezzlement, extortion, money laundering, stealing about $1,000,000 from the group to fund his family and their lavish lifestyle, and is being investigated for theft by the FBI.

His son?  One David Mainiero:

. . . David Manero, whose restaurant wonderland in Delray Beach has turned into a nightmare. Oh sure, the restaurants he ran — Vic & Angelo’s, The Office and Burger Fi — seem to be doing fine, but David is nowhere in sight. Which had the Atlantic Avenue rumor mill working overtime with claims that his partners had him banned from the premises and that the FBI wanted him for illegalities . . .

. . . By the way, out in Laguna Beach, Calif., on the Pacific Coast Highway, a former KFC restaurant (on land previously occupied by a used car lot) is set to reopen in June as BurgerFi. The developer? A 2012 graduate of Dartmouth College, who has family ties to Southern California but also spent summers working in his family’s Florida restaurants, beginning as a server. His name: David Mainiero. (Yes, father and son spell their names differently.) Young Dave told the left coast media he thought it would be a good way to earn money for law school.


Like father, like son.  Obtain money through deceit, just another generation of Ivy League scammers treating everyone else like cattle, pieces of meat to be used and taken advantage of.  But that's our David Jr., now happily at Harvard and heading up an admissions consulting company.

He'll make a great lawyer.



The square-jawed David Mainiero

52 comments:

  1. What a bunch of doucherockets who add no value whatsoever to the typical applicant (and they know it).

    But hey, preying on fear of a byzantine system of arbitrary oligarchs seems to be the way to go in law (e.g., the application prep scam, the textbook supplement scam, the bar prep scam, the C&F scam, the CLE scam, etc.)

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  2. I thought Harvard had higher standards than this.

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    Replies
    1. You know, they may have higher standards than this for incoming students, but he's no worse than most of their graduates. He's just a step ahead of the others.

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  3. $3,749? That's similar to the cost of bar-prep courses, although now its probably gone up too. At least there you get outlines, practice tests, and some form of "instruction."

    Soup-to-nuts? More like "kick-to-nuts." Gawd bless scamming 'Merica, where the connected, preftigious heirs to the throne throttle the peasants for an extra few bucks. Sure beats actually working for a living.

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    Replies
    1. Kick to nuts. I like it!

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  4. This somehow reminds me of how Lego tries to market its $300.00 Death Star sets to grandparents.

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    Replies
    1. I bought one of those.

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  5. "Our counselors have scored well over 172 on the LSAT"

    Ummm...that's like saying they are all well over 6'1" tall.

    If they had scored "well over" 172, why would they pick such an arbitrary number as a reference point?

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    1. You should also ask yourself this: if the counselors scored 174+, why are they working as admissions counselors and not raking in the dough as super-attorneys?

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    2. My thoughts exactly. If they were well over 172, like 175, then why not say that they all scored 175 or higher?

      This clown is a scammer. The company is a scam. He knows what he is doing, and he knows he is taking advantage of people. He is another upper class privileged kid cutting his scam teeth on this startup company before moving on to other things like billing clients $500 per hour in a law firm for unnecessary work, or rip off real estate deals or investment scams.

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  6. I wonder if Harvard Law School is aware of the highly questionable manner in which this flim-flam man is trading off its good name for personal profit? I suspect that the powers that be at HLS might want to have a little talk with Mr. Mainiero if they knew what was going on.

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    Replies
    1. Email will be sent to deans and the intellectual property offices of Harvard, Yale, Stanford and all the other schools whose logos appear on the site.

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    2. Yes. There has to be some rule about students going into business using the university name, crest etc. Especially when the purpose of the business is directly related to a function of the university, i.e. gaming admissions to the law school.

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    3. Do mention Mainiero by name.

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    4. Isn't there an ABA restriction on outside work by students?

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Tremendous expose.

    Note that these smug scammers apparently do not offer consulting services in the one area where it might be helpful-- obtaining scholarships. They just assist applicants in crafting personal statements, for a disgusting price. That, and LSAT tutoring referrals to their buddies, seems to be pretty much the entire, uh, "truly global package" that they offer law school applicants, in spite of the torrent of puffery on their website.

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    Replies
    1. Scholarships? These people clearly are not going after the hoi polloi. People who can pay them $4k for their "services" are unlikely to be short of money.

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  9. You know, I sort of think it's fair enough he's using the Harvard name. If you take on $200,000 in debt, you should be able to trade off of your school's name for whatever. It's a 2-way street.

    Harvard is happy to use your LSAT, GPA, and even entire life story ("Homeless... to Harvard!!!") in all its advertisements, and in seeking grants and student loan dollars from the government and charities, so I think it's totally fair to use their name in return.

    David Mainero is perfectly suited to thrive in today's America. He understands that life's just about gaining leverage from whomever or whatever comes into your path. Cynical users are winners these days. It's people who actually care about some things who become victims.

    David's classmate who really wants to be a lawyer to help her clients is screwed, but David will be fine. He doesn't even have to study or work, he's already gotten what he wants from law school, i.e. the Harvard name. I bet that if push came to shove for him, he'd figure out a way to wiggle out of his loan debt, also. He is surely resourceful that way, and if he isn't, his relatives are. Pity his poor classmates who are studying day and night, and who will actually try to pay their debts.

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    1. Loans? An aristocratic brat with his own restaurant on the other side of the continent needs to borrow money for law school?

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    2. "aristocratic" hahaha

      He's just another scumbag doing his thing.

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    3. "Aristocratic" is on the mark. Daddy owns numerous restaurants and apparently managed to rip off more than $1M from his partners. Baby, an ugly-ass square-jawed scammer, becomes the "developer" of a restaurant in California while still in law school. You don't think that Baby comes from big money?

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    4. Looks like there connected to their Italian counterparts if you get my drift. Google John Rosatti, he was the partner with his old man..

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  10. The Latin motto for this Web site's ivy-bedecked crest can be FRAUDIS EXPERS 'Outside the scam'.

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  11. Is this blogpost a libel lawsuit waiting to happen? I bet it will be down in the near future....

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    1. Wait a minute David, you aren't admitted to the bar yet. You'd have to hire an attorney, a good one, for much more than $150 an hour.

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    2. Yeah - I think 9:16 raises a valid concern. I don't want to have to say 'good-bye' to one of my favorite blogs, so be careful, guys and maybe stay away from the individuals? Just because I would be PISSED if something happened to this blog...

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    3. Hi David or his co-scammer Joel Butterly from Yale. There is no libel here. Opinion and truth only. If you're ashamed, STOP SCAMMING PEOPLE instead of trying to hide your scamming with threats of libel.

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    4. I bet this post will stay up forever, like the one about Paul Pless.

      Sorry. Thanks for playing, and goodbye!

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    5. Sue. Please. The discovery promises to be highly, highly amusing.

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    6. What is with people posting on a legal blog who have absolutely no understanding of litigation whatsoever?

      Bringing a libel suit in this case would not only be frivolous, but it'd also risk a serious damage to the plaintiff's career prospects, both with their current venture and with The Law.

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    7. @4:41

      Oh, the people here posting on a legal blog know a lot about litigation - possibly more than you.

      You see, litigation has never been about legal principles. It's always been about who has the biggest pocketbook. If you don't know that yet, you probably haven't been out in the real world that much. Let me guess, you're a professor that teaches litigation at some law school, right? You probably waste your students' time talking about legal principles instead of telling them the truth about litigation: it's all about the pocketbook and if you have a large one, your chances of winning quadruple.

      Unfortunately, Mr. Mainiero seems to have a rather large pocketbook behind him - one of the reasons he is studying at Harvard I'm sure. Scambloggers - not so much. So don't waste your bennies, guys. There are much more valuable places to put them.

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  12. ^^^^ wouldn't be a hard suit to defend. These postings are only opinions for the most part, or the repeating of public information (the allegations of fraud). And of course, anybody who wants to bring a defamation suit has to go through the discovery process and open his life up to the opposing party.

    This scam is reflective of arrogance and hubris, but if people fall for it . . . well...

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  13. I enjoyed that "Top 4 admissions officer" pitch, which means someone from No. 4...except that it isn't even No. 4...Chicago is No. 4 if that even matters.

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    1. Chicago is only No. 41 in the definitive Cooley rankings.

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    2. Cooley FTW. +1

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  14. I've got to say that "soup to nuts" sounds quite impressive. How many courses is that?

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  15. Soup to nuts. Yeah. Boiling hot tomato soup right to my naked nutbag.

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    1. So you go naked into a restaurant, order some soup, and make sure it ends up down there. That's not a bad tort setup, as we found out with the extra-hot coffee thing.

      Got to keep those new attorneys working, you know...

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  16. David Manero is very different from David Mainiero its a two different person.

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    1. Yes, it's two different people. But they are related (father and son), and the latter appears to have assumed a different name to try to distance himself?

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  17. Dear bloggers/commenters,

    This is a very troubling blog entry and thread of comments, almost all of which is completely baseless. At inGenius, we advise and counsel students that need our help. In many cases, we advise students that they should strongly consider not taking on debt to attend a lower-tier school in light of the current legal job market. This is not something that is profitable for us to do, but it is a bedrock of our company's (and my) ethics policy. We also have a generous financial aid program and are in the process of having our "pro bono" division applying for non-profit status. These are not things we have to do, but things we choose to do.

    As I understand, the purpose of this blog is to expose law school as a scam because of a paucity of legal jobs available after graduation. While there may be some merit in what some law schools have done to mislead prospective students, I do not agree with your vendetta against law schools and everything associated with them. If your beef is with the admission consulting business in general, we disagree with you, but wouldn't mind your commentary or spirited debate about the issue. Your personal attacks on me, on inGenius, and on the students we work with are blatant distortions and lies and are rife with inappropriate and unjustifiable innuendo.

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    1. "In many cases, we advise students that they should strongly consider not taking on debt to attend a lower-tier school in light of the current legal job market. This is not something that is profitable for us to do, but it is a bedrock of our company's (and my) ethics policy."

      Is that before or after you take the cash?

      Delete
  18. The author of this article neglected to mention that his e-mail to the company included him posing as an undergraduate student from an elite school. He specifically requested a "soup-to-nuts" package that was all-inclusive and indicated that "money should not be a problem." At first impression, "Peter" might be a strong candidate for his target law schools. Notice how I mentioned to him that I was concerned with his application timeline (and even advised against it)...all before any prospect of actually receiving money from him. Hardly the hallmark of a "scam"...

    Before responding to "Peter's" request, I did a quick Facebook search on him and realized that Peter Carlton did not, in fact, exist. I assumed he was a competitor seeking pricing information, but reached out anyway because our prices are no secret. They are all posted on our website, which was under construction at the time of this blog post. inGenius services are more competitively priced than any peer company. See, e.g., http://www.annaivey.com/, http://lawschoolexpert.com/.

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    1. "Before responding to "Peter's" request, I did a quick Facebook search on him and realized that Peter Carlton did not, in fact, exist. "

      Because everyone has a Facebook account.

      Jesus, you're not just a douche, you're a stupid douche.

      Delete
  19. "---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Peter Carlton
    Date: Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 10:08 AM
    Subject: Request for information about law school prep services
    To: info@ingeniusprep.com


    Hi guys:

    I am looking for some law school preparation services for this upcoming year. I am a student at UVA, and I would like to move up to an Ivy school for my JD starting in 2014.

    I couldn't see any packages offered on your site. Do you have a soup to nuts type package that bundles up some LSAT prep, application assistance and anything else I might need into one simple plan? Money should not be a problem, but the site was rather shy with its prices and the details of what might be included.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Peter"


    If you are of the opinion that admissions counseling services are useless, you are entitled to that opinion. However, your allegations that our company is a "scam" and that I personally am a "scammer" (square-jawed, to be specific) are completely unwarranted and libelous. There are a great many people that benefit tremendously from our services, and for you to call them "stupid" because you do not consider find such services to be worthwhile is extremely arrogant and elitist. Do you also believe that students who seek after-school help or tutoring in a particular subject are "stupid" and being "scammed"?

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  20. Also, I am baffled by your criticism that we do not offer "any guarantees" of admissions. Of course, we don't...that would be a scam. Your circular logic seems to say: your company is a scam because it doesn't guarantee people admission, thereby scamming people.

    One commenter said that I am "trading off of Harvard's good name for profit." Not only do I take issue with the insinuation that I am doing something improper, but I also would urge you to consider exactly what law students (or students at any undergraduate or graduate institution) are doing when they send e-mails to potential employers from their school e-mail address, or with their school mentioned in an e-mail signature, or by putting their school's names on their resume, etc. You pay tuition (and a lot of interest on that tuition) for the privilege of benefiting from the education AND reputation of a school.

    All of your hateful comments, especially from behind the veil of anonymity are loathsome, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. If your mission is to help people make more informed decisions, you should do so in a much more responsible fashion.

    Regards,
    David Mainiero

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    1. " I am baffled by your criticism that we do not offer "any guarantees" of admissions. Of course, we don't...that would be a scam."

      Uh, no, it wouldn't. It's called a money-back guarantee, e.g. "Your LSAT and GPA place you in the admissions range for school X. If our consultants fail to get you into school x, we will give you your money back."

      It's what legitimate companies do to back up the value they provide clients and customers.

      " exactly what law students (or students at any undergraduate or graduate institution) are doing when they send e-mails to potential employers from their school e-mail address, or with their school mentioned in an e-mail signature, or by putting their school's names on their resume, etc."

      I'll tell you what they're not doing, and that's attempting to generate revenue for a for-profit enterprise with the illusion of endorsement.

      "All of your hateful comments, especially from behind the veil of anonymity are loathsome, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves."

      Go fuck yourself.

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    2. "I also would urge you to consider exactly what law students (or students at any undergraduate or graduate institution) are doing when they send e-mails to potential employers from their school e-mail address, or with their school mentioned in an e-mail signature, or by putting their school's names on their resume, etc."

      Such students are putting their school's name to its intended use. You, on the other hand, are using your school's name for commercial profit. There's a big difference.

      "I also would urge you to consider exactly what law students (or students at any undergraduate or graduate institution) are doing when they send e-mails to potential employers from their school e-mail address, or with their school mentioned in an e-mail signature, or by putting their school's names on their resume, etc."

      Such students are putting their school's name to its intended use. You, on the other hand, are using your school's name for commercial profit. There's a big difference.

      By the way, I am deeply disappointed in the insinuation that you would try and quash any criticism of your commercial venture by wrongfully suing a blog author. I expect a Harvard law student to have as much appreciation or more for the marketplace of ideas underlying the First Amendment, than the typical aggrieved small business owner. You know damn well that nothing libelous has been stated in these posts, even prior to the author removing the word "scam" from certain passages just to appease you. Shame on the author and his commenters? Shame on you for abusing the law to chill free speech.

      Delete
  21. I misspoke above when I said - "While there may be some merit in what some law schools have done to mislead prospective students, I do not agree with your vendetta against law schools and everything associated with them." I meant to say "While there may be some merit in CRITICIZING what some law schools have done to mislead prospective students..."

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  22. Never avail ingenius prep, they are scammers, they charged me with their services but i did not
    get the result that I want to have. Never avail services under the names of Noah Greenfield, Joel Butterly and David Mainiero they are full of false hopes.

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