Friday, January 24, 2020

Graduate kept from becoming a lawyer because of enormous student loans

Readers of this site know well that debt for law school ruins many lives. But how many of us know that student loans can keep a person from becoming a lawyer at all?

Fifty-nine-year-old Cynthia Marie Rodgers got a JD from toilet law school Capital last May but was kept out of the bar for reasons of character and fitness. A panel of the Supreme Court of Ohio reached this conclusion for two reasons. The more colorful reason, which is also the first one cited, is her history of commencing dozens of lawsuits, many of them apparently frivolous if not vexatious, without knowing what she was doing. She committed the most rudimentary procedural errors and appears to have been pretty consistently unsuccessful. She seemed not to regret what the court found to be abuses of the legal system.

But the court invoked another reason: "Outstanding Debts" (pages 7–9). Allow me to quote the court (pages 8–9):

The applicant and her husband have amassed almost $900,000 in student loan debt. Although the applicant expressed that she does not have any idea how much she has borrowed, it appears that her share of this amount is about $340,000. The applicant testified that she and her husband consolidated their loans and that they are on a "percentage of income" plan, "so we'll just always pay a percentage of our income for the rest of our lives." The applicant explained the percentage of income plan as a 25 year plan, and after 25 years any remaining amount is forgiven, although it may become taxable income.

The applicant did not know what the percentage of her income was that she would be required to pay under the percentage of income plan, but "right now it's zero because of my income being so low. Once your income hits $20,000 then payments start kicking in." The applicant stated that her husband is not paying any money on the loan now either because he is "semi-retired" and "filing for disability." The applicant had no idea how much she borrowed to attend law school, or the total amount of her student loan debt. She stated that she is disabled … and is not able to work a forty-hour week. The applicant stated that "if they are willing to have me on that payment plan, then if I win the lottery then they get it. Once I became disabled * * * I knew there was no way for twenty years that I would ever be able to pay all that back." The applicant indicated that if she becomes a lawyer she intends to work part-time for legal aid.

Further (page 11):

She has openly neglected financial responsibilities, and knowingly incurred a substantial amount of student loan debt that she admits will probably never be repaid.…

The conduct described above represents an ongoing lack of integrity, abuse of process and neglect of financial responsibility.

Ms. Rodgers is eligible to try again in 2024, when she will be 64 years old. Evidently the public will be stung for about a million dollars for the sake of university education that Ms. Rodgers and her husband seem unlikely ever to use. Insouciant even of the amount of her debt or of the monthly payments, and reportedly marked with bad credit for unpaid debts that ended up being written off, she was nonetheless allowed to rack up more than a third of a million dollars in student loans.

At least the court has declined to admit to the legal profession someone so unconcerned about laws, obligations, and the interests of others. And it has labeled the accumulation of unpayable debt, including student loans, as "neglect of financial responsibility" sufficient to keep one out of the bar. How many more people with mountains of student loans will find themselves excluded from the legal profession for similar reasons?


  1. It's harmless error given the abundant good reasons to deny her unrelated to student loans, but the committee seemed to be implying a bankruptcy-type analysis, where of course taking out a debt with the intention of discharging it is bad faith. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking student loans with the intention of enrolling them in an income-based repayment plan. It's not a chapter 13; it's a repayment option that, if properly utilized, results in your loans being in 100% good standing. The committee clearly did not understand this, and the applicant clearly did not understand it well enough herself to argue the point.

    1. I think that the committee did understand that. It wasn't annoyed that she was on an income-based repayment plan but rather that she (and her husband) apparently intended to pay nothing at all. She was paying nothing and said that she wouldn't even start paying a penny until her income reached $20k. She planned to become a lawyer but work only part time for Legal Aid, apparently with an eye to holding her income low enough to avoid repayment. Hell, she didn't even know how much she owed or how much her payments would be. It is fair to conclude that she planned to pay nothing towards those student loans.

      She also had a long history of other unpaid debts that, in the opinion of the committee, established a pattern of neglecting financial responsibilities.

    2. That comment about winning the lottery also suggested a remote chance of her paying the debts in whole or in part.

    3. So let's put aside those other debts and such, because as I said, those would have been independently valid reasons without even needing to get into the student loans.

      But when it comes to the student loans specifically, I really think it's a case of bad lawyering. Simply put, she should not have represented herself.

      The IBR piece could have been argued and portrayed in SUCH a better light at whatever hearing she had. She could have said that the decision to work at legal aid was to help the poor, not to keep her income level below the point at which IBR payments must be made. She then could have argued, correctly, that as a matter of federal law IBR is a repayment plan, not a form of default, even if its income calculation results in a payment of zero. Heck, my loan servicer will even auto-generate a letter to this effect, stating that your IBR payment is not a forbearance or deferral - it is the actual payment under the repayment plan you selected.

      The 20-whatever year forgiveness is, likewise, a contractual and legal entitlement, not a point at which the government just sorta gives up. Heck, if she upped her hours to full-time she could've worked towards PSLF which doesn't even have the "tax bomb."

      But that's how she portrayed it. Instead, she portrayed it as being like her other debts which eventually drop off of credit reports if she just maintains judgment-proof status long enough. It's like she was freely admitting "yeah I screwed my creditors and I'm proud of it."

      As the committee put it, her portrayal of IBR amounted to saying it was just another form of ignoring debts "until they disappear." She didn't really know why she didn't have to make payments, she just knew that for some reason, she didn't have to make them as long as she stayed broke.

      In other words, in her mind IBR is just like other creditors who tend to give up eventually; the only difference is that the government puts it in writing and tells you up-front exactly when and how they will give up on getting anything out of you.

      If she had simply had a better grasp of what IBR is and why it was that she did not have to make payments, she could have fared better on that aspect of the case. Again, don't know it would've changed the result given all those other issues, but the IBR aspect of it should not even have been relevant and probably wouldn't have been if it had been competently argued.

    4. Yes, she did a bad job. You or I could have handled the matter with much more aplomb. But toileteers tend to regard themselves as hot shit just because they have managed to get a little Mickey Mouse JD from some bullshit toilet law skule. Of course she wouldn't retain counsel! After all, isn't she among "the best and the brightest", one of those million-dollar holders of a Million-Dollar Degree™?

      IBR would still have been an issue, I believe, because it seemed to continue her pattern of not repaying her debts. Wanting "to help the poor" by working part time for Legal Aid is all very well, but maybe she should engage in such charity once she has shown some respect for her obligations. You're right about the nature of IBR, but it would have been open to the panel to conclude that this was just yet another instance of deliberately screwing her creditors, even though she was legitimately on a payment plan and not in default (with respect to those student loans).

      The history of vexatious litigation was enough to get rid of her. Perhaps applicants to law schools should be required to disclose their history of litigation and have their character and fitness evaluated before they are even admitted to law school. I wonder how many people like Rodgers would be kept out at that stage.

    5. Yes, I think you should go thru C&F in the summer before you start law school or something, followed by a more abbreviated process after you graduate just to make sure you didn't do something bad while you were in school, unless of course the final review reveals that you told a lie in the first one.

      Schools do attempt to screen out people who are going to have serious C&F problems at the front end, by asking questions in the admission application. But there's three problems with that. Obviously the school doesn't control what the bar would do, so they might they predict you'd be forgiven for something and end up wrong.

      Second, they just ask. They don't verify, so people who lie just have to deal with it later, and can get in additional trouble because the bar also asks the schools for copies of your admissions app. And finally, in some states the questions a school can ask for admissions purposes are limited by law. For example, my state has a law that severely limits colleges in terms of what they can ask about criminal records. But that's a law that doesn't apply to the bar, so the school is forced to ask a much narrower question than the bar does.

      The bar should conduct a real and binding C&F preclearance before people start 1L year. A positive decision would mean that the bar is precluded from later denying you for anything that was addressed in the preclearance. The post-law school C&F would just be about making sure nothing has changed, unless of course a lie is later discovered.

      Also, if bars wanted to get into debt questions, they could explore topics like how you intend to pay for your JD at the outset. But the current practice of not even looking at someone until AFTER they've invested three years and 200k in something that is useless for anything else seems unfair to me.

    6. Some schools screen applicants lightly for C&F issues. Not all do. I rather doubt whether the über-toilets, greedy as they are for money, are especially scrupulous in this regard.

      Applicants and even law students rarely get any advice on C&F expectations. I'd be willing to bet that Rodgers went through her über-toilet law school without expecting that she would be turned away from the bar for her history of corruption and depravity.

      I like your idea of a two-stage C&F process—one before law school (preferably before admission), one following the application to the bar. One difficulty is that C&F standards vary by jurisdiction. That could easily be solved with a uniform "preclearance", much like the uniform parts of the bar exams.

      Your suggestion of asking about financial matters also makes a lot of sense. I have long recommended that any application for student loans for law school require presentation of a viable and literate plan to repay the money. Most lenders require evidence of the means and intention to pay the debt off, so why not Uncle Sugar?

  2. But it’s racist and Darwinian not to allow minorities or the poor to go to school. If we don’t let people borrow any amount to attend any school for any person, well then, what are we but a bunch of misanthropes, racists, homophobes, and poor-hating scoundrels.

    Also, human nature isn’t selfish, krateocratic, and hedonistic. No. We are a well developed nation governed by liberal principles that consider and develop the well being of the entirety of our country, including Ms. Rodgers and her injured husband. Accordingly, the best solution is maximum government intervention and reliance on the decency and honesty of our very well read and altruistic countrymen, namely the individuals imbued with the power to regulate this area and the faculties of the various universities receiving educational funds.

    We all know that people do not behave like selfish assholes. Indeed, this is entirely the fault of free market enterprise and capitalism. The government, which for brevity I will note, in this instance (and all other instances), happens to be composed of the university faculty themselves (75 percent of the ABA accreditation committee consists of the faculty of law schools, primarily lower ranked schools), has done everything in its power to ensure accountability here. It’s the banks that are at fault. It’s the system that’s at fault. Why, these self sacrificing faculty members and civil servants have abandoned seven figure careers to pursue public service and foster the education of the less fortunate in our society. All we have to do is to remind them that they have to behave with the public interest at heart because self sacrifice is the way of life. Rest assured that when considering the alternatives of private sector employment in a globalized planet and tenure, six figure salaries involving no work, prestige, and leisure, these fine individuals will take the more principled path.

    In fact, the above decision really shows us how these public servants are pursuing the interests of the tax payer and the general welfare. You see, there’s no question that the deans and faculty of the fine institution in question are responsible for several hundred thousand dollars in damage. They were just trying to provide this down-trodden senior citizen with some opportunity. Opportunity that I may add would certainly have been denied to her by the patriarchy and racist where people. God Bless these educators for their self sacrifice and for reminding us that there is a better path to life.

    Of course, as the decision above notes, and penned by such astute and responsible pubic servants, the entirety of the problem is with Ms. Rogers and the institution and its angelic stakeholders have no responsibility whatsoever for the outcome in question here. I had to slap myself when I first read it because I found myself being cynical. I thought to myself: why did they admit this woman to law school to begin with given her financial record? Why didn’t the Character and Fitness committee of this fine state investigate anyone at the law school for behaving like a greed fucking pig and with complete reckless abandon as to this woman’s ability to repay her loans? Why aren’t other regulators doing anything about this? Is it possible these people are operating the government exclusively for their benefit as most people would tend to do in such a situation?

    Fortunately, I reflected on the issue, and upon punching myself in the face several times, reminding myself of my white privilege, which includes the privilege of having to compete viciously in private enterprise to make a living for myself, and pay half of my salary in taxes in order to keep enterprises like this going, it dawned on me that this woman wasn’t responsible, it’s all on her, and the institution was just trying to give her a helping hand agains the patriarchy and the other vehicles of oppression in today’s society.

  3. This story is a bit of an outlier. The vast majority of new bar applicants are 25 year olds with "new" not yet in any kind of arrears and they are unlikely to have a spouse with debt. Moreover, they are unlikely to have a long history of frivolous litigation.

    I'm sure the Ohio bar will gladly continue to admit these kids and not care a whit about the crippling debt

    1. Yes, it's clearly an outlier. Rodgers is not typical or representative of applicants to the bar. She seems to have spent her six decades sponging off all sorts of people and entities. No 25-year-old would have had the time to accumulate so sordid a history.

      But many 25-year-olds have shown an intention not to repay their student loans. Might they, if that intention came to light, be kept out of the bar? In addition, über-toilets often cater to older ("non-traditional") students. Some of these may well have a disgraceful history like that of Rodgers.

    2. That's why the decision is so dangerous. It implies that taking on student debt with the intention of going on IBR is somehow wrong. But as mentioned above, this is not bankruptcy. Taking on debts with the intention of filing for bankruptcy is a form of fraud. Taking on debts with the intention of putting them on IBR so that you can pursue a career that interests you, and perhaps one that benefits society because it's public interest or whatever, is not.

      Nonetheless, I remain hopeful that the more typical situation of a 25 yr old who gets 200k in the hole intending from the outset to use IBR, but who is doing so because that is pretty much "what you do" if you don't get biglaw nowadays, would be a very distinguishable set of facts. But the language is nonetheless troublesome, because it is not demonstrative of bad character to take debts with the intention of selecting a repayment plan to which you are contractually and legally entitled.

    3. I think that it was fraudulent in her case. She allegedly became disabled in 2001. After that, she got a bachelor's degree and a JD. She admitted to the panel that she knew, once she became disabled, that she would never be able to pay those student loans. Yet she entered university twice with the clear knowledge that she was borrowing money that she could not repay, even on IBR. That sounds like fraud to me, whereas I agree that your 25-year-old lemming would be distinguishable.

  4. Eh and blah.....

  5. ….and I was asked by a pre-law advisor at a public university and former friend of mine who has a J.D. and a Ph.D. but has never practiced law "how is the job market for lawyers in your area?" amid his or her comment that there had been a posting open for some mid level position in a state office in a midwestern state for 6 months. I replied "No one absolutely no one should go to law school period....not one....and all the law schools should be closed for 20 years at least to help start repairing some of the damage. It blows the mind of any rational person to see how this corrupt scam just keeps going on. I have worked for 26 years in this damnable pathetic business. I have witnessed scores and scores of human tragedies and ruined lives from this pathetic business. For the Ohio bar to dare refuse her admittance amid the far far more culpable players in the scam including likely themselves is the ultimate hypocrisy.

  6. 'Twerent too long ago that an article like this could only have come from National Lampoon, or perhaps the Onion.

    But now it is reality.

    And this raises the very real Catch-22, where you need to borrow $250,000 to become a lawyer, but anyone who borrows $250,000 to become a lawyer is clearly unfit to serve as one.

    I certainly would not want a lawyer who is $250,000 to represent me.

    I remember reading an article from an economist who looked at things like prices/length of time on the housing market for houses where realtors represented homes owned by others versus when realtors represented homes they themselves owned.

    And as may be expected, realtors' own houses were on the market longer and sold for higher prices. Why? Because realtors who represent others only generate income when they sell, so they want quick turnover, so they encourage settling for lower prices and quick sale.

    I fear lawyers with $250,000 in debt will do the same, whether it is jump on the first settlement offer or not investing the time and money necessary to fairly represent a client, to cutting whatever corners they can to the detriment of the client (and dare I say the public?)

    In short, I hope every C&F committee starts considering law school student debt in admitting folks to the bar.

  7. Before I go into the tirade that follows, I must say that even though I did not go to law school, the scamblog movement has been an inspiration to me. Several years ago, I started a blog about some corrupt local officials in my county, and successfully unseated all of them. I used the same tactics as Old Guy and Nando--turning information gleaned by careful research into compelling narrative, constantly harassing my targets with the truth until they went away.

    I certainly agree that the scamtoilets bear much of the blame for the current state of the legal profession. But I must say that the more I ponder this stuff, the less I feel sorry for any of the "lemmings" who went to law school after about the year 2000. Everyone in America with an IQ over room temperature has known for the past 20-30 years that there are too many attorneys. But college kids enrolled in useless undergraduate degree programs kept lining up to get into law school, not because they felt they were needed in the profession, but because, hey, it's better than working retail. It's like an overpopulation of rats that keep multiplying, spreading problems and using up resources. I think many of these "lemmings" as you call them believed that even though they were not needed in the profession, they figured they could always make work for themselves. And they have--It seems that every legal action, no matter how trivial, has become a ridiculous Rube-Goldberg type of process, with reems of interrogatories, motions, objections, responses to objections, preliminary hearings, hearings to decide to hold hearings, ad finitum. And that worked for a while. But, after all, there is a finite number of ambulances to chase, only so many criminal defendants who can actually afford representation.

    To make matters worse, some of these underemployed lawyers are going into politics. In my neck of the woods, every election has lawyers crawling out of the baseboards, trying to get elected to state legislature seats, judicial positions, and even municipal and county offices.

    Policy makers are also culpable. They have led their clueless constituents to believe that, every state needs a law school, every underserved region of every state needs a law school, and now it seems that every Native-American nation is going to need a law school to teach "tribal law" to fools thinking they can make a living practicing law in areas where most of the population lives at or below the poverty level.

    If this were happening in the medical profession, there would almost certainly be outcry among competent physicians as the death toll caused by incompetent practitioners mounted and physicians' income plummeted. Not so in the legal profession. The ABA has done next to nothing to stem the tide. So what I don't get is this: Every lawyer can be a member of the ABA, right? Do you not each have a vote? Why haven't a bunch of concerned lawyers banded together in a campaign to unseat its leadership and replace them with individuals who are willing to shut down the toilets?

    1. The answer to your question is that ever since the Clinton administration, the super rich and other parasites have really figured out how to use envy as a weapon of mass destruction against the population to rob them blind.

      The people in control of the universities, the applicable regulatory-captured agencies (ABA), and the very apex of the biglaw pyramid (individuals not to exceed 2000 nationally, e.g. full blown equity partners with massive books of business), will not stand for change.

      The Deans will come out and say it’s racist, patriarchal, and overall class warfare not to allow every single person who wants to go to law school go. When the issue of price control arises, they’ll flip the script and start talking “free markets,” as if this is anything but.

      The government will come out and say that it violates anti-trust laws to restrict supply.

      The super rich biglaw attorneys and other interests of that kind will subsidize the whole campaign behind the scenes.

      You think the average prole is going to understand that having thousands of desperate attorneys on the streets is really hurting them as it is substantially increasing unnecessary legal disputes as people try to survive? Do you think said proles understand that in ten years the government will be spending more on repaying student loans (whether by the shadow default of IBR or real defaults) than on most other government projects. If this continues, it will begin to rival the big expenditures of Medicaid, Medicare, and Military. Do you think said prole understands that his or her benefits will be cut because of this and other graft?

      The answers are no. All the prole who votes understands is “Rich lawyer bad.”

      And to your point, this is significantly increasing corruption. Desperate (and secretly bitter) lawyers in politics is a very dangerous thing...

      Finally, regarding lemmings, this thing has grown so out of proportion at this point, that there are vast numbers of very productive, capable, and already well-situated individuals getting ruined by going to law school.

      There was an article about a fucking guy who left the navy as a naval officer to go to law school (the one who got his loans discharged under undue hardship when he didn’t fit the traditional definition of the standard). At 45 and bankrupt, he makes less as a lawyer than a 22 year old naval officer. Had he stated in the navy he would have a pension and six figure income right now. Instead, this perfectly productive person was annihilated so some asshole can spout garbage about Pennoyer v Neff, and we are paying for his destruction.

      These are the fruits of big government. However, rest assured, when Sanders is elected, he’ll fix this. He will put all the right people in government, and they won’t behave like this, just like his wife (by way of non-limiting example)...

    2. Most lawyers do not belong to the ABA. Staging the take-over that you propose would require a lot of lawyers to join en masse at considerable expense. Quite possibly the ABA would respond with procedural changes akin to gerrymandering in order to keep the organization in the hands of the law-school scamsters and their cronies. Better: mobilize political efforts to strip the ABA of its authority over accreditation of law schools. It nearly lost that authority a few years ago.

    3. The ABA is losing members, last I saw. It's having massive budget shortfalls.

  8. Incredibly, Capital Law were profiling her on their website as a successful student:

    1. Jesus H. Christ!

      The article reports that she received "a competitive financial aid package" from über-toilet Capital. Oh, yes, competitive enough for her to run up more than a third of a million in student loans.

      Save a copy of that posting: something tells me that it may disappear soon…

  9. One of the problems is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes wildly inaccurate income numbers for lawyers. Taking into account the self-employed, underemployed and unemployed, the median lawyer income is maybe in the mid$70s. Compare that to debt significantly more than 1.5 times that income for most lawyers coming out of law school today.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics rates lawyers as the 18th highest paid career. Very untrue if BLS were to count the self-employed, unemployed and underemployed. Lawyers would be way down the list in highest paid careers.

    Even without the debt, lawyer jobs compare unfavorably to most other careers because of the extreme oversupply of labor and lack of job security.

    1. The statistics are dramatically inaccurate because they take into account lawyer incomes for a limited time set. At any given time the median attorney income may be in the six figures because a limited number of young attorneys will earn a high income early in their careers, but thereafter, their incomes will drop precipitously.

      If you looked at a set of fixed attorneys over their life times, the median income average income over that life time would be dramatically less.

  10. The text from the link at Capital:

    3/7/2018 -

    Cynthia Rodgers, L’19, chose Capital University Law School after graduating from its nationally-recognized paralegal program. She says that the flexibility offered by Capital’s part-time evening program, as well as a competitive financial aid package, made Capital an easy choice. But her path to becoming a lawyer was neither easy, nor short.

    “I always wanted to further my education,” she explained, “but never thought that law school would be a possibility. In part, this is because my graduate education was interrupted by two serious accidents.”

    After resuming her studies at Ohio University, Cynthia was encouraged to attend law school by one of her philosophy professors. This message was reinforced by several attorney acquaintances, so Cynthia decided to give the Capital University Law School paralegal program a try.

    Once she graduated in 2014, Cynthia began working as a paralegal for the Miller Law Offices in Columbus, Ohio. While working at the law firm, Cynthia realized how much she enjoyed the law. But she was also troubled when she encountered a number of deserving clients who struggled to make fee payments.

    So Cynthia applied to law school and, in 2015, began attending evening classes at Capital. Now she is considering opening her own small firm that would utilize a sliding fee scale to make legal services more affordable. “There are so many people in small towns who desperately need legal help, but cannot afford to hire an attorney,” says Cynthia. “I would like to help address that need.”

    As Cynthia nears graduation, she has left off working as a paralegal in order to acquire practical experience preparing to be an attorney. She particularly enjoyed her recent judicial externship with Licking County Municipal Court Judge Michael F. Higgins.

    She also has begun working as a law clerk for Operation Legal Help Ohio to assist military veterans. "The opportunity to help veterans has given me a deeper appreciation of the extent of the services they have rendered to the rest of us,” she said.

    Cynthia, who originally hails from Akron, Ohio, has come to love her adopted hometown of Dresden, Ohio, and hopes to practice there one day. She cites the town’s interesting mix of people, as well as its natural beauty from season to season, as two of her favorite parts about living in Dresden.

    1. Thanks for reproducing it here so as to create a permanent record in case the über-toilet deletes the text in light of the decision against admitting its proud alumna to the bar.

      Funny that she claims a concern for people who can't make payments but is herself one of those people. There are better ways to help others than by racking up more than a third of a million in students loans that you cannot repay. But Ms. Rodgers doesn't seem to mind taking money from the federally guaranteed grab bag.

    2. Also notice her comment about opening a firm and charging fees on a sliding scale so as to represent people who can't afford a lawyer. That comment could only be made by someone who does not worry about money coming in vs. money going out.

    3. Scamsters promote the "sliding scale", "defending the poor", and the like as viable professional options. For the most part, they are unrealistic. How is the lawyer herself supposed to make any money while offering free services?

    4. The only practical way to do "low bono" is basically limited scope representation, AKA unbundling, and to get a lot of volume. So stuff like reviewing or even ghost-drafting someone's divorce petition for a couple hundred bucks or whatever, but not actually representing them in court.

      In another version of the same idea, the lawyer pops into and out of the case periodically throughout its duration, with the client handling some aspects pro per and others represented, depending on what they need and can pay for. So it's like "OK, I'll do your temporary orders hearing but then I'm out."

      It's controversial, but my state specifically allows the practice and the state supreme court adopted rules requiring judges to honor these "in and out" appearances and disappearances, even in highly contested cases, on the theory that some legal assistance is better than none, and people can't afford the traditional model. So the old idea of "you either take a case or you don't" had to go.

      Problem is, even with supreme court endorsement, few lawyers outside of legal aid use this model. That's because the legal aid just needs to be able to get in and out to preserve limited resources. They have other funding from federal grants so they don't need to charge at all, much less worry about how to make money $200 at a time.

      But outside of legal aid, a few hundred bucks to review a petition or handle one hearing may work for the client, but the lawyer needs a TON of volume to make money that way, not to mention the increased risks of bar complaints from people whose cases go south because of something they did while pro per.

      Much easier to find 20-ish people per year who can manage to scrape together 5k for a retainer. Even if none of them replenish the retainer and so you withdraw, you still gross 100k with only 20 clients, and realistically more because at least SOME of them will replenish the retainer to keep you in.

    5. Volume is one problem. Another is the high cost of taking a matter on. Holding an initial consultation, opening a file, closing the file, keeping records—all of these things take time that really cannot be justified when the fee for the services themselves is only $200. (Anyone who is about to say that the lawyer can charge for the consultation and so on should consider how much a client with only $200 to spend on legal services will be prepared to spend on an initial consultation.) On top of that, there are expenses such as stationery and banking fees that are specific to the matter. These may be unimportant when client is spending thousands but are significant when the client is spending $200.

  11. Why would a patent law firm train minority attorneys to be their competition?"

    "Harrity & Harrity is excited to launch its first Minority Firm Incubator program to help train, develop, and launch minority-owned patent law firms. This paid program is an integral part of the firm’s ongoing diversity initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of the patent field."

    1. Presumably so no one will ask them why they didn't want to hire those minority attorneys.

  12. Who says the scam movement doesn't have some-ok limited-clout. The bunch over at College Confidential have themselves all atwitter about this case, and it's better than even money they got the initial information from OG's opening post.

    1. I didn't know that Old Guy was so widely read.

  13. Forbes picked up the article on this human. I wonder how long it will be before the scam school takes it down.

  14. At this point let me offer some general advice for the lemmings of this world by relating two stories:

    1. When I first applied for admission I had to fill out the typical kind of voluminous form which included all jobs I had ever held. In high school I had worked at a movie theater as an usher and also unloaded the weekly candy and popcorn shipment, did some painting and light maintenance and covered the popcorn machine now and then. I was a good and conscientious worker and during college and the first year or so of law school whenever I was home for the summer or on break the manager would put me on the schedule. At some point they shuffled managers and, because the new guy knew me, he did the same thing for me. When I applied to the bar of a second state, to avoid re-inventing the wheel I got a copy of my prior application as a template. I had listed manager #1 as my supervisor but someone had written on the form that he had been my supervisor to a certain date and after that it was the second manager, who was named. This was for a part time, minimum wage unskilled job.

    2. When I was living in Chicago in the mid-1980's a local activist who had gotten himself a TTT degree from a local TTT school and passed the bar was denied admission because during the Vietnam War he had signed an affidavit saying he was gay (he wasn't) as a means to avoid the draft. Jimmy Carter had given full amnesty to all draft dodgers in 1977 but it didn't matter, this man had lied under oath and was thus deemed unfit.

    Both of my stories happened before the internet was a thought in Al Gore's mind, so be on notice. They do check and if you did it assume they will find it.

    1. Maybe it used to be different, but I don't think C&F is all THAT thorough nowadays.

      They're not the CIA. They check your criminal record, your credit report, and your college/grad school academic records/applications, and they send old employers a "speak now or forever hold your peace" sort of letter asking if they have any reason to think you shouldn't be admitted. They'll probably also ask more questions about any periods of time that you were neither employed nor in school, and in the modern era a few of them might check you out on social media and google your name and such.

      You have a right to get your own credit report, FBI fingerprint record, and academic records. You probably already know if an old employer hates you enough to try and sabotage you, and you can do a quick check of your own google search results and a scrub of your social media. So for the most part, you can find out in advance what (if anything) they're going to find.

      By far the number one reason people get dinged is stupidity: They lie or omit information that they know or should know damn well is going to be in those records. Usually, the issue itself wouldn't have precluded admission but the lying will ding them pretty much automatically.

      My point is that of course you need to be open and honest with C&F, but it is not some super-secret top secret security investigative process where they go over your life roto-rooter style. It's really not that secret: You know what they're going to check and you generally know or can find out what they're going to find.

  15. A truly spectacular article on what plagues are current society and why we are in deep trouble.

  16. she was actually granted her law license and continues the same trend unfortunately of starting lawsuits