Can You Sue Your Way Out of Stupid?

Matthew Richardson Columns, law school, Lawyer 5 Comments

I just heard about class action lawsuits against Thomas Cooley and New York Law School for not accurately representing the job prospects of their alumni to prospective students. That’s kind of like the soldiers at the beginning of “Saving Private Ryan” suing the generals for misleading them about their prospects when they got off the boats. Maybe things have changed a bit since I went to law school but those two schools have never been too highly regarded. As I recall, they were mostly used as punchlines.

Typical Cooley Convo

“Hey did you hear about the guy who scored the lowest LSAT score in US history.” “So what’s he doing now, working as a toll booth operator?”
“No, he’s in his second year at Cooley.”

Typical New York Law Convo

“Hey, I heard you got into NYU Law School, congrats man, that’s so impressive.”
“Actually, I got into New York Law School.”

So, don’t pretend to be shocked that most of these students are struggling to find jobs and have turned to the court system to make them whole. I have to agree that, if these schools were juking the stats and saying that 90% of their students get jobs within 9 months of law school, its pretty disingenuous of them to count going back to their old jobs at McDonalds. But, at the same time, I say you knew what you were signing up for and, if you didn’t, shame on you.

Here’s some tips for avoiding the fate of those students.

  1. Don’t go to law school if you don’t get at least 150 on your LSAT. I just picked this arbitrarily, but you can’t hustle your way into having a logical mind. Either you do or don’t have the requisite skill set for this profession. Just like if you vomit at the sight of blood, you shouldn’t go to med school.
  2. Don’t go to a bottom tier school without a scholarship. I don’t know much about the tier system or where the above mentioned schools rank, but it’s a safe bet that they aren’t on the first page of US News and World Reports Top Law Schools. If it’s between a mid-tier school and one of these bottom feeders who are offering a free legal education, it might be worth considering the free ride. In this day and age that mid-tier school is probably struggling almost as badly to get their alumni jobs as well.
  3. Spend all your time in law school learning another skill. And make that skill gambling. I know people say law school is really intense, and 1st year it pretty much lives up to the reputation. But I think we can all agree that there is time in your schedule for outside learning. I remember seeing lots of people spending time in class playing poker. I’m pretty sure I saw one of them on ESPN’s World Series of Poker.  If you can’t get a job then you can at least spend your time at the casino or in one of those shady suburban games where you hustle rich people. Also, you could probably pick up lots of clients. Lots of those guys have alimony suits and someone’s gotta help them with the pro se paperwork.
  4. Open your own practice where you barter your services. It’s a fact, no one wants to pay to be represented by a lawyer with a crap degree. But if all they have to do is give up their limited edition GI Joe collection, it’s a win-win.  Maybe you won’t be able to pay your rent with figurines, but you can then go into a pawn shop, get money for that and make rent. Maybe even get on that show “Pawn Stars.” Doesn’t that sound like fun?
  5. Make funny commercials. Team up with a bunch of other unemployable rejects and be self-deprecating.

    “Hey, do you want a lawyer who went to a top school and has all the answers? Or do you want a lawyer that knows how to party.”

    “We’re not the smartest lawyers, but face it, you’re not the smartest client.”

    “Do you want a lawyer that is good in the courtroom…or do you want a lawyer that’s good in the bedroom?”

Feel free to use those gems. And I wish those poor saps luck in their frivolous lawsuit.


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  • Quadoz

    Hahah, I love it. Having gone to that crap law school…on a scholarship.. I can’t help but agree with everything you said. I worked full-time and kept my midnight job when I got out. I suppose that makes me an employed graduate under the percentage system.

    If you’re going to go to the crap tier schools, you need a skill set beyond law school. My niche is my other job. It creates a client pool for my law practice. Cops have terrible financial sense and their personal lives are beyond messed up. Hello bankruptcy and divorce filing.

    If you’re doing the traditional route of undergrad, LSAT, straight to law school…I wouldn’t recommend going to any crap tier law school.

    Just one person’s opinion. Matt, great writing as usual. Keep up the debauchery. There is a like-mindset out here with you brother!

    City Cop by Midnight, Rookie Lawyer by Day

  • Ellen

    I have a very good degree and am a member of the BAR (NY) in GOOD standing, so I know it pays to work HARD.

    The manageing partner gave me a new assigment today and I am going to do a DEPOSITON of a CLIENT for him b/c he is going to be on Vacation.

    If I do a good job, he said that I will soon start directly working with him on interogatories.

    My dad says that I will be like Angie Harmon on TV pretty soon. I am pretty like her so I am SO excited.

  • Jeff Koons

    How about another tip for avoiding the fate of those students: Get on Bitter Lawyer and pretend you have a big legal career in New York or LA or wherever it is you pretend you are from.

  • Michelle Beth

    Ah, quite a “come on, be real” moment from the Unethical & Amoral. Well, think of any lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise, as a much needed stimulus for the depressed legal job market.

    • Guano Dubango

      I agree with this post. But Matt is still my man, with the ladies!