The Saga of the Entrepreneural Legal Mentor

"OK, now pay attention. I'll teach you to hunt, but it will cost you..."

“OK, now pay attention. I’ll teach you to hunt, but it will cost you…”

Attorney Kenneth Beck is reeling from a barrage of criticism he has received for placing this ad on Craig’s List:


General practice attorney with more than twenty years of experience is willing to train a small number of recently admitted attorneys, or those awaiting bar results. For a monthly fee, you will be able to shadow the experienced attorney, and learn by watching the day to day practice of law. Observe the following types of proceedings, as they occur; Civil Short Calender motion arguments, foreclosure mediation’s, pre-trial conferences, Workers Compensation and Social Security hearings, real estate closings, discovery proceedings and compliance, research and general office operations. …

The unprecedented ad, now pulled, prompted nasty e-mails from his target audience and a lot of ridicule on various legal blogs. Beck hit a nerve, obviously, in fact several: the perceived venality of the profession, the desperate plight of recent law grads in a tight market, the lack of practical training students receive in law school. Some even suggested that the ad rose, or rather fell, to the level of professional misconduct. “Will this kind of revenue producer be censured by the state bar association?”, asked the blog Law and More.

That one is easy: no, because nothing about the ad raises legitimate questions about Black’s trustworthiness or honesty, and there is no clear violation of any existing rules inherent in his proposition. Still, the question lingers: even if this doesn’t nick the Rules of Professional Conduct, is it ethical? Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: You Now Know That Your Neighbors Are Irredeemable Creeps—Now What?

“Now that you are all grown up, I want to tell you about the Duffs, and you can decide what to do…”

And you think you have rotten neighbors! Meet the Duffs.

Scott and Roxanne Duff of Leechburg, Pennsylvania found their neighbor’s Golden Retriever and new Rottweiler puppy  wandering in their yard. They called the police, who said to describe the dogs and hand them over to a local animal shelter. They finally returned the Golden to the owners, who lived on the same street, but told the police and the owners that the puppy had run away. Actually, the Duffs were in the process of trying to sell the Rotty on Craig’s List.

The next day, the owner of the dogs called police to say he had heard that the puppy was still at the Duffs’ house, as someone reported seeing it in their yard. Police inquired, only to be told, “Puppy? What puppy?”  Eventually the Dastardly Duffs confessed to selling the dog for $50. The puppy was duly retrieved from a Pittsburgh woman who police said was unaware of the theft, and reunited with its owner. Continue reading

Just So You Know The Legal Profession Is Trying…

The Massachusetts bar has suspended a lawyer for six months for running an advertisement on Craigslist offering to write  papers and essays for students to turn in as their own. The state Board of Bar Overseers of the state Supreme Judicial Court issued a memorandum April 1 announcing that lawyer Damian R. Bonazzoli was suspended from practice.  He also lost his job lost his job with the state Appeals Court.

Good. Continue reading

The Main Ethics Lesson of the Congressman Lee Affair

By now, you probably have heard the saga of ex-Congressman Christopher Lee (R-NY), a married man who was trolling Craig’s list for girlfriends and e-mailed a candidate shirtless photo of himself to prove to her that he was fit..and also, incidentally, as dumb as an unusually dumb brick. The young woman sent the photo to Gawker, which broke the story, resulting in the humiliated Congressman, supposedly a rising GOP star, resigning.

What is the most significant lesson of this rapid fall from political grace?

It isn’t that middle-aged men who don’t comprehend how the internet works should avoid e-mailing photos of themselves that recall George Costanza’s effort to flirt with the Fotomat girl, although that’s true.

It isn’t that horny and untrustworthy individuals who can’t control their libidos should avoid committing themselves to high-profile leadership positions in our government, since the public looks to them to exemplify the best in ethical values and the entire nation is embarrassed when they disgrace themselves. This is true too, but it is painfully clear that such individuals will never learn this, and we are stuck with them, at least until they reveal their true nature. Continue reading