March 07, 2007

So Let Me Get This Straight

You don't want posters to be identified so their employers can pull up bad information on them (and it wouldn't be as much fun...:

Cohen said he no longer keeps identifying information on users because he does not want to encourage lawsuits and drive traffic away. Asked why posters could not use their real names, he said, "People would not have as much fun, frankly, if they had to worry about employers pulling up information on them."

But you don't care if those posters publish information that causes other people to have (untrue) bad information pulled up by employers (which is somehow fun for them?)...

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, has published in top legal journals and completed internships at leading institutions in her field. So when the Yale law student interviewed with 16 firms for a job this summer, she was concerned that she had only four call-backs. She was stunned when she had zero offers.


"I definitely don't agree with a lot of the conduct on the board," Ciolli said in an interview. But, he said, only Cohen, who created the message board, has authority to have the comments removed. Cohen, in a separate interview, said he will not "selectively remove" offensive comments, and that when he has attempted to do so, he was threatened with litigation for "perceived inconsistencies."

Oh, and she was asking for it...

The two men said that some of the women who complain of being ridiculed on AutoAdmit invite attention by, for example, posting their photographs on other social networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace.


"I didn't understand what I'd done to deserve it," said the student. "I also felt kind of scared because it was someone in my community who was threatening physical and sexual violence and I didn't know who."


Another Yale law student learned a month ago that her photographs were posted in an AutoAdmit chat that included her name and graphic discussion about her breasts. She was also featured in a separate contest site -- with links posted on AutoAdmit chats -- to select the "hottest" female law student at "Top 14" law schools, which nearly crashed because of heavy traffic. Eventually her photos and comments about her and other contestants were posted on more than a dozen chat threads, many of which were accessible through Google searches.

"I felt completely objectified," that woman said. It was, she said, "as if they're stealing part of my character from me." The woman, a Fulbright scholar who graduated summa cum laude, said she now fears going to the gym because people on the site encouraged classmates to take cellphone pictures of her.

And, on whether or not this behavior is ethical or moral:

In another comment, a user said a particular woman had no right to ask that the threads be removed. "If we want to objectify, criticize and [expletive] on [expletive] like her, we should be able to."

In another posting, a participant rejected the idea that photos be removed on moral grounds: "We're lawyers and lawyers-in-training, dude. Of course we follow the law, not morals."

So, let's summarize, shall we?

Stupid (yes, stupid) asshats suffering from a bad case of entitlement think it's funny to ruin other people's careers, threaten rape on the internet, and malign their own profession through their behavior yet are shocked SHOCKED that their targets are angry and stand up for themselves by calling for the slander and threats to end.

It's no wonder people hate lawyers.

Posted by binky at March 7, 2007 12:54 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Blogorama | Shame | You Can't Make This Stuff Up


"It's no wonder people hate lawyers."

so some fratboys masquerading as top-tier law students act like fratboys, and that's it for all lawyers?

shall i walk down to the nearest hipster bar, eavesdrop on a couple of putatively high-brow grad students as they wax bawdy about the bartendrix, and post "it's no wonder people hate academics?"

i know you're being pithy, but painting with too broad a brush is part of the problem you identify here, and i for one am offended by the association with these cretins.

Posted by: moon at March 7, 2007 02:24 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe I'm wrong, and people really hate lawyers for their snippy attitude and faux outrage.

[insert eyeroll]

This kind of crap is why people hate lawyers. It's not because of the lawyers who help them get divorced, who sue their unscrupulous employers, or protect their constitutional rights. People (yes, I'm generalizing) hate lawyers because of asshats who do stupid shit and then say things like: "We're lawyers and lawyers-in-training, dude. Of course we follow the law, not morals." That's why these guys are so stupid. They do a disservice to their own profession, which is filled with hard-working moral people.

Posted by: binky at March 7, 2007 02:35 PM | PERMALINK

Real impact on real law students.

And Majikthise weighs in, with an on target point about rationality.

Posted by: binky at March 7, 2007 03:36 PM | PERMALINK

people hate lawyers because in this country litigation fills regulatory gaps that in other states is occupied by bureacracy (and in those countries, people hate the bureacracy). people hate lawyers because their work is serially mischaracterized by people with an axe to grind (all too many of whom are themselves lawyers by training and inclination, and pretty much all of whom are backed by an army of extremely smart and resourceful attorneys). people hate lawyers like they hate senators: they hate everyone's but their own. people hate lawyers, in short, because they only think about the bad ones -- understandable insofar as they are only told about the bad ones, whose ills often are misrepresented at that. and while i'm grateful for your clarification that "moral lawyers" exist and are okay, it bears mentioning that anyone looking for a defense of their irrational generalization that all lawyers are bad could find as much support for their position in your post, due in part to its pithyness, as they could by skimming the headlines at FOXNews.

if you're reasoning really was adequately explanatory, then we'd be laboring under a nationwide hatred of college athletes, who tacitly or explicitly rationalize their sexist misconduct (more frequent, or at least more splashy, than that of lawyers, who have them outnumbered by several orders of magnitude) by reference to their entitlement as demi-Gods on campus.

these pricks are law students. they caused terrible injury to a host of hardworking women, and that they choose to cite the profession of law in their own defense doesn't mean we should so readily cede to them the right to set the terms of the discussion. it's commentators who want to make this a referendum on the profession, who effectively accept the self-serving commentary of the criminal who tries to pass responsibility for his behavior to an accomplice or circumstance, that do a disservice to the law and to lawyers.

Posted by: moon at March 7, 2007 04:34 PM | PERMALINK

people hate lawyers, in short, because they only think about the bad ones

My point precisely. And idiots who feed that stereotype do their profession a disservice. Not to mention the disservice they do to their colleagues who are torn apart publicly.

p.s. And what would be a great idea would be for real live lawyers to smack down the asshattery and make the cretins wither back to their sniveling selves which they try to mask with the bravado anonymity gives them. And then after a scathing lecture about why lawyers do have morals, invite them to unlearn their idiocy or show them the door.

That's one of the things that to me, could go a long way toward defusing this kind of thing and showing that these morons do not represent the profession, even though they claim to do so.

Posted by: binky at March 7, 2007 04:46 PM | PERMALINK

when was the last time you wrote a post complimenting an attorney for doing a good, ethical job. to put it on the lawyers to prove that lawyers are good and moral and professional, by and large, is asking a lot, given that their credibility is so low. the commentators have far more power to mold people's perceptions than those whose perception is at issue, for better or worse. when was the last time you went out of your way to compliment a lawyer's professionalism? there was something over at ObWi in the past few days noting the tremendous professionalism fitzgerald showed in the way he went about his work, but those sorts of pieces are few and far between.

there's a blaming the victim thing here. if you recognize the fallacy of bootstrapping in other contexts, why not in this one? most lawyer self-policing happens behind the scenes, which is a terrible place to mold perceptions. notably, most bar exam applications require far more proof of character -- in excess of the mere absence of a criminal record -- than the licensure requirements for any other profession. these gentlemen may well find themselves in a difficult position when they seek licensre, but rest assured, if they are denied licenses, it won't be front page news and it certainly won't make whatever passes for the front page of the blogosphere. and that's not something one can blame on the profession. would that every profession with some claim to authority on matters esoteric had to run the gamut we lawyers do.

Posted by: moon at March 7, 2007 07:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well, let's see, in my case we have a whole series of posts and comments about good lawyers who were being unfairly sacked, and posts about lawyers trying to stand up for civil liberties, and the poor bastards trying to defend Jose Padilla and the Gitmo detainees. And I posted about women lawyers who were unfairly discriminated against. And more about women lawyers who despite all their hard work don't make it to partner. And, well, that's just searching for the term lawyers and scanning for my name. True, I've said some bad things about what the Bush administration has deployed its lawyers to do, but that's hardly a critique slamming all lawyers. If you have a bone to pick about first shooting all the lawyers, try blaming it on someone else. I don't think you ought to go far up that road with me, because there isn't any traction.

Blaming the victim is what the asshats did... the random colleagues they chose to put on their site, make spectacles out of, and refuse to honor their wishes not to be part of the asshattery, and then blame them for having taken vacation photos.

Or were those not the victims you are concerned about? Surely you can't mean the asshats?

Or perhaps you mean the decent honest lawyers, the ones who my original post was meant to defend from the reputational carpet bombing of juvenile asshats?

Blaming the victim? What complete and utter bullshit.

I blame the asshats, in case you need it spelled out again, for causing damage to the rest of the profession.

And because in a response comment several items down I suggest that maybe it would be helpful if the law community supported the victims of slanderous mobbing and scolded the perps who run around claiming to speak as lawyers, suddenly that makes the whole law community victims?


But now that you mention it, I did check around (technorati) some law blogs to see what they had to say.

[crickets chirping]

There were two of decent size that linked the story: Leiter (who covered and condemned this issue in the past), and Althouse who not surprisingly, sides against the people with breasts (as usual).

So, why do you now claim that it should be my job to stand up for good lawyers (disregarding the fact that on this page alone and repeatedly in the past I have done just that) when the law bloggers don't?

It doesn't seem like law bloggers care enough to post on the issue in the first place, even if they are well-equipped to do so themselves.

And they're aren't really standing up for their female colleagues here (except for Leiter)... who of them stands up for the women lawyers? Gosh! None!

And law blogs don't talk about ethics? And justice? And professionalism? All of which this tawdry issue touches on? Of course they do. You talk about denying licenses and character. What about a simple blog post "wow, that kind of behavior is unprofessional, unethical, and juvenile, and it makes us all look bad." Heaven forfend!

You have a very strange sense of justice, when, in a discussion about very real lawyers (or almost lawyers) who are suffering under the deliberate persecution of their peers, all the concern goes toward the rest of the community, the bystanders.

Posted by: binky at March 7, 2007 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

thank you for the reminder that you've written about lawyers that you don't think are bad people. and certainly you're right that you've stood up for lawyers who've done work that laypeople tend to see as odious, or reflective of bad character, rather than part and parcel of an ethical professional (the taking of undesirable clients is an "aspirational" goal under the model code of legal ethics), and for that too i'm grateful. that you've written about lawyers you don't dislike, however, is very different from posting about lawyers who've done a good job just for doing a good job, rather than as an aside in a post about sexism, the excesses of the bush administration, or whathaveyou. of course, people behaving well are pretty boring.

my blaming the victim point -- which is clear, but since you had so much fun assuming the worst of me i feel compelled to respond -- was simply that, if no one trusts lawyers, they're in the worst position to convince people that they're trustworthy. does the liar's paradox ring a bell? and although anyone who can read knows i'm not defending the asshats, i'll sink low enough to answer what you sink low enough to insinuate -- the "victims" i'm talking about are not the asshats. bla bla bla.

in reaching for the most sexist, inhospitable interpretation of what i've written, in any event, you blew right by the crux of my complaint, which i can make no more explicit than i already have:

while i'm grateful for your clarification that "moral lawyers" exist and are okay, it bears mentioning that anyone looking for a defense of their irrational generalization that all lawyers are bad could find as much support for their position in your post, due in part to its pithyness, as they could by skimming the headlines at FOXNews. (emphasis added)

that's it. that's all. not what you intended -- which i understand, appreciate, and have acknowledged n times, which is n-1 more times than i should have to -- but the fact (notably unrefuted) that your broadside tone fuels a fire that's unfortunate and singes most lawyers simply for donning the title. semantic quibbles to prove a point i concede don't ameliorate the harm done by language that plainly, and intentionally, echoes the hollow, injurious rhetoric of the lawyer-baiters on the right.

i'm really not sure why you're so disinclined to have a discussion with me in a normal tone of voice, but i have very little interest in being shouted at.{/"faux outrage"}

Posted by: moon at March 8, 2007 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

You two can continue to fight among yourselves - but Binky please don't fall into the trap of reading things into non-events (lawblogs choosing not to write about this). As we've covered here, not writing about something doesn't necessarily signify anything.

Posted by: Armand at March 8, 2007 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you Armand, but our esteemed comrade was trying to make quite a point of a supposed non-event here. My discussion of the non-event on legal blogs was to highlight the question of why should he make a big deal about me not defending lawyers (in which he was incorrect, btw) and not of lawyers not defending lawyers. Aside from the fact that he likes to believe I have some interest in persecuting him and his fellows, of course.

Posted by: binky at March 8, 2007 01:52 PM | PERMALINK
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