Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Alaska Has Something to Be Proud Of: It Ain't Sarah Palin!

Lawmaker wants Alaska's first medical, law schools
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska lawmaker has pledged to add schools of medicine and law to a state that has neither.
State Rep. Scott Kawasaki says he'll file legislation before the Alaska Assembly reconvenes in January that would create the graduate programs.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Alaska is the only state without a law school, and one of the few states without a medical school.
Kawasaki says Alaska suffers from doctor shortages and high legal and health care costs.
University of Alaska system spokeswoman Kate Ripley says adding graduate programs would require an analysis of student demand and the work force needed to staff both schools.

Dear Rep. Scott Kawasaki,

Please leave well enough alone.  Your state has a relatively small and wealthy population.  Don't you like it that way?  Adding a bunch of poor law grads won't make legal fees more affordable--it will glut your legal system with malpractice cases and leave many Alaskans with below par legal representation. You will have an influx of law students to your state that will bring down the median income upon graduating.  They will have no real skills to contribute to the Alaskan Economy.  I can see through your lies, Mr. Representative.  You obviously want a cash cow in the state, but I hope that you will be able to live with the repercussions of your actions.  It's one thing to hear about homeless crazies dying in the harsh Alaskan cold--but a whole different thing to deal with the over-educated and underemployed law school grads taxing your meager welfare system.  Think better of this whole plan.  There isn't a state in the Nation that needs a law school. Your state is better for not having one.  


Angel the Lawyer

Monday, December 27, 2010

Law Students Behaving Badly: Using Their Knowledge for the Greater Good

So, does the bouncer have to worry about a lawsuit?
Thanks tipster!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

USNWR: Don't Overemphasize Ranking When Choosing Law School

Kaplan did a study to determine what dumb lemmings use to choose a law school.  The report revealed:
30 percent of test takers say that a law school's ranking is the most critical factor, followed by geographic location at 24 percent; academic programming at 19 percent; and affordability at 12 percent. Only 8 percent of respondents consider a law school's job placement statistics to be the most important factor.
USNWR isn't happy with the overemphasis on their rankings stating:
The U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings spotlight the country's academically excellent law school programs in many areas. However, they should be used by prospective students as just one tool in the process for picking the best school for them. Many other factors that cannot be measured need to go into such an important decision, including the overall cost, location, course offerings, school culture, job prospects, advising or mentoring opportunities, and campus life.

I read this tidbit as follows:  give all law schools a chance!

Yah right.  Ranking is the only thing that matters to Big Law--arguably the ultimate end result for many law students.  Let's go through the factors that USNWR focuses on:

overall cost: important.  But one must note that the cost has no correlation whatsoever of cost with quality of education.  So you could pay out the ass for a TTTT education and pay less for a T25 education.  Or you could pay very little for an unaccredited school, which is definitely worse than paying for Harvard or Yale.

location: important, but no so much if you go to a T14.  A T14 degree will travel all over the United States.  However, a TTTT education is arguably a regional degree--if that.  Case in point, New York Law School.  Probably not worth it in New York, and worth less outside of New York.

course offerings: Not important at all.  Law school is boring and bland, whatever class you take.  Furthermore, many of the classes listed in the catalog are not offered EVER.  Or they are offered so infrequently, that you will never get into the class.  Also, although your GPA is supremely important--employers don't give two shits what classes you take.  If you take many classes on entertainment law or labor law, that does not equate a job in entertainment law or labor law--because no one cares.

school culture:  Who cares and how are you to figure that out without going?  My Tier One school advertises itself as being a small and intimate law school environment with friendly professors.  I even spoke to hired guns (students) that lied about the school's culture.  It was small, but that's where the description ended.  I never met so many snobby students and professors in my life.

job prospects:  Once again, with law schools lying through their teeth about employment stats, how are you to know.  The only way you can be certain that you have job prospects is by going to a T14 or, arguably, a T8 school.

advising or mentoring opportunities:  Once again, who the hell cares.  Even the shittiest of the shit law schools will claim to have mentoring opportunities.  After all, there is no shortage of graduates.  It's dumb to make a decision based on this.  If you go to a T14, it may be unnecessary--because you'll have something better, a well-connected alumnae base.

campus life:  You already went to college.  Grow the fuck up.  I don't care if Harvard or Yale have the lamest student life out there--that is the appropriate law school to go to.  This should not be the basis of any adult decision.

Maybe USNWR is trying to take the heat off of their roll in the demise of tens of thousands of people every year.  Maybe they feel badly that TTTT schools get the shaft.  This is a load of bull honky and is to be disregarded.

Yale of fail.

What the hell is this snake thing?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is a Prestigious College Worth It? More Importantly, Would You Believe What These People Have to Say About It?

With the state of unemployment today, one must ask whether a college education is worth it?  Since most people view college as a non-negotiable, the question becomes; is an Elite College worth it?
So, once again, the ineffectual New York Times examines the issue by quoting studies conducted by... guess who?  Elite college educators.  Should we buy their self-serving studies?  Here's some of the notable points:

...One of those authors, Scott L. Thomas, a sociologist who is a professor of educational studies at Claremont, said high school students and their parents should take any attempt to apply broad generalizations to such personal choices with a grain of salt.
“Prestige does pay,” Mr. Thomas said in an interview. “But prestige costs, too. The question is, is the cost less than the added return?”
Among the most cited research on the subject — a paper by economists from the RAND Corporation and Brigham Young and Cornell Universities — found that “strong evidence emerges of a significant economic return to attending an elite private institution, and some evidence suggests this premium has increased over time.”
“Education is a long-run investment,” said Professor Eide, chairman of the economics department at Brigham Young, “It may be more painful to finance right now. People may be more hesitant to go into debt because of the recession. In my opinion, they should be looking over the long run of their child’s life.”
I'm happy that RAND was involved because it's relatively objective.  Of course, it should be noted that "RAND is also the home to the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, one of the original graduate programs in public policy and the first to offer a Ph.D."  So, I guess they are in on it too.  So, I credit them and discredit them in one paragraph. Lovely.
I don't know who is better suited to provide an unbiased study of the actual value of an elite college education.  However, I'm certain that educators will never tell you that an education, elite or not, is not worth the cost.  It's funny that these educators are cited in an article that directly affects them. It would be comical and absurd if car manufacturers were quoted in a story claiming that expensive cars are safer than inexpensive cars.  So why does an article like this make it into the esteemed New York Times? I'll tell you why, because we respect educators and colleges.  We expect that they will be honest and truthful when they have proven to be anything but.  Just look at the way they rip off students.  If you remember, in the post I did about No Sucker Left Behind, it's apparent that colleges see their students as an ATM.  A few examples, once again:
1. Bait and Switch Scholarship: The first year that I attended FYU (Fuck You University), I was given a scholarship based on ... hell, I didn't know. I had good grades in high school, so I assumed it was based on merit.  I filled out a FAFSA, and I got a scholarship.  At the end of first year, I filled out another FAFSA. I had a 4.0 (all of college actually)--so I assumed I would get the same financial package, but the scholarship was gone--POOF.  It was gone. I asked about it and I was told that it just wasn't available to me anymore. Classic bait and switch.  Give the freshman a great financial aid packages and pull out the rug from under them and they are stuck.  What are they going to do, transfer?
2.  FYU had an average sports team.  One year, the school made it to finals or playoffs or whatever they are called, and the next year, tuition went up by 20%.  As it turns out, the reason why schools give a shit about their sports team is NOT school spirit.  Rather, it's the greatest marketing tool ever.  If the team is doing great, then you can justify a hike in tuition.  Oh yah, alumna love to donate money to their schools when the sports team is doing well.
3.  Did you ever wonder why vital classes were offered only once a year, and not in the summer?  Why can't organic chemistry be offered every semester when it's the prerequisite to so many majors?  It's not JUST because the professors are lazy shits.  It's also because, if you don't fix your schedule perfectly, you're forced to enroll for one additional semester. I was wondering why so many people graduate from college in 5 years, rather than 4.  That's why!
In the end, I don't even care what the premise of the article is.  Educators would never discount a college education altogether, as they should, because they make too much perpetrating a fraud on America. The issue shouldn't be whether an elite college is worth it, it should be whether a college education is worth it.  They are nearly all over priced. College is a great experience, it's true.  But it doesn't make you more marketable.  It's a luxury, i.e. reserved for people who can afford it--but you'll never hear it from the educators.  Who would put themselves out of business?

Nanny State?

I was watching Fox News.  Yes, I watch it sometimes. I also listen to 770 a.m. so that I can get a daily shot of adrenaline.  I get so angry, but I do it nonetheless.  I'm sure my blood pressure is super high as a result, but I'll never know since I don't have health insurance.  I have three jobs, but no health insurance--it's great.  So, I would love to share the clip with you, but I can't find it.  The title was "Nanny State." There were four talking heads criticizing young people--ages 16 to 24--for being unemployed.  Apparently 1 in 5 people in that age group are unemployed.  That's a whopping 20%.  The reason why they're unemployed is not the obvious reason, because they are no jobs.  Rather, it's because young people can easily move in with their parents upon graduating, can apply for food stamps and are now under their parents' health insurance until they are 26.  So, it's because they're lazy.  One of the guests said that young people would do well by digging ditches like immigrants (his words, not mine) to learn a valuable lesson about life.  Then, the ugly guy from capiltalistpig.com said that it's the minimum wage that's keeping young people unemployed.  I started to nod my head, thinking that the minimum wage is too low for young people to sustain themselves.  NOPE.  It's too high, so that small business can't afford to hire more young people.  Of course, I'm no genius, but I would have loved to be on the show to state the obvious:  young people can't find jobs because older people (like me) are taking those jobs.  Why would you hire a 22 year old to do a job if you can find a 30 something year old with a proven track record to do the same.  Furthermore, most young people don't want to go away to college and then move back in with their parents.  Living with your parents is demoralizing.  Young people don't want to live with their parents.  We need to trust that young people, if given a living wage, will quickly move out of their parents' home.  And as for food stamps: if you've applied for food stamps--please tell me here.  I want to hear about it. I know many people who are unemployed and they have not applied for food stamps--they eat lots of tuna and oodles of noodles and manage, somehow.  We don't have unemployment of 20% in the 16 to 24 age range because young people have too much of a safety net.  What parent, in any crisis, would allow their children to become homeless if they didn't have to?

There's a major disconnect in this nation.  People are so caught up in their own success to understand why others are not doing so well.  Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you criticize and berate others.
Jonathan Hoenig-the Capitalist Pig.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kenneth Starr did What???! Wall of Shame: Jonathan Bristol

I had to google Kenneth Starr when I read this story.  Nope, it's not the same Kenneth Starr, the one who almost ousted our President and the one who was most recently the President of Baylor University and the former professor at both George Mason Law and Chapman law and the Former Dean of Pepperdine Law School.  His name has been hijacked by another Ponzi Schemer.  This is old news, because it happened in May, but here it is:
The SEC previously charged Starr, Starr Investment Advisors LLC, and Starr & Company LLC with violating securities laws pertaining to custody of clients' assets and misusing client funds to buy a multi-million dollar luxury condominium on Manhattan's Upper East Side, among other things.
Starr was arrested in May and indicted on 23 counts of fraud and money laundering involving $59 million. Starr was a financial adviser to several celebrities including Uma Thurman and Martin Scorsese. 
What's newsworthy today is that his attorney was charged with taking part in this crazy scheme.  His attorney, Jonathan Bristol, is being accused of using his attorney trust accounts to as conduits for Starr's clients' stolen money.   The SEC charged him today.

Bristol had a legal and professional responsibility not to assist Ken Starr in conduct that he knew was unlawful," said George S. Canellos, director of the SEC's New York Regional Office. "Bristol crossed the line from lawyer to conspirator when he failed to safeguard funds entrusted to him, helped Starr steal client money, and lied to the victims to perpetuate the scheme."
According to the SEC, more than $25 million belonging to Starr's clients flowed through Bristol's attorney trust accounts. Without his clients' authorization, Starr would transfer their funds into the attorney trust accounts. Bristol would then transfer the stolen funds to Starr and his two companies for Starr's personal use.
Is that money laundering?  I wonder what his cut was... Hmmm.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“College essentially provided them with nothing”...

Sound familiar?  Well, given the difficulty of finding a job as a college or professional school grad--it should be.  Except this statement was made by a Chinese man, Zhang Ming, in China. Yes, the world's biggest super power, China, took a pass-go card through middle class prosperity to over-education and under-stimulation. And you thought this was an American problem.  Think again!
In a kind of cruel reversal, China’s old migrant class — uneducated villagers who flocked to factory towns to make goods for export — are now in high demand, with spot labor shortages and tighter government oversight driving up blue-collar wages.
But the supply of those trained in accounting, finance and computer programming now seems limitless, and their value has plunged. Between 2003 and 2009, the average starting salary for migrant laborers grew by nearly 80 percent; during the same period, starting pay for college graduates stayed the same, although their wages actually decreased if inflation is taken into account.
The latter paragraph sounds much like what we have going on in the good ol' U.S.A.  Of course, we shipped our factory jobs to China--so there is no comparison in that respect.  Arguably, the college grads in China have it worse though.  Since their parents are farmers and factory workers, they can't take their children in when they fall on their over-educated faces.  Instead, they are living in a modern day ghetto of intelligencia:

Liu Yang, a coal miner’s daughter, arrived in the capital this past summer with a freshly printed diploma from Datong University, $140 in her wallet and an air of invincibility. 
Her first taste of reality came later the same day, as she lugged her bags through a ramshackle neighborhood, not far from the Olympic Village, where tens of thousands of other young strivers cram four to a room.
Unable to find a bed and unimpressed by the rabbit warren of slapdash buildings, Ms. Liu scowled as the smell of trash wafted up around her. “Beijing isn’t like this in the movies,” she said.
Wow.  That makes your momma's basement sound lovely, doesn't it.  In china, they call their unemployed graduates "ants":
Chinese sociologists have come up with a new term for educated young people who move in search of work like Ms. Liu: the ant tribe. It is a reference to their immense numbers — at least 100,000 in Beijing alone — and to the fact that they often settle into crowded neighborhoods, toiling for wages that would give even low-paid factory workers pause.
We call educated people "poor." It's easier and requires no sociology report.

It's nice to know that we're not alone.  China took our factory jobs, but is suffering nonetheless.  I said it before and I'll say it again--an education is a luxury that many can't afford, especially when it results in lesser earning power.  It's the possibly the worst investment out there.  Connections will get you farther.

Thanks tipster!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Take that Professors! Finally They Feel the Pain...

Start at 10:00 or just read this article.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stanford Law Launches Another Study of the Legal Profession. YAWN.

Does anyone believe that Stanford Law School with research support from the Sidley Austin Foundation will produce anything that will rock the boat in the legal profession? Here is a description for our non-lawyer readers who have never heard of Sidley Austin and its foundation (i.e. tax relief and marketing tool) :

About the Sidley Austin Foundation

In 2006, the international law firm Sidley Austin LLP formed the Sidley Austin Foundation. The Foundation was created to provide organizations in need with the means to support their philanthropic goals. Since the creation of the Foundation, the Foundation has made donations to such organizations as Legal Aid Society, Equal Justice Initiative, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, among other legal interest charitable organizations. The Foundation also supports a range of nonprofit activities throughout the nation.

Back to the what they plan to learn from the study:
The objective of the multi-year study is to describe and understand the state of the profession, including trends and emerging developments. The study will seek to develop policy recommendations to help law firms adapt their business models to better meet the needs of their clients and of a rapidly changing legal market. It will also consider the implications of these changes for legal education.
This sounds like another biased Biglaw study in conjunction with a top 3 law school to look for ways where Biglaw firms and top law schools can adapt (i.e. continue to make their millions while ignoring deferred and laid off lawyers with $200k student loans) to the imploding legal market rather than find solutions to stop the bleeding. Their findings will likely not reflect the broader legal market, the offshoring of legal jobs, and the implications the changing market will have for the thousands of unemployed attorneys, current law schools students, and recent graduates.

Some of our unemployed readers may also be all too familiar with Sidley Austin as they laid off 229 of their employees last year. Sure sounds like a great firm to trust to produce unbiased, statistically accurate numbers and recommendations to build a better business model, right?

Columbia Drug Dealer Still Wants to Pursue Dream to be a Lawyer!

Ivy 'weeder' eyes law school

Last Updated: 3:04 AM, December 9, 2010
Posted: 1:43 AM, December 9, 2010
One of the five Columbia students busted for alleged drug-dealing in frat houses and dorms not only plans on returning to the Ivy League campus once he makes bail -- he also wants to go to law school.
"Going to Columbia was my dream, and I plan to finish," said Chris Coles, 20, in an interview at the Manhattan House of Detention, a day after the arrests rocked the university.
Coles, an anthropology/political-science major who allegedly sold $5,000 worth of pot to an undercover cop to finance his tuition, said he wants to attend California-Berkeley's exclusive Boalt Hall Law School after graduation.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hump Day Horror Stories: Don't Go!

I had a good week.  Remember, I'm a hustler.  So I have used my law license to get a broker's license and I have had a couple of listings.  Haven't been able to sell one yet, but I was showing a condo to an older lady and she said something that made me smile.  One of my clients was calling me non-stop (a divorce client and YES they do that) and I had to take the call in front of her.  She said, "Oh, you're a lawyer too?"  "Yep.  I am," says I.  She said, "Oh, Lawyers aren't doing too well anymore.  My niece regrets going, she's earning nearly nothing."  The message is spreading.  It's taking time, but it's happening.

Many people come to BIDER by googling "what happens when I default on student loans."  I know we talk about it in roundabout ways, but i thought I should look for more illustrations of it.  So, I went over to studentloanjustice.org to look for stories about lawyers who are behind on their loans.  Here is a sampling of what happens when you anger Aunt Sallie:
I finished law school in Pennsylvania in 1998.
I never received a summer internship/clerkship and due to family problems back home I only worked part time in the summers for solo-practitioners.
When I graduated, I moved to California but never got any job offers.
So I moved back to Virginia and "temp'ed" at big lawfirms in D.C.
I got paid $10-15/hr to move boxes and file papers in a suit.
It was mind numbing and had NO potential to grow into a good job.
I had passed the VA bar exam too, but without a summer clerkship, nobody would hire me.
I left to work in the booming Internet field in 2000, but my company was bought by WorldCom which ended up going bankrupt and I was laid off in 2002.
I paid my loans up until that point, but after being harassed while unemployed and having them capitalize my interest every time I took a deferment, I gave up.
I took out $80k in Federal loans and needed an additional $20k in private loans to cover living expenses for the 3 years while in school.
Now my loans are in default, I still don't have a job or a career path.
While I was in major job hunt mode, I was rejected for being too nice, requesting too much salary, and even at Starbucks I was rejected since I came from the Corporate world instead of the restaurant industry!
During all of this, I developed severe clinical depression and contemplated suicide since my life appeared to have all but stopped.
I have started my own business and I am doing OK, but now I am being sued for some of my loans.
I don't have any savings and the only thing I own is a car which might be taken to satisfy part of the judgment for my outstanding loans.
Bankruptcy was meant to give people in dire need a fresh start, and that is exactly what I need.  If nobody will hire me in my profession that I went to school for, and my backup profession didn't pan out, I could use some assistance, not a demand for the FULL amount!
I have no idea what the future holds for me and I feel embarrassed for my family and friends that I am in this situation.  I was just trying to better myself and instead I am FAR worse off than if I had not even gone to college!  A simple life is all I want.  But the ridiculous size of my loan payments compared to my earnings make just eating a struggle.  If it were not for friends and family I would not be here today, but I am tired of being a burden.  And sometimes the only way I can stop thinking I am being a burden is to .....
Thanks US Government and Sallie Mae for turning a creative, intelligent, funny, & athletic human being into a suicidal piece of societal detritus. At least they will have to write off my loans when I am gone.

I went to law school specifically to study environmental law so that I might work in the public interest to save our resources for future generations.  I attended Vermont Law School, where I was only able to attend because of the availability of student loans.  When I graduated, my debt was nearly $100,000.  When I first graduated, I took an entry-level position at a small non-profit, and I was immediately forced to consolidate my loans because I could not have afforded the payment otherwise.  When I consolidated, in 1996, interest rates were high, so I became locked in at 8%, which the loan company told me was a good deal, as interest rates could be as high as 12-15% or more if I accepted the "floating" interest rate.  Since I needed some stability and predictability in my monthly loan payment, I locked in at 8%.  Now that interest rates are lower, I've tried everything to find a way to lower the interest rate.  And for ten years, I've been paying a huge student loan payment, and I still have another $60,000 to pay off! 
I've stuck to my guns on doing public interest environmental work, so I have continued working for state government or non-profit organizations, and I currently make less than half of what starting associates make at law firms.  But, as a result, I have no savings, next to nothing in my retirement account, and I've not been able to purchase a home.  With the real estate market spiraling out of control, my chances of being able to afford a home now are next to nil.  I am absolutely outraged that this country allows people who simply want to better themselves, and in some cases, help to better the world, and instead of helping these people to make a contribution, we are penalized and financially crippled for a lifetime.  It is absolutely criminal in my mind.  What can I do to help bring this issue to light?  I just saw your editorial in the Baltimore Sun, and I was so relieved to FINALLY see that there is an organized movement on this issue.  -Meredith Lathbury, Vermont Law School, Class of 1996, non-profit environmental attorney.

I was admitted to one of the top 14 law schools in the country. And while I did well there I was forced to take out $150,000 in student loans. I know that is a lot of money but I figured this is prestigious, I can get a job making six figures. 2 years after graduation I was still unemployed (I had above average grades but I for some reason no one wanted to hire me). While collection notices came in I just ignored them, figuring the government would have some program for those of us who couldn't afford these extortionate rates. I filed for bankruptcy (which got rid of my 50,000 of credit card debt) which did nothing to stop the loan officers from the DoE. As it stands now I owe 412,329.57 (they expect monthly payments of nearly 4,000) and I am still unable to find a job. I am screwed, I think I will probably kill myself.

I graduated from law school in December of 97. I have paid on my student loans off and on over the past 9+ years and have paid back an estimated $75,000 on a loan that when I graduated was a little of $100,000. When I last checked the pay off amount it was over $135,000 and that's with paying $75,000 + over the past 9 years. I owe more on it now than when I took them out !! One of my loans is in default, they claim I owe them $23,000+ (which somehow jumped from $17,000 in a span of about 30 days) My two other lenders are close to defaulting and I am unsure if I should just let them default. I mean whats the point of paying on these things if you own more on them after 10 years then when you started. Who cares if I owe this money after I die of old age. I am self employed and all of my clients either pay in cash or write a check so the chances of them getting money from a garnishment is low. If after several years of not paying these blood suckers anything wont they eventually roll over and offer you some type of settlement ? I spoke to a friend from law school about 2 years ago and he had defaulted on his loans and he claims they offered him a buy out settlement. He did not own a house at the time, had no real bank account, or car or anything of any real value, he was self employed and worked out of his Dad's office which was in his Dad's name. Is this tactic workable ? Simply give them nothing for several years if needed and wait till they know they are not going to be able to collect then ask for a settlement amount ?
I don't advocate suicide, but interesting that dying
is the only way to relieve you of student loan debt.
Don't you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Is this Article about North or South Korea? Either Way, I'd Rather be There than Here.

Joking of course.  I'm not going anywhere, but I definitely have respect and admiration for whichever Korea after reading this....
Quotas--for attorneys?   Obviously, the Korean Government has been reading BIDER and they see the writing on the wall [The Wall Reads: "Unemployed and Homeless Attorneys Coming Soon!"].  The Korean Government, unlike the ABA, wants to control the lawyer population--much like New Jersey controls the black bear population.  Failure to do so, will result in many ruined lives.  The Korea law students are on crack and possibly opium--wanting limitless access to law licenses.  They are clearly short-sighted.  I actually have more than a few readers from Korea and I advise you to spread my warnings far and wide.  You will be us in thirty years.  Read below and weep for our comrades:

About 3,000 law school students have signed written pledges to quit their schools in a collective protest against the government’s move to limit the number of lawyer licenses to be issued to graduates.
They staged a large-scale rally against the move in front of the Ministry of Justice in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, Monday, a day ahead of the government’s deliberation to decide on the exact quota for successful test takers in the 2012 bar exam.
They represent more than 80 percent of a total of 3,827 students registered at 25 law schools nationwide. 
Korea is basically heaven for lawyers:
The dispute began after it was reported that the ministry was considering capping the ratio of successful bar exam takers at around 50 percent of all graduates. Under the government policy to limit the number of new lawyers, only around 1,200 graduates will be given licenses each year. The government and the association of lawyers believe the market is already saturated here and the number of new lawyers should be checked. 
You don't have to look too far to see the results of doubling and tripling your lawyer population.  Nevada?  New York?  L.A.?

Many lawyers [are] concern[ed] that adding more than 2,000 will lead to a “collapse” of the whole industry. 
“Many junior lawyers have struggled to land a job since the government increased the number of successful bar exam takers to 1,000. The situation will get worse if the number of new lawyers is not restricted,” said lawyer Lee Jung-hwan at a recent conference. 
He also expressed concerns about the entry of unqualified lawyers into the market. “The government should put priority on how to maintain quality services,” Lee said.
That Lee dude is right on the money.  100% of our law student population has no idea how to practice law after graduation...but somehow the ABA is not concerned.

Perhaps, we should do away with the ABA and give the responsibility of governing our profession to the entity that picks us up when we can't find jobs after graduation--the government.  After all, they provide out of work attorneys with unemployment benefits and food stamps.  The government also causes the problem by funding our educations.  Maybe they are best situated to stop the problem by limiting the number of lawyers who may practice the law--going in the front end or out the rear end of the this monster that they have created.
That's how to get their attention.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tom Cooley LS: 4 Campuses Too Many

This video is a joke.  Thank you, Tipster!  Only one alumna.... only one.  And bunches of students talking about how ready they feel.  Gag!

Discounted Tuition at UNH School of Law... Hardly News.

Believe it or not, University of New Hampshire School of law is discounting tuition for in-state residents.  A whopping $4,000 off every year if you're in-state and an additional $4,000 if you're enrolled at University of New Hampshire undergrad.  That's $8,000.00!
Of course, that begs the question.  How much is tuition at UNH School of Law?  $39,000.00 a year.  That means, if you graduate from this school with $93,000 of debt for tuition alone.  That's no bargain.  UNH School of Law will be affiliated with Franklin Pierce in the fall and its number 9 in Intellectual Property.  However, it's still not worth it.  This would be real news if they cut tuition in half.  Nice PR game.  Try again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kaplan: LSAT Prep is Not Enough...

Kaplan School of Law?  Really?  Kaplan is shopping for space in Southeast D.C. ... for a law school because Catholic, American, Georgetown, GW, GMU.... UDC... Howard are not equipped to pump more grads into the already saturated Nation's Capital.
Stop the madness!
Of course, there's nearly nothing in the article about whether there's actually room in the market for another law school.  It's mostly about real estate value and what a bunch of students spending loan money can do for the area.  There is this statement:
Kaplan's backers argue that it offers important opportunities for low-income students. Washington is already home to law schools run by American University, Catholic University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia.
Unless they are charging a buck for law school--I find this to be a lie, a farce, a major misrepresentation.
There was a link in that blurb... "argue" which I hoped would direct me to the website where the costs for attending KSL would be spelled out.  NOPE.   Instead, it directs you to an article about how Obama is trying to tighten the supply of federal monies to schools opened by companies and their major lobbying efforts against this type of legislation.  Not helpful.  They need that money to line their pockets with the over inflated tuition, I'm sure.

Anybody who decides to attend this new school is an idiot.  There are plenty of options in that area and no reason in the world to sink so low--unless you want a one-stop shop.  I'm joking of course... there is no benefit to a one stop shop in the law.  I hope Kaplan goes under.

Please Vote for Us! Don't Make Me Beg!

Just got this in my email today...

Dear Blawgger, 

As an author of one of the more than 3,000 blawgs in the ABA Journal's online directory, we thought you'd want to know that our annual Blawg 100 list was published today. 

Now the real fun begins. We've invited our readers to vote for their favorite blogs from among the top 100 in each of 12 categories. Voting ends at close of business Dec. 30. Winners will be announced in January.

Each year, our favorites list sparks debate about the state of the blawgosphere, legal blogs that didn't make the list, and how lawyers can benefit from writing and reading news and analysis being produced online every day by their colleagues worldwide. 

So we invite you to point your readers to the Blawg 100 and continue contributing to that conversation.

Thank you for the news and analysis you provide the legal community on your blog.

Edward A. Adams
Editor and Publisher
ABA Journal

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Class of '11: Things are Looking Up!

I put up a poll (to the right) recently.  I neglected to include a couple of categories.  Maybe I'll do it again and include an option for "Legal Employment-JD not required" and "Part-time" and "Government."  Sorry I left y'all out.  But feel free to comment here and tell me what you're doing.
So, with a little over a week left on the poll, I've noticed that most of my readers are unemployed--still looking for a job and hopeless.  That's a whopping 30%!  The next biggest category is Employed in a field unrelated to the law with 25%.  I can't believe that over 50% of my readers aren't currently employed as attorneys.

Well, I was forwarded this article.... entitled "Class of '11 will see slightly better jobs outlook."  Promising, right?  Well most of the article discusses undergrads.  For BIDER readers, there is no good news:
...Interest in graduates with associate, master's and professional degrees like medical, law or veterinary is expected to fall, with the exception of Ph.D.- and MBA-level students.
How can it fall any lower?  Well, with 45,000 new law grads on the market in May 2011, it's not really a surprise.
And I don't buy that things will get better for college grads either.  I have a good friend who has an undergraduate degree in.. I'm not sure.  She's nearly 40, so at this point her degree is meaningless.  But she has experience as an office manager of a law firm and a PR firm.  She's versatile, I suppose.  When she combs the Internet for admin level positions in New York and New Jersey--she finds plenty o'jobs.  Problem is that most of them pay $10/hour.  How is anyone to survive on that?  What about rent?   What about transportation.  This is New York Shitty!

Unfortunately, the fodder for this blog is never ending.  I don't see an end to this recession.  Do you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Apparently ANYBODY Can Teach a Class at Marquette School of Law: GO BUD!

In case you haven't heard of it, it's in Wisconsin.  Yah, I haven't either.  All besides the point.
What does it take to be a Law School Professor?  One might think... a law degree?  NOPE.  Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball is now a distinguished professor of Sports Law at Marquette.  I have a feeling he may have had in house counsel to handle the sports law stuff, but.. I guess I could be wrong.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has been named to the adjunct faculty at Marquette University Law School as distinguished lecturer in sports law and policy.
“Bud Selig is, without question, one of the most skilled and accomplished professionals in the sports industry today,” said Joseph D. Kearney, dean of Marquette Law School. “We are truly honored that he would commit his time to our students and grateful that he’s chosen our classrooms as a place to pass down his significant wisdom to the next generation of leaders.”

It never occurred to me that someone other than a lawyer or a judge could teach the law.  I could understand if he taught in a business school, but are they serious about this?  In my humble opinion, this is a new low. Why doesn't Jay Z start teaching Entertainment Law at Brooklyn School of law?  What about Linda Tripp teaching a class about Privacy and the Law to AU students?  This type of appointment makes a law school education seem even more inadequate.  Most all of my professors were Harvard and Yale Law School Grads and I loathed and despised them for their inability to tell me about the actual practice of the law.  After all, most brilliant professors are failed practitioners.  This is one step below the inexperience of lawyers that are too brilliant to practice.  Are Marquette Law Students happy about this?  Drop a line if you have an opinion about this dude?  Is he truly brilliant?  I don't do baseball so I would love to hear a little bit about him.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pro Bono Attorneys: Necessary and Problematic

Practicing law can be rewarding.  It's fascinating to use the law as an instrument to help your client.  Sometimes a client walks into your office that has a "golden" case.  For example, a caring a doting mother that is seeking sole legal custody of her daughter because her ex-husband is a violent, druggie psycho.  That's a case I'd jump on any day.  There are a million and one tools that will enable you to achieve the desired result.  The only thing that throws a wrench in it, is that the husband walks into court with a pro-bono attorney.  The other attorney is green and eager to learn.  The husband has all the time in the world because he's unemployed, and none of the costs associated with protracted litigation, and will torture your client until she yields.  She can't keep up with the costs.  So, in the end, despite your advice and because of your mounting legal fees--she is forced to settle.

This scenario plays out every day.  It's not fair to your client, but there's little that you can do other than stop the clock.  Legal fees are such a huge factor in what a client does, and it has nothing to do with the law and justice or what's right.  It breaks my heart, but if your client can't afford to keep fighting the good fight--you must settle.

In divorce cases, you're actually forced to exchange retainer agreements.  I imagine that this came into practice so the Court can make sure that the parties are fighting on even ground.  Unfortunately, this has become a formality and means nothing.  However, you can bet the spouse that is paying $100/hour will go farther than the spouse that is paying $400/hour.  And it has nothing to do with the merits of the case.

In debt collection court, there is an army of volunteer attorneys.  These volunteer attorneys won't put in an appearance, but they advise the debtors of their "rights," thereby strong arming the creditor's attorney into settling for pennies on the dollar.  I don't have much sympathy for creditors, of course, but I can see where the costs of collection is transferred to other debtors.  Kind of like the costs of stolen merchandise forces a store to increase the prices on all the merchandise to account for the loss.  If you owe it, you owe it.  Unless you declare bankruptcy, why should you be allowed to settle for pennies on the dollar?

This is obviously one of my pet peeves about the practice of the law.  Much of the motivation to cease moving forward comes from the amount that must be paid to the attorney to do so.  I wish I knew how to even the playing field.  My feeling is that attorneys and politicians should be eating from cans and working because of their passion.  However, with the cost of becoming an attorney today--it's become hard to take on a case for a reasonable rate because you "believe" in it.  Attorneys have fallen into two camps--those that charge an exorbitant rate to survive and those who charge nearly nothing for the experience and the hope that they will one day be able to charge an exorbitant rate.  Should we all be doing this for less?  Or are attorneys' fees the leverage that all parties need to settle?

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Law School Transparency: Discussions with Kyle

Earlier this week I pitched an idea to Kyle McEntee, the founder of Law School Transparency. For those of you that don't know, LST is a non-profit watchdog organization that was established with the hopes of getting the law schools to spill the truth on their employment statistics.  As Kimber covered in Shilling Me Softly, LST released the law schools' answers to their initial request for information.  Most of them, except for Ave Maria School of Law, declined citing reasons such as "compliance costs would be to great" or "privacy issues."  I admire what LST is doing, but I'm not surprised.  Even with the ABA's recent consideration of a proposal requiring that Law Schools provide accurate data to incoming students, the law schools are still resistant.
Well, back to my conversation with Kyle.  Here's was the idea that I pitched to him:

Why don't we go over the law schools' heads?  Why do we have to wait for them to comply with LST's requests?  With the scam bloggers' assistance, we can post a survey or a link to a survey on LST's website and ask the "people" what they are doing after grad school.  We can even open it up to graduates who, like me, are years out and now finding themselves living below the poverty level.  I realize that it would be nearly impossible to get 100% percent to report.  However, if we got 10 of 100 graduates from TTToilet school of law to answer the survey claiming that they are unemployed--that information would debunk the statistics of that same school which claim 95% employed 9 months after graduating.

Well, he had concerns.  One of the concerns he cited was verification.  For example, a spiteful law school grad could fill out the survey from several different ISPs claiming that he is unemployed to screw up the statistics for his school.  I, for one, would never lie on a survey like that.  I guess I feel like the truth is probably bad enough, why lie?  Plus, I really want to know the truth.  I'm curious.  But today, two comments on Hardknock's post earlier today made Kyle's concern very real to me:

EvrenSeven said...
It's a certainty that any student who participates in this program won't receive an employment survey from the school after 9 months, because they will already be considered "employed" and won't even have a chance to answer.
When I get mine, I'll be answering as "unemployed and searching" to make up for at least one person who hasn't responded to a survey in shame.
NOVEMBER 16, 2010 12:55 PM  
Anonymous said... 
Even though I was working, I made sure to put myself down as unemployed and searching when mine came.
NOVEMBER 16, 2010 2:41 PM  
Oops. I guess I don't understand the mindset of new grads.  His point came through loud and clear.

He had other concerns as well.  He doesn't want to discredit his organization by providing false statistics.  I guess the scam bloggers have been discredited.  I know that we're referred to as whiners, etc.  People want us to do something.  I think that my idea is the "something" that needs to be done.  I, unfortunately, have no idea how to go about doing it.
LST seems to have lots of faith in the ABA coming through with higher standards for law school.  Of course, I don't.  At the end of the day, I feel that the ABA (made up of Biglaw Partners) has an interest in keeping labor cheap.  I'm sure the organization would decrease tuition if it were in their power, so that the cheap labor wouldn't be so cash strapped.  If that is their real intent, then any proposal that would affect the number of law students that attend law school and slow down the flow of cheap labor as a result is not likely to be a priority of the ABA.  We differ on that point.
In any event, I'm fully behind LST in its efforts.  I hope that the ABA brings the hammer down on the law schools for defrauding students every year.  In the meantime, I feel the weight of 45,000 students on my shoulders every May and the pain that many of them must feel when their expectations are dashed.  I hope that I'm not considered a whiner.  My goal is to put the information out there for those that are open to it, and help steer some students correctly.  I know that everything we post is skewed by our opinions, but we're we aren't dishonest. We stand to gain nothing by telling people information we wish we knew before attending law school.  That is the God's honest truth.
So, what do you think of my idea?  Do you think its something I should approach LST with in the future (after the ABA doesn't deliver)?  If so, do you know how to do it?  Maybe we can talk.

University of Miami Law School Pays Unemployed Grads $2500 Each Month to Work at ShitLaw Firms

Several days ago, Angel wrote about Georgetown Law manipulating its employment statistics by providing $4,000 stipends to unemployed graduates to participate in law-related volunteer programs. TTT schools such as University of Miami are also getting into the act to boost its employment numbers. Firms and courts will get free labor in the form of unemployed UM grads who in return will receive a $2500 monthly stipend from UM.

Is UM Law doing this out of the goodness of their heart or is it another way of boosting employment stats to match Cooley Law's 100% employment rate? You decide. After all, a few hundred thousand dollars spent on temporary employment for doomed graduates is a small investment for fake employment statistics that will surely fool thousands more into taking the LSAT and borrowing $150k for a useless degree. The article also mentions fellow law school scam blog Shilling Me Softly and the now defunct Big Debt, Small Law written by Seton Hall graduate Scott Bullock:

A righteous anger has been seething from the most unlikely and urbane of American institutions. Inside ivy-shaded law schools from Columbia to Berkeley, students facing six-figure debts and zero job prospects are howling that JDs aren't much more than university-approved scams.

Dozens of blogs such as Shilling Me Softly have stirred the wrath, and last month a Boston College student earned headlines by begging his chancellor to give him back his tuition. "It's really just a Ponzi scheme," a Seton Hall law student and blogger named Scott Bullock told the New Jersey Star-Ledger this summer.

The latest sign of law grads' dire straits comes from Coral Gables, where the University of Miami is trying to bolster the grim market for the 350 new lawyers set to graduate next spring by offering their services — for free.

The program, called the Legal Corps, will place graduating students without job offers at public interest organizations or judicial chambers. The firms and courts will pay nada, while UM will pick up a $2,500 monthly stipend.

"It's great to know that we've got this as a fallback option," says Irma Khoja, a 26-year-old South Florida native who will graduate next spring.

UM's program has earned accolades for its realistic approach. In 2009, the school asked incoming students to consider deferring enrollment for a year and asked would-be lawyers to check their motivations before committing.

Now, UM is perhaps the first school in the nation to offer its new grads' talents for free to public service-minded firms. The pragmatic message might be tough to stomach, but most law students appreciate it, Khoja says.

"What's great about UM is they're very practical and realistic compared to other schools who see this as just an opportunity to get more applications and more revenue," she says.

Like the vast majority of her classmates, Khoja doesn't have any offers lined up. She won't apply to the Legal Corps unless nothing else materializes — but at least it's there, forestalling any urge to join the ranks of enraged law school bloggers.

"I'm just trying to stay as positive as I can," she says, "because it's the only way to get through the semester."

Isn't it sad to see this UM student believe her school is starting this program because they actually care about her job prospects after graduation, not because they want more applications and revenue? Our colleges and universities have become corporations that only care about making a profit at any and all costs. I hope more students begin to realize this so they can stop depending on their schools and career services to find them jobs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember Hillsdale College?

I wrote about Hillsdale College back in July. To make a long story short, it's a school that prides itself in not accepting Federal Student Loans. They had an advertisement on 770 am (a conservative New York radio station) where they show off that they are a college that promotes "conservative financial values." I called them out on it because they didn't want to report the racial make-up of the school, so declined federal funding rather than coming clean. I actually found a pic of a bunch of Hillsdale cheerleaders--only one of whom was black. It has since been taken down.

In the many months since I posted, comments have popped up here and there. Many in support of the school, saying that it was a wonderful institution:

Since Hillsdale took it's bold stand, the government's demands have increased far beyond mere data reporting. As a public school student I cannot tell you how much vapid nonsense I am forced, by the requirement or "incentive" of the federal government, to endure on a daily basis. While Hillsdale College isn't perfect and apparently not your particular idea of what a college should be, the students and faculty who teach there are *free*. Free to teach and learn as they please, regardless of what anyone else (including someone like yourself) wants to impose on them. And that, my supposed libertarian friend, is what liberty is all about.
(Someone who actually knows something about Hillsdale College)
P.S.: Before the invective comes, a short biographical note: I applied and was accepted to Hillsdale a couple years ago, but personal circumstances at home prevented me from attending. Nonetheless I maintain friendship with the students whom I've met there, who are a fine set of folks. I wrote this to set the record straight for those unfortunate enough to stumble upon this page in a Google search, as I had.
Maybe you should visit the college and see what it is actually about, rather than making hasty judgments based on a website and an outdated picture of cheerleaders. In fact, when is that picture from? Hillsdale actually just brought back the cheerleading program this fall, so I'm pretty sure it's not recent. If Hillsdale is so racist, I'm wondering why Federick Douglass was a supporter....
I attended Hillsdale College, and graduated in '02. It is a great private school. Having studied at a variety of public and private schools and in England, Hillsdale remains the great educational experience of my life. Small class sizes, an outstanding classical curriculum, an impressive lecture series (I remember listening to Benazir Bhutto talk there, before her assasination), and incredibly engaged Professors (I remember many weekend parties at professors' houses, and parties to which profs were invited, where we started drinking wine and ended up debating Nietzsche or Cicero or Plato all night. Try that at your average public school). It is true that the student body is largely white, but the great diversity of thought encouraged in the classroom, and the emphasis on fundamental liberties would make anyone feel comfortable there. Hillsdale was one of the first schools in the country to ban in its charter discrimination. I actually did have an openly gay friend at the "Dale, by the way....not a common thing there, but definitely possible. He was a fairly popular student. Thanks for the forum....
Then today... vindication! Thanks for the comment, anon930!

Okay, maybe (and I'm not sure) I was wrong about the race thing. But Hillsdale has come out against Homosexuality on Campus. Once again, I think to myself, "Conservative financial values, my ass."

I wish that a school would open that would adhere to the federal guidelines for race and equality and non-discrimination, but decline the federal funding because of conservative financial values. Hillsdale is obviously not that school. As a libertarian, I resent that conservative financial values and bigotry have joined hands at this institute of higher education or as a party platform at all (i.e. some of the teabaggers). I'm sure the Hillsdale cheerleaders will defend this school again, as they did before. What do you guys have to say about your alma mater?
The picture of racial diversity, right? How many of these pics do I need to find to prove my point?

Millionaire College Presidents Grow Along With the Soup Line for Their Graduates. When Will American Students Take a Stand?

Something you won't see in America anytime soon. Students in London protesting a tuition hike from - don't laugh - $9,600 to $14,400 in tuition a year. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Things aren't going too well for the young people in the UK. Many of them are just like you and me; highly educated, overqualified, and underemployed. One unemployed masters degree student in the UK has resorted to standing on the street like a hobo asking for any type of work.

So I was very proud when I read that our British counterparts weren't just going to sit on their asses and do nothing about skyrocketing tuition rates whilst their nation goes to hell in a handbasket. Why isn't a tuition protest on a scale such as the one in London last week happening in America, land of the free and the home of the brave? Why aren't parents, students, and unemployed graduates storming the universities with pitch forks for raising tuition to pay its presidents more than $1 million each year?

Thousands of students in London are willing to be arrested and scuffle with armed policemen to stop the conservative party there from increasing tuition by a mere $5,264. That is chump change for American students nowadays. Isn't that how much American students spend to eat in the damn cafeteria?

I think we are pass the point of trying to be nice with these people. For those of you who attended one of the 30 colleges who pay their president close or more than $1 million per annum: ask yourself how much of your non-dischargeable student loan debt went to paying these scumbags along with their country club membership. Are you angry yet? You should be:

Thirty presidents received more than $1 million in pay and benefits in 2008, according to an analysis of federal tax forms by The Chronicle of Higher Education. More than 1 in 5 chief executives at the 448 institutions surveyed topped $600,000.

Most of the pay packages were negotiated before the full force of the recession. But even if the numbers dip slightly in next year's survey, executive pay is expected to keep climbing over the long term as colleges compete for top talent. And schools are rewarding executives while raising tuition, exposing themselves to criticism.

At large research universities, the median pay was $760,774; it was $387,923 at liberal arts colleges and $352,257 at undergraduate and graduate colleges and universities.

The highest paid executive in the Chronicle survey was Bernard Lander, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and sociologist who founded Touro College in New York in 1970. He died in February at 94.

Lander received a compensation package of nearly $4.8 million. In a statement, the college said $4.2 million of that was retroactive pay and benefits awarded after an outside consultant determined Lander had been "severely underpaid."

Several deals reported the Chronicle survey, which covers the most recent available data, included deferred compensation or other unusual circumstances. Comparisons to past years aren't possible because of changes in how data is reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Colleges were asked to report salaries by calendar year instead of fiscal year as in the past, so most dollar amounts overlap with what was reported the previous year.

Another change: Perks including first-class air travel, country club dues and housing are now included in reported pay.

In 2007-2008, 23 presidents received more than $1 million. As recently as 2004, no college president had broken the seven-figure threshold.

While some presidents on the latest list lead ultra-selective schools such as Columbia, Yale and Penn, executives from schools such as the University of Tulsa and Chapman University in Orange, Calif., are on it, too.

Not all the most elite schools are represented, either. The presidents of Harvard, Princeton and Johns Hopkins all were paid in the $800,000s.

"Value is in the eyes of the beholder," said Jeffrey Selingo, editor of the Chronicle. "Some boards think these presidents, even at small institutions, are worth it. On the flip side, the prestige of serving at other institutions is enough of a paycheck for some."

Still, numbers in the tax forms don't always tell the whole story.

Chapman University President James Doti's $1.25 million compensation includes two "golden handcuff" deferred compensation deals worth almost $665,000, spokeswoman Mary Platt said. She said the board did not want to lose Doti, who since taking the job in 1991 has raised the school's profile and overseen expansive building projects.

He and other college presidents have donated a portion of the earnings back to the college. Doti gave a $1 million gift for an endowed chair in economics.

I knew America was headed downhill the moment the education system became a for-profit business as with our health care system and everything else that most developed nations cover for their citizens rather than having it privatized to greedy CEOs.

The real revolution against the corporate machine is now in Europe and I hope for the sake of humankind that people in other parts of the world will not allow what is happening in the United States to happen in their country. If this is the way to prevent the education scam from starting in the UK, then by all means these students should do whatever is necessary to stop it from happening. American students and recent unemployed graduates, this is how you get these leeches and swine to listen to your concerns.

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/Press Association, via Associated Press

$70 CSN Giveaway Just In Time for the Holidays (CLOSED)

Congratulations to Meaghan F. and happy holidays to everyone!

At the beginning of the fall season, I mentioned a partnership with CSN stores, and now I'm finally getting around to hosting the giveaway you all have been waiting for just in time for holiday shopping. Maybe some of you need a new dining set or barstools for your new apartment or dorm room. Others are probably trying to figure out what to buy for the holidays with money being so tight in this economy. CSN stores is a good place to start because it literally has every home and office item you are probably looking for whether as a gift for yourself or for someone else. You will never have to step foot in a department store now that all of your holiday shopping is just one mouse click away.

I decided to get a desk chair from CSN because mine was standing on its last two legs. CSN has over 1,400 desk chairs to choose from, many of them high quality and for a very reasonable price. All I needed was a comfortable yet inexpensive desk chair for my home office. I ended up with choosing the Regency Geo Bonded Leather Chair. I received it less than a week after ordering it online in brand new condition. This chair was such a great bargain and has held up very well so far. It looks great, feels comfortable, and adds a professional touch to my home office.

A lucky BIDER reader will receive a $70 CSN electronic gift card to use at any one of CSN's 200+ online stores. Hopefully this will go to one of our dedicated readers who really needs the money this holiday season. We know a lot of you who are in this position and BIDER is glad to help out in our own small way.

All you need to do is tell me in the comments section what item from CSN you would like to buy with your gift card. You get a bonus entry for following BIDER and mentioning you do so in the comments. Remember to include your contact information in the comment or email it to me or otherwise I'll have to pick another winner.

Giveaway ends December 1, 2010 at 12 noon. Good luck!

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