A Scam Blogger Finally Gets It Right: “We went to law school for easy paychecks – not to actually become real lawyers!”

May 19, 2013

This morning Keith Lee directed me to a a post written by a law school scam blogger telling anyone who decided to offer productive advice to young lawyers to just go away. I normally ignore “law school scam blogs”, which are usually stupid blogs filled with juvenile rants about the legal profession, written anonymously by disgruntled, underemployed, lawyers using toilet humor.

However, I was shocked that “The Forgotten Attorney” actually got it right on why they are so angry:

Some people hoped to win the biglaw lottery and lost. Others went because they had a choice between law school, getting a McJob or becoming a commission only insurance salesman and law school seemed a hell of a lot easier and more respectable. But most people just wanted to be glorified and highly paid employees. Basically, a large number of us should not have gone to law school in the first place and if given the opportunity, will leave the profession in a heartbeat.

You can’t motivate these people. They want to escape. They want revenge or justice as they see it. They don’t want to learn the ropes on their own. They don’t want to observe court hearings. They don’t want mentors. They don’t want to go to networking events and probably can’t afford to go either. They are angry and bitter and in my opinion, rightfully so.

Exactly.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why Pennsylvania Desperately Needs an Anti-SLAPP Statute To Protect Civic Engagement – The Dragonetti Act Is Not Enough

May 19, 2013

When most people think of the First Amendment, they think of the right to free speech. However, the First Amendment does not just protect free speech, it protects all civic engagement. The purpose of the First Amendment is to ensure that citizens have an active voice in our government. The First Amendment is not just a right to free speech, but a right to public participation. 

That right in Pennsylvania is currently in jeopardy thanks to SLAPP suits (strategic lawsuits against public participation). 

Ideally, Congress would pass uniform anti-SLAPP legislation so citizens in all 50 states enjoy the right to public participation. But until that happens, Pennsylvania desperately needs an anti-SLAPP statute because what we have on the books currently is not enough. Every citizen should be able to participate in our government, perhaps through blogging or civic activism, without having to worry about being served with a frivolous lawsuit.

Below are my thoughts on why we need it, and what it would look like…

Read the rest of this entry »


The Hustle – A Week in the Life of a Young, Self Employed Lawyer

May 16, 2013
charlie

“Oh, get a job? Just get a job? Why don’t I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land, where jobs grow on little jobbies?!”

Along with running my law practice, there are other things that I do in my spare time. Believe it or not.

To name a few, I am on the Board of Directors of the Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA), along with the FNA Zoning Committee. FNA is the registered community organization (RCO) for my neighborhood, meaning that we are responsible for providing community input to various legal bodies about proposed development. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Fishtown Area Business Association (FABA), which is the entity responsible for representing the interests of business owners in the Fishtown, East Kensington, and Old Richmond areas of town. Sometimes my involvement in these organizations involves real legal work, like when I represented a few neighbors in an effort to save historic Kensington bank buildings, which was successful.

I’m also active with the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Specifically, I serve on the Federal Practice Committee, Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, and the Civil and Equal Rights Committee. Through these committees, we as a bar association take positions on various legal issues and proposed legislation.

This week has been crazy. It looked like this:

Read the rest of this entry »


Killing Gosnell – The Value of Life in a Culture of Death

May 14, 2013

As many of you know, I was brought up Catholic. I attended a Catholic grade school, and graduated from a Catholic college with a minor in theology. While I do not agree with all of Catholic Social Thought, by and large it has formed the basis for many of my moral and personal beliefs.

Catholic Social Teaching is firm that abortion is morally wrong, and many view it as infanticide. As Catholics, we are supposed to promote what is called a culture of life. This includes opposing abortion because, according to the Church, “[l]aws which legitimize the direct killing of innocent human beings through abortion or euthanasia are in complete opposition to the inviolable right to life proper to every individual; they thus deny the equality of everyone before the law.”

So it probably comes as no great surprise that I was morally and ethically outraged at the Kermit Gosnell case. For anyone who doesn’t know, Gosnell was convicted of killing babies who were born alive during abortion procedures. I will say that again – Gosnell was convicted of killing babies who were born alive during abortion procedures. And he did it right in my beloved City of Philadelphia. I am left without words to describe such an atrocity committed so close to me.

When I heard about the Gosnell verdict, my reaction was primal. It was angry. The first thought that came into my head is “I hope he gets the death penalty, that son of a bitch.”

But should Gosnell be executed?

Read the rest of this entry »


Rakofsky v. The Internet Gets Dismissed, Streisand Effect Remains

May 11, 2013
blog9-barbra-streisand

“Remember folks, filing defamation lawsuits can have unintended consequences.”

A big round of applause for Marc Randazza and Eric Turkewitz – the attorneys who defended 33 bloggers accused of defaming Joseph Rakofsky. Yesterday the New York Supreme Court dismissed Rakofsky’s ridiculously stupid lawsuit for a number of reasons. A bunch of other talented attorneys also defended the case, including John H. Teschner and David Brickman. (Teschner is too cool for a lawyer website.) Kudos to them, too.

Of course, another huge round of applause for bloggers Scott Greenfield, Brian Tannebaum, Carolyn Elefant, Canada’s Antonin PribeticGeorge Wallace, Jeff Gamso, Mark BennettAbove the Law, Philadelphia’s own Maxwell Steed Kennerly, Mirriam Seddiq, Eric Mayer, Jamie Koehler, bannination.com, and others who chose to fight this silly lawsuit instead of paying Rakofsky $5000 and saying they’re sorry like, say, Lori Palmeri did. By fighting the case instead of paying a settlement because such a thing would be convenient, the bloggers put their personal lives on the line when push came to shove in defense of the First Amendment.

It’s always nice to see that integrity still matters to some.

So… what happened? The court dismissed the case but did not sanction Rakofsky. In dismissing the case, the court found that:

Rakofsky does not deny Judge Jackson made several comments that he was not competent and too inexperienced to provide a proper defense to Deaner in a murder trial. In fact, during the trial, Judge Jackson had two side-bar discussions with Deaner pointedly inquiring whether he was satisfied with Rakofsky’s competence and lack of trial experience. The gravamen of Rakofsky’s argument is that there was no causal connection between the mistrial.and his competence and inexperience.

The clear import of Judge Jackson’s rulings was to excuse Rakofsky due to his lack of competence and inexperience to defend Deaner in a murder trial. It is acknowledged that the Deaner murder trial was Rakofsky’s first trial in a foreign jurisdiction and with which he was totally unfamiliar, and Judge Jackson was vigilant in protecting Deaner’s right to effective assistance of counsel. Significantly, the reported fact that Judge Jackson declared a mistrial in the Deaner case was not defamatory because even Rakofsky initially celebrated the mistrial as a positive development in his career. In other words, defendants’ report that a mistrial occurred does not constitute defamation.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fishtown Law’s New Website Courtesy of Beth Blinebury Design – Some Thoughts

May 9, 2013

Leo and I started this practice back in February 2012. When we first started, we had a free website that Leo made using Weebly. Despite lack of a sophisticated website, our practice grew fairly quickly. A few months ago we even expanded our physical offices and built a conference room.

Conference room built, files organized, and things going well, we decided it was finally time to revamp the website. Note that the website was not a cause, but more of an effect.

Will it get us new clients? Probably not. Will it infuse our practice with awesome? Doubtful. Is it cool? Well, decide for yourself. Here it is:

www.fishtownlaw.com

So… what did we look for? Perhaps search engine optimization? Someone to tell the world that we’re “aggressive, caring, passionate zealous advocates?” A way to list hundreds, no thousands, of practice areas? Perhaps LexisNexis to guarantee us bajillions of page views, analytics, and all kind of other stuff? The awesomeness of Scorpion Design?

No.

Read the rest of this entry »