Casual Friday Finds The Most Unlikely Future Law Student

You meet a lot of interesting people in law school, some of whom took long and winding roads to get there.

Consider the case of Shon Hopwood. As a young man, Hopwood was a modern day Butch Cassidy, robbing five Nebraska banks, earning him 10 years in the federal hoosegow. [New York Times].

In prison, he became a paralegal, helping other inmates file certiorari petitions with the U.S. Supreme Court. One of them was so good that it impressed Seth Waxman, who was once the solicitor general.

The court received 7,209 petitions that year from prisoners and others too poor to pay the filing fee, and it agreed to hear just eight of them. One was Fellers v. United States.

“It was probably one of the best cert. petitions I have ever read,” said Seth P. Waxman, a former United States solicitor general who has argued more than 50 cases in the Supreme Court. “It was just terrific.”

Mr. Waxman agreed to take the case on without payment. But he had one condition.

“I will represent you,” Mr. Waxman recalled telling Mr. Fellers, “if we can get this guy Shon Hopwood involved.”

Hopwood is now reformed and out of prison, trying to get into law school. It’s a nice story.

Adventures in Frivolity Above The Law has a great feature called “Lawsuit of the Week” in which they usually make fun of some ridiculous lawsuit. I’ve probably linked to it here or on Twitter every week, because it’s always interesting.

This week features professional celebrity Lindsay Lohan, whose low self-esteem has led her to file a $100 million lawsuit against E-trade over its incredibly unfunny Super Bowl commercial.

The commercial features the regular E-trade baby in a webchat with a girl, who asks him if “that milkaholic Lindsay” was over.

Lohan’s claim is that the milkaholic is her. Even if it was, and boy, is it a stretch (for one thing, the baby is wearing undergarments), knowing what we know about satire and all… good luck with that.

Hopefully, you don’t know these people Inspired by Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven, came up with four people lawyers won’t meet in solo practice.  [HT: Legal Blog Watch] (It’s worth a click if only for the great photo.) It’s a pretty good list, but certainly not exclusive.

1. "Jack the partner"

Egomaniac. Narcissist. Takes credit for everything. Belittles and bullies everyone around him. Schorn notes that this type is careful to insulate clients from other lawyers, lest he lose control.

2. "Chad the associate"

Friendly back-slapper and suck-up whose true motivation is to keep track of hours billed by those with whom he is competing for partnership. "Gossips like a junior-high cheerleader and never misses a chance to second-guess a peer’s bad outcome in the courtroom."

3. "James the office manager"

Manages the office "as if it were Yugoslavia circa 1971" with too many forms, arbitrary rules and favoritism. Posts Dilbert-caliber signs in the break room. ("Everyone WILL limit their soda consumption to a REASONABLE amount, or we WILL switch to GENERIC. Thank you.")

4. "Brian the wellness coach"

The "doughy man in an ill-fitting polo" who roams the office once a week badgering people about "good health practices." Also forces chit-chat about diet and exercise and leaves pamphlets on lawyers’ desks about heart disease, Schorn says. (In my own limited experience with the Brians of the world, there is also invariably some effort to create a massage or "chill-out" room that falls apart after about six months when "Jack the partner" needs the room for a document review).

I’m not comfortable being called the wellness coach, but I probably do a little of that (minus the “doughy” part). Any I don’t want a chill-out room. I just want an office.

Legal Blog Watch came up with one of its own:

5. "Eugene the socially inept ‘genius’"

Eugene is incapable of holding a conversation about his visit to Target without side-tracking into a discussion about the potential Sherman Act ramifications. He will never have a client of his own and may never even meet a client. But if you want a 50-page memo on whether federal jurisdiction exists in your new case, Eugene is your man.

What about:

6. Stacy the seductress

Stacy knows she has to do something to step out from the crowd. She eats a diet of only gummi bears and Citroen. There isn’t a partner who doesn’t get a “wink and a smile,” no matter how much he reminds her of her father.

Or my favorite:

7. Joe the Resume Padder

Joe has more titles than Apollo Creed. PhD. CPA. JD. LLM.  Only he didn’t actually earn all of them. Sure, he started the program but he didn’t finish. He wrote a thesis but his professor didn’t accept it because of its lack of anything resembling a point. But people ask him for help in his are of expertise, and he gives it: right after he consults with a friend of his at another firm who tells him the answers and where to find them.

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