Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Breakfast With Narcissus

with 31 comments

Total Black: $129.96
Total Red: $270,000.16

Yesterday began a little tête-à-tête in the comments to Knut’s post Raise. Your. Voice. on his blog First Tier ToiletKnut alleged that he dropped my blog from his blogroll because I’m narcissistic and write about boring things like what I ate for breakfast.  So, let’s have some breakfast with Narcissus, shall we?  What am I serving up today? 

Truth.  With a little sass on the side.

I don’t have a problem with the appellation narcissistic.  Narcissus, for those unfamiliar with him, was a character in Greek mythology, a very beautiful one at that, who scorned others’ love.  His punishment by the gods was to fall in love with his own reflection and not be able to leave that pool.  Once Narcissus finally died, a flower grew in that spot.  Narcissistic has come to mean someone who is vain, who suffers from excessive adoration of herself or himself.  Hell, I’m fine with being called a god-like beauty.  But seriously, do I come across as narcissistic?  Me?

Rhetorical question.

Knut claimed in his response to me that not only was I boring and narcissistic but that a difference exists between those blogging for themselves, presumably what I do, and those blogging for others, presumably what he does.  Perhaps in a quite literal way I can be accused of being narcissistic.  Narcissus did stare into his reflection until he wasted away.  And what am I doing here but peering in at myself, trying to uncover the roots of my struggles with money and debt.  Hopefully before I waste away though!  Irony noted.  But by writing all my self-analysis in a blog I do open myself to others and thereby invite their observations, input, and feedback.  And criticism I suppose, particularly if constructive.  But I’m not blogging out of an adoration for myself.  I’m not staring at myself in the blogger’s mirror to metaphorically masturbate to my intellectual beauty.  Knut, on the other hand, has followers claiming to have deferred law school start dates because of his blog.  And a prospective Boston College law student at that.  That’s first tier.  Quite a hefty yolk to carry, and one that, in fact, often does lead to narcissistic tendencies.  Jim Jones also thought he was leading people away from pain and suffering.  Watch your step, Knut.  Fine line between inspiration and desperation.

See, Knut is a self-admitted first-tier law school graduate.  That means that he attained that brass ring.  Regardless of all else, he’ll have [First Tier] Law School’s diploma on his wall for life.  (He’s not said which school he graduated from, of course, unlike Nando or myself.)  Yet Johnny-come-lately comes to the table now, all up-in-arms now about the injustice (raise fist!) of the law schools who are raping all these students (bang fist on podium).  Reminds me a bit of white people who ran to the south to protest racism or white abolitionists.  The sort of “We have to do it for them” mentality.  Because once a first-tier grad enters the room, then validity is added to the discussion.  And curiously, after only thirty-one days, roughly seventeen posts, David Lat of Above the Law had already chimed in on Knut’s entry.  Funny how FTTers seem to sniff each other out, out there.  Or do Lat and Knut know each other?  Whereas Nando, of Third Tier Reality, has been around for some time, with Knut even anointing him the godfather of the scambloggers, and had to wait 133 days for Above the Law to notice him.  Curious.  Nando did comment that he did want FTT buy-in to his cause.  (Curious aside: in that same comment he chastised his own commenters for attacking each other on his blog yet did the same to me in a comment on Knut’s blog.)  Enter Knut.  And then he and Nando complimented each other for a while.

It’s like watching animals courting.

What’s the point of all this sound and fury signifying nothing?  Blogging is a narcissistic field.  You don’t sit down to blog without being narcissistic, even a bit, whether you’re blogging for yourself or someone else—taking Knut’s distinction (without a much of difference where narcissism goes).  To expect others to read what you have to say is narcissistic to some degree.  You put your image from that mythological lake up for all to see and you say, “Hey!  Look at me.  I have something to say too!”  Of course, you often have to jump up and down and scream louder than the hundreds of others bloggers doing the same.  Or not.  Plenty of bloggers just plod along without much hoopla.

In my comment yesterday on Raise. Your. Voice. I noted that Nando seems only to be bitching whereas at least Knut was clamoring for some action.  Aside:  not surprising that the third-tier guy claims in his comment that “[a]ll we can do is spread the word.” whereas the first-tier guy is trying to organize something.  History does rhyme, as Mark Twain is claimed to have said.  And to cite a FTTer to add credence to what this TTTer claimed, David Lat in a post from last December 2009 found them all bitter as well, including Nando.  And?  Who cares if someone calls you bitter?  Or claims that you’re bitching.  I’ve been called worse on this blog.  Instead you can own that and turn it around and use that person’s insult as your fuel.  Say, “yeah I’m bitching.  I’ve got an ax to grind about ____” or “you better believe I’m bitter.  I’ve had ______ happen to me and I want it rectified.”

But, see, bloggers don’t do that.  They just continue the pissing contest.  I’ve taken Knut’s attempted insults and woven them into this post.  In so doing, I’m taking it on and letting it go.  I believe there should be a sense of respect between bloggers for each other.  It’s not easy to slice yourself open everyday—even if not commenting about your own life—to the world for everyone to see.  And we can disagree without being disagreeable.  But that’s hard for some people.  When I noted that all Nando was doing was bitching, I got a torrent of “ass” and “dumb” and “bullshit” and “blow” tossed at me.  It’s a fairly transparent trick of debaters to resort to ad hominum attacks when you’ve got nothing else to reply with.  And use of vulgar language really shows a limited vocabulary.  There are wittier ways to insult people than to claim that they are “willing to blow associates to get extensions on [their] contract positions or judges to get clerkships.”  Or by urging someone to “Get your head out of your ass and go somewhere where your bullshit has an audience dumb enough to listen to it.” Ironically, I’ve not yet blown any associate.  Nor any judge.  And certainly not my judge.  And I don’t think that the people following my efforts are dumb.

Maybe I could come up with a bloggers code of conduct.

Sad thing is, Knut and Nando, who each (Knut) have good points (Nando) to make, have now somewhat alienated me and possibly my readers with their strict adherence to “law schools are from the devil” mantras.  Well, I guess Knut’s mantra would be “(all-but-first-tier) law schools are from the devil.”  Curiously, the text I quoted on Tears for Tiers from his blog is now gone.  But it’s archived here that he wrote that all non-first-tier law schools should go.  At any rate, I agree with them both that something needs to change in the legal industry.  But I disagree that insulting each other is the way to accomplish that.  To the extend I’m guilty of it, lesson learned.  Humble pie for breakfast.

Actually, after all this, I haven’t had breakfast yet!

Today’s good news: the check I referenced in Oops . . . I Did It Again to the New York landlord cleared though just barely, and with an insufficient funds fee.  I’ll take it though.  Much better than having to risk the landlord’s management company’s ire.  I can’t wait to be done with New York completely.  Payday today.  Time to pay the new landlord though.  And the auto loan.  Total red won’t be moving downward again for another two weeks.

31 Responses

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  1. I think you are brave in being so open. It’s very interesting to read.

    NotALawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 10:28

  2. Pretty funny. I thought all the petty name calling ended after first year? Guess not. I havent blown anyone for my job… not saying the proposition wont come up somewhere down the line. LOL. Dont let them distract you – keep serving your truth with a side of sass

    ECB

    July 29, 2010 at 11:27

  3. @NotALawyer & ECB: Hearty thanks. I was just wondering this morning, after Blade chimed in, why it seems—with a few execptions—that only negative commenters take a second out of their day to comment. And then I checked the blog and there you two were! :)

    I love when Life says, “umm . . . nope” to my inner conversations.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 11:35

  4. So what did you have for breakfast? But seriously. . . [name redacted -LL] comes across as a psycho in his blog. At first it was funny but it has long since collapsed into pathetic and formulaic. Every post follows the same pattern:
    State the tuition and assume no scholarship
    Laugh at the school for being in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th tier etc.
    Assume that all students will borrow the entire cost of living expense.
    Not mention grants, public service loan forgiveness etc.
    Post disgusting picture.
    Moderate comments (I’ve had a few mild comments removed. I also have a feeling he is using sock puppets in his comments section. . or that other people really are that delusional too. That might be worse.)

    anon

    July 29, 2010 at 15:32

  5. Orange juice. Then I “stole” some bread and some of those fake individual cheese slices from the fridge at work and had toast with cheese. Not that you wanted to know. ;)

    I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say “psycho” but yeah . . . Nando does seem like he has an ax to grind. Interesting that you’ve noticed a posting pattern. I didn’t catch that. I did see that he seemed to be on a path to post on every law school on third and fourth tiers. Kinda like Sue Grafton writing a book starting with every letter of the alphabet. I’d be interested in seeing what he has to say about first-tier. That’s really where much of the blame lies. The rest are just copycats.

    Not cool that he censors comments. I’ve never deleted any comments. Well, excluding spam comments.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 16:23

  6. He got rather annoyed when some internet detectives discovered his real name (Fernando Rodriguez) and picture:

    http://www.law.drake.edu/centers/nealBeaSmith/images/Spr2009_Clinic/crimDef.jpg

    anon

    July 29, 2010 at 16:40

  7. At times I feel you engage in a lot more navel gazing than I like, but I do enjoy your blog. For all his rants, I think Nando does capture the feelings of a significant minority of graduates who are at the end of their rope or live paycheck to paycheck. Although his words certainly aren’t gospel, his bitching does provide an important perspective on the state of legal education and the effects that heavy debt and limited opportunities have on the unemployed. I find Knut pretty informative and entertaining, though prone to histrionics like everyone else.

    I personally don’t think anything significant will happen until things get awful (ie mass defaults/suicides/protests) and those probably won’t start happening until things have reached the absolute end of the rope.

    Bouard

    July 29, 2010 at 17:07

  8. Funny, anon @ 16:40, I just saw [part] of that same picture posted at another blog, but it didn’t say who it was, just like a “guess who” kind of thing.

    Apparently, the person who posted it is someone that FerNANDO censors and name-calls whenever he posts a suggestion or criticizes his methods. If you read any comments you’ll see references to someone who calls himself “Doug”.

    From what I could tell by back-reading some comments on “Doug’s” blog, he’s been suggesting that the name-calling, toilet-picture tactics stopped being useful long ago, mentions the “circle-jerk” in the various scambloggers comments sections, and has urged them to take further steps if they really want to accomplish anything. Hell, he even offered to pay their court filing fees if they felt they could make a legitimate case of fraud against any school!

    You can guess what those suggestions bought him from FerNANDO and the other scambloggers!

    BTW: the picture and the blog is http://tobeajd.blogspot.com

    T-Bag

    July 29, 2010 at 18:39

  9. I read your blog because it’s well written and your story is interesting. I don’t find it narcissistic, that the blog is about you is obvious from the title, and if folks want to read about something else, they’ll go elsewhere.

    The scambloggers make valid points, but after awhile it’s just repetitive (thus boring). Your blog’s not boring, I hope you keep it going. And I hope the scambloggers turn down the negativity, as they risk drowning out their message.

    govtlawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 20:01

  10. @T-Bag: I saw ToBeAJD’s blog yesterday but I didn’t know what that picture was on the front page. Or at least I wasn’t paying enough attention. I just noticed it now. LMAO. I don’t get the sock-puppeting, as anon called it. Good phrase. That’s certainly happened here. At least the host can catch it if he/she looks at the IP addresses the comments come from. That’s how I caught a few split personalities posting here.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 20:13

  11. @Bouard, T-Bag, govtlawyer: I agree that scambloggers are shining much needed light on a dank and dismal corner of the legal profession. But they do, as govtlawyer points out, risk driving people away. Why would I, for example, revisit their blogs after being bitch slapped for trying to engage them on the issues. They just want more yea-sayers around. Knut outright dismissed my suggestion of involving the ABA or alumni associations. For him, no one can solve the problem except students. He wrote: “This is an issue that must be resolved by the students themselves, NOT by the ABA or any ‘representatives.’ Period.” Of course, because then he gets to play Moses. Just like Nando hopes to be Jeremiah: “Attack you they will, overcome you they can’t.”

    This is already yesterday’s news. On to my scuba certification book.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 20:57

  12. Those who read this blog know there’s no evidence that LoL blows associates to get extensions on his contract positions or judges to get clerkships. He blows airline employees in Miami to put a roof over his head because he doesn’t have the money for a hotel room. So let’s have no more of these baseless accusations!

    Blade

    July 29, 2010 at 21:27

  13. I do so love the commenter who pays attention. ;)

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 29, 2010 at 21:38

  14. Maybe they don’t like you because you’re gay. (I’ e heard “narcissistic” used as code for gay before). I usually linked to your blog from temporary lawyer so I was thrown. I had to remember the “laid of lawyer” thing and google. Damn these infighters.

    I keep checking in to see how this situation might move towards resolution, as bankruptcy seems of minimal help. I feel certain the August 9th deadline is not gonna happen.

    Can we get a breakdown of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy vs. debt that can’t? We can rely on Mom to forgive – you’ve gotten your inheritance early. So what remains? After reviewing these items, we should be able to determine the likeliest prospects (25 to 30 years of debt paydown) or whether your only hope is to win the lottery. This is all so difficult to face, I’m sure, or it would be for me.

    Best regards.

    Btw, Has anyone here been to Ecuador?

    Concerned

    July 30, 2010 at 01:24

  15. @Concerned: Never been to Ecuador. Sorry. As for breakdowns, the only debts that can be discharged would be credit cards. Student loans, generally, are not discharged. Neither is IRS debt. Well, I suppose I should now add the auto loan to that heap. And the money borrowed from my mother, of course.

    But again—I’m not going into bankruptcy. No need to now with a paying job.

    I’m not upset about the debt. One thing that has come out of this year (minus a few) has been that I’ve become comfortable facing my “enemy” each day. But I suppose that’s all for another day’s post.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 30, 2010 at 02:19

  16. It’s not a really good blogger hairflipping until someone busts out the screen shots. Screen shots? Anyone?

    Maybe Knut is on to something. If a large majority current law students start “raising their voices” against the law school scam, then they’re going to look pretty crazy. Maybe they’ll think a student government coup will be a great resume builder. Maybe word will travel about what nutjobs all the currentLs are and nobody will want to hire them.

    Meaning more jobs for the rest of us!

    Frankie

    July 30, 2010 at 03:12

  17. @T-bag – thanks for posting Fernando’s blog. LOL great picture.

    One last bit of info that internet detectives discovered – Fernando Rodriguez never took the Iowa bar exam. He didn’t have a legal job lined up in his third year so didn’t bother. (Or alternatively he tried and failed to pass the bar.) That’s another reason why I’ve stopped taking him seriously. Can’t complain about no lawyer jobs when you hardly tried to get one yourself.

    Anon

    July 30, 2010 at 07:33

  18. I just found this blog. You plan on eliminating $270,000 in debt in just over a week?

    Doesn't think he can do it

    July 30, 2010 at 12:41

  19. Sure. If you give me the money.

    But our jesting aside, no . . . I probably won’t eliminate my debt in just over a week. But that doesn’t mean you abandon your goal. If at first you don’t succeed . . . .

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 30, 2010 at 13:24

  20. “Yoke,” not “yolk.”

    Pliggett Darcy

    July 30, 2010 at 13:36

  21. @Pliggett Darcy: What? You didn’t like my breakfast pun?

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 30, 2010 at 13:50

  22. I would like it, perhaps, if I thought it had been intended.

    Pliggett Darcy

    July 30, 2010 at 13:53

  23. Even if originally unintentional, still a good jest in the comment reply, considering the breakfast references in the post.

    I’m torn on deciding whether or not it was just a fortunate coincidence that “yoke” might have been misspelled in a breakfast post… it’s gonna keep me up at night, I tell ya!

    T

    And to anon at 7:33, you are correct that FerNANDO never took the bar. His quote and the link to it are below. He “felt like he wouldn’t be able to get hired at a law firm…” Really, how seriously can we, and certainly any employer, take someone who gives up and starts a profane blog before even becoming licensed! But LoL is right…time to move on to another topic and leave these guys to continue their “sock-puppet show” or “circle-jerk”…whichever you like better!

    “…he’s yet to pay the $2,000 required to take his bar exam.

    “At this point, I just feel like I really can’t get hired at a law firm,” said Rodriguez, now 30. “It’d be throwing good money away just to say, ‘Hey, I’m an attorney at law.’ ”

    Read more: Law school graduates face slimmer job market – Nashville Business Journal ( http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/stories/2009/11/30/focus1.html?page=2 )

    T-Bag

    July 30, 2010 at 14:28

  24. Eww . . . not even I liked that image of socks and circles.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 30, 2010 at 15:12

  25. LMAO! And now to prove himself even pettier, Knut has pulled all of my comments from his post Raise. Your. Voice. So stupid. Guess he took a play out of Nando’s book. I suspect he and Nando are closer bedfellows than socks and circles. Cool thing about WordPress is that if you hover the mouse over a link it’ll open a preview window. At least as of the date and time of this posting those preview windows still show my comments.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 30, 2010 at 15:22

  26. If the blog author or you had bothered to click on the image, you would see that it takes you here:

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/00389607649983446274

    Notice where it was created in January 2010 and has 257 views? It also does not have the link to my blog. Some idiot named Doug simply copied and pasted everything from my real profile.

    I NEVER said that you “blow attorneys or judges.” Frankly, I haven’t been to this site in months. I have never had this blog on my roll, and I don’t care whether the other scam-bloggers put a link to you on their sites. That is their call.

    Here is my real profile:

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/06423524039657355134

    This is from January 2008, and it lists the link to my blog. Overall, this post is not that bad – other than the fact that people may think that I hate gay people, because no one bothered to click on the link.

    Nando

    July 30, 2010 at 16:01

  27. Yes and Ecuador is beautiful.
    I enjoy the writing and the discussions are interesting.
    I do think that Nando and Kunt are right, until there is a major event involving student debt re-payment your lives will only get worse.

    Chris

    July 30, 2010 at 16:39

  28. @Nando: If you’re the victim of cyber-identify theft, that sucks, man. But bloggers and commentators can’t be expected to investigate whether you are really you. I did click on the “Nando” who commented on Knut’s blog albeit only to get the link to include in my post above. How I could possibly know which “Nando” was really you. I didn’t create my Blogger.com profile until some time after I started this blog. Maybe this is an issue between you and Blogger.com. It is a form of identity theft. Hey . . . maybe you even have a cause of action against DougNando. Clearly your reputation is being affected by someone purporting to be you and commenting as you. First cyber identity theft law suit. Go for it!

    At any rate, the “Nando” (DougNando, I guess) on Knut’s post did accuse me of blowing attorneys or judges. So clearly I was going to be irritated by that sort of backhanding when I wanted to engage commenters on the issues. Glad to know it’s some cyber sock and not you. Or is it . . . ? (raised eyebrow)

    How do we really know? Maybe you created another you? An alter ego to be able to say what you want but then backpeddle by accusing your “evil twin” of doing it all. Do I hear Dr. Evil calling? Certainly a possiblity. Ingenious. ;) But I digress . . . .

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 30, 2010 at 17:00

  29. I put most of the blame on Knut for not looking it up. He is the author of FTT. I have had people use vulgar terms and racial slurs directed at commenters, and I click on their icon or look up their IP address to find the culprit.

    The main point of my blog is to inform prospective law students about the huge financial risk they are taking on. I hate to see people end up with such soul-crushing debt. I typically back up my arguments with charts, figures and statements from those in the industry. The worst insults I genrally use are “idiot”, “lemming” and the like. (And sometimes, I tell the dense lemmings who attack me personally for publishing law school stats to grow a pair.)

    I give you credit for publishing my comment. You could have been mean, and refused to publish it. Although I know you are being facetious in your close of your last comment, I don’t need to create a false twin – and I sure as hell wouldn’t use one with the same name and icon.

    Nando

    July 30, 2010 at 18:07

  30. Nice try, Fernando and Company!

    How far will you go to try to discredit me? Are you that threatened by my suggestions and criticisms that you need to 1) post comments as ME on blogs, and now 2) post comments as YOU that you can then deny and blame on me?

    And even if it wasn’t you, do you mean to tell me that one of your circle-jerk buddies isn’t responsible?

    I ask all of you, is it not very convenient that the so-called “J.D. Underdog,” right at the SAME TIME this is going on, suddenly goes off the grid and changes his Blogger account, his name, his blog address, etc!

    But no, Fernando, you’re above all of that, huh? The jig is up, my Third Tier, non-bar taking, foul-mouthed friend! As if you and JD Underdog and whoever else aren’t all you… no group of people could all share such a twisted view of things, and now you’ve shown yourselves.

    FerNando Rodriguez J.D. Underdog Knut and whoever else you are…

    Doug/JD2B

    Don’t buy into his BS, Laid Off. He said too much, and now that his name and face are out there again, he’s frightened and doing the old back-pedal.

    Doug

    July 30, 2010 at 21:35

  31. Doug is a petty fool. He has pulled down his blog, ostensibly because his wife landed a job in Florida. If that is the case, then congratulations to your wife. The reality is that his comments were moderated (i.e. I would re-post his comment word-for-word, without providing a link to his stupid blog) and sometimes deleted for the following reasons:

    1. His link sent people to his blog, where he deliberately “went after” fellow scam-busters, with false claims and vulgarities. I am not obligated to provide free advertising to someone who merely seeks to paint me or the other scam-busters in a bad light – especially when most of the claims were lies and gross distortions of the truth.

    2. His comments were OFTEN belligerent, condescending, and generally did not contribute anything of value to the dialogue.

    3. Doug does not understand that you don’t verbally abuse the guy with the forum, without (a) getting reprimanded; or (b) having your voice quieted. Don’t go to a comedy club, and yell at the guy with the mic, Doug.

    4. I stand by the things I say on my blog, and other sites. I have done the research, I have the facts, and I mean the things I say. I consciously arrive at my arguments and I weigh my words carefully.

    It is also funny that Doug accuses other of using “sock-puppets” when HE IS THE ONE ENGAGING IN SUCH CONDUCT. He did that here, under anonymous and T-Bag. He has done so on my blog and others, as well. It is also apparent that he flooded the “ratings” system on this post, with favorable ratings for his post and negative, i.e. thumbs down, ratings on my reasonable, truthful responses.

    We can see that Doug took down his fake “Nando” Blogger profile, as well as his own, and his blog. However, if you look at the RSS feed from wordpress, you can see the beginning of his last entry:

    R.I.P.

    “The fun is over, for now, but school is starting anyhow.A lot was false, but bits were true, but must was just to have fun with …”

    In sum, the guy was a TOTAL FRAUD. He was exposed as such, and now he is back-peddling and coming up with excuses for shutting down his blog. Thank you for help in exposing this fraud.

    Nando

    August 3, 2010 at 12:47


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