Monday, April 25, 2011

Headnote of the Week

This week's headnote comes from Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General who is defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman and says that no state (or other political subdivision within the United States) is required to recognize a same-sex marriage in another state (i.e. if a gay couple is married in Massachusetts, Arkansas does not have to recognize that marriage if the couple moves to Arkansas).

Paul Clement used to be a partner at the law firm King & Spalding.  However, King & Spalding didn't want to get hate mail from gay groups be associated with defending an unpopular bill and so Paul Clement quit today and joined another law firm.  In his resignation letter, he said:


Kaena Point

Friday was a pretty fun day - and full of adventure.  The original plan included hiking Kaena Point on the West Coast of O'ahu followed by snorkeling and lunch, etc.  After driving about 50 minutes to the entrance to Kaena Point, we were turned away because we did not have the required permit!  What makes this troubling is that the Hawaii State Parks website specifically says, "no permit required."  This, my friends, is the Hawaiian Government at its finest.  See, Kaena Point is located on the grounds for a military observatory.  It's not in the restricted area, but it's next to it.  So they, understandably, need to keep track of who comes and goes.  I have no problem with the permit being required.  I have a problem telling the public that they don't need one.  Just remember: you DO need a permit.

Here's the description of Kaena Point:  The trail to Ka‘ena Point follows an old railroad bed and former dirt road that ran along the westernmost point of O‘ahu. The trail leads to Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve, a remote and scenic protected area harboring some of the last vestiges of coastal sand dune habitat on the island, and home to native plants and seabirds. Whales frequent this shoreline during the winter months.

All in all, it wasn't that big a deal.  The West side is absolutely gorgeous.  I had never been over there, but I want to go again (and hike this time, of course).  They have a bunch of gorgeous beaches over there that are virtually abandoned.  The highway to get out there also follows the coastline all the way, so while you're driving you're in between huge mountains and clear blue water.  It's at the last beach on Farrington Highway.


No, I don't plan to take a trip there.  Mexico is the name of a Mexican restaurant outside of downtown Honolulu that is actually worthy of being called "mexican food."  It's legit.  As I've written about before, it is nearly impossible to find good Mexican food in Hawaii.  I don't think you can legitimately have a Mexican restaurant unless you have Juan and Jose slingin' my burrito in the kitchen.  In Hawaii, it's always "Asian-inspired" Mexican with no Mexicans in the kitchen.

Not here.  First, the margaritas are fantastic.  Second, the food tastes fresh and authentic.  There is nothing worse than fake Mexican (or anything, really) that then tastes re-heated and processed.  Mexico (1247 North School Street Honolulu, HI 96817 - map here) had fresh fish, fresh vegetables, and even real chips and salsa.  If you're in Hawaii and miss the Mexican food from home, stop by this place and give it a try.  Another nice thing about this place is that it's not located in the middle of any major metropolitan areas.  In other words, not a lot of tourists to degrade the authenticity and atmosphere.  So if you're looking for a quality meal outside of town, hit up this place and bring your appetite.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pineapple Growth (6 months down)

Ok, so the original purpose of this blog - to grow a pineapple in 2 years and blog about my adventures while documenting the growth of the pineapple - went to shit.  It's mostly laziness.  I have to take the pictures of the pineapples, upload them to my computer, do a write-up, and then upload it to the blog.  This may not sound like a whole lot of effort, but it's enough to deter me.

Anyway, since I accepted a job in Chicago and will be moving back in September (and subsequently changed the countdown), people have surprisingly asked frequently "what about your pineapple?"  Well, there is good news and bad news, I'm afraid.  The good news is that Pineapple #2 is doing very well.  You'll recall that I bought potting soil and planted Pineapple #2 in a bigger pot from the beginning.  This, I predicted, would lead to better growth.  It seems this prediction is coming true.  As you can see from the photos, Pineapple #2 is looking healthy and strong.  The bad news is that Pineapple #1, while alive, does not look as vibrant as Pineapple #2.  Pineapple #1, planted nearly a month before it's companion, looks a little wilted and run down.  I'm not sure why this is the case, but it does not look like it's on the road to bearing fruit any time soon.

Well, without further adoo, here are the updated pictures:

Photo Taken April 24, 2011
Pineapple #2 - Photo Taken April 24, 2011/Planted October 25, 2010

Pineapple #1 - Photo Taken April 24, 2011/Planted October 25, 2010
 Now, as you can see, both pineapples are doing well.  I say they're doing well, but obviously I have no sense of whether that's true or not.  For all I know, they should be bigger, have more leaves, growing buds, or whatever else happens with pineapples.  However, I don't think they're dead, which is always a positive.  For purposes of comparing, you can see the originals below:

Pineapple #2 on October 25, 2010
Pineapple #1 on October 25, 2010 (planted a month before this picture)

Week 1 - Second Triathlon Training

As I mentioned before, I am doing another sprint triathlon on May 22.  This one is on the marine corps base in Kaneohe on the East side of O'ahu.  It's the same distance as the Lanikai Triathlon - 500 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run.  Since my Lanikai Sprint Triathlon results were less than inspiring, I vowed to get serious for this one.  So here is the schedule of my first week of training:

Monday, April 18 - Run 45 minutes (5 mi) + Swim 30 minutes
Tuesday, April 19 - Off
Wednesday, April 20 - Run 45 minutes (5 mi) + Swim 30 minutes
Thursday, April 21 - Off
Friday, April 22 - Bike 40 minutes (13 mi) + Swim 50 minutes
Saturday, April 23 - Off
Sunday, April 24 - Run 40 minutes (6 mi)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Headnote of the Week

This week I decided to do something different for the Headnote of the Week.  Instead of giving you a quote from a real case, I wanted to give readers a sense of what I read on a regular basis.  What follows is a quote from one party's brief in a case I am working on.  Please keep in mind that this is written by a private lawyer (i.e. being paid) for a criminal defendant facing serious jail time.  I have omitted nothing (i.e. the lawyer cited no cases to support his argument).  The brief was written in March, though, so maybe the lawyer had March Madness on the brain...

"Without a defense expert to contravert [sic] or at least contest the conclusions reached by the prosecution's expert witnesses . . . [this case] is akin to showing up to play a game of basketball with only four players instead of five players.  The result of such a game, all things being equal, is easy to predict.  The same is true with a trial. If the other side produces an expert witness, it is ineffective assistance of counsel for a defense attorney not to produce a defense expert on the same subject matter to contest or challenge the conclusions reached by the government's expert witness.  This is what occurred in this case, and this is why there was ineffective assistance of counsel as regards this issue."

Could you represent yourself?

Let me explain something.  If you find yourself in legal trouble or you're involved in a lawsuit of some kind, do your research before you hire a lawyer.  Don't just hire the first retard that comes knocking.  In fact, if they're advertising, chances are they need your business.  If they need your business, what does that say about them?  If you find yourself in legal trouble in Hawai'i...well...I don't know what to tell you.  You're probably not going to find a quality lawyer.  You might get lucky, but you're probably screwed.  Or maybe you find some good lawyers but, since they're the only good ones around, they charge more than you can afford.  I can honestly say you might just be better off representing yourself IF (and ONLY IF) you are not an idiot.  What do I mean by that?

First, can you spell correctly?  For example, can you correctly use there, they're, and their or your and you're?  If not, then writing motions is going to prove difficult for you and you're probably too dumb to represent yourself.  Second, can you write in complete sentences?  This means using correct grammar with clear thoughts.  Finally, can you understand that when you make a legal argument, you must support that argument with (1) evidence and (2) case law?  You can't just say, "that crazy bitch is a liar."  Case law is the collection of cases that have already been decided that have facts similar to the facts of your dispute.  You can research case law for free at any local law school library or courthouse library.

We see a lot of pro se litigants (people representing themselves) in Hawaii.  For whatever reason, they choose to forego a lawyer.  So instead, they represent themselves and write 35 page briefs that fail to cite a single case.  Sometimes they'll cite cases but fail to argue what that case has to do with their case.  I hate to say it, but pro se litigants almost always lose when they face a lawyer.  Why?  Because even though the lawyer is bad, the lawyer often knows to cite cases and make a reasonably intelligent argument.  A persuasive legal argument is different than saying, "Joe didn't live up to the contract."  So, consider how smart you really are before you decide to represent yourself.  Consider how smart your lawyer is before you hand him or her a check.  And for the love of God, proofread your shit before you turn it in.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Manoa Valley District Park

I discovered last night that there is a community swimming pool about 2 1/2 miles from my apartment that is perfect for swim training.  The pool is located at the Manoa Valley District Park.  It's 50 meters long, so an olympic sized pool, has about 8 lanes for swimming laps, and three times a week they are open from 6:30-8:30pm so I can swim after work.  It's free to use and it wasn't even all that crowded.  As with everything in Hawaii, though, there were some confused asians swimmers who didn't know what was going on or how to stay in one lane, but for the most part it was the perfect set up for my purposes.

The park itself is also pretty cool.  They have basketball courts, baseball fields, a track, and the pool.  The only downside would be that there are usually events scheduled so you need to know when to show up (i.e. lots of games scheduled on weekends).  But to have such a great (and free) place in the middle of Manoa is perfect.  I've heard some people say that the fields could be better maintained, but the pool was in perfect shape.  So I'd say for a community park/pool, you can't beat this place.

I am particularly excited to have found the pool because now I don't have to rush to the beach immediately after work to get in a swim before dark.  I also don't have to deal with dirty, gross water and sand in my ass crack.  It's the perfect solution.  Now yes, swimming in the ocean is different, and harder, than swimming in a pool.  The current and tide wreak havoc.  However, for the Lanikai Triathlon, I swam at best once a week for 20 minutes in the ocean (and not at all the month prior to the triathlon).  Swimming in a pool is better than doing nothing.  I also plan to swim once on weekends in the ocean, so that should be all right.  So the current plan is to run to the pool, swim, and run back.  I'm out for blood in the next one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Well that didn't take long...

I said I hate losing.  More than anything I hate that nagging feeling that I could have done more or could have done better.  Maybe it's my ego.  Maybe my narcissistic type A personality.  I don't know.  Whatever it is, though, it led me to sign up for another triathlon.  Two, actually.  The first is another sprint triathlon on the marine corps base in Kaneohe on the East side of O'ahu.  The other is the Tinman Olympic distance triathlon in Honolulu.

I signed up for two triathlons for a few reasons.  First, I decided to do another sprint distance to prove that my crappy time in the lanikai sprint triathlon was a fluke.  I am out to beat my time (and my friend who also did the lanikai triathlon this past weekend).  Second, triathlons are a lot of fun.  They're not like marathons or bike races where you just do the same thing for a couple hours.  No, triathlons work your whole body and mix things up to the point so you can't just rely on muscle memory.  So I actually did enjoy myself.  Third, I signed up for the Olympic distance to prove that I can do "real" triathlons and I can cross triathlons off my "to do" list without any harassing conversations!

This time, I'm taking no prisoners, though.  I'm going to train seriously this time with no excuses.

Lanikai Triathlon

Sunday, April 17 was the 10th annual Lanikai Triathlon.  I competed in it.  Though, I suppose it's fair to say that what I did was not so much "competing" as it was "participating."  I didn't exactly give anyone a scare in terms of my competitive prowess.  Nonetheless, it was a fun time and I'm glad I did it.  There were about 360 people in the race and it was really well organized.  There was plenty of space for all the participants in the transition area and everyone was really nice and energetic.  The volunteers were amazing and helpful, so it was overall a great experience.

Setting up at 4:30am
You may notice that on the right side of my blog, I have checked off my "goals" list that I competed in a triathlon.  I discussed with someone yesterday, however, that I shouldn't be able to say I did a "real" triathlon because it was only a sprint triathlon.  Now, my achy legs and shoulders take exception to this remark, but I began to think: this person had a point.  On one hand, sure, I worked out for an hour and a half and I did, in fact, do three events - swim, bike, and run in succession.  On the other hand, it was a short distance and nowhere near the length of an Olympic distance.  So can I really mislead people by suggesting that I will be the next Ironman?

Getting Free Stuff
So my answer to the charge is first, feel free to compete in your own triathlon and then give me a call.  But my competitive nature really kicked in this weekend.  I showed up at 4:30am to set up my transition station and realized that I was grossly unprepared.  I mean sure, I trained for the first three weeks, but then everything went to shit.  I looked around and there were some seriously competitive people there.  Even then I figured I was athletic enough to hang in there.  Not so much.  At the end of the day, I felt like I accomplished something, but not what I wanted to accomplish; I wanted to be competitive.  I wanted the triathlon to be the culmination of months of hard work, commitment, and discipline.  I wanted to cross the finish line gasping for air because I pushed myself.  I didn't do that on Sunday.

Finish Line
So that raises the question: do I want to do another one?  I did have fun this weekend.  It was definitely a challenge and they gave out free stuff at the end! Who doesn't like free stuff?  Jamba Juice smoothie?  I'll have 6, please.  I think I do want to do another one.  The only concern I have, of course, is my ability to train for the next few months.  I am going to have the same challenges I had this time: visitors coming to Hawaii and going on a week-long golf trip with a bunch of old men who drink more in one sitting than I can usually drink in a weekend, and a week-long trip to Chicago.  At what point would I be able to sufficiently train so that I can be competitive the next time around.  I refuse to do another triathlon unless I can devote my full energy to the training.

For now, I am happy to say that I have done a Sprint Triathlon and I look forward to the next.

Ko'olau Golf Course

Five day work weeks and two day weekends are a cruel joke.  How can I possibly be expected to fully relax and enjoy Hawaii when I'm slaving away?  Last week was one such week.  No holiday.  No furlough.  Just a two day weekend.  Since my precious time was so limited, I had to pack in the activities.  Saturday I played golf at what Golf Digest in 2007 called the "toughest in the nation."  In 2010, it was merely the Third Most Diabolical.

Here's the review from ESPN: "With parts of the course receiving 130 inches of rain a year, this is target golf at its soggiest. You won't need a caddie so much as a backcountry guide. The roughs are tropical rain forests, the hazards mostly uncharted ravines filled with jungle and undiscovered reptilian life forms. Typical of the course's unsubtle presentation, the 474-yard, par-4 18th features two long forced carries over canyons plus a 330-yard bunker off the tee and a 220-yard bunker to the green. Legend has it that the course record was once 63 … lost balls. Ko'olau used to have a Slope Rating of 162, even though the maximum possible is 155."

I actually didn't find it all that difficult.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't shoot an 80 or anything, but I also shot under 100.  To me, I thought Luana Hills was much more difficult.  The one thing Ko'olau Golf course has that no other course I've played has is perfect conditions.  The sand traps were in immaculate shape.  The greens had no divots, holes, ball marks, or different colored sod.  The fairways had virtually no divot marks and even the tee boxes were in great shape.  On top of that, the course is at the bottom of the Ko'olau Mountain Range so there are sweeping vistas all around and ocean views on at least 4 holes.  It was by far the most beautiful course I have ever seen.  Even the club house and restaurant are picture perfect.  You enter the club house via a grand, carpeted staircase with a waterfall fountain in the middle and plants and flowers along the side.

From the 15th Tee Box
In terms of difficulty, you have to play VERY conservatively.  I think what saved me was playing for bogey.  The men's tees are at 6500 yards while the tournament tees are at 7400.  It's a long, narrow course with no forgiveness.  If you can play straight, though, you'll be all right. 

As I was standing on the 15th tee box, I had another "Hawaii Moment" where I realized how awesome this place is and how fortunate I am to have lived here for a brief period of time.  I also got a sense of real happiness when I realized that I will be here for a year instead of two.  There are not many things better than being able to play golf every weekend and enjoy 80 degree weather year 'round.  But I also have other things I am anxious to do in my life/career so this was the perfect opportunity to enjoy Hawaii on a temporary basis, take advantage of the weather and cheap resident-fees on golfing and then move on.  Saturday was the perfect epiphany.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Packet Pick-up

Sunday is the Lanikai Sprint Triathlon.  The race organizers have been sending emails all week telling participants where they can pick up their packets, what to bring, what to expect, etc.  The fact that the race is actually happening didn't sink in until this week.  I went to the website, saw the race map, and realized that I hate doing things half-assed.  I mean, if you're going to compete in something, why not race to win?  I never understood or appreciated the saying "everyone's a winner."  Everyone is not a winner.  Vince Lombardi once said, "if it didn't matter who won, then why keep score?"

Now, I am not saying there is no point in doing something if you can't win.  That being said, the goal should always be to try to win. Unfortunately, my training went to hell in a handbasket and being competitive is probably out of the question.  That doesn't mean I'm not going to try like hell to still place as high as I can.  I am still looking forward to the race (and the post-race free stuff).

So anyway, today and tomorrow is the packet pick-up for the race.  Then the race begins at 6:15am on Sunday morning.  Last year's winner finished in just under an hour and the last place person took about two hours.  So I imagine I'll finish somewhere around 1 hour and 15-20 minutes.  Then afterwards Jamba Juice sponsors post-race refreshments.

Here is the map of the race (500m swim, 20k bike, and 5k run);

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Next Scuba Trip

Now that I'm scuba certified (and leaving Hawaii in September), I figured I should take advantage of it.  Lucky for me, today's LivingSocial deal was 50% a charted boat scuba diving tour.  For certified divers, you get a two-tank dive for $59 (normally $125).

I was explaining scuba diving to someone the other day and I think the best way to describe it is like swimming through an aquarium.  You're in a zero gravity environment just floating around looking at cool stuff that no one else gets to really see.  I'm looking forward to the boat dive because I think that's going to be the best way to dive.  During the training course we did shore dives where you put your gear on at the car and walk across the beach into the water.  That just seems particularly inconvenient and unnecessarily time-consuming.  I think I am going to prefer just entering the water from the boat.  Then after you're finished with one tank, come up to the boat, have a snack, and then go down with the second tank.  You can also avoid all the sand and crap that gets stuck on you as you cross the beach.  Plus, who doesn't enjoy being out on a boat in the middle of the ocean just hanging out in gorgeous weather?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hiking to Secret Falls - Kaua'i

As I wrote about earlier, I went to Kaua'i recently for a short trip of hiking, coffee drinking, and kayaking.  It was the second time I had traveled to the northernmost Hawaiian island and it was also the best visit.  The highlight was by far kayaking the Wailua River followed by a hike to Secret Falls.

This 5 hour trip starts with a Kayak trip up the Wailua river, through tropical jungle. Several miles up the river you paddle in to shore, secure your Kayak then hike inland through a tropical rainforest to Secret Falls, a 100 foot waterfall that you can swim beneath. Along the trail you will pass other smaller, but even more beautiful falls at hidden places. While you can rent a Kayak and do this trip without a guide, it is probably easier to make this part of a guided hike/trip - that way you don't have to worry about the Kayak when you leave it tied up during the hike.

Our guide was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, which made it all the more entertaining.  He told us about all the different fauna along the way.  Of course I forget most of what he told us, and for all I know he could have lied about most of it anyway.  Nonetheless, it was interesting while we were there.  The hike itself was along a well-worn path through fairly thick rainforest.  At the end of the mile-long hiking trail, the path opens up to the waterfall.  We brought lunch, ate, and then went swimming underneath the waterfall.  Yes, I was worried about leptospirosis, but I quickly got over that when I jumped in and my testicles shriveled up to the size of raisins.  The water was unbelievably FREEZING.  It was still fun, though.  Definitely one of my favorite hiking trips I've done here.

Next They're Going to Want to Vote...

Just kidding.

A wife is not required to spend all her time in household duties and may engage in work outside the home, and, where she does so, her earnings belong to her. Mullins v. Riopel, 76 N.E.2d 633 (Mass. 1948)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Banyan Trees

I realize this is a little bit of a ridiculous and "slow news day" type of post, but everyone who has visited has asked me the same question.  What type of tree is that?  In Hawaii, these trees are all over the place and they look pretty cool.  I have never seen them anywhere else, but learned that they are the national tree of India and were planted in Hawaii in the late 1800s.

So there ya go.  Fun fact of the day.

outside my office

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yes, The Countdown Changed

No, you didn't sleep through 365 days.  My clerkship is ending a year early.  I don't have much to say on the subject other than I was ready to move on.  Hawaii is great and I like living in a place where it is 80 degrees and sunny every day, but I also have no interest in becoming an expert in Hawaii Family Law.  Unfortunately, the only real experience I am getting here is completely useless to my future career.  As a result, I didn't think there was much benefit or value in extending the clerkship beyond the first year.

I am sure you're thinking, but the legal market is shit right now, what will you do?  Well, fortunately, I have already accepted a job doing litigation, so have no fear, I will not be unemployed.  I may be homeless for a little while unless I can convince someone to let me sleep on their couch, but I will at least have a job.

Scuba Certification

This weekend was incredibly busy for me.  I spent the last four days getting my scuba certification, which was incredibly time-consuming, but also one of my goals while in Hawaii.  I had never been scuba diving before, but found it to be a lot of fun.  The first two days were spent in a pool just practicing various skills that are necessary for the certification.  For example, you have to practice what happens if your mask falls off (or gets kicked off) or what happens if you run out of air or how to rescue an unconscious person at the bottom of the ocean.

After the first two days, our second two days were spent in the ocean doing actual dives.  We did two tank dives on Saturday and Sunday.  Each tank has 3,000 psi (or about 45-60 minutes of breathing time).  Saturday and Sunday were more practice drills and skills tests, but we also got to look for cool stuff.  The places we went - Electric beach and Ala Moana beach - were not the coolest dives in the world, but they were still pretty awesome.  I think I was most surprised by the great visibility.  It was, for the most part, like being in a pool.

Electric beach is called that because it is right next to an electrical power plant on the West side of O'ahu.  There is a big pipe in the water where the plant takes in cold water and pushes out hot water.  A reef has developed around it and there are thousands of fish living there.  When we got in the water, we swam through two giant schools of fish (I don't know what kind of fish).  It was like swimming inside an aquarium.  On Sunday, we went to Ala Moana beach and although the visibility was not quite as good, we swam right next to a huge sea turtle (pictured below), which was pretty cool.

Picture taken by one of the other divers
So now the advantage of having a scuba certification is that I can go on boat dives through local dive shops for about $65-75 instead of the $250 they usually charge tourists.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Headnote of the Week

I was pleased to learn this week that my headnotes of the week have at least one fan out there...

The privilege against self-incrimination does not protect a criminal suspect from being compelled to exhibit physical characteristics, for example, to put on a shirt, to provide a blood sample or handwriting exemplar, or to make a recording of his voice; it is the contents of the suspect's own mind that implicates the Self-Incrimination Clause. United States v. Greer, 631 F.3d 608 (2d Cir. Feb. 4, 2011)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are we even surprised anymore?

In fairness to Hawai'i, I wanted to write a post pointing out that there are terrible lawyers all over the country...and it is increasingly bothering me.   The Washington Post reported the other day that a Washington, DC judge declared a mistrial in a murder trial because the defendant's attorney was incompetent.  The attorney was a 2009 graduate of Touro Law School.  If you saw that and knew where Touro Law School was located without having to look it up, write it in the comments and let me know.  I had to look it up.  It is located in Central Islip, New York. I think the most insulting thing about this whole thing is that on the front page of their website, Touro boats, "all lawyers are educated. our lawyers are prepared."  They go further and state, "Touro Law Center graduates are ready to hit the ground running – and go the extra mile to get the job done." Apparently not, Touro.

Joseph Rakofsky graduated law school in 2009 and he couldn't get a job surely wanted to help people right away so he started his own law firm.  His focus?  Criminal DUIs, traffic tickets, and (so he claims) murder trials.  According to the Washington Post, "Judge William Jackson told attorney Joseph Rakofsky during a hearing Friday that he was 'astonished' at his performance and at his 'not having a good grasp of legal procedures' before dismissing him."  Why didn't this guy have a good grasp of legal procedure?  Probably because he got a shitty legal education from a fourth-tier, no name law school that is more interested in taking students' money than preparing them for practicing law.  Let's take a look at Tuition and Fees at Touro Law straight from their website:

Juris Doctorate

First Year Students

Full Time Students (12 – 16 credits) $20,475.00 per semester
Part Time Students (8 – 11 credits)  $15,330.00 per semester

Second Year Students

Full Time Students (12 – 16 credits) $20,055.00 per semester
Part Time Students (8 – 11 credits) $15,120.00 per semester

Third Year Students

Full Time Students (12 – 16 credits) $19,645.00 per semester 
Part Time Students (8 – 11 credits) $14,915.00 per semester
The school charges students more than $40,000 per year. How can a school that bad have the audacity to charge so much? Because there is no accountability and people are stupid enough to pay. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there willing to take out an absurd amount of loans to pay it and banks irresponsibly lend it out to people with no prospect of paying it back. So the cycle continues. Idiots like Joseph Rakofsky get to call themselves lawyers.

Now, what gets lost in all this, as I've written about before, is that Joseph Rakofsky doesn't suffer (though, he should be sanctioned).  No, only the defendant and the victim's family suffer.  If he's innocent, the defendant doesn't get a fair trial.  If he's guilty, the victim's family doesn't get justice.  The judge should be applauded for taking charge and dismissing the attorney.  Joseph Rakofsky took on a case that he was not competent to handle.  The legal standard for effective representation is frighteningly low, so a judge doesn’t declare a mistrial based on incompetency of counsel unless the lawyer is really, really, really incompetent.  The judge said that Rakofsky’s performance was “below what any reasonable person would expect in a murder trial.”  But think about that for a second.  Why just a murder trial?  Shouldn't clients in ANY criminal case receive the same level of representation.  Anyone convicted of a crime - whether it's excessive speeding, DUI, or murder - will have a criminal record that can prevent them from getting jobs, entering federal buildings, getting security clearance, or just from having a good reputation.  If Rakofsky should not have been trying murders, he should not have been trying anything without adult supervision.

How does the legal community allow something like this to happen?  Would a first year resident operate on someone alone? No, because that's how people die.  Young attorneys are the same.  Here we have a man, on trial for his life, facing life in prison, whose attorney doesn't even have a basic competency in criminal procedure.  Where would he learn that procedure?  Well, law school might be a good start.  And what was Rakofsky's response?  When asked about his website's claims that he has worked on "murder, embezzlement and conspiracy cases," Rakofsky simply replied, "when I say I've worked on those cases, that doesn't mean I've worked on those cases on my own . . . I was working with other lawyers, interning and stuff."  But Joseph Rakofsky isn’t special.  Thousands of lawyers - every day - claim attributes that they don’t have and take cases they are not ready to take. Nothing he did made him any more blameworthy than any of those lawyers: lawyers whose need to make a buck overcomes their judgment and ethics.

It's embarrassing that this stuff happens every day.  But how did Rakofsky respond? He bragged (click to enlarge).  I got this image from Military Underdog: