How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Tim Hadley

Not only are you mentioned in a disclaimer, but you're mentioned in a disclaimer in a positive light. How many people can say that?

On the other hand, the other, more complete version of the disclaimer mentions prairie dogs. But it doesn't mention them in such a way as to invite a comparison.

E L Eversman

When I started writing the automotive legal column for AutoGuide.net about 2 years ago, I was writing for consumers and wanted to make darn sure everyone knew I wasn't giving legal advice -- so I insisted that a disclaimer be attached at the bottom of each article addressing not only U.S. jurisdictions, but those outside the U.S. as well.

I felt cheesy doing it, because they really are such silly things (and I have a higher respect for the intelligence of my fellow human beings than products liability cases suggest we should have. "Do not use hair dryer in shower or bathtub." Honestly.) However, having headed up my area bar associations UPL committee, I felt an obligation to do so, more, actually, for UPL committee members from across the country who might stumble across my writing than because of how readers might respond.

The bizarre part was, when trademarking the name AutoMuse, we submitted it as a name associated with providing consumer information relating to automotive issues. The USPTO, however, insisted that it be changed from consumer information to "legal advice and information". We really tried to stay away from that because of all of the UPL implications, but, amazingly, the trademark office insisted -- even after we explained at length how deliberately we wanted to avoid a description like that. One of the significant things we pointed to for the argument was the big, old disclaimer at the bottom of every article. Ultimately, the TO relented a bit and agreed to "legal information". Nonetheless, I thought it was instructive that the examining attorney never seemed to think twice about the UPL implications.

I guess it just goes to show you how myopic lawyers really can be.

Dr H.O. Potamus

Dear Mr. Underground,

Please bear with my very simple request. Can you point me towards the cheapest accredited law school in the US? It would truly be a watershed event if that same school is of the corrospondence or on-line variety. I'm approximately 40 and having gone through a divorce a decade ago (ex-wife adultery, false claims of abuse, alcoholism, child custody, etc) and still largely broke and with alienated children I find myself not looking so much at the law as a corrupt racket but as a corrupt racket that perhaps I can profit off of with the right cheap-ass training and passing the bar. I feel I can do both. I ran out of money about a year and a half into my divorce and just represented myself. At that time it was just burn and destroy, I had nothing left but I pushed it right to trial and wasted hours and hours of her pro bono attorneys time in court and in having said attorney answer my silly motions and my absurd, but legal, discovery requests (I'm fortunate that at my existing job I get lots of time off). I'm know thinking, hell, why not run with the pack. Family Law is just a racket, a lot of "at the marital masters discretion." Hell, she ain't even a judge. I think in the next 6 years if I get my law degree, practice family "law" a bit, I might be able to earn a 6 figure income on some bullshit job.

Thanks in advance for help you can provide!

Dr. H.O. Potamus


Dr. Hippo: Your comment is a masterpiece of bullshit. It means you definitely have a future as a defense lawyer.

Stay tuned next Friday for a more complete answer to your question, which I'll provide on the front page of the weblog in "Advice to Members of the Public #1."

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