If you've ever read Shakespeare's famous play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, you probably know that it is famous (in part) because it features a play within a play. I'm knowledgeable enough about literature to know that fact. I, however, am not quite sophisticated enough to realize why it is particularly noteworthy.
Nevertheless, while I may be ignorant when it comes to the intricacies of the Bard's greatest works, over the past several months I've become quite adept at recognizing the shady tactics of our friends in the law school and higher education industrial complex.
First, there was Solo Practice University. For hundreds of dollars they promised to give solo practitioners (even those right out of law school) the tools they need to succeed. Of course, those tools consisted almost exclusively of a bunch of (non-state specific) videos for practicing different areas of the law. Like a set of videos for "Do-It-Yourself Surgery", such an approach to learning the law was a bit perfunctory, and the results were more likely than not destined to be rather messy.
Then our friends at Law Crossings started spamming the job boards, claiming they could help graduates find their first attorney positions regardless of whether the applicant's GPA was 2.0 or 4.0.
I watched a story on 60 Minutes the other night where a couple of psudeo-doctors convinced patients with a certain terminal ailment to pony up some big bucks in exchange for a nonexistent cure. You know what? I'll bet those "doctors" would be thoroughly disgusted by Law Crossings.
Seriously. What type of scum bag is willing to further rip off somebody who already is unemployable and under a mountain of debt? They'd honestly be less repugnant characters if they just took your money in exchange for a swift kick to the groin.
So now comes the latest in a long line of swindles. But this swindle actually has multiple layers. (Hence it being a "Scam within a Scam".)
I recently received an urgent piece of mail from some company called ECMC. Prior to reading this piece of mail, I had no idea who ECMC was. In fact, I'm still not 100% sure who they are except that the company guarantees federal loans. Apparently, however, this company was in possession of personal data related to me. It also seems that their crack security team allowed said personal data to be compromised.
Great. So let me get this straight. My law school and Sallie Mae conned me into going into massive debt for a worthless degree. Then for some reason they handed over my personal information to some other student lending company of some sort without telling me about it - though I'm sure it was buried in one of the 39 letters with 8-inch font they send me every week. Now, thanks to their bungling, another con artist has absconded with my sensitive, personal information.
It doesn't end there, though. Even though they insist that no "savings, checking, or credit card account numbers" were compromised (uh, what about SS numbers?) - which there's really no reason they should have in the first place - they're offering 12 free months of credit monitoring through another company.
Now call me cynical, but I can't help it at this point. If important data truly wasn't compromised, is this really necessary? If I sign up for this, how come I anticipate seeing myself being automatically re-enrolled at $59.99 a month once the free trial is over? Sorry, I don't have a lot of faith in a company that uses some doofus playing the guitar in a pirate-themed restaurant to advertise for its product. (Maybe that guy should go to law school - then he'd really have something to sing about!)
So in addition to all my other woes, I have to choose between trusting that recently released inmate #68934 isn't selling my personal data over the internet to some guy in Nigeria or risk spending eight hours on the phone in 12 months trying cancel my brand new credit alert contract.
Is paying that Law Crossings guy to kick me in the groin an option?
All the world's a stage filled with potential law students,
And all the men and women merely a source of revenue;
They have their savings and the ability to sign promissory notes,
And one man in his time can be conned many times,
His indebtedness being seven ages.
-As The Law School Industry Likes It