Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekend With Bernie

This was a pretty interesting week. A bunch of journalists and bloggers linked to this site and its Youtube videos. I received some interesting correspondence, and the recent traffic to this blog and my various Youtube videos has been tremendous.

Despite all of the attention Esq. Never has received, I never thought I would be contacted by a celebrity! That's right, former financier to the stars (and current felon), Bernard Madoff checked in with Esq. Never this week.* Apparently, Bernie unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) isn't a big of fan of this blog or its related endeavors. Nevertheless, assuming e-mails are as rationed as phone calls are in prison, I decided to allow Mr. Madoff the opportunity to express his thoughts for all to read.

Esq. Never,

I recently came across your blog and "Law School Carol" videos while perusing the Wall Street Journal on-line. Let me be blunt, you sir should be ashamed of yourself. Not only did I waste valuable minutes of my web surfing allowance here at Club Fed reading/watching your drivel, but I found myself becoming enraged at your miserable attitude.

It's people like you and the other complainers that are the reason why I am being unjustly incarcerated by the government. None of you whiners understand a thing about risk and doing adequate research. Didn't anyone tell you law school washouts or my investors that life isn't fair? Now society wants those of us who have been able to exploit this axiom to suffer. I thought this was America!

Fortunately, there seem to be voices of reason out there to counter the caterwauling on this blog . In the comment section beneath the ABA's story about your little video, a few real Americans decided to weigh in.

For example, one commenter noted "Please don’t whine about the shiny school brochures and things you “heard” from others or what the dean told you. Do you really believe everything you’re told? I hope not. If you do and now you have a crippling student debt and either no job or a poorly paying one, then you’ve learned a valuable lesson – do your research!"

I told my lawyers I wanted to use something similar to that line, too, but no, they said the court wouldn't buy it. Is it MY fault that my investors were foolish enough to believe what I told them or that they were swayed by some silly prospectus my firm produced?

Furthermore, I really like this guy, "This sense of entitlement is disgusting with law school grads now. Sorry mommy and daddy can’t always make it right, Gen Ys and Mills. So many of you go to law school for the wrong reasons and then cry because you can’t back out of the debt and misteps you made and the lack of critical thinking skills used to make such an important decision. If you want an absolute promise or guarantee in life, commit a felony and go to jail."

Right on, my friend. I wasn't even working with you selfish youngsters, and I still faced this entitlement problem: "Some admission officer convinced me to borrow a lot of money in order have better career options; some investment guru promised a strong rate of return if I invested my life savings with him - Now *I* feel entitled to have that promise upheld." You people make me sick!

There were some great points in there about actually doing research. Come on, just because the ABA, NALP, US News, and the law schools themselves all publicized respectable starting salaries and great employment statistics is no reason to take those claims at face value. You should have realized that there's no way those statistics were reasonable.

It's the same thing with my company. I mean it was mathematically impossible for me to provide my clients with the returns I claimed through any legal process. Somebody even complained to the SEC as early as 1999 about my tactics. How dumb were these people? They didn't even seem to care that I didn't allow them to have on-line access to their own accounts or that I sold all of the the company's holdings for cash before the end of each period to avoid making disclosures to the SEC.

After ignoring all those red flags, now those crybaby investors are whining just like you losers!

Also, kudos, to Dean JoAnne Epps (most likely speaking on behalf of all law deans) for dismissing the idea of an outside audit of law school salary/employment statistics. I did the same thing when some whiners complained about my firm's failure to use an outside auditor. I just made up some malarkey about the need for secrecy and that my brother was taking care of that in his role as chief compliance officer. Claiming that collecting the data would be too hard is a nice touch. Who's going to disprove you?

I hope you have the courage to post this dose of reality, Esq. Never! I especially want to encourage the deans to continue with their great business model. I mean, I wiped out the savings of old people and even some not for profit institutions, but I don't think I ever drove anyone into debt. I mean inducing a bunch of young people to mortgage their futures on some illusory promises of employment, that's just ruthless! I LOVE it!!!

Plus, hiding behind the cover of being a not for profit champion of higher learning is just pure genius. (Though I am intrigued by the for profit schools trying to get a piece of the action.) Oh, and the fact that you can reap your revenue almost exclusively through an endless stream of government guaranteed loans just brings a tear to my eye.

So here's some lessons, members of the entitlement generation: Never trust anyone (not your financial consultants, not the guardians of higher education, and for the love of Pete, not lawyers!); Caveat Emptor (even if that doctrine has technically been abolished) - if what you pay for doesn't work out, tough luck; and if you're going to brazenly rip people off, make sure you use a non-profit vehicle to do so.

I should have taken my own advice: The Bernie Madoff School of Law - I like the sound of that! Alas, I'll never have that chance because apparently government lawyers won't go after their own but are willing to come down hard on those of us in the financial sector.


P.S. - If any of your readers are looking for legal work, let me know. Because the government has seized my assets, I can't really pay them anything, but just think of the experience they'll build. Plus, I write great letters of recommendation.

* Correspondence may not have actually taken place.


  1. Law school is an even bigger Ponzi scheme.... Bernie wishes he was a part of it, rather than the one he did which was far less lucrative and got him thrown in jail.

  2. If you spent as much time working as you do concocting videos and poems and stories and letters - and bitchin' - you would be far more successful.

  3. Eh, come on guys, I've already heard this one before. If you want to slam me, get some new material.

    Glad you had time on Christmas day to take a swipe at me, but Merry Christmas to you anyway.


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