Law Student Message Board Saga Inevitably Culminates In Lawsuit

from the after-all-they're-lawyers dept

Over the past few months, there have been some stories about a message board for law students that some have blamed for costing them job offers. One female Yale law student says she interviewed with 16 firms, and didn't receive a single offer, pointing the finger at postings about her on the message board that were potentially defamatory or offensive. Now, that student and another female classmate have sued a former employee of the site, as well as several people who posted on the site under pseudonyms. Their suit claims they've suffered "substantial psychological and economic injury" from the messages, and asks for $245,400 in punitive damages plus other unspecified damages. It's nice to see the suit going after the posters, rather than the site itself, since that's how the law is supposed to work. Still, without wanting to downplay the nasty nature of many of these comments, it seems like there's plenty of overreaction to go around here. Again, it seems rather unlikely that so many firms would pass over such a supposedly promising student based solely on these message threads, which they may or may not have seen. Furthermore, the fact that one of the Jane Does apparently hired a company to "defend her reputation" online -- which apparently charges a separate fee per item they get taken offline -- appears to have encouraged the juvenile morons attacking her to only step things up. It's also not particularly clear what this case will help accomplish, apart from a potentially chilling effect on law-student speech. Winning the case, and $250,000 or more in damages, won't put the cat back in the bag, and if the students think the messages kept them from getting jobs, what will be the effect of the inevitable stories about the suit that turn up in Google searches?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Aard88, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 11:06pm

    Are you crazy? Leave a comment?

    Leave a comment and get sued?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 11:36pm

    These two future lawyers are certainly showing themselves to be litigious. For most prospective employers that would be a big red flag but maybe its different for law firms and this stunt just might cause the job offers to come rolling in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 12:02am

    Work with the entertainment industry?

    Need I say more?
    They are showing how good they are at gttitng a posting taken down and hammering the defendant for every penny they can screw out of them. THis would count as far more than a good refernce to the MAFIAA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Charles Griswold, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 12:03am

    Re: Are you crazy? Leave a comment?

    Leave a comment and get sued?
    If the comments counts as defamation of character (or libel, or whatever) then yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Mike F.M, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 2:18am

    At least

    At least when these "inevitable stories about the suit that turn up in Google searches" do start to appear, they will go after the people responsible, and not Google.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    The Swiss Cheese Monster, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 3:33am

    Lawyers suing Lawyers... This is like some legal version of celebrity death match!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 4:10am

    Re:

    Well, it makes sense in a twisted way. They're basically just doing what they've been trained to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    a Crazy Canuck, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 5:23am

    Just a Crazy Canuck's thoughts Eh!

    16 Firms she was interviewed and no Offers!! Maybe the Law Firms found out that she was a very good Lawyer through an interview process and didn't want to have a substandard Lawyer working for them. I have to think that 16 law firms passed on her there must be other things that they were looking at.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 5:48am

    Well...

    Yes it could be publicity stunt to get hired.

    Or perhaps they aren't that good so they were turned down.

    But frankly if a potential employer bases their decision on what they find on the internet then I really have to wonder if they are a good employer. Even if they had hired them does this mean that they would continue to scour the net for dirty laundry and fire as soon as some came up?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    nonuser, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 5:48am

    Re:

    Yeah, seems the site forgot to include in its TOU:

    You agree not to act like a lawyer when you see something here that may be personally disparaging. Let's devise win-win scenarios and work out our differences in a spirit of mutual cooperation and trust, or better yet, overlook trivial slights so we can embrace the possibilities of each God-given day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Matthew, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 6:14am

    Maybe

    Just maybe...she's too much of a bitch to get hired?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 6:19am

    HAHA, Let them sue each other!

    What a stroke of pure genius - too bad it was just by accident.

    But I would agree with Matthew above too. Question really is.... are the posts true :O

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Jun 13th, 2007 @ 6:19am

    wow, shocking.

    a lawyer didn't get what he/she wanted and so they are suing.

    i am shocked and apalled that a lawyer would do such a thing. it's so out of character for people in that profession.

    and choosing to sue another lawyer... that's even more surprising. i wonder if those other lawyers saw that coming... being that they were lawyers and all.

    that's like black on black crime, except it's with lawyers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 6:44am

    Re: Well...

    I wonder if she will defend herself or hire another lawyer.

    Lots of lawyers do not defend themselves in lawsuits.

    I she hires another lawyer, then the publicity stunt was not thought out very well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Nasty Old Geezer, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 9:38am

    Re: Just a Crazy Canuck's thoughts Eh!

    I am a little surprised -- why not sue the law firms that did not hire her, since they allegedly made hiring decisions based on unreliable sources?

    Oh yeah -- these are the places she wants to work.

    Anyone know the general substance of the comments? Were they anything actaully related to potential job performance?

    If it was just that she is insufferably obnoxious and aggressive -- is that really derogatory for a lawyer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Shun, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 10:44am

    Could this spell doom for the legal profession?

    I can see this becoming a legal death spiral. Before, lawyers used to get away with being litigious because it helped their own bottom line. Lawyers suing other lawyers is just tossing money around. Can they sue their own clients? Can the court system sue these lawyers for bringing frivolous lawsuits before the courts?

    I predict that the entire legal profession will implode in the next 5 years or so. Hopefully, by then, I will have made my fortune as a litigation-support specialist (IT, making copies, serving summons and subpoenas). No way am I going to become a lawyer. I could get sued, man.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 11:25am

    Damn! Wonder if I could get this optioned?
    Reality-sitcom! Killer concept! Could be the next biggie.
    Bonus!, the plot already makes more sense than "Lost"...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 11:32am

    Re: Just a Crazy Canuck's thoughts Eh!

    Maybe she was just too ugly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Matthew, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 7:51pm

    More than meets the eye.

    There's definitely more here which we aren't being told. I'm sure not all 16 firms dropped her just because of those comments on the forums. That's just impossible. Imagine, all of those firms going to that particular forum to read up comments about this particular lady.

    How about references? I'm sure they'd have got references from her professors, etc, and as an employer, I'd sure as hell value that 100x more than some anonymous post in a forum.

    So if we interpret this right, this woman goes for job interviews with no references from her professors or mentors, somehow managed to get thrown out by Sixteen firms, hires a separate company to "defend her reputation" online by posting to msg boards, and sues the hell out of a bunch of anonymous posters? Wow.

    Methinks the simpler explanation was that maybe she's a mean bitch?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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