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?

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Comments on “Law Student Message Board Saga Inevitably Culminates In Lawsuit”

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nonuser says:

Re: 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.

a Crazy Canuck says:

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.

Nasty Old Geezer says:

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?

Sanguine Dream says:


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?

chris (profile) says:

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.

Shun says:

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.

Matthew says:

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?

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