When Reporters Write A Story You Don't Like, Perhaps Don't Impersonate Them Asking For Sexual Encounters Or Nude Modeling Jobs

from the just-a-tip dept

Yikes. Last week, the blog "The Docket," which covers legal stories in Massachusetts, posted about an amusing, if slightly disturbing, email exchange between a recent law school grad, Jesse Clark, seeking a paralegal position, and the lawyer who (almost) hired him, Rosaleen Clayton. You should read the whole thread. It starts out with Clayton almost offering Clark a job, but expressing some concerns about his work, and suggesting that perhaps they try a few freelance (paid) projects, and if the quality is good, she would offer full-time employment. Now, you may or may not think this is a reasonable offer, and I can certainly understand why some job seekers might not like it. But the response should be to gracefully move on, seeking full-time employment elsewhere. Instead, Clark responded by claiming he didn't understand why she wouldn't offer full time employment based on his writing samples and good grades.

Clayton, in response, gave a very honest assessment to Clark of her concerns. Some might consider her response a bit harsh, but it appears to just be honest constructive criticism -- which is actually quite useful. Clark responded defensively, and slightly threateningly (in saying he is going to call someone who works for Clayton and let them know that she wanted Clark to give a report on how she answered the phones) and the whole thing spirals completely out of control. We're not just talking about burning a few bridges here, but setting a whole town on fire. Clayton points out that Clark's response is probably not a good way to kick off a career in the tight-knit legal community, and Clark gets ever more insulting -- including the two statements that standout:
  • What next? Do you want me to kiss your feet her Royal Highness?
  • It's amazing that the Ma Bar lets women practice law. Shouldn't you be home cleaning and raising children?
Wow. But, okay, even if you grant that the guy was having a bad day and pissed off about not getting the job, you would think that after all this he would recognize that perhaps it's best not to fly off the handle like that. Apparently not. After The Docket reported on this story, so did Kashmir Hill at AboveTheLaw -- and Clark, none too happy about either report, decided that he was going to respond in his own special way.

In response to the report on The Docket, Clark apparently changed a male modeling profile he had set up so that it was in the name of The Docket reporter, Noah Schaffer, saying that Schaffer was available for nude photo shoots (this post also notes that Clark apparently posted a Craigslist post "responding" to Clayton's help-wanted ad, but does not identify the nature of this post). As for Kashmir Hill, she discovered (after getting a barrage of phone calls on her mobile phone from unknown men) that someone (who she suggests was Clark) put up a "casual encounters" ad with her mobile phone number and photo on Craigslist, suggesting she wanted to get together for casual sex.

Both Hill and Shaffer seem to take this in an amazingly good natured manner, though Hill points to recent case law of others posting such fake Craigslist ads being arrested and charged with various crimes. In Hill's discussion of this, she spoke with Shaffer who said that Clark:
"sent me a note threatening legal action, but then added that he'd take down the model site if I removed the blog item about him."
Apparently, someone doesn't know when to quit.

Filed Under: impersonation, jesse clark, revenge


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  1. icon
    Comboman (profile), 4 Jun 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Expectation of privacy?

    Privacy is a level of trust between two individuals, not a byproduct of technology. If these two people did not agree on the conversation being private, then there should have been no expectation of such.

    I didn't say there was an expectation of privacy because it was an email. I said there was an expectation of privacy because of the context of a job application process. If you are applying for a new job, would you like those details to get back to your current employer?

    Also, just because someone sends an e-mail that says "this is confidential" at the bottom ... unless the receiver previously agrees to that condition before reading, it is in fact NOT confidential. The intention of the sender is great and all, but unless there are contracts and agreements, it's worthless.

    It is true that those types of one-sided conditions are not legally binding, but any reasonably ethical person should voluntarily abide by them, especially a lawyer and even more especially in the context of a job application.


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