Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sponsor a Law Kid

I recently came across Undeniable Ruth, a blog written by Ruth Carter, a 3L student at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
In order to raise tuition money for her last semester at law school, Ruth has launched  "Sponsor a Law Kid."  For a set price based on the day, Ruth is willing to blog about any topic you choose.

For example, day one is January 1, 2011.  That will cost you a buck.  July 27th will cost you $208. In exchange for a sponsorship, Carter pledges to tell the world on her blog:
“how awesome you, your organization, and/or your products are. Also, it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you’re part of something awesome.”
My initial reaction to Carter's efforts was disdain.  "Law Kid?"  "Warm Fuzzy Feeling?"  "Be part of something awesome?"  It was a little too cutesy for me.  Lawyers are supposed to be serious and professional.  We don't have warm fuzzy feelings.  Ever....

I immediately got on my high horse.  I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was the son of immigrants. I spent a few summers working in a factory.  To pay for my own education, I spent my days working full time for my law school and my nights working as a DJ at a local White Plains watering hole.  A typical day for me was 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM office, 6 PM - 10 PM class, 11 PM - 4 AM working at the bar.  In fact, I had to walk up hill to my classes.  Both ways.  In the snow.  OK, maybe I exaggerated about walking up hill.  I also limited my bar job to three nights a week. My precious childhood didn't warrant a book by Safire.  I grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut.

Needless to say, I wouldn't wish that schedule on my worst enemy.  But it paid the bills. So was it somehow more noble for me to make my tuition money playing Disco Inferno at a local bar.  If this student can pay for her tuition through her writing, then more power to her. (You have to remember, the ABA puts limitations on some law students in the amount of hours they can work per week).  Of course, not everyone agrees with me.  In fact, many of the responses were downright nasty.

Granted we are a bitter bunch.  But I was still taken aback at the response towards this law student. Ruth is basically asking people to sponsor her blogging efforts.  Is it any different than a legal blog adding an adsense widget to their site?  Is it any worse than a blog placing an obnoxious advertising widget scrolling everything from iPads, books to briefcases.....never mind.  Besides, she has already raised $1000.  More power to her.

It bares noting that one of the nation's most widely read blogs "Above the Law" is covered with more advertisements than a NASCAR driver. You can even watch a video of an ATL editor hawking the Livescribe pen.

The law professor written blog,  the Volkh Conspiracy, has ads for a variety of things including the store Talbots and Progressive Insurance.  Even the respected Scotus blog is brought to you by the law firm Akin Gump.   Other bloggers hawk everything from books to services. Even bloggers who stand on soapboxes and proclaim a disdain for "marketing" usually include links to their own law firms where they tout their acumen.  Like them, Ruth wants to get paid for her writing.

So what's everyone getting so uppity about?  To Ruth's critics, I say "lighten up and sponsor the kid".


Anonymous said...

You make a great point Adrian, but there is still something really annoying about this "kid" looking for law school money. Not as annoying as the Above the Law video though LOL

Jana Knapp said...

Adrian -

Rarely do you get anything you don't ask for. Ruth is merely asking in the most upfront and honest way possible.

Full disclosure - Ruth is a friend and I've already bought my day.

But I didn't sponsor her because I'm her friend; I did it because I believe that we are going to need a new type of lawyer as we move further into the digital age.

The world is changing. Time for lawyers to catch up.

Anonymous said...

I bought a day. She seems cool