Greedy Associates - The FindLaw Legal Lifestyle and Career Blog

Who Needs Law School and the Bar Exam? Just Fake Being a Lawyer.

Law school is a rip-off that will probably leave you in thousands and thousands of dollars of debt. The bar exam is a nightmare, two-to-three days of ritualized torture that should be considered more illegal hazing than an accurate test of who is qualified to practice law.

Why put up with it, when you can just fake being a lawyer instead?

Fake Lawyers Abound, From Brooklyn to Uptown

The legal profession is self-regulating, but that doesn't prevent plenty of enterprising pseudo-lawyers from operating outside of the official rules. And sometimes they do so in plain sight.

Take Howard Seidler, for example. Seidler used to host clients in the Brooklyn Bar Association's law library, charging immigrants thousands of dollars to help them get legal documentation. His business cards labeled him as an esquire, PhD, and J.D., but Seidler, of course, wasn't a lawyer, just a scam artist.

Seidler was recently sentenced to two to four years in prison for immigration assistance service fraud, the first person convicted under that New York law. But he might not be the last. A whole host of unlicensed fake lawyers, immigration consultants, and "notarios" prey on immigrant communities who are unaware of the requirements for the practice of law in the United States.

But fake lawyers aren't just bottom feeders. Even presidential candidates might pretend to be lawyers at times. Donald Trump may have once imitated a lawyer, in order to shut down satirists who had mocked him, perhaps for the size of his hands. Scott Dikkers, founding editor of the Onion recounts, a time when The Donald, or his lawyers, contacted the satirical newspaper to complain about their coverage of him:

Trump wrote an email to The Onion a couple of years ago, well his 'attorney,' but I question that now because of the John Miller/John Barron thing [in which Donald Trump pretended to be a publicist.] He wrote a letter after the Onion wrote a story that made fun of him, and you look at that letter now, and it uses some of Trump's favorite words like 'disgusting' and 'disgraceful' and 'you owe an apology to Mr. Trump,' so I'm thinking now his 'attorney' did not write that.

Fake It 'Til You Make It End Up in Jail

Of course, we would never seriously recommend faking being a lawyer. Practicing the law without a license is illegal, and many who do so end up in jail -- leaving their defrauded "clients" out in the cold.

In comparison, law school and the bar exam don't look too bad.

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