Here are details and how to apply.
"The family of a local [Westchester County, NY] , mentally ill Starbucks employee[Darren Bez] who killed himself after the java giant fired him is upset over more than just the chain's red holiday cups. Although Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote the family a heartfelt letter about their loss, they also want him to pay for their loved one's funeral arrangements." - Mara Siegler, New York Post, November 26, 2015. Here is the article.
Darren Bez suffered from a bipolar condition. He had worked at Starbucks for 10 years. Then he was fired at the Ossining, NY store, reports the Post, "for not wearing an apron and having a cellphone exposed." After that, his family claims, he went into a downward spiral. In June of 2015, he took his own life. The family is represented by lawyer, Eric Baum.
Schultz had asked the family's permission to share Darren's story with former Rhode Island Senator Patrick Kennedy when he visited Starbucks' headquarters. Kennedy, himself disabled with bipolar illness, has been an advocate for the mentally ill. Schultz seems authentically distressed by this development.
Starbucks' response to this request from the family involves both legal and public relations issues. Eventually, the family could file an actual lawsuit.
Also, this kind of request could discourage other employers from hiring the disabled. The potential risk might seem too high.
That's good news for lawyers. The carefully researched book "The Steal" by Rachel Shteir could provide you with information and insight for compelling defenses, your marketing communications for this niche, and material for an e-book and community talks.
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, 27 million Americans do the 5-fingered discount. That number is bound to keep growing because of sustained hard times for various sectors of the population.
There are the old stand-bys such as the sheer thrill of it. For Saint Augustine that was right up there with the pleasure from sex. What teenager hasn't shoplifted?
In the CounterCulture, it was Abbie Hoffman ("Steal This Book") who framed the act as righteous political protest. That was a variation on the theme of "I deserve to have this." Another variation is the rich celebrity such as Winona Ryder whose fame seems to have rewired the sense of socially acceptable behavior.
Then there is the high value of the item which makes the risk worth taking. When I was a contract worker in loss prevention at Sephora and Home Depot, that was usually the situation. A favorite tactic at Home Depot was what I call "The Sandwich." In the self-check out line, a low-priced item was scanned, a very expensive one was not, then another low-priced item was scanned.
But the current driver, as Shteir points out, is sheer economic necessity. Thanks to a sluggish economy and stagnant wages, The New Frugality is not enough to make ends meet. Like those street urchins in the novels of Charles Dickens, respectable folks feel they have no choice but to steal. They, of course, are the heart-breaking ones to defend.
Small law firms and solos could make it their business to promote their track record in this niche. The target markets should include the economically insecure. But, in addition, other segments can be parents in affluent metro areas and suburbs, university mental health/career centers, middle-class adults, and successful, bored professionals.
Poet Robert Frost defined "home" as where they have to take you in.
Maybe that's why we Baby Boomers never really feared becoming homeless. Families were intact. So there was always a part of the extended family who would take us in. No matter how bad the economy got or how we screwed-up it was rare that we wound up bunking on the sidewalk.
Today that kind of last-resort place to land when down and out keeps fading.
With good reason, Millennials envision themselves winding up homeless. Those include law students and lawyers.
But how realistic is that anxiety?
In Los Angeles County, there are 44,300 homeless human beings. The LA Homeless Services Authority surveyed 3,187 as to how they came to be without conventional lodging. Here is coverage of the results of those interviews in the LA Times.
About a fifth fingered unemployment or just plain-vanilla financial problems. Who doesn't have them in the 21st century?
There was plenty of mental illness and substance abuse. The good news there is that if they "get into the system" they will likely receive social services help in securing housing. Over and over again we hear at 12-step programs about members' winding up in detox, then being referred to rehab, gaining admission to a halfway house, and eventually putting together a new life with a permanent address and entitlements (such as disability) or a job.
Surprisingly, almost a third cited health problems. Those included diabetes, asthma, ulcers, amputations, and blindness. A chronic illness can prevent you from holding a job and bankrupt you with medical bills. It requires sophistication, including professional legal counsel, to be granted SSI.
There's another perspective, though. on the why of homelessness. It's in the autobiography of a homeless man, Stuart Shorter, by Alexander Masters. That's "Stuart: A Life Backwards." After a traumatic childhood, Shorter finds the ambiance of the street and the fellowship on park benches a better fit than regular lodging.
Social services puts him into a nice, safe bedsitter. He figures out how to exit. That's a preference he shares with some other homeless. Normal isn't for them. For that choice they trade off a long life. Most died in their 40s, as did Shorter. He may or may not have committed suicide.
So, what should lawyers and law students take as red flags that you could wind up homeless? Here are some of them:
If you are heading in the direction of homelessness, find a way to "get into the system." The drug addict son of a close friend robbed a donut shop and waited outside on the curb for the police, In prison he got clean and learned a trade. For years after that he has been operating a successful luxury furniture repair business, out of his home.
Weekly, we read in the legal media about lawyers in career meltdowns. Allegedly they embezzle, become drunks, distribute child porn, sexually harass employees, and use electronic devices in court when the judge says nonono.
And we wonder how could they wind up in such messes. After all they had intellectually stimulating work, status, good compensation and, usually, families to support. Also, lawyering is all they know how to do. If they lose their license, they could become unemployable.
Well, in 2013, award-winning author Jonathan Dee explores that mystery in the form of a novel. The book is "A Thousand Pardons."
In it, Ben Armstead is a middle-aged partner in a prestigious Manhattan law firm. He handles estates. On the surface, he has it all.
But, his marriage to Helen is dead. He isn't engaged with his adopted teenage daughter, Sara. And, as he tells the marriage counselor, he is bored, with every aspect of his life. As he says that, in front of Helen, he weeps. But Helen doesn't know how to awaken his spirit. It seems she's consumed by her own pain.
The way he finds relief is through a mental sexual obsession with a summer intern. Colleagues informally tell him to back off. But he winds up taking her to an expensive hotel. He requests she take off her clothes. She does. Again, he weeps. No sex happens.
However, on the way out of the room, her boyfriend is waiting. He beats Ben up. Long story short, the drunk Ben winds up in an accident. Along with the DUI he is charged with sexual assault. The juicy story of a BigLaw partner's fall from grace is front-page news in the New York media. In his bedroom community he is a pariah.
Through a kind of Saul Goodman as a lawyer, he gets out of most of his legal trouble. No other lawyer will take the cases. He serves only about a month in jail.
Once out of jail, he begins to find a path leading somewhere, anywhere. Under the table, he helps that Goodman type of lawyer with an estate case. He reunites, first with his daughter, then his wife. He is trying to figure out how to resume making a good living.
Not that Ben morphs into a fine human being. He's still self-absorbed, arrogant, and entitled. What he has learned, though, is that it's up to him to make his life interesting. And he becomes confident he can do just that.
That might be the takeaway for all lawyers tilting toward self-destruction: The burden is on them to create a life they can enjoy, without losing everything.
After all, there are a lot of other entities, ranging from annoying relatives to binge eating, to grab our attention. But, the smart money is betting Trump will still manage to be totally part of everything we think, talk about, and even try to get a break from.
Wouldn't lawyers, a highly verbal bunch, love to have this same power? Well, here are some 4 tips for at least trying to become an attention magnet.
Don't care. Trump doesn't have to care and he lets us know that. Adopt the same fearless stance. John F. Kennedy's persona had also been not-caring about what others thought. A rich kid, with good looks, he didn't have to observe middle-class decorum. Eccentric lawyer David Boies presents himself as not giving a darn about how his appearance (including cheap suits) is assessed.
Make a mission your signature. Trump intends to make America great again. You got to have a cause beyond simply serving your clients and making a living. Perhaps you can make a lot of noise about creating a level playing field in the justice system for all people of America. Citizen or not. Whatever race or ethnic origin. No matter the age. Let the rhetoric rip.
Don't apologize. There's way too much of that. It's boring. It's ineffective. Frame censure as evidence of someone's ignorance. Executive coaches are chiding women for too much apologizing.
Look off-beat. Conservatives have this down to a science. They include Fox News leader Roger Ailes, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and public affairs player Bob Dilenschneider. They throw their fat around. The more the world gets into wellness the more these 3 stand out. They got a good thing going for them. Find out how you can also shock visually as you enter the room.
This weekend you will be surrounded by people. There's no better time to experiment with your simulation of Trump attention-grabbing strategy.
On the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Antonia Scalia's opinions are widely read and quoted. He has a genius for superimposing his personality.
Now, his son, Christopher J. Scalia, is also on the radar. In the conservative The Weekly Standard, he published an entertaining piece on how pop culture is depicting his father. Here you can read that.
That son could have an amazing career in media, marketing, or public relations.
Its niche, reports Staci Zaretsky in Abovethelaw.com, had been serving banks and mortgage services in litigation associated with creditors' rights. About 100 employees will be jobless.
Recently, Burleson also announced it is shutting its doors. That will leave about 60 lawyers unemployed.
Experts on the business of law firms have been predicting shut-downs. The marketplace has changed and will continue to change. No segment of how legal services are delivered has been unaffected.
For example, demand in BigLaw is essentially flat. For small firms and solos, it is a dog fight for business. Meanwhile law schools are turning out about 40,000 JDs per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that through 2020, only a little more than 21,000 new lawyer jobs will be created.