On Collective Mourning and Protests

I wrote this piece after the non-indictment of Eric Garner’s killer, back in December of 2014. It was published on another site that has since ceased publications. But, as I head back out to protest yet more police killings of yet more black and brown people, I ask myself again why I am compelled to do this. Which reminded me that I wrote a whole thing about it.

The point is not only to stand up, to fight back, to be counted. It is to engage in an act of collective mourning. Crying alone with my office door closed in the minutes between meetings is not healing, or helpful or, really much of anything. At least for me, it’s only by being surrounded by fellow mourners, by collectively feeling the full depth of our fear and sorrow, only in that mass scream of resistance, that I know how to find my hope again, so I can wake up tomorrow, get out of bed, and keep fighting. Continue reading

Nine Gifts for the Law Nerd in Your Life

(1) This disappearing civil liberties mug:

When you pour hot liquid into it, the Bill of Rights disappears. What is the symbolic significance of the hot liquid? Does it represent poverty or corruption or, I don’t know, opulence or something? I’ve put two or three solid minutes of thought into this important question and am still undecided. Continue reading

Can Smoking Legal Weed Get You Fired?

Medical Marijuana via Mark on Flickr

Medical Marijuana

Pot is now legal in a bunch of states. Twenty-three, in fact, have legalized some form of medical marijuana, with four other states (and maybe DC) also permitting recreational use. But don’t get too excited just yet, because while these new laws may prevent you from getting arrested for marijuana use, they won’t necessarily prevent you from getting fired — even if you’re only using it in your off time.

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Hobby Lobby and Student Loans?

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, wherein the highest court in the land affirmed that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to closely held corporations (i.e., some 90% of corporations employing over 50% of private employees), that closely held corporations can have sincere religious beliefs, and that those beliefs allow them to opt-out of the Affordable Care Act contraception mandate, one lawyer has a pretty neat idea. Can such an exemption apply to student loans?  Continue reading

Nothing Can Protect You From the Wrath of Student Loan Servicers — Not Even Paying Your Bills

I’m 31 years old and have a good job as a lawyer in Manhattan. I’ve reached the point in my life where I can afford my monthly student loan payments, with a little help from my law school, and also afford to finance a tiny co-op somewhere in the outskirts of Brooklyn or Queens. So, I’ve made it, right?

Except I can’t borrow so much as a dime. I have terrible credit, despite the fact that I’ve never failed to pay a bill in my life. The only debt I’ve ever had is from law school. Like a good fiscally responsible adult, I’ve always paid those bills on time, always paying more than my monthly minimums to try and pay them off more quickly. Continue reading