Monday, January 30, 2012

Profiles in Blatant $elf Intere$t: Law School Industry Shill Shawn P. O’Connor, “President” of Stratus Prep

O’Connor Feels That Unemployed Lawyers Can Go Into Journalism or the Arts:

Shawn P. O’Connor authored a pile of filth, for US “News” & World Report blog “Law Admissions Lowdown,” under the headline “5 Unique Career Paths for Law School Grads.” This garbage appeared on January 23, 2012:

“After graduating from law school, you may think that practicing law is your only career option. However, some of today's law school grads, by choice or temporarily by necessity given the recovering legal market, are securing incredibly diverse careers outside of the law. The unique paths taken by these graduates reinforce the versatility of a law degree, which brings with it a plethora of marketable skills. 

Should you attend law school and decide at some point in your career that you want to do more than simply practice law, you may enjoy numerous opportunities across a wide variety of industries.” [Emphasis mine]

This ass-clown lists the following five alternate careers, for those JDs and lawyers who cannot find legal employment: journalism, real estate, nonprofit management, entrepreneurship, and the arts. Guess what, moron? One typically is not required to earn/purchase a Bachelor’s degree in order to become a realtor, business owner or artist. Journalism is another glutted market. Ask the legions freelance writers who are scraping by on intermittent work, bitch. Lastly, why spend seven years in a classroom – and incur SUBSTANTIAL amounts of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – to work for a nonprofit?!?! How many people simply walk into a management position, upon graduation, with those agencies or organizations? Here is one excerpt from his idiotic article:

“Journalism: Countless well-known reporters, broadcast journalists, and TV personalities studied law as a precursor to a career in journalism. Geraldo Rivera, host of Geraldo at Large on FOX News Channel, graduated from Brooklyn Law School. Jeff Greenfield, former CBS News senior political correspondent, went to Yale Law School. Cynthia McFadden, coanchor of ABC News's Nightline and Primetime, graduated from Columbia Law School. Finally, Star Jones, former host of The View and contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, obtained her juris doctor from the University of Houston Law Center.

What has allowed these individuals to make the jump from law to media? In law school, you learn to synthesize ideas, communicate clearly, and quickly get to the heart of an issue—all skills that are critical in journalism.”

Charisma, charm and connections account for their success, far more than a damn law degree. Plus, the public enjoys controversy and sensationalism. See Crooklyn Law alum Geraldo Rivera’s broken nose incident, from his TV trash talk show Geraldo.  For $ome rea$on, Shawn forgot to mention that Jerry Springer earned a law degree from Northwestern University.

O’Connor’s Background and Financial Interest in the Subject:

“Shawn P. O’Connor, Esq. is the founder and CEO of Stratus Prep, a New York City-based test preparation and admissions counseling firm. For nearly a decade, he has counseled thousands of law school applicants, many of whom have been admitted to the nation’s top law schools including Yale, Harvard, and Stanford. O’Connor is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School and is an attorney admitted to the bar in New York and Massachusetts.” 

As you can see from the US “News” blog piece, Shawn is “president” and founder of Stratus Prep. According to the company’s website, Stratus Prep is in test preparation and admissions counseling industry, for business, law and graduate school applicants.

Currently, you can enroll in an LSAT course for only $1599. You also have the option of LSAT tutoring, at the hourly rate of $180. Plus, there is an LSAT tutoring 30 hour package offered at merely $4,320

Hourly law schools admissions counseling will run you $250. However, the admissions counseling package will cost $3,250.

“Law School Bootcamp covers everything you need to know to succeed in your first year of law school, the most important year to ace your classes.”

This product can be purchased for a mere $1,799! With such a personal financial stake in the matter, we can see why O'Connor wants to describe a JD as “versatile.”

Reality Versus O’Connor’s “Argument”:

According to NALP’s Class of 2010 National Summary Report, a total of 44,258 graduates competed for 28,167 jobs requiring bar passage. Keep in mind that not all of those slots were traditional attorney openings. Basically, ABA-accredited diploma mills produced more than 1.57 graduates, for each available lawyer - or law-related - position.  How ethical, huh?!?!

On June 27, 2011, the Economix blog of the New York Times featured an article entitled “The Lawyer Surplus, State by State.” The figures were calculated by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., which focuses on employment data and economics. Based on their research, every state except Wisconsin and Nebraska is producing too many lawyers. Perhaps EMSI should determine how many lawyer-journalists each state needs.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, this “man” doesn’t care about the typical student's law school outcome. He simply wants more people to register with LSAC, apply to law schools, and enroll in his prep programs. At the prices listed above, you can see why he wants prospective law students to believe that a law degree is versatile. Shawn P. O’Connor simply wants to instill confidence in others – without regard to the prevailing job market.  What a beacon of integrity, right?!?!


  1. This doesn't surprise me. I mean just look at the other leeches that live off the law schools. Flash cards. Commercial outline companies. There are a lot of people living off this scam. I didn't even mention the bar prep companies.

    As long as this system is allowed to continue as it is, you are going to see leeches taking advantage of the students. If he is a HLS grad he knows the job market is shrinking. He can't claim ignorance.

  2. Fucksake man. $180 an hour to be tutored on the lsat? Forget that. Gee, US News doesn't care if he uses them to drum up business for himself either.

  3. Nando, the law school educational complex is a billion dollar industry. O'Connor's article is unsurprising given that he clearly comes out like a law school shill. His business model depends on keeping the law school gravy train running. This is a guy who obviously thought so well of the legal profession that he ran away from it and started a business related to law school admissions. Obviously this guy did not have the credentials (law review, SCOTUS clerkship) to secure a comfy post (despite being a Harvard law grad) at a law school so he is doing the second best thing.

    He also forgot to cite Joan King, who holds a JD and is former CSO director from Geraldo's alma mater. She is now a successful realtor in Connecticut.

    O'Connor's article makes me wonder how better of an artist Michaelangelo would have been had he obtained a law degree. What about Donald Trump, who by the way looks down at attorneys like peons? To think Donald Trump may have own all of Manhattan had he gotten a JD.

  4. My original reaction was that One Thousand Five-Hundred and Ninety-Nine Dollars is a tad bit steep for an LSAT prep course. Then I looked at Kaplan (Who are also guilty of running a scam) and they are charging a similar amount of money for similar services.
    Two things are wild about this state of affairs.
    First that people are paying this money, I thought that people just bought a book and studied from it.
    Second how much is being charged for knowledge that is only useful once in life.

    Did any of you guys enlist in a Thousand dollar plus LSAT course before going to law school?

  5. ^I took a $300 prep course. I should've dug deeper and then I might have ended up at a better law school. If I wasn't banging some guy's wife on the side, I might've done better on my lsat too. Who really knows?

  6. Here is the shill-to-reality translation of O'Connor's sickening article:

    * "recovering legal market": collapsing legal market.

    * "unique paths" and "nontraditional": grads must sink or swim (on their own, carrying an ungodly load of nondischargable debt).

    * "securing incredibly diverse careers outside the law": if you leave the JD off your resume, and invent some persuasive lie as to how you have spent the last three years, you have a shot at just about any menial job.

    * "versatility of a law degree:" See above. Also, as a recent grad, your friends and relatives will ask you for free legal advice, little knowing that you are totally devoid of actual practice skills and experience.

    * "marketable skills": (See also "learn to synthesize ideas," "communicate clearly," "leadership and management skills," "problem solving skills," "solve challenging problems with limited resources," and "writing skills"):
    As a law grad, law student, or wannabee law student, you think of yourself as smart and a JD proves it. Everybody, but everybody, wants to hire a credentialed smart person for a cushy, important, and interesting desk job with a big salary.

  7. This guy is the moral equivalent of a drug pusher telling kids that drugs are good for you.

  8. This guy nailed the used car salesman grin. In fact, that portrait can easily replace any "Car Salesman of the Month" picture at any car dealership. This guy went to Harvard and has probably never had to overcome tough odds, unlike most grads today. The fact that he is no longer practicing (he can't be more than 5 years out of law school) should tell prospective 0Ls how fucked their chances are. The fact that this guy is charging huge sums of money to be a coach/personal cheerleader is fucking insane. The article is a fucking slap in the face of law students and recent grads who now face insurmountable debt with dismal job prospects. No one outside of the legal industry wants to hire a JD.

    Here is a true story. Ten years ago, a friend who worked for an insurance company told me the company hired a JD who could not secure a paying legal gig. On his first week, the JD guy asked how come there was no union for the insurance salespeople. The guy actually tried starting a union and he was quickly canned. He sued the employer and lost. Guess what? That insurance company stopped hiring JDs.

    As far as I am concerned, the JD is the only credential that you must leave off your resume to secure a non-legal job. And this douche says they Biglaw will soon open its gates because bluesky practice will soar. Of course, if that doesn't work, you can get a film crew, go to a cemetery and unearth a tomb and sell the video as "Jimmy Hoffa's Final Destination." Get the fuck out of here.

  9. Kiss mah grits 'n gravy. And ya don'ts even get'sta have a heav'nly biscuit wit' dat. Dis boy done sure got him some nerve. Yeah, he sho'ly do.

    Let The Colonel tells ya a li'l story. Ready? Here it go. When I first got inta da chickin bizness, I drove mah ass 'cross da muthafuckin' country like a desperate sumbitch in a ol' beat up piece o' shit car. I had'sta pracktickly beg biznesses to listen to mah sales pitch fer five fuckin' minutes. Enuff a dat. Here's da point of mah mufuckin' story. If I hadda done gone up t' some of dem folks and told 'em mah shit waz gonna put 'em on da map 'n charged 'em 'ccordin'ly fer a bullshit product they'd a locked meh up. And ya don't evah want'sta go to no southern jail. I'll tell ya dat right now. Get da fuck outta here wit' dat ol' tired raggedy ass shit 'bout law skool bein' a ticket to other careers.

    Shit, I done did practiced law befo' I done beat da ever livin' shit outta a client in court one day. (You's can look dat up.) I didn't have no fuckin' student loans to worry 'bout. I only sold chickin recipes 'coz mah ass failed at everythin' else I tried at. Ya think mah law license helped me sell one got damn chickin in mah life?

    1. According to
      While working as a railroad man for the Illinois Central Railroad, Sanders took a correspondence course that allowed him to earn a law degree from Southern University. A local judge permitted him to use his law library and local lawyers helped his studies by explaining law terminology. When he lost his job with the railroad, Sanders began practicing law. He had some success in the legal field from about 1915 to the early 1920s, working in the Justice of the Peace courts in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sanders ruined his legal career, however, by getting into a brawl with a client in the courtroom. Although found innocent of assault and battery, Sanders' legal practice was through.

      Read more:

  10. $180 an hour? Fuck, you can screw great looking women in Brazil for less than that. Imagine spending thousands of dollars to practice how to take a test that has nothing to do with the practice of law. The LSAT has no practical applications outside of law other than helping you figure out what seat Sally will sit on what numbered bus and on what numbered route on a Saturday. You really think a law degree will help you score a touchdown? Why don't you ask Bart Oates how much his TTT law degree helped him win a Super Bowl?


    Take a look at Shawn P. O’Connor’s LinkedIn profile:

    “Shawn O'Connor's Education

    Harvard Business School
    MBA, Business Administration
    2004 – 2007
    Activities and Societies: Section E - 2006

    Harvard Law School
    JD, Law
    2003 – 2007
    Activities and Societies: Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

    Georgetown University
    B.S.F.S., International Politics
    1995 – 1999
    Activities and Societies: SFS Student Government, Model United Nations”

    The guy has an MBA and JD from Harvard, and he is now pimping his admissions counseling and test prep courses. His mother must be very proud, huh?!?! Did anyone notice that Shawn was on the “prestigious” Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review?!

    On November 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm, Shawn apparently posted this message on his blog:

    “Welcome to Shawn’s 5, my new blog where each post will consist of five brief thoughts, tips, questions, concerns, predictions, featured articles, etc. related to professional success and personal fulfillment in the New Economy. I will mix it up by focusing on entrepreneurship, career advice, personal and small business, branding/marketing, and finance/macroeconomics. I am excited for your suggestions as well!”

    In the description, he also mentioned that he was a Fulbright Scholarship recipient.

    Check out the assortment of goods and products listed under Stratus Prep’s Law School Discounted Packages:

    If you want these services, then pull out that big-ass checkbook or credit card. Bronze Discounted Package runs $3,059, while the Silver will set you back $4,349. The Gold Discounted setup costs $4,545. The Platinum program is offered at $5,815, and, lastly, the Diamond Discounted Package will total $7,180. Who the hell has that type of money to piss away on LSAT preparation?!?! Anyone with an IQ above 85 can see why Shawn wants to encourage people to apply to law school - even if he needs to tell them that a JD is “versatile.”


    On January 17, 2011, someone using the handle “Aimee S.” posted the following review on Yelp:

    “I took an LSAT course in the Fall that was a complete waste of $1200.00

    The tutor was impatient, did not stop to answer individual's questions and in general had a negative attitude toward the law. On the first day of class he made sure to tell us that even though he was a law student at NYU, he had no intention of becoming a lawyer. He sneered on one occasion when I told him that I was interested in critical race theory and in general had a terrible disposition that made me not want to be there.

    After the 3rd or 4th class, I was so disatisfied that I tried to cancel the course and received an email from Shawn the owner threatening to sue me if I did not pay the full tuition!”

    Shawn P. O’Connor responded, with this comment - on January 26, 2011:


    We are sorry that you did not enjoy your experience with Stratus Prep though I wish you had shared with me personally why you wanted to drop out of the class rather than simply posting it on here. That would have allowed me to more immediately and directly address your concerns.

    If you did not hit it off with your particular professor (which happens sometimes), as you know, you are allowed to free repeat in any of our other classes. Notwithstanding this review, we would still very much welcome you in any of our other classes and hope you will reach out to rejoin us.

    As you also know, the reason you had to pay the remainder of your class tuition is that we normally do not permit students to begin classes unless they have paid in full. You asked for us to make an exception so you could pay over time and we did to try and and help you out. However, our contract which you signed clearly states (like any other test prep company's) that you need to pay your tuition in full. You will also recall, we provided you a $399 Sliding Scale scholarship to lower the cost of your class.

    If you would like to rejoin a class, we will welcome you. I am happy to offer you a free 2 hour of 1-on-1 tutoring with me to smooth your reintegration into the class. We hope to see you again soon.

    Shawn O'Connor
    Founder and CEO
    Stratus Prep”

    I’m sure that Shawn wishes that Aimee S. had shared her dissatisfaction with him, instead of posting it online. After all, corporate entities and business enterprises care very much about their reputations.

  13. Correlation does not mean causation. I am sure some people will find success in different industries, but it just as fair to say that so and so succeeded in spite of their law degree, not because of their law degree.

    I guess if someone had a law degree and won the lottery, lottery winner would be a valid career path for law grads.

  14. $180 an hour to figure out this shit:

    A school teacher must schedule seven sessions, which are abbreviated M, N, O, P, S, T, and U, during a day. Seven different consecutive time periods are available for the sessions, and are numbered one through seven in the order that they occur. Only one session can be schedules for each period. The assignment of the sessions to the periods is subject to the following restrictions:
    M and O must occupy consecutive periods.
    M must be scheduled for an earlier period than U.
    O must be scheduled for a later period than S.
    If S does not occupy the fourth period, then P must occupy the fourth period.
    U and T cannot occupy consecutively numbered periods.

    1.Which of the following could be a possible list of the sessions in the order that they are scheduled during the day?

    2. If session M is assigned to the third period, then which of the following must be true?
    (A) N is assigned to the sixth period.
    (B) O is assigned to the first period.
    (C) S is assigned to the fourth period.
    (D) T is assigned to the fifth period.
    (E) U is assigned to the seventh period.

  15. This guy worked for Lehman Brothers.
    Enough said.

  16. When you look back at all this, it shows how stupid the whole law school thing really is. I mean, we bust our hump to do well on a bullshit 'entance' exam that does not test any legal skill or knowledge.

    Thanks to whoever supplied that old logic game on this post. That brings back memories. The test does not tell if one will be a good lawyer. Maybe it does predict how well one can do in law school but that's about it. I imagine that any college mathematics instructor could score a perfect score on the logic games section. Or maybe a 175-180 on the whole stinking test. Does this mean they would make great lawyers? Or that someone like that would do well learning philosophical nonsense for 3 years? The whole thing is a farce from the start.

  17. Fuck this country. I hope it keeps going down the shitter. How do you like that, ya fucks?

    Seriously, fuck this fucking place. It’s a fucking shit heap. The sooner you guys realize it, the better. I wouldn’t pay $180 for the whole fucking country.

  18. There are literally dozens of these fucking cunt scam artists, all charging exhorbitant fees and hourly rates:

    It appears that if you don't make bank in the pyramid scheme of law school administration, you sell out and go into private admissions consulting. Every one of these "consultants" boasts bullshit experience which we all know is low end office admin work, but with a jumped up title like "associate dean of admissions". Fuckers.

    All it takes is a web site and some bullshit lies about having worked in a law school admissions office, and you can reeeeeeeeeel in the stupid assholes who would do anything to get into law school to impress their moms and dads.

  19. can you define any further Dental Assistant training in Arkansas
    ? I am still in vague about the topic though.

  20. the united states is a 10th rate steaming pile of smelly shitJanuary 31, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Fuck this fucking country. Shut down all the law skools.

  21. I bet that if someone were lucky enought to apprentice as a young carpenter under Norm Abrams, they wouldn't emerge three years later without knowing how to use a level, or a ruler, or a mitre saw, or a plumb/chalk line.

    Unlike law school where the purpose seems to be to hide the knowledge for a cram review course.

    End result? A poorly built profession.

    A crooked house, if you will.


    In this video, Shawn P. O'Connor mentions that he founded Stratus Prep in 2006. If you notice, he graduated from Harvard Law in 2007. (He also earned an MBA from Harvard, in the same year.) In the end, he is simply another salesman, trying to make some money off of this current $y$tem.

    On January 2, 2012, O’Connor wrote a piece for US “News” entitled “Look for These 3 Law School Trends in 2012.” Of course, he notes that there are fewer people taking the LSAT.

    “3. Fewer law school applicants: The number of people taking the LSAT was down 9.6 percent in 2010-2011 (155,050) from 2009-2010 (171,500), according to LSAC. Preliminary year-end numbers for 2011 show a similar trend in law school applications, which have decreased 9.9 percent, down to 78,900 from 87,500 in 2010.

    For the last five years, law school admissions have been extraordinarily competitive due to the stagnant economy. A decline in the number of applicants is welcome news, as it means that the competition may be slightly less fierce this year. However, current law school application levels are still very high by traditional standards, so gaining admission to the top 14 schools will remain very challenging.”

    Does this guy understand that even graduates from “top 14” law schools are finding it difficult to land employment?!?! Does he offer any type of refund, for such students who went through his program?

    On January 30, 2012, he posted an entry entitled “Should You Take the February LSAT?” We can see that Shawn is happy to take advantage of this situation:

    “Conversely, if you are applying in a future year and are just trying to get a head start on the LSAT, it might be more beneficial to wait until June, which is a disclosed exam that allows you to learn from your mistakes should you decide to retake the LSAT in the future.

    [Find out if you should cancel your LSAT score.]

    Given the rolling nature of law school admissions, common wisdom has also suggested that it is slightly harder to get admitted with a February score (at schools that accept the February exam) as you are applying later in the application cycle. That may not hold true this year, however, since, based on my work with hundreds of applicants, it appears that applications are down slightly and schools are looking very carefully at later applicants who put together top-notch application packages.”

  23. I wish to God I had never gone to law school. My life has become one endless journey to correct this stupid mistake. God bless you guys for pointing these things out.

  24. I guess if someone had a law degree and won the lottery, lottery winner would be a valid career path for law grads.
    are you sure??
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