Saturday, May 12, 2012

Look Who's on the Board of Directors for Legal Shield, Formerly Known as Pre-Paid Legal Services: University of Akron School of Law Dean Martin H. Belsky


From Belsky’s Faculty Bio:

http://www.uakron.edu/law/faculty/profile.dot?identity=687742

“Dean Belsky began his academic career in 1982 as Associate Professor of Law and director of the multi-disciplinary Center for Governmental Responsibility at the University of Florida. From 1986 to 1995, he served as Dean and President and Professor at Albany Law School. From 1995 to 2007, he served as Dean and Professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Dean Belsky joined The University of Akron School of Law in January 2008 as Dean and Randolph Baxter Professor of Law.” 

This faculty bio mentions Belsky’s numerous civic and “professional” engagements. He was involved with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, as well as participated or organized ethics conferences. (Too bad this does not extend to his law school duties.) For $ome rea$on, the fact that he has been a director for Pre Paid Legal Services was not mentioned, in this profile. I’m sure that was a mere oversight. (In the same sense that I am certain that Sophia Vergara will lock her ankles around my waist and carve her initials into my back, sometime in the next six months.) 

Total Compensation as Director for Legal Shield:

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=615365&privcapId=297799&previousCapId=297799&previousTitle=PREPAID%20LEGAL%20SERVICES%20INC

“Martin H. Belsky has been Dean of the University of Akron School of Law since January 2008. Previously, Mr. Belsky was Dean at Albany Law School from 1986 to 1995. He was Dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law from 1995 to 2004. He has been a Director of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. since 1998. He was Professor of Law at Albany Law School from 1986 to 1995. Mr. Belsky was Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law, teaching courses in constitutional ... law, ethics, international law, and oceans policy until January 2008.” [Emphasis mine]

As you can see, Bloomberg Businessweek states that Martin H. Belsky rakes in $111,000 in TOTAL ANNUAL CASH COMPENSATION, as director of Legal Shield. The corporate headquarters is listed as One Pre-Paid Way, Ada, Oklahoma 74820. Maybe he is not making enough money as dean of Third Tier University of Akron Sewer of Law.

http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/higher-ed

Based off the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Martin H. Belsky made $239,218 in base pay, as dean of the sewer of law - in 2010. Just enter his last and first name, as well as University of Akron. Apparently, he “earned” $241,587 in base compensation, for 2009. At such paltry sums, we can understand why Belsky needs to work for Legal Shield. After all, who can be expected to survive in Akron, Ohio on that income alone?

http://people.forbes.com/profile/martin-h-belsky/65044

According to Forbes magazine, the pig only made $43,500 in compensation, as director of Pre-Paid Legal Services – for 2009. If this figure is accurate, then the rat may need to find a third income stream.

How Does Legal Shield Work?:

http://mlm.heavyhitterleads.com/legal-shield-review/

“How Does Legal Shield Offer Such Low Prices?

Think about this like Costco.  You are able to get good deals at Costco because they buy everything in bulk.  Legal Shield is no different.  By having so many members (1.4 million as of the writing of this post) they are able to get discount legal services to their members at a fraction of what other people pay for legal services.

You can also think of it like legal insurance.  Every month we pay for auto insurance whether we use it or not.  Legal advice through Legal Shield can be used the same way.  Pay a small fee every month in case you need legal help in the future!

You can get legal advise on Divorce, Real Estate, Consumer Finance, Traffic Issues, and Estate Planning to name a few!  Just imagine what that would cost you if you tried to hire a regular law firm!” [Emphasis in original]

Does Martin Belsky inform his students/customers that he is on the board of directors of a company that undercuts attorneys and law firms?!?! As a big proponent of ethics, surely the pig believes in providing his students with full disclosure, right?!?!

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+7

Average Law Student Indebtedness for 2011 Akron Grads: US “News” & World Report lists the average law student indebtedness - for those members of the Univer$iTTTy of Akron’s JD Class of 2011 who incurred debt for law school - as $67,948. Fully 95 percent of this third tier toilet’s 2011 class took on such corrosive debt. This amount does not take undergraduate debt into account. For the 2010 class, these respective figures were $60,149 and 84 percent. What impressive increases, huh?!

Conclusion: The legal job market is in the toilet. Automation, outsourcing, state statutes permitting non-lawyers to engage in the limited practice of law, self-help legal forms, and pre-paid legal service schemes have collectively taken a toll on this “profession.” Plus, the job market has been oversaturated for decades. Of course, ABA-accredited trash pits continue to pump out more than 44,000 graduates each year. I understand that LegalZoom and pre-paid legal services are not going away. Furthermore, these services likely save their customers money.  However, this DOES NOT EXCUSE a legal "educator" and administrator - especially one who bills himself as ethical - from raking in piles of cash as a director for such companies. Keep this in mind, if you are considering applying to or attending this third tier commode.  

90 comments:

  1. A few observations:

    1) Marty should really invest in some teeth whitening treatment. With all that money he is rolling in, I can't fathom why he is sporting a British smile and lousy quality suits.

    2) Most of these pre-paid legal services are a rip-off. They sucker people in by saying that in a typical contested divorce, you will pay thousands whereas for the price of a cup of coffee a day (which in my town can be $6 for a latte at Starbucks), you can insulate yourself from having to come up with a huge retainer when your spouse hits you with a divorce complaint. READ THE CONTRACT PEOPLE. The pre-paid legal contract is filled with disclaimers in small print which exclude "complex" legal matters. The reality is, these pre-paid services may help you draft a simple will or provide you with an attorney to represent you at a refinance of your home or a simple red light traffic ticket but if you need representation for defense of a serious criminal charge, such as aggravated assault or larceny, the pre-paid attorney will want to be paid an additional hourly sum. How do I know this? Because I have been approached by these blood sucking leeches i.e., pre-paid legal services "providers," to be part of their network of attorneys. I turned them down because they pay the attorney peanuts and they rake in $$$ by having people pay monthly premiums that over the years add up.

    3) Pre-paid legal services are a bad deal. Let's say you enroll in a pre-paid legal services plan for the price of a cup of coffee a day ($5). That is $150 a month. Over 3 years, that is $5,400 you would have paid to the company. If you use them to draft a simple will (which will cost no more than $300), you lose $5,100 assuming you don't use them for anything else. If you try to use them for something heavy, like a contested divorce, they will weasel out by using the "out" clause or disclaimer on the contract.

    4) I find it morally reprehensible that Belsky is part of this enterprise. The company he directs is one reason the legal profession is accelerating in the race to the bottom. I don't know how people like Belksy can sleep at night. Then again, as has been proven time and time again, these "academic" motherfuckers don't give a fuck about you. All they care about is their six figure salaries while they sell you a lousy bill of goods (i.e., a JD diploma or pre-packaged legal goods).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So wrong on many levels.

      1. Not $6 a day. More like 55 cents a day.
      2. I use my plan often, and have spoken to my law firm many times, all of whom have helped me greatly.
      3. yes, more complicated legal filings will require additional fees, such as divorce, however you are given a 25% discount, or you can go elsewhere if you choose. For $17 a month, I got my will done, and have found it to be very helpful.
      4. The fine print as the above idiot has whined about is indeed on the first page of the contract. yet what do you expect for 55 cents a day? Of course there are plan exclusions.
      Those of you who comment without looking into the program are incredibly ignorant let alone stupid. Spend some time educating yourself. I like the product so much, I ended up quitting my day job and now sell legalshield across the country.

      Delete
    2. Agreed, If this guy is going to write negatively about a company providing legal services to most people who haven't the funds to get legal representation at least get your FACTS straight. Most people who use Legal Shield use it for the everyday situations where a $200/hr attorney wouldn't be worth it when fighting over a $150 item not being covered by a store even when under a warranty.

      I've been fortunate to see how well this service works and it has paid for itself for several years to come. All due to some small legal issues getting resolved by a legal letter or phone call from assigned attorneys with a few cases with positive results.

      Look at it as a way to help get legal representation without the high cost. If you need additional and more involved legal help, you will get it at a discounted rate. I could go on but will leave it at that. We all have car insurance, home owners insurance, health insurance and life insurance, this works very similar and I look at it as legal insurance!

      My cost for a very robust legal service and identity theft insurance costs me $300 annually!!! Beat that!

      Delete
    3. Waterhead,

      Cockroach Martin Belsky was dean at a third tier stench pit, while "serving" as a director of Legal Shield. Apparently, you are too damn dense to understand the implications.

      For that reason, I will spell it out for you, mental deficient: Belsky is undercutting his very own students! Graduates of the Univer$iTTTy of Akron Sewer of Law will essentially be required to incur an additional $70K-$100K in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, in order to sit for a bar exam.

      As you and others have pointed out, you can receive "robust legal service" for about $300 each year. Thanks for playing, moron. You are dismissed.

      Have a bad day, Bitch.

      Delete
  2. I'm betting Belsky disclosed his COI to the university officials and the law school. They still hired him. He's not required to tell his students. But he's still a bastard for making money by further decimating the market for lawyers. This is just further proof the law professors don't give a shit about their students.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Disgusting. What more can you say?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe that is a multi level marketing company and that director is just a rank in the hierarchy...

    ReplyDelete
  5. ^Director is just a rank. Okay. But he's clearing more than a hundred grand a year as a director. And the company undercuts lawyers. Read the first comment. That guy summed it up just about right.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ok let me get this straight. Belsky not only rips off his students but also the prepaid legal services customers? And this rodent teaches ethics? No wonder there is no good in this world. When you really think about it, Belsky doesn't produce anything of societal value for his salary. He is a disgusting fat cat and I am glad Nando decided to roast this piece of shit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awesome investigating, Nando !

    The benefit of being a law school dean is that you can get solid advice to skirt the unauthorized practice of law in the State of Ohio. Heck, I bet his minions are on the State ethics committee !

    ReplyDelete
  8. I wondered where you were going with this post until I read: "Does Martin Belsky inform his students/customers that he is on the board of directors of a company that undercuts attorneys and law firms?"

    What a fucker. How on earth can this person be a law school dean on one hand, spending his time encouraging people to go to law school, yet on the other hand he's raking in cash from a company with a business model that adversely affects the livelihoods of attorneys?

    What an amazingly two-faced fucker.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The first commenter got it right (re: limitations of pre-paid legal services). For what little these plans cover, you are better off getting a do-it-yourself divorce or wills kit for $30 at Staples. Why pay thousands of dollars for a worthless product? Two years ago, a friend was under the impression that his pre-paid legal plan provided legal services a la carte. Well when he went in for a contested divorce with custody and distribution of asset issues, the plan administrator told him only uncontested divorces were covered under the plan. Folks need to think of these pre-paid legal plans like those scam vehicle extended warranty plans. "Power train" and "legal services" don't mean what you think they mean when you deal with these scam artists.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pre Paid legal services sounds a lot like the used motor vehicle extended warranty business.

    There are so many exclusions, they almost swallow up the contract.

    Smaller repairs might get paid, but a large claim is often "Not Covered" and the consumer ends up hopping mad!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What do you expect from a guy with a last name Belsky? He and his ilk know how to skin a cat twice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Prepaid fucks over struggling attorneys. And it fucks over the paying customer.

    I knew one guy in college that had PPL. He paid about $17 a month. He got helpful stuff when he got pulled over and minor tickets. Once he told me that he had them for over 10 years. It means the schlub ended up paying out about $2,000 for occasional help on traffic tix.

    I know a small businessman that uses these services. He spends about $30 a month. He's had them for years. That buys him access to ten minute conversations. If he or his business ever get sued, he better not expect much help from these sharks. He'll have to get a real lawyer to help him.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What I cannot wrap my head around is how these prepaid legal services companies are allowed to exist. In my state, attorneys cannot split fees with non-attorneys. A corporation by law is not an attorney. So how can these companies ethically and legally exist? What kind of exclusion did Belsky and his cronies at the ethics committee carve out for his enterprise?

    I, too, have been approached by these companies to participate as a "panel" or "network" attorney. The pay structure is horrible. They will pay you $75 for a will and $300 for a simple divorce. These companies pocket the profits and pay the attorney chump change. And this Belsky guy is the Director of one of these companies while at the same time the dean of a law school? Lemmings, I reallize if you attend Akron, logical reasoning may not be your strong suit but think of it like this: How would you feel about a person who owns a company that builds prisons and at the same time runs a school on how to be a criminal? See the problem?

    Protip to attorneys: No matter how bad business is, don't become a whore to these companies which will become your pimps. They pay shit and I hear sometimes they take months to pay you for the work.

    Also, the commenters who talked about the limits on legal services plans are spot on. I just googled Legal Shield and complaints and came up with this link (there are dozens of pages of complaints against Legal Shield):

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/legal/prepaid.html

    The complaints and the tone of frustration say it all. And this dean is the mastermind behind this operation. Unfucking believable.

    Also this legal shield plan is a Multi-Level Marketing scam. It has been exposed by several people. Just go to Youtube and type "Legal Shield" and "scam." And to think a "professor" who teaches ethics is a director of this boiler room operation.

    P.S. If you are a student of Belsky's ask him why they changed the name from Legal Shield to Pre-paid Legal Services, Inc. Maybe this clip from my favorite TV show will explain the truth since I doubt Belsky will tell you the bottom line:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbbZc2pab9k

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just so you know....the attorney firms that serve the LegalShield members are paid very well in advance. In the state of Texas, the provider law firm is paid $1.5 million per month. The law firm is Ross and Matthews, the 5th largest law firm in Texas.

      I have been a member for 6 years and I have used them countless times. When the law is on my side they have been able to help me. When the law is not on my side, they have given me great consultation on how to move forward.

      There is no perfect world and there are no magic bullets.

      Delete
  14. At some point he was listed as being on the Board of Directors:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:VMLvB8uVvRcJ:www.legalshield.com/newCorp2/about_us/bod.html+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    I doubt the Dean of a law school is out spending serious time schleping some pre-paid legal MLM plan.. Making a profit, let alone over $100k/yr. in MLM, is highly unlikely. Highly unlikely and highly unusual.

    ReplyDelete
  15. comment of the day

    'Lemmings, I reallize if you attend Akron, logical reasoning may not be your strong suit but think of it like this: How would you feel about a person who owns a company that builds prisons and at the same time runs a school on how to be a criminal? See the problem?'

    I for one am not surprised a law skool dean would also be a director to such a scam operation. I'm only surprised someone didn't figure this shit out earlier. Good job on that, btw.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Further background on Legal Shield:

    Here is the Board of Directors for Pre-Paid Legal Services.

    http://www.legalshield.com/newCorp2/about_us/bod.html

    Peter K. Grunebaum lists his occupation as Independent Investment Banker and Corporate Consultant. This is merely another investment for Grunebaum.

    http://www.legalshield.com/newCorp2/about_us/headquarters.html

    “Our 170,000 square foot corporate office on 80 acres just a few minutes Southeast of Ada, Oklahoma, allows us to support over 1.4 million members, our network of provider law firms, and Independent Associates from one location.”

    It appears that these swine are doing pretty well.

    http://www.matthewharris.net/network-marketing/152-rip-pre-paid-legal-introducing-legal-shield

    Check out this company profile furnished by multi-level marketing ass-hat Matthew Harris. It is entitled "RIP Pre-Paid Legal - Introducing Legal Shield." The author did not provide the date of this entry. Here is an excerpt:

    "The company quickly grew and was so successful it was eventually invited to offer its stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Operating under the name Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. and ticker symbol PPD the company was one of the New York Stock Exchange’s top performing stocks for many years until the company was purchased by Midocean partners and is now privately held. The decision to re-brand the company and change its name was announced at the company’s convention in Dallas, TX (September 10,2011). Legal Shield currently provides its services in all 50 United States and in 4 Canadian provinces."

    Good luck finding the net assets/earnings of this privately held company. Later on, the article mentions the scheme:

    "Compensation

    Legal Shield distributes its products through a network of independent business associates. To sign up as an associate the cost is a one-time fee of $249. The company provides marketing materials, training, and support to its associates.

    As is custom with most insurance companies, commissions are paid in yearly advances to associates. Associates have the ability to recruit other associates and earn override commissions when those associates make sales.

    Associates also have the ability to build residual income when members maintain their membership beyond one year.

    The compensation plan is extremely lucrative on the upfront end, allowing associates to build fast incomes, paid on a daily basis."

    This appears to be an insurance sales job, whereby those who get in early, and then stick around, can make residuals and commissions from their sales - as well as those from the associates they recruit. What a nice scheme, huh?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I cam across this article which explains the history of prepaid legal plans:

    http://www.uiowa.edu/~cyberlaw/elp02/brfinfin.html

    Notice how back in the '60s, the ABA was against prepaid legal plans. Then in the '80s, the ABA changed its mind and decided they were ok. What changed the ABA's mind?

    It all starts with politics and you very well know that if you grease a politicians' hand, you own him. Look at all the wonderful contributions this politician received from prepaid legal services:

    http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2008/05/supporting-pyramid-schemes-is-lucrative-for-politicians/

    The linked article suggests that the Utah Attorney General received over $110,000 in political contributions from prepaid legal services in exchange for the AG's support in weakening anti-pyramid scheme laws.

    Is anyone incensed that this Dean who probably holds some bullshit academic title or "ethics" chair is a part of this whole scheme?

    I also did brief research on ethics opinions about prepaid legal services. Apparently most state bars allow them (someone should check out the $$ contributions that prepaid doled out to the ABA and state bars) on the condition that an attorney cannot own the prepaid company (isn't that convenient?).

    This profession isn't noble. It's goddamn corrupt and putrid.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's a fucking ponzi scheme. Any desperate lawyers out there: don't whore yourself out to this outfit. Plus, you guys need to ask how a nonlawyer can own such a company (e.g. engage in the practice of law). I used to think this blog was too critical of the profession. Now I'm not so sure about that. I mean just look at this shit.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Look at the exclusions clause of the prepaid legal services plan:

    * Additional Information & Exclusions
    Trial Defense Services: This coverage applies only to the named member and spouse. Divorce, separation, annulment, child custody or other divorce-related matters, bankruptcy, charges of DUI/DWI, drug-related matters (whether prescribed or not), hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident and civil or criminal charges occurring as a result of operating a commercial vehicles with more than two axles are not covered under this benefit, but are covered by the preferred member discount. Additional exclusions under this benefit: Being named in a civil lawsuit or having criminal charged filed against you because you are listed as an owner, management or associate of the business and you had no direct involvement with the act or matter that gave rise to the lawsuit or criminal charge. Those charges are covered with your preferred member discount. If the lawsuit was filed because of something that occurred prior to your membership or because of conditions that were reasonably anticipated or foreseeable prior to your enrollment, then the lawsuit is excluded from your Trial Defense benefit. This exclusion applies even if the lawsuit is filed after you become a member. These lawsuits are covered with your preferred member discount. Class actions, interventions or amicus curiae filings in which the covered member is a party (or potential party) are excluded. Also, this coverage does not include garnishment, attachment or any other appeal. Your Provider Law Firm has the right to determine whether or not your claim or defense to a matter will prevail in court or is frivolous or without merit. This includes deciding whether or not to appeal any judgment or decision. Your Provider Law Firm also has the right to present your claim or defense according to their independent professional judgment. Pre-Paid Legal will not influence or attempt to modify how your Provider Law Firm provides their professional services.

    If you are thinking of obtaining this type of plan, you should take a look at this thread which goes back to 2004 and is dated through 2012:

    http://www.ripoffreport.com/attorneys-legal-services/prepaid-legal-servic/prepaid-legal-services-f-ing-e7p3c.htm

    I am astonished how these companies can continue to exist under current laws. By the way, these companies make a lot of money. The average plan goes for $26 a month. They have about 1.5 million members. If you do the math, this outfit makes almost half a billion a year. That is a lot of money to allocate political contributions to keep the scheme running.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You go after and nail all these schools. And I like those articles generally. But now you and the other posters have exposed this racket. Way to go! Keep going after these assholes. They ruin people financially. They collect the money and run. And then laugh all the way to the bank.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just watched this video made by a former Legal Shield customer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKw0akPBhPE&feature=related

    His story is that he pays hundreds of dollars a year just so you can get a simple will and they can write a couple of letters for you. He got no actual legal representation when his wife got a traffic ticket.

    Here is something I still cannot understand. The ABA prevents practicing attorneys from owning private companies yet laypeople can own a company that provides legal services. Can anyone tell me why this is allowed? This is a legitimate question, I am not trying to troll here. And how is Dean Belsky allowed to hold a position in this company? Isn't this a conflict of interest? This is no different than a person who owns a drug rehabilitation clinic but also supplies the drugs to the corner dealers to sell to addicts. This is truly sickening.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Why do so many of these aging shyster con artists look like death warmed over? It's like "The Picture of Dorian Gray," only in reverse.

    What's the point of being wealthy if you have to look like the Crypt Keeper?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have a question about prepaid legal services. If I want to be a participating attorney in their plan, will they cover my malpractice insurance premiums? Will they provide secretarial or phone answering support? Will they pay a portion of my office rent? It seems only fair since they are getting all the money upfront and then pay the attorney a fraction of what they are getting in revenue. How is this service different than the use of employing "runners," which is illegal? Runners are paid to bring business to attorneys. These prepaid companies are bringing "business" to the attorneys but they keep the lions' share of the legal fees. Also, How is it that a non-lawyer entity can collect legal fees and farm the work out to attorneys? I thought this type of arrangement was prohibitted by law. How come these companies are not being investigated?

    ReplyDelete
  24. One last question. I know people like Belsky and the defenders of prepaid legal will try to argue that their service is no different than offering health insurance. Here is the rub. If it is the same as health insurance, how come health insurance isn't sold by MLM franchise members? My understanding is that to sell health insurance, you are subject to regulation by the State's banking and insurance board. How come prepaid legal services got excluded from insurance regulation? Doesn't the disparate treatment between health insurance brokers and MLM sellers of prepaid contradict the arguments that prepaid legal services is no different than providing afforadable health insurance to middle class Americans?

    Nando, I really think you uncovered something here.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Some people will boo and hiss, but back in the late 1990s I nearly got suckered into selling Pre-Paid Legal cards. What warned me off was that the "introductory meeting" for all the possible future salespeople had an undeniable Amway feel; it was more like a religious revival than a serious business pitch (they would go from dead seriousness to jokes and back again, and the patter style reminded me of evangelical preachers I had seen in religious school.) The other screaming klaxon horn was the cost to get in: $ 200 and something for an "introductory packet" to "get you started." I walked away pretty quickly, and PPL vanished from my town within a year or less.

    ReplyDelete
  26. "How come these companies are not being investigated?"

    Duh!!!!

    What country do you live in again? Only the unconnected and poorer folks in America get investigated for crimes.

    ReplyDelete
  27. ^titcr

    If you have money and connections, you can avoid investigations. Even if one begins, it's usually a half-assed attempt for the public's eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Half-assed attempts or Congressional Hearings full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

    ReplyDelete
  29. AtheistATLLawyerMay 13, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    "Dean" Belsky is a fucking pig.

    Filthy from eating and laying in mud and feces.

    Honestly, this piece of human excrement should be in jail. In a just and civilized world, this type of economic rape would be outlawed.

    However this smuck does nothing for society yet lives like a king.

    How does it feel to be a fucking neoslave?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nando, you should contact David Segal of the New York Times or Professor Paul Campos and ask them to turn the flashlight on this two-faced menace. I actually took a look at Belsky's CV and he mentions every type of affiliation he has, including with the Jewish Defense League, but nowhere does he disclose being a director of Legal Shield. Was this a failure to disclose or does the Akron School of Law condone this conflict of interest?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Belsky is a pig. You'd think being a law dean would disqualify someone from being on the board of directors for this type of company. But then you'd be assuming the ABA and state bars give a shit about ethics.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I get calls from people who want to pay me for work with pre paid legal. If I was not a professional lawyer lol I would laugh in their face. We already do so much basic work at discounted rates that the law profession might as well just send advertisements to every idiot in their town with pricelist. If you want business you almost have to pay the client to let you do the work for most services. Its a buyers market and people give extra money to ppl. That is a huge scam that goes unpuinished. Its like the Solyndra of the legal field run by a bunch of lawyers who dont need to try and fail and practicing law because they are smart enough to see the stupididty of the average person.

    People buy ppl and might have one lawyer in the area who is contracted with them to do work and he can only work on basic things. People think I will sue Food Lion or Facebook for 5 bucks an hour because they have ppl. For what it does qualify for, you can get any lawyer for the same price by calling around.

    In other words you gave money to ppl and you might as well have just burned the money.

    Good work Nando for posting stuff like this. To me this is more important to show law is a scam to promote the good ole boy network to the next generation. This situation is more of a scam then the cost of going to school and the lack of jobs. This no jobs thing has been like that for 30 years but the tuition is just higher now. Its nothing new now, it just seems like it because we all are on the internet and if you make it, even by todays standards the law school loans get paid back. If you dont, what is 200k in loans v 100k. You are still fucked.

    For 90% of lawyers its go solo or go home. If you dont want to do this and take on more debt to see it through, dont go to law school.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What really irks me about this story is that new attorneys are getting fucked over by graduating with huge sums of non-dischargeable debt and slim employment prospects for a legal position. This forces most new graduates to go solo with no legal skill set. They have to set their hourly rates low to reflect a learning curve and fish for clients (which is harder than most think). Then the new grad has to deal with all the restrictions of the practice (e.g., IOLTA, bona fide office rule, client protection fund, ICLE, mandatory pro bono [see NY's new rule]) yet sleazebags like Belsky can sit back and collect piles of cash with his non-attorney partners and make a killing off of a worthless product that promotes the exploitation of legal labor. This is what truly is dispicable about the legal profession. The old guard sit like kings with no risk of exposure while the new and recent grads are forced to scramble to do all the work. What does this sound like? Yeah, an MLM scheme, which if you read any good economics textbook will tell you that MLM's have a 99% failure rate. I suppose the legal profession has transformed into an MLM business model with only the 1% making the real killing.

    ReplyDelete
  34. If you call Akron School of Law, the person at the other end will deny that the Dean works for PrePaid legal.

    This information is also at Forbes as well. PrePaid legal website:

    http://www.legalshield.com/newCorp2/about_us/bod.html

    ReplyDelete
  35. Remember when the Ohio State Bar denied a debt-strapped applicant on “character and fitness” grounds, due to his immense student debt?

    On January 12, 2011, Elie Mystal of ATL reported on this farce, in a piece entitled “Character & Fitness Fail for Graduate With ‘No Plan’ To Pay Off His Debts.” Here is the opening:

    http://abovethelaw.com/2011/01/character-fitness-fail-for-graduate-with-no-plan-to-pay-off-his-debts/

    "Wow. Guy goes to law school, guy racks up a huge amount of debt, guy has no idea how he’ll pay off his debts. Sound familiar? Okay, here’s the twist: the guy failed the “character and fitness” component of the Ohio bar because he has no plan to pay off his loans.

    What the hell kind of legal education system are we running where we charge people more than they can afford to get a legal education, and then prevent them from being lawyers because they can’t pay off their debts?

    Because it’s not like Hassan Jonathan Griffin was in a particularly unique situation when he went before the Ohio bar. A year and a half ago, we wrote about a man who was dinged on his character and fitness review because he was $400,000 in debt. That’s an extraordinary case. Hassan Jonathan Griffin owes around $170,000. He has a part-time job as a public defender. He used to be a stockbroker. He’s got as much a chance of figuring out a way to pay off his loans as most people from the Lost Generation.

    If Griffin can’t pass C&F, Ohio might as well say that half of the recent graduates in the state don’t have the “character and fitness” to be a lawyer…"

    Later in the entry, Mystal continued:

    “What a mindjob. The Ohio bar is blaming this guy because his debts are non-dischargeable? That’s not Griffin’s fault. The Ohio bar is blaming him because he doesn’t have a plan? Please show me the 2007 graduate of Moritz College of Law who had a really solid plan for paying off $170K of debt. Denying Griffin admission, for a situation that is literally affecting thousands of people, is totally arbitrary and capricious.

    Here’s what I think. What’s really going on here is that Ohio is saying, “Griffin could go back to being a stockbroker to pay off his debts, or he could get a better-paying legal job. Instead he seems content to be a public defender. C&F FAIL!”

    Here’s the key line from later on in the Ohio court’s decision:

    We accept the board’s findings of fact and conclude that the applicant has neglected his personal financial obligations by electing to maintain his part-time employment with the Public Defender’s Office in the hope that it will lead to a full-time position upon passage of the bar exam, rather than seeking full-time employment, which he acknowledges would give him a better opportunity to pay his obligations and possibly qualify him for an additional deferment of his student-loan obligation.”

    It is disgusting that Martin Belsky is likely a “member in good standing” of the state bar, while a recent law grad – who was apparently working part-time in the public defender’s office – is denied admission because of his student debt. Does anyone with an IQ above 70 still think that this is an “honorable profession”?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Also, thank you for all of your supportive comments. This conduct further shows that the law school pigs do not give one damn about their students or recent graduates. They have no honor or integrity.

    Furthermore, this entire "profession" is morally bankrupt, from top to bottom. The ABA does not seek to protect the investments of its future members' money, time or energy. Those cockroaches only want to make sure that the gravy train continues to reward "professors" and administrators.

    @10:15,

    Did you send that link above to the shills and rats at Third Tier University of Akron Sewer of Law? Are they unaware that their dean is on the board of directors of Legal Shield, formerly known as Pre-Paid Legal Services?! Or are they feigning surprise?

    http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+5

    As you can see, US "News" & World Report now rates the Univer$iTTTy of Akron $chool of Law as the 119th greatest, most phenomenal and amazing law school in the land - in a SEVEN-WAY tie. Their mothers must be very proud.

    http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=615365&privcapId=297799&previousCapId=297799&previousTitle=PREPAID%20LEGAL%20SERVICES%20INC

    “Martin H. Belsky has been Dean of the University of Akron School of Law since January 2008. Previously, Mr. Belsky was Dean at Albany Law School from 1986 to 1995. He was Dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law from 1995 to 2004. He has been a Director of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. since 1998. He was Professor of Law at Albany Law School from 1986 to 1995. Mr. Belsky was Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law, teaching courses in constitutional ... law, ethics, international law, and oceans policy until January 2008.”

    Again, if the office personnel cannot read, point out this sentence from the Bloomberg Businessweek entry above:

    "He has been a Director of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. since 1998."

    The articles and links cited mention that Pre-Paid Legal Services became Legal Shield in 2011, after the company was purchased by Mid Ocean Partners. It is now a privately-held corporation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LegalShield

    ReplyDelete
  37. I graduated 10 years ago. I have done everything from Doc Review to Tax. The problem has been addressed but no action is ever taken:

    "... Automation, outsourcing, state statutes permitting non-lawyers to engage in the limited practice of law, self-help legal forms, and pre-paid legal service schemes have collectively taken a toll on this “profession.” Plus, the job market has been oversaturated for decades. Of course, ABA-accredited trash pits continue to pump out more than 44,000 graduates each year. I understand that LegalZoom and pre-paid legal services are not going away. ..." Nando

    The legal job market is shrinking fast, but the-powers-that-be are doing nothing to mitigate damages. What they are doing is accrediting Law Schools whose graduates will have over $100K in debt and a min wage jobs.

    your phantom faculty professor
    theyuppieattorney.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. Isn't it ironic how people like Belsky and Richard Mattassar can hold more than one position at a time while flouting conflict of interest rules? Yet as a 1L, the ABA bars you from taking a part-time job to help you pay the rent and books. When I clerked for a judge, I remember there was a fellow law clerk who was married and had a kid. As a clerk he was making barely $45K a year and he was offered a part-time position to give golf lessons at a country club. The ethics committee told him he could not take the golf instructor position while serving as a judicial law clerk. I thought it was a bullshit decision but when I see guys like Belsky and Mattassar collecting revenue streams from multiple sources, I realize there is a "do as I say, not as I do" sentiment from these assholes.

    ReplyDelete
  39. There is no shortage of assholes and hucksters in law. But this takes horseshit to a whole 'nother level. The ABA and state bars tell someone they can't give golf lessons and be a law clerk but they let these big assholes get away with everything? Wake up and smell the coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  40. ^^^^^ This. ^^^^^

    Boomers could give a fuck less if you never get yours. That's why everyone loves them.

    The bullshit with C&F / so-called state "Ethics Committees" is ridiculous.

    The unestablished are shit on. But kids, remember, do join your local Bar Ass-ociation and the A$$B$$A.

    They need the dues.

    And enjoy life in your "tiny, one-bedroom apartment" as Don Lapre would say. That's if you're lucky and can afford it while keeping Aunt Sallie off your back.

    No one cares if you never get yours. Because to them, Yours = Theirs.

    Boomers will leech off the remnants of the Greatest Generation, collecting from them as they die, as well as your labor and everyone else's for as long as they can with nary a care as long as they can go on their cruises and spend their days at leisure.

    That's part of life's rich pattern today. And you better get fucking used to it. Grand, right?

    ReplyDelete
  41. To add to the above:

    @May 14, 8:35 AM

    Nailed it my friend.

    We should all just sit back and enjoy the neo-serfdom.

    ReplyDelete
  42. 'If you call Akron School of Law, the person at the other end will deny that the Dean works for PrePaid legal.'

    1. Belsky doesn't work for PrePaid. He's on the bd of directors. A nice distinction. In their mind, it's not a lie.
    2. And now it's called Legal Shield.

    Call the idiot back and ask him (or her) specifically if Belsky is on the board of directors at Legal Shield. See what they say.

    ReplyDelete
  43. 2:44

    I did just that. Corrected myself on both counts (sarcastically-as if there is much of a difference) and the person at the other end STILL denied it. They continued to deny it even when I read the guy's Bio.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Expecting an honest answer from a fucking shill is like expecting your cat to admit he ate your neighbor's pet parakeet. There's a special place in hell for these law school fucks.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I just saw this clip of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" author, Robert Kiyosaki, speaking at a convention trying to drum up MLM members for Pre-Paid Legal Services, n/k/a Legal Shield. Notice how in the first 12 seconds he says you too can be like Bill Gates by selling Pre-Paid Legal Services insurance plans. Check out the audience reaction.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyfVOoLw42k

    Now I am for everyone trying to earn a buck but this is fucking unbelievable. And Dean Belsky ought to be ashamed of himself for being associated with such a company, which casts a cloud of doubt over him and over Akron School of Law. I bet practically none of the students are aware of his affiliation with Legal Shield. The fact that Belsky won't disclose this affiliation is a material misrepresentation by omission.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Corporations can bury things in so many layers.

    Layer upon layer. Subsidiary after subsidiary, until no one knows who or what is coming or going.

    And after all the rip offs and it is time to sue, the corporations are sold, or taken private or changed almost entirely, and there are only shadows to chase.

    ReplyDelete
  47. If the school denies Belsky is on the board of directors for this shit company, here are some possibilities:

    1. he hasn't disclosed this to the school
    2. the school is aware of it, but not the staff
    3. the school's staff is aware of it, but they are intentionally lying about it (probably directed to lie about it if it's ever brought up)

    No matter what the answer you know this putz hasn't mentioned this to the students. Geez. Wouldn't you like to know the dean of your law school is on the board of a prepaid legal services provide before going to law school?

    Oh but all college graduates are supposed to know this with some reason. Because they're all sophisticated consumers per se by way of being college graduates. That's bunk. Nando found this connection, but that's because he hates law school hypocrites and he's basically obsessed with beating the shit out of them. Just looking at the comments, its clear that pretty much no one else knew this about Belsky. And there are a lot of smart commentators and lawyers on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  48. A lot of my former classmates who are graduating next year have nothing lined up. They are either doing research for a professor or going abroad again. It's a far cry from the plush summer gig in the corporate firm, with the fancy dinners, boat rides, baseball games, glitzy receptions at the partner's house, and operas that were promised during ASW.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Meanwhile, I hear from a friend that someone he knows went to Catholic Law School at full price because "she took a Business Law course in ugrad and loved it"

    :(

    ReplyDelete
  50. What about the losers who went to law school because they "have a passion for the law"? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    You have passion about things like pussy, art, music, fast cars. Not the fucking law. I have no sympathy for those idiots who love the law and then got fucked over by the schools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fuck those cunts who claim to have a passion for international law or bullshit like that. This is a bullshit excuse to justify their underlying reason for law school, which is "BIGLAW money bitches, and fuck that public service shit!"

      Delete
  51. Follow this link if you want to puke:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/taxpayers-fund-454-000-pay-040100808.html

    ReplyDelete
  52. Honest question. Can law schools like Akron survive past 2015? I don't see how.

    ReplyDelete
  53. The whole system is corrupt from top to bottom. All systems are corrupt from top to bottom. And in the U.S. the name of the game is to see who you can get away with fucking. But I think you get the idea.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Does anyone find the irony in this future CLE advertisment I was sent:

    "Introduction to Student Loan Law"

    There is something you can do to help

    Student loans are a unique form of consumer debt with a very peculiar and often misunderstood set of governing laws. This can make assisting student loan borrowers a daunting task for legal practitioners in a variety of practice areas. However, there is something attorneys can do to help meet this underserved legal need. This seminar helps attorneys better manage clients with student loan-related problems. The program covers the following topics:


    An overview of the categories of student loans and the differences between each category
    The players involved in student loan issues: lenders, guarantors, servicers, collections agencies
    Repayment plans and profession-based forgiveness programs
    Default: what it is, and how to cure it
    Discharges: how to get certain loans canceled
    Key questions to ask at an intake
    Fees

    Faculty
    Adam S. Minsky, Esq., Law Office of Adam S. Minsky, Boston
    Persis Yu, Esq., National Consumer Law Center, Boston

    ReplyDelete
  55. Kudos to 5-15-12@6:40

    If you haven't read the article, DO SO.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/taxpayers-fund-454-000-pay-040100808.html

    Saved to my HD.

    There is NOTHING noble about law. Education, and especially the legal field and law schools, is a complete and utter scam.

    Everyone benefits. Except the students.

    Nando has it right. The risk is all on the borrower's side. 100%. There is no upside unless you have gone for free, with no loans whatsoever, and/or you are very well-connected or from a wealthy family where money does not matter.

    Education has now been turned into an instrument of enrichment for the upper class at the expense of the 99%. Debt-slavery pays.

    Read the article. It's truly frightning.

    ReplyDelete
  56. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv-H096uZHU

    You can see Utah attorney general/cockroach Mark Leonard Shurtleff endorsing an MLM doing business as USANA Health Sciences. You do not need any integrity, in order to "serve" as the state's top "law enforcement official." (The swine is sensitive to the slightest criticism, and I would not be surprised if he ended up sticking his snout in this blog.)

    To paraphrase one video commenter, "Whether legal or illegal, MLM schemes are unethical." Shurtleff is supposed to protect consumers from garbage industries. But I'm sure his feelings and remarks bear no relation to MLMs donating campaign funds.

    http://www.mlmpyramid.com/Shurtleff_Endorses_USANA.html

    While this page has a busy design, check out the content. Here is one brief excerpt:

    "Now there is a reason Paul Murphy said attorney general Mark Shurtleff "has never and will never endorse any company or product". Attorney generals are not allowed to endorse any company or product! This is what Utah's Division of Consumer Protection has on their website:

    "If a pyramid promoter or recruiter tells you that the program has been examined and approved by the Division of Consumer Protection or any other state agency, know that the claim is not true! The Division of Consumer Protection does NOT approve any marketing programs. If such representations are made to you, please notify the Division." - Division of Consumer Protection."

    http://consumerprotection.utah.gov/education/pyramid.html

    The quote above contained a hyperlink to the site above. Of course, that link is dead for $ome rea$on.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Shurtleff

    By the way, the douchebag has held this office since January 2001. If you feel that this ass-clown has any integrity, check out the following:

    “Scandals

    The media have reported allegations that Shurtleff allows political donations or personal relationships to affect regulatory or prosecutorial decisions. He has also faced allegations of taking donations from companies he knows to be in the midst of legal proceedings for which he has responsibility.

    Recent Activities

    Shurtleff was a speaker at B'nai Shalom's semiannual conference in April 2010. In September 2010, Shurtleff testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act, an act that seeks to reverse the effects of Granholm v. Heald, a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case that ruled unconstitutional state laws that permitted in-state wineries to ship wine directly to consumers, but prohibited out-of-state wineries from doing the same. Shurtleff's remarks were drafted by the general counsel of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, who also arranged for Shurtleff's trip to Washington, D.C.” [Internal citations removed]

    Yes, what an ethical giant, huh?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  57. MLM schemes are thinly veiled pyramid scams. Check out this interesting article which examines MLM operations:

    http://www.vandruff.com/mlm.html

    Here is a summary of what MLMs are:

    "1)MLMs are "doomed by design" to recruit too many salespeople, who in turn will then attempt to recruit even more salespeople, ad infinitum.

    2) For many, the real attraction of involvement in multi-level marketing is the thinly veiled pyramid con-scheme made quasi-legal by the presence of a product or service.

    3) The ethical concessions necessary to be "successful" in many MLM companies are stark and difficult to deal with for most people.

    4) Friends and family should be treated as such, and not as "marks" for exploitation."

    So my own question is how can Dean Belsky hold the Dean's position at Akron Law School while being a part of this ethically and morally deficient scheme? Remember, MLMs are doomed to fail 99% of the time. You know, now that I think about it, most law students are doomed to fail too. I guess I just figured it out that it is ok for Dean Belsky to be at the helm of Akron while being a Director (is he a double diamond director?) of Legal Shield.

    Here is what others have to say about MLM schemes:

    "Several sources have commented on the income level of specific MLMs or MLMs in general:
    The Times: "The Government investigation claims to have revealed that just 10% of Amway's agents in Britain make any profit, with less than one in ten selling a single item of the group's products."
    Scheibeler, a high level "Emerald" Amway member: "UK Justice Norris found in 2008 that out of an IBO [Independent Business Owners] population of 33,000, 'only about 90 made sufficient incomes to cover the costs of actively building their business.' That's a 99.7 percent loss rate for investors."
    Newsweek: based on Mona Vie's own 2007 income disclosure statement "fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week."
    Business Students Focus on Ethics: "In the USA, the average annual income from MLM for 90% MLM members is no more than US $5,000, which is far from being a sufficient means of making a living (San Lian Life Weekly 1998)"
    USA Today has had several articles:
    "While earning potential varies by company and sales ability, DSA says the median annual income for those in direct sales is $2,400."
    In an October 15, 2010 article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month. The article also states Fortune is under investigation by the Attorneys General of Texas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina with Missouri, South Carolina, Illinois, and Florida following up complaints against the company.
    A February 10, 2011 article stated "It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches."
    "Roland Whitsell, a former business professor who spent 40 years researching and teaching the pitfalls of multilevel marketing": "You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour, (t)he primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope."

    ReplyDelete
  58. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2012/05/14/247383.htm

    --------------------------------------------

    Half of their income went to a "Pensions for Partners Plan". Or as Biglaw douches like to call it: PPP. Only not the "PPP" they have in mind.

    The Old Guard is joyfully eating everyone else's lunch. New grads, 99% of which will not even get Biglaw in their lifetimes, ever, let alone make Partner at one of these firms, are left scrambling competing for their very economic lives against the likes of seasoned veterans with well-oiled machines, e.g. El Baldie.

    In short, welcome to Fuck-Ville. Population: You.

    ReplyDelete
  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Who could've written this any better -

    'In short, welcome to Fuck-Ville. Population: You.'

    Followed by a post from JD Painter. But we are all fucked. Just to differing degrees.

    ReplyDelete
  61. MLM schemes are thinly veiled pyramid scams. Check out this interesting article which examines MLM operations:

    http://www.vandruff.com/mlm.html

    Here is a summary of what MLMs are:

    "1)MLMs are "doomed by design" to recruit too many salespeople, who in turn will then attempt to recruit even more salespeople, ad infinitum.

    2) For many, the real attraction of involvement in multi-level marketing is the thinly veiled pyramid con-scheme made quasi-legal by the presence of a product or service.

    3) The ethical concessions necessary to be "successful" in many MLM companies are stark and difficult to deal with for most people.

    4) Friends and family should be treated as such, and not as "marks" for exploitation."

    So my own question is how can Dean Belsky hold the Dean's position at Akron Law School while being a part of this ethically and morally deficient scheme? Remember, MLMs are doomed to fail 99% of the time. You know, now that I think about it, most law students are doomed to fail too. I guess I just figured it out that it is ok for Dean Belsky to be at the helm of Akron while being a Director (is he a double diamond director?) of Legal Shield.

    Here is what others have to say about MLM schemes:

    "Several sources have commented on the income level of specific MLMs or MLMs in general:
    The Times: "The Government investigation claims to have revealed that just 10% of Amway's agents in Britain make any profit, with less than one in ten selling a single item of the group's products."
    Scheibeler, a high level "Emerald" Amway member: "UK Justice Norris found in 2008 that out of an IBO [Independent Business Owners] population of 33,000, 'only about 90 made sufficient incomes to cover the costs of actively building their business.' That's a 99.7 percent loss rate for investors."
    Newsweek: based on Mona Vie's own 2007 income disclosure statement "fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week."
    Business Students Focus on Ethics: "In the USA, the average annual income from MLM for 90% MLM members is no more than US $5,000, which is far from being a sufficient means of making a living (San Lian Life Weekly 1998)"
    USA Today has had several articles:
    "While earning potential varies by company and sales ability, DSA says the median annual income for those in direct sales is $2,400."
    In an October 15, 2010 article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month. The article also states Fortune is under investigation by the Attorneys General of Texas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina with Missouri, South Carolina, Illinois, and Florida following up complaints against the company.
    A February 10, 2011 article stated "It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches."
    "Roland Whitsell, a former business professor who spent 40 years researching and teaching the pitfalls of multilevel marketing": "You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour, (t)he primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope."

    ReplyDelete
  62. MLM schemes are thinly veiled pyramid scams. Check out this interesting article which examines MLM operations:

    http://www.vandruff.com/mlm.html

    Here is a summary of what MLMs are:

    "1)MLMs are "doomed by design" to recruit too many salespeople, who in turn will then attempt to recruit even more salespeople, ad infinitum.

    2) For many, the real attraction of involvement in multi-level marketing is the thinly veiled pyramid con-scheme made quasi-legal by the presence of a product or service.

    3) The ethical concessions necessary to be "successful" in many MLM companies are stark and difficult to deal with for most people.

    4) Friends and family should be treated as such, and not as "marks" for exploitation."

    So my own question is how can Dean Belsky hold the Dean's position at Akron Law School while being a part of this ethically and morally deficient scheme? Remember, MLMs are doomed to fail 99% of the time. You know, now that I think about it, most law students are doomed to fail too. I guess I just figured it out that it is ok for Dean Belsky to be at the helm of Akron while being a Director (is he a double diamond director?) of Legal Shield.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Part II

    Here is what others have to say about MLM schemes:

    "Several sources have commented on the income level of specific MLMs or MLMs in general:
    The Times: "The Government investigation claims to have revealed that just 10% of Amway's agents in Britain make any profit, with less than one in ten selling a single item of the group's products."
    Scheibeler, a high level "Emerald" Amway member: "UK Justice Norris found in 2008 that out of an IBO [Independent Business Owners] population of 33,000, 'only about 90 made sufficient incomes to cover the costs of actively building their business.' That's a 99.7 percent loss rate for investors."
    Newsweek: based on Mona Vie's own 2007 income disclosure statement "fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week."
    Business Students Focus on Ethics: "In the USA, the average annual income from MLM for 90% MLM members is no more than US $5,000, which is far from being a sufficient means of making a living (San Lian Life Weekly 1998)"
    USA Today has had several articles:
    "While earning potential varies by company and sales ability, DSA says the median annual income for those in direct sales is $2,400."
    In an October 15, 2010 article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month. The article also states Fortune is under investigation by the Attorneys General of Texas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina with Missouri, South Carolina, Illinois, and Florida following up complaints against the company.
    A February 10, 2011 article stated "It can be very difficult, if not impossible, for most individuals to make a lot of money through the direct sale of products to consumers. And big money is what recruiters often allude to in their pitches."
    "Roland Whitsell, a former business professor who spent 40 years researching and teaching the pitfalls of multilevel marketing": "You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone making over $1.50 an hour, (t)he primary product is opportunity. The strongest, most powerful motivational force today is false hope."

    ReplyDelete
  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I know I am somewhat hated here, but I thought this was interesting. I read about that legal shield thing and was like "whoa, what the f?" and then while at my parent-in-laws place my brother in law gets a pamphlet in the mail for it! I kidd thee not, I think he signed up! Holy moly!

    The World Traveling Law Student (now at Glacier National Park)

    ReplyDelete
  66. gee, what a comment that the moderator didn't post my critical comment about the site - another hint about the worthlessness of the site.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Belsky recently announced he will "not seek reappointment" as dean:

    www.uakron.edu/law/news/

    Presumably he will continue to "earn" an obscene salary and "teach" professional responsibility.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I work as an attorney at a Legal Shield "provider" firm. The whole thing is unethical and is simply designed to fool and bamboozle the poor and unfortunate who believe they are getting full representation from an attorney.

    The sales associates who believe the MLM hype have a vested interest in hustling the unwary and misrepresenting the benefits of the legal plan in order to get their commission. Many members of LS have advised me that they were told they would be provided an attorney to go to court with them for 20 some dollars a month. Its shameless and our firm knows or has reason to know of the unethical behavior of these sales associates. The firm's response is to simply to ignore these concerns. After all, they are "independent" associates, not employees of LS or our firm, so we maintain a legal fiction of detachment.

    LS tries to make the argument that they do not direct the providing of legal services, that they only have a role in the customer service aspect. This distinction is skin-deep only.

    The reality is that our firm is (metaphorically speaking of course) a bought and paid for subsidiary of LS. Traditional business has declined and only two attorneys under 65 are not LS attys (total firm size 19 attys)

    LS sends emails regarding procedure or "mediates" contested matters/complaints ostensibly "suggesting" a course of action, often involving or implicating legal judgment, under the guise that we are allegedly free to choose not to follow them, but the truth is, we live in fear of losing 90+ percent of our business, so we never fail to tow the line.

    They say jump and we simply ask how high.

    At our firm we determine the member's trial defense benefit through our own judgment when we have a direct financial stake in the outcome. (Our firm must pay for any accrued trial defense hours) This, in my humble opinion, is unethical.

    I've been a diligent and capable worker for my firm, doing my best for some of the unfortunate people i get to help and even winning some B.S. customer service awards from the company. However, the longer i stay at the firm (and God willing,I will leave as soon as I can) i realize that the entire system makes a perversion and mockery of the attorney-client relationship and is primarily fueled by deceptive trade practices.

    Any serious questioning of our relationship with LS is anathema to the entire existence of my firm as traditional business declines and we lean more and more on LS. LS will crow that we are independent "provider" firms but that is a classic case of form over substance

    There is no way that a law school dean, or anyone else who cares about legal ethics and a sense of fair play, should be associated at such a high level with this company in any way.

    It in no way shocks me that the unethical diploma-mill, debt-machine law schools are in bed with an unethical legal services company with history of investigation by the SEC and FTC.

    Thank you for showing the obvious parallels between the increasingly dirty world of law school education and the pre-paid legal business. The are two sides of the same coin and are merely symptoms of the same disease of greed, manipulation and deception.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, perfectly put. If you practice law, I would really like to reach out to you sooner than later. Here's my opinion on Legal Shield:

      STAY AWAY FROM THEM! <--Short version.

      Longer version---> What do you think is the reason why some of these guys make so much money? But there is NO Disclosure! How do we know if they really make whatever they say they do. The reason there are some successful people in Legal Shield, they know exactly how to dance around and create a company that appears to be a great company, but in reality THEY ARE SCAMS!! Watch Ethan Banderbuilt's video about legal shield and he says something in there that I said from day one - half the people who sign up for LS end up leaving after a few months and more than 75% of those in the company only maybe sell one account in their lifetime at LS.

      LEGAL SHIELD SCREWED OVER MY COMPANY AND ME BY PROMISING TO HELP, BUT WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENED THEIR LAW FIRM RAN IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION AND THEY DIDN'T HELP US AT ALL!! IT WILL CAUSE US TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!!

      THEY ARE A SCAM AND EXTREMELY UNTRUSTWORTHY!! IF YOU GOT SCREWED OVER BY LEGAL SHIELD CONTACT ME, I AM IN THE MIDST OF PUTTING TOGETHER A CLASS ACTION AGAINST THEM - SO FAR HAVE INTERVIEWED SEVERAL LAW FIRMS THAT ARE INTERESTED!!

      STAY AWAY FROM LEGAL SHIELD!! FAR AWAY FROM THEM!!!!

      Delete
  69. LegalShield is a great company. I've been a member for three years and they have saved me thousands of dollars. If you are committing crimes such as larceny or aggravated assault, you SHOULD have to pay top dollar for an attorney because you are a CRIMINAL. I would hope that LS would NOT cover serious crimes such as those for less than $20/month. Are you kidding me? You obviously haven't looked at a recent brochure. I wouldn't be without it! And as for a scam, a $350/hour attorney is a SCAM. I've hired non-LegalShield attorneys before and lost my ass because they took thousands of dollars from me and ended up being pricks that never returned my phone call or had my best interests in mind. Who could I complain to then? At least with LegalShield, if I get an attorney with a crappy attitude, I can complain and they will be fired. Sounds like *somebody* complained about you and this is your only recourse. Perhaps you should go back to your own private practice.... of course, you probably left it because of client complaints and lack of business. Get a clue people.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I have a question for the commentors above--I have been reading many of the statements and I wondered why hasn't anyone done anything yet to investigate LegalShield? What does it take to step up and do something about this problem? I'm seeing that ranting, complaining and being angry but it isn't serving justice. I am actually researching a great deal on this and want to expose every single thing about Legal Shield and educate the population the dangers of this company! Great source of reading material that is also helping me with my research.

    ReplyDelete
  71. There shouldn't be so much indignation over Legal Shield, in my opinion. Firstly, they aren't taking any business away from hotshot lawyers. Their customers are far lower on the strata. They do the wills, lease reviews, misc. document revisions and prep. Why do lawyers participate? Because lawyers who aren't ivy league have to do this kind of work, and it's hard to build a practice with cheap, one-and-done cases.

    LS provides a channel for this business. Yes, it's discounted. But, through standardization of forms and contact strategy, it keeps provider effort/cost way down. That's why some sizable firms have been built around the LS model. It doesn't give the industry a black eye ethically-speaking, except maybe in hatchet job news stories. And, apparently, on this board where the reality of the legal needs of Joe Sixpack are ignored. The platform is not unethical, in my opinion, nor are its providers. Members get a value, and if they feel they don't, they can drop it just like they drop any other service.

    Full disclosure: No LS affiliation. Past member.

    ReplyDelete
  72. What a fucker. How on earth can this person be a law school dean on one hand, spending his time encouraging people to go to law school, yet on the other hand he's raking in cash from a company with a business model that adversely affects the livelihoods of attorneys?

    ReplyDelete
  73. In Re: AnonymousJune 16, 2012 12:26 PM;

    Whoever wrote that knows the inside scoop of PPL/LS: I too am a former associate of a LS "Provider Law Firm." A Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) complaint has been filed against LS and is currently being investigated by the Federal Investigator listed below. Whoever you are from "AnonymousJune 16, 2012 12:26 PM" do the right thing and contact the Federal Investigator, the Federal Complaint mirrors your comments, but the Investigator needs to talk with LS Provider Law Firm Attorneys to verify that it is not just one Provider Firm.

    As for that shmuck Law School Dean teaching legal ethics and sitting on the Board of PPL, he's a hypocrite, pure and simple.

    Write or email the Federal Investigator (below) if you have "Provider Law Firm" information pertaining to Legal Shield associates fraudulently marketing this legal product AND/OR the "Provider Law Firms" covering up for these fraudulent marketing practices.

    Fed Investigator: Susan Kamlet, Investigator
    U.S. Department of Labor; SOX Unit
    Inv. #9-3290-11-053
    90 Seventh St., Ste 18100
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    Tel. 415-625-2544
    kamlet.susan@dol.gov

    ReplyDelete
  74. To Anonymous above from December 23rd, thank you for the advice. I am the provider attorney you reference from June 16th.

    I'm very glad to see that other provider attorneys are speaking up. I just passed Ms. Kamlet's information to a former attorney at my firm today as well. This is a tough decision for me to make as a current employee, but I am prepared to do what is right here.

    I know there must be several attorneys (and former attorneys) at every provider firm who feel this way. Its too bad there is not a central way for all of us to communicate.

    ReplyDelete
  75. This is a very interesting public conversation taking place here. I will defend LegalShield. I have been their customer for almost 3 years. I liked their services so much that I got involved with their business after months of thorough vetting.

    My livelihood DOES NOT depend on the company. I have been a successful entrepreneur my entire adult life. I offer LegalShield to my friends and family because I care about them. I like helping people.

    I have worked with provider attorneys from several states. I have worked with referral attorneys as well. I have visited multiple provider law firms. Any of you good internet detectives should have little problem verifying my statements.

    All of that said, I love the company. LegalShield provides a valuable service. I think the biggest problem arises when independent associates sign people up for memberships without having proper education on the product. BUT, there is a growing trend of required licensing by state governments in order to sell legal plans. I, for example, am licensed in multiple states.

    Overall, the attorneys are WONDERFUL. When I did have an issue with an attorney, I filed a complaint thru the right channels. I was more than satisfied, and the new-hire attorney I'm guessing gained some valuable constructive criticism. When you have over a million members and hundreds of attorneys belonging to provider firms, there will undoubtedly be some negative experiences. And it is much more likely for an upset client to voice his or her public (often anonymous) opinion than for a happy client to do the same.

    I disagree with many (though not all) of the negative comments here. Admittedly, I do see room for improvements, and I am certainly doing my part to influence positive change.

    I fully stand behind LegalShield. For anyone interested, contact me and I will help you determine if our services are right for you. You won't buy a legal plan from me unless I feel that it will make a positive difference in your life.

    - Nicholas Kusnir
    LegalShield Independent Associate

    ReplyDelete
  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  77. To the Ass-Hat known as Nicholas Kusnir:

    Comments on older posts need to be approved. I am not on the blog at all hours, tool. Do you understand that concept?!?! I have an infant to take care of, Bitch.

    Perhaps, this company does provide decent service. However, you missed the main point of the entry, idiot: Martin H. Belsky is on the board of directors of a pre-paid legal vendor, WHILE "serving" as dean of an ABA-accredited law school. Do you see the conflict of interest, or do I need to spell it out for you?!

    Belsky's students and recent graduates will be undercut by LegalShield and other pre-paid legal services providers. University of Akron Sewer of Law victims will not be landing Biglaw positions. Essentially, the best that they can hope for is government work.

    If you are a freshly-minted attorney - who has incurred $100K in total student debt - how can you expect to compete with LegalShield's basement prices? Also, this site is not designed to funnel business to you or your pathetic employer.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Nando, since this is the internet I won't take your insults personally. I'm sure you wouldn't care if I did.

    To answer your question:
    "If you are a freshly-minted attorney - who has incurred $100K in total student debt - how can you expect to compete with LegalShield's basement prices?"

    I don't expect a freshly-minted attorney to compete with LegalShield's prices. I think it's ridiculous how much money you have to spend on law school to practice.

    The nice thing for your sake is that regardless of the value that LegalShield offers, there will always be a need for non-LegalShield attorneys.

    Funnel your energy into positive stuff that helps build your business and you will do just fine. I sincerely wish you and your family the best.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I hope we don't get into an internet argument... but where do you "officially" see this information on Martin? You are citing Business Week, which is a 3rd party for profit company. Where did Business Week get their information? Can you cite it from an official LegalShield source?

    I ask the questions because I can't find it. Educate me, if you will.

    Also, being a LegalShield "Director" is completely different from being on the "Board of Directors." A "Director" is a sales level indicating your performance as an associate. "Executive Director" is a level above "Director." I wonder if this is creating confusion.

    I genuinely would like to see where there is published, direct, official, non-3rd-party-for-profit information on regarding LegalShield "Board of Directors" pay.

    ReplyDelete
  80. In Houston alone, I know 3 successful attorneys who use and sell Legalshield. This is not decimating the lives of attorneys, it is giving access to legal services to average Americans and Canadians who otherwise would just be "winging it" in too many situations. For $300 a year, they are definitely worth it. If you pay to get into a law school that you consider to be 3rd tier, then you probably deserve whatever job you do or do not get after graduation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem with your "analysis" is that I received a full tuition scholarship to attend Third Tier Drake, you stupid bitch. That means that they paid my way for all three years.

      By the way, dunce: law school pigs charge prohibitive tuition. Today's JDs are graduating with $130K+ in total student debt. They have to repay that amount, cockroach. When $ervice$ such as LegalShield are further undercutting attorneys, it disproportionately affects those lawyers who have little experience or capital.

      Do...you...understand...that, waterhead?!?! Or do I need to draw you a diagram with Crayola on posterboard?! Furthermore, it speaks volumes about a law school dean's COMPLETE LACK OF INTEGRITY when the bastard is: (a) charging his students high tuition and (b) accepts their money, while (c) serving on the board of directors of a pre-paid legal services company. Apparently, YOU are too damn dumb to see this blatant conflict of interest.

      Delete
  81. Martin Belsky is a despicable human being. What kind of asshole is a dean and board of directors for a prepaid legal services provider? Sick.

    ReplyDelete

 
Web Analytics