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Sponsor A Law Kid

I’ve always called myself a “law kid.” I think it’s a sign that I knew from the start that I wasn’t a traditional law student and that I didn’t want to be a typical lawyer. As I look to the future, I know I don’t want a job that keeps me trapped in an office all day. I want to be a lawyer who is also a lecturer, writer, and podcaster.

One of my priorities in law school, regardless of how busy I am, is to stay involved in my community. I’m pleased and proud that I’ve been able to volunteer with Ignite Phoenix and Improv AZ, attend #evfn, and find time and forums for singing. I hope these activities will contribute to a happy and successful career after law school.

I will graduate from Arizona State University in May 2011, and I will take the Bar Exam in July. My goal is to be “the lawyer to the geeks” and specialize in internet law and intellectual property. I also hope I can do something to prevent cyberharassment through public speaking. I experienced cyberharassment as an adult and it was awful. I can’t image how hard it must be for a child to go through that.

When I applied to law school, the average debt for a student graduating from my program was ~$50,000. Today, the average debt is over $89,000! That’s insane!  How did my education get $40,000 more expensive?!  I have one semester left, plus studying for and taking the Bar.  I’m reaching out to the online community to help me pay for it.

The Program
Sponsor A Law Kid gives anyone who wants to the opportunity to sponsor my legal education for a day. It will run from January 1, 2011 until July 27, 2011 – the last day of the Arizona Bar Exam. Each day can have one sponsor.
I will also be tweeting every day about the life of a law student, so anyone who follows me can vicariously go to law school for a semester.

The Price
I am using the same price structure as Jason Sadler of I Wear Your Shirt.  The cost to sponsor January 1st is only $1, and the price for each subsequent day goes up by $1 (Jan. 2nd = $2, Jan. 3rd = $3, Jul. 27th = $208).

Why Sponsor A Law Kid?
Why should anyone give up a couple bucks, or a couple hundred bucks, to help pay for my education? In exchange for your sponsorship, for each day that I’m sponsored, I’ll publish a blog that tells the world how awesome you, your organization, and/or your products are. Also, it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you’re part of something awesome.

I can’t promise you that I’ll keep you out of jail once I’m a lawyer to give free legal advice – that would violate the code of ethics. However, when I make it on the legal lecture circuit, and I have to decide where I’m speaking next, it will be hard for me to decline an invitation from one of my law school sponsors.

How Do I Sponsor A Day?
Please contact me at SponsorALawKid@gmail.com to claim the day you want to sponsor.  You can pick your date based on price, or might want to pick a day because it’s a special day for you or me.  I will be running a half marathon on January 16th ($16), and my graduation day is expected to be May 12th or 13th ($132 or $133).  Pi Day is March 14th ($73) and Star Wars Day is May 4th ($124).

What Else Can I Do?
Spread the word! Send this to everyone who might be interested in sponsoring a law kid or following a sponsored law kid. I’ll be using the hashtag #SALK to tweet about my law school exploits.   Please follow me on Twitter and I hope to have a Facebook cause for this up soon.

The Sponsor A Law Kid Facebook page can be found here.

The most recent update about Sponsor A Law Kid can be found here.

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45 Comments

  1. Ruthie says:

    Thank you to everyone who has supported in this endeavor! I’ve sold 15 days so far. If you want to drum up some attention for yourself, your cause, your product, or your business, please consider sponsoring a day.

  2. Lisa Solomon says:

    Actually, this disgusts me. Because you want to spend time doing things you *wants* to do (like singing and running marathons), you presumably can’t spend that time working a part-time job to help keep your debt burden down.

    I took on a lot of debt to attend NYU from 1990-1993. Although today’s average debt numbers are high, average salaries are also higher than they were when I graduated due to inflation.

    If you doesn’t want to take on more debt, you have choices. You can switch to a night program, which will allow you to work full-time during the day (assuming you’re not qualified for anything else, presumably, someone with your writing skills can get a basic white-collar job like executive assistant). Or you can take some time off to work full-time before going back to school full-time.

    Calling yourself a “law kid” speaks volumes. You’re not some 14-year-old prodigy: you’re an adult. You just don’t want to act like one.

    Finally, what you’re offering in exchange for sponsorship is of questionable value, to say the least. “Oh, goody, I can get some law student who knows squat about me or about the actual practice of law to write a blog post about how great I am.” Not worth $1 for day 1 sponsorship, not to mention $208 for the last day.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I know not everyone will support this endeavor.

      To respond to your comments, I’ve almost always worked during my education (undergrad, masters, and law school), sometimes working two jobs at a time to offset the cost of my education. During my law school career, I’ve been a research assistant since my second semester of school when the ABA allowed me to start working. In the summers, I’ve worked full-time jobs. I could take it easy and not work, volunteer, or have hobbies, but that would make me very unbalanced person. My life stytle choices result in me being tired a lot, but that the price I am willing to pay to have it all. Additionally, it’s been my extracurricular activities that have led to most of the opportunities that will most likely lead to a successful legal career.

      In regards the whether or not I’m offering a questionable value, you may want to look up Jason Sadler of I Wear Your Shirt. His advertisting business started with this price structure and he has never had a problem selling days in return for promoting a product or cause. This is a way for someone to bring additional attention to their business or cause and they can choose a price that they are comfortable with. I give the same amount of consideration to the person who buys Day 1 as Day 208.

      I’ve mostly had great support from the legal community for my innovativeness. If you don’t want to support this program, that’s ok. I’m not offeneded.

    2. Big Law Associate from a TTT says:

      Lisa cracks me up and exemplifies that lawyers do not know statistics. This is the same argument that the average American household makes more money than they did in the 1995. In reality there are more people living in poverty, but the same wealthiest 2% make $60,000 more per year.

      The average law firm salary is higher… because the Top 10% of law salaries skyrocket while the median entry law salary has stayed flat. In 1995 public law schools were majority funded by the state, whereas many public law schools receive 25%-33% of their money from the state. Tuition has more than doubled. Life in the top 10% isn’t bad, but averages obscure that is sucks for most people in the bottom half.

      As for finding a job during law school, good luck. Too many lawyers expect law students to work for free. My wife’s small firm has 3 this and next semester!!!!!!

  3. Lisa Solomon says:

    (Sorry, it should have been “don’t” in the first sentence of the third paragraph.)

  4. Denese Dominguez says:

    I’m an attorney. Since you clearly don’t have the God-given sense to be embarrassed, I will be embarrassed for you. Enjoy running, singing and blogging in lieu of studying — maybe you will be able to convince people to support you after you fail the bar exam as well.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      I run, sing, and write on top of studying. It’s not uncommon for my day to start at 4:45am and end after 11pm. I share this to demonstrate my dedication to my commitments, not to make people feel bad for me. I’m a better student when my academic life is balanced with other intellectual, physical, and artistic activities.

      I have never had a problem passing my classes and I’m in good academic standing with the school. There’s no reason to think, according to my colleagues, that if I adhere to the BarBri study schedule, that I’ll have any problems passing the Bar.

  5. Goat Lady says:

    Get off your lazy a** and get a job! You could spend the time you spend on those extracurricular activities doing something to generate support for yourself. You make me ashamed to be a graduate of ASU’s law school.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      I do work…always have, with the exception of my 1st semester of law school when it was forbidden by the ABA.

  6. Did it ever occur to you that if you built your blog up into a bona-fide resource on Internet law that you might be able to attract real sponsors who would pay a few hundred dollars a month to sponsor your blog, instead of having to hold your hat out like a beggar? How is that innovative? Also, if you are interested in being a writer, why don’t you write for blogs? Talented law student Huma Rashid writes posts on fashion at MyShingle (http://myshingle.com/articles/fashion-lifestyle/) and I pay for her content; I have also hired new lawyers and law students to update my blog. Why not engage in honest work?

    You also say that “I want to be a lawyer who is also a lecturer, writer, and podcaster.” Guess what? Doing that kind of work on top of being a lawyer takes time, as O can tell you from personal experience. First, you need to establish a presence online, then come up with original content, develop a great slide deck and then have the persistence to pitch your lectures over and over, all the while competing with folks who spend 100 percent of their time doing nothing other than speaking. Lisa Solomon (who commented above) is actually one of a small handful of practicing lawyers who commands pay for her appearances on the speaker circuit and not only does she offer incredibly unique content, but she is one of the hardest working lawyers I know. I’m not surprised that she had little patience for your scheme; I don’t either.

  7. Alex says:

    This whole concept needs a reboot. While I understand that you’re offering to market your sponsors on your website, you haven’t conveyed enough information to make that clear. Most people are not familiar with the kind of marketing that I Wear Your Shirt offers and you are so vague about the concept that your presentation comes of as nothing more than panhandling for money to cover your law school costs..

    One other thing, don’t try and market what you can’t deliver. It may have been meant in a semi-humorous manner but speculating about services you can offer when you “make it on the legal lecture circuit” isn’t anymore persuasive than speculating about services you can offer when you become a senator or the next governor of Arizona. In the context of adding value to sponsorship it comes of as a bit narcassistic given that you haven’t even graduated yet.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thanks for your suggestions Alex!

  8. Amy says:

    There are some mean-spirited comments on here… WOW! If anyone knows Ruth, she is a fun-loving, hard working and passionate woman. She is anything but your “typical law student” and I love her for that. I for one, am glad that we are not all cookie-cutter attorneys and law students and I applaud her unique approach to life and law school. Thanks for being you Ruth~ you always make me smile!

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I have always admired your ambition, passion, and your commitment to excellence. You’re living proof that you don’t have to sacrifice your soul or your personality to be successful.

  9. mike says:

    I am disgusted….that I didn’t think of this idea when I was in law school! Brava Ruth!

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Awh…Thanks Mike!!!

  10. Stephanie says:

    To everyone who assumes that Ruth is lazy, narcissistic, immature, or anything else:

    I know Ruth personally; I consider her one one of my close friends and am proud to do so. Does this color my judgment? Absolutely not. In fact, my admiration for Ruth was the reason I made it a point to get to know her.

    I met Ruth during my first week of my 1L year. I was scared and overwhelmed, wondering how I could possibly handle law school, let alone have a life.
    Enter Ruth.
    Never have I met someone who can so successfully balance school, extracurriculars, and life in general. I am constantly amazed by how much she does–without even breaking stride.
    The fact that Ruth can do all of this “stuff” doesn’t mean she is lazy or has her priorities wrong–rather, it is testament to her impressive willpower (and seemingly boundless energy). When Ruth does something, she just *does* it–there’s not screwing around on facebook or reading pointless blogs when she should be doing her reading.

    And notice: Ruth has time for singing, and running, and blogging…did you see a mention of TV or a similar timesuck?

    You may call her lazy…but maybe you should reconsider your own priorities. How many of us watch a rerun of a ’90s sitcom on TV rather than go work out? Or spend 45 minutes “catching up” on facebook and email before getting down to work?

    Ruth doesn’t waste time, and she absolutely won’t once she’s passed the bar (with flying colors on the first try, because she’s very very smart).

    I’m sponsoring a day (tbd based on funds, since I too am a “lazy” broke law student). I’m proud to do so, and I applaud Ruth for not only having the courage to try something like this, but the willpower to succeed…and the maturity to let comments such as the ones above just roll off.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thanks Stephanie! I’m overwhelmed by your kind words.

  11. Tab says:

    No. Take it from a lawyer who is leaving the practice, no.

  12. Honestly, my colleagues seem to be a little harsh. There is nothing wrong with Ruth throwing it ‘out there’ based upon another person who did it successfully. If we all did it the way someone else did it we’d all be followers, not innovators or leaders. The fact some of you don’t like it is reason enough for you to stay away. I stay away from a lot of things I don’t like or support. But to so actively condemn her and with such conviction without knowing her is a little over the top, IMO. If it comes across as begging to you with no tangible return on your investment and it’s not a model you find palatable, don’t do it. I’m not. But I do think it’s creative and if done correctly can have many people following her success (built-in networking and supporters) and provide a ready made audience for her future endeavors.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you Susan. I think your comments accurately portray the essence of this program. I’m grateful to my sponsors and have no bad feelings towards anyone who chooses not to participate.

  13. Ruth, don’t take any of the negative comments to heart. You will find that most lawyers are bitter, burnt out a-holes who have miserable lives, and wish they chose a different career path. Good for you for trying a non-traditional approach, and for thinking creatively. Even if it doesn’t pan out, that type of thinking will distinguish you from the pack.

    BTW, your blog is now posted on the American Bar Association’s homepage (they posted a story on you). Most lawyers would kill to have their blog featured on the ABA. “Traditional” lawyers need to recognize that your generation will change the way our profession approaches business in general, as well as the practice of law. It’s inevitable.

    Now if you can just post regularly, attract readers, and monetize your blog, you can make hundreds, even thousands of dollars a month to support your education. Good luck.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for letting me know about the article on the ABA homepage. I read it and I can see how someone who only read that would think that I was asking for was money with nothing in return.

      I don’t know if people who aren’t writers know what it takes to do justice to a person’s cause in a blog. It takes a lot of thought to capture the right sentiment. I feel honored to have this opportunity to bring attention to these causes. Two of my sponsors have asked me to write on topics related to rare illnesses that their children have. I’m a bit overwhelmed with gratitude that these people trust me to tell their stories.

  14. Hi,

    As I said in my email, I apologize for the tone of my message, above. I believe that I was overly harsh, and it was not an appropriate manner for an attorney to communicate criticism to a law student. As I said in my email, I do think that you have some speaking and writing talent that you are actually undervaluing with your sponsorship proposal.

    Carolyn Elefant

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you Carolyn. I appreciate you apology.

  15. Beth in Atlanta says:

    Dear Ms. Carter:
    I hope your endeavour is successful! Although I am a poor graduate business student, I have thought about law school. However, I do not want to take on all of the debt now required for a law education. I hear about the usual debt load being $100k for a top 50 school. Wow!
    Again, best wishes for a successful idea. Beth

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thanks Beth!!

  16. DC Lawyer says:

    Ruth, I was shocked at the negative tone of some of these comments. I’m not sure from where the vitriol is coming. Why some responders feel the need to take the time to criticize you personally is odd. (Obviously, most lawyers probably feel burdened by law school debt (at least all the lawyers I know do….), even if we enjoy some aspects of our work, we work long hours when we’d rather be doing so many other things and see half our income going to a loan payment for a long stretch of the future. I suppose some are taking the frustration out on you.)

    My purpose in responding is really just to balance the record.

    While I agree with everything LI Lawyer said, I don’t agree that “most lawyers are bitter, burnt out a-holes who have miserable lives, and wish they chose a different career path.” I’m a lawyer (I’m even a litigation lawyer), and I’m not a bitter burnt out a-hole and neither are most of the lawyers with whom I interact and know personally. It’s just like any profession, and most lawyers I know pride themselves in their efforts to maintain cordiality and professionalism, which hasn’t been on full display in these comments.

    The negative messages did of course contain some important (implicit) points about the practice of law (even if they did not communicate that criticism in an appropriate manner for anyone to communicate to another person under any normal circumstances). Cordial and professional or not, lawyers are by nature critical; we challenge the basis of statements for a living, and we require and demand proof (it gets worse over time…non-lawyer friends and family love it). We’re a tough crowd. I’ve learned to appreciate even the harsh comments, and I hope you do too, because even if they don’t explicitly offer methods of improving whatever is criticized (in this case most of them did in fact offer suggestions), they highlight potential weaknesses in your position/statement/etc. Ignore the fluff, the unnecessary personal attacks, and evaluate the suggestions and highlighting of any weaknesses and use the knowledge to become a stronger advocate for yourself (as you already appear to be doing).

    Also, you might want to fix the typo in “The Program” section.

    Good luck from DC.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you for your suggestions and perspective. It’s good to know that not every practicing lawyer is burned out and bitter.

  17. ATexLaw says:

    I also can’t believe the mean-spirited comments. Talk about people with too much time on their hands! I applaud anyone with creativity to find a way to raise money. Ruth is not asking for a hand out — she is offering something highly creative in return for the donation. If it’s not worth it to you — move on. Do you haters berate street artists too for “not having jobs”? If you like what they are offering, drop a buck or two in appreciation. If not, vote with your feet and move on.

    I’m very grateful to have exited a top 10 law school with zero debt (20 years ago, yikes). But I know times have changed and I can’t imagine having such a huge burden to overcome along with all the stresses that go with being a new lawyer. More power to you, Ruth, in finding creative solutions. I also applaud your equanimous attitude in dealing with the harsh attitudes of some of your readers.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you ATex! I’m a big believer in the Rule of Two Feet too.

  18. Jennifer A says:

    Unlike some of the other commenters, I think you are perfectly within your rights to attempt to earn money this way. If people do not want to donate to your law school education, they certainly don’t have to. I would just like to offer the constructive advice that, particularly if one of your selling points is a blog posting about your sponsor, that you do a close proofreading of your text above. I noticed at least three typos.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you! That’s what I get for using a different computer that doesn’t automatically catch my spelling errors. I was so excited to get this blog post out that my fingers were tripping over themselves.

  19. CA 3L says:

    Wow, I’m surprised at all the negative backlash on here.

    Why insult someone who is just trying to creatively pay for law school? If you don’t like the idea, then so what–don’t give her any money. No need to post insults.

    Good luck with your endeavors, at the very least this will all make for an interesting conversation to set you apart in an interview.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you!!

  20. Michael says:

    It’s certainly an interesting idea and I like your gung-ho approach.

    But I’m wondering why you can’t just monetize your blog through text links and charge on a monthly basis.
    Plenty of other law student blogs function that way. It would also mean you would gain a more sustainable, ongoing revenue stream rather than the pricing structure you mentioned in your post.

    If you worked on improving your pagerank, I’m sure you’d attract interest; heck, you’ve got 30 comments on your post, so it’s not like you’re without readers! :-)

    Anyway, best of luck. I’m so taken by this quirky idea, I’ll probably give you a hat-tip on Law Actually later this week! ;-)

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you! If you mention Sponsor A Law Kid on Law Actually, please send me the link.

      I’ve considered using my blog through ads and text links. Until Sponsor A Law Kid, I didn’t have the readership necessary to make that a viable option. There has been discussion about adding a money making element to this blog, but I haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet.

  21. [...] launched Sponsor A Law Kid a little over a week ago.  I was surprised by how much traffic my blog has had over the past [...]

  22. Sarah says:

    I think this is an awesome idea. As a law student and a parent I had to choose a law school in a lower tier for tuition purposes and I am very satisfied with my choice. University of Wyoming may not be well known but I have been satisfied with my education and I did so to save money. Ruth’s idea is genious and I just wish I had come up with it first. Perhaps I would have gone to one of the schools I really wanted to go to and just could not afford. I digress… I knew Ruth in high school and know that she does not slack off and I can’t imagine that she would have such a swift personality change to make her do so now. I believe her when she says that she works, studies, and finds time for things she enjoys too. That is phenomenal because most lack that in law school and find themselves miserable and many do not end up succeeding, or worse, become jaded. I am upset that people would insult her choice here because it is ingenious and did not let those bad comments seem to bother her. Maybe everyone who insulted her is just jealous that this was not their idea that that Ruth has made the most out of her law school career.

  23. Michael says:

    Ruth,

    Just to let you know, I’ve featured your ‘sponsor a law kid’ idea in a post on Law Actually. http://lawactually.blogspot.com/2010/11/sponsor-law-student.html

    I’ve also added you to my US blawgroll! ;-)

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      Thank you Michael! Great article!

  24. Law Student says:

    Hint: Asking strangers for money will garner a negative response. Asking strangers for money while posting about shopping online on twitter will make that negative response fairly valid.

    Not that creativity isn’t a wonderful thing, but I have to say your online presence makes me agree with the comment about your title “law kid.” To be honest, I would be very hesitant to hire a lawyer who treated their personal finances so lightly.

    1. Ruth Carter says:

      I see where you’re coming from, but it’s pretty common for people to go Christmas shopping during this time of year. I figured tweeting was a norm and likely a good thing given that I was tweeting about shopping at the shop of one of my sponsors.

  25. Elle says:

    Ruth, you are an amazing person and do not let anyone tell you differently. You are so creative, so funny, and so intelligent. I cannot wait to sponsor a day! It is sad how mean people can be. Keep you head up, as you always do. My law school experience is so much brighter because of you!

  26. Aaron Kelly says:

    Wow, things have really taken off since we last talked Ruth :-D I hope I still have sponsorship for the day I requested. Looks like things are going well. Don’t pay too much attention to web critics, we all have them.