In the Public's Benefit - Installment 2010-2
Former Dallas attorney and SEC trial lawyer Phillip W. Offill, Jr. was sentenced last Friday to eight years in federal prison for his role in penny stock scams. He had been convicted in Virginia on nine counts of wire fraud and a single count of conspiracy.
Offill's conviction focused on a classic "pump-and-dump" operation that manipulated share prices in dozens of small companies by faxing and e-mailing advertising to investors. Offill profitted by selling shares when prices rose. related story
The government wants Offill to forfeit assets and cash totaling $4.8 million for his crimes. Offill claims he owes only $125,700 from ill-gotten gains.
Why pick on law schools?
Law schools do not seem to compete for the public's benefit; school reputations currently connote to the public vague expectations of how brazen and arrogant their graduates may behave, rather than the innate integrity of their respective graduates.
Improving law school admissions standards, although certainly in the public interest, is highly unlikely. After all, law schools are not military academies and most lawyers were never Eagle Scouts nor recipients of Girl Scout equivalent Gold Awards.
Why pick on lawyers?
A disproportionate percentage of law graduates (hardly 2% of the entire workforce) are currently elected to over 20% of public offices (including 60% of the U.S, Senate and 100% of the U.S. Supreme Court). This presents conflicts of interest and publicly unintended concentrations of authority. Combined with self-serving laws tailored to give incumbents subtle advantages over challengers, the country is in growing peril of a permanent political class.
Meanwhile, proceeds of the underlying crimes are certainly adequate to provide corruptive influences in government at every level.