‘UnemployedJD’ Says He’s on Hunger Strike to Spur Law School Reform
For just $19.99 you can buy a T-shirt to help support “UnemployedJD” and his cause—greater law school transparency and better career counseling.
Blogging at UnemployedJD.com, a law grad identifying himself as Ethan Haines says he has been on a hunger strike since Aug. 5 in an effort to prod law schools to become more transparent in employment statistics. “I am hanging in there,” he wrote on Twitter. “If I survived law school, I can survive this.”
He told the Huffington Post he plans to continue fasting for as long as his body can handle it. “Successful hunger strikes have gone on for nearly 50 days without death. I don’t know if I can go that long, but I am willing to try,” he said. His Twitter posts from late Wednesday said he had gone seven days without food.
Haines randomly selected 10 law schools out of the top-100 ranked schools and sent them a notice that he will not eat until they address two pleas: that the law schools audit their career counseling programs for effectiveness and comply with a request for detailed job statistics by a new group calling itself Law School Transparency.
(For its part, Law School Transparency stated on its website that it “has no official relationship with Mr. Haines and has neither endorsed nor encouraged any supporter to engage in a hunger strike. That said, his personal decision to engage in a hunger strike demonstrates the seriousness of the issue and the growing demand for law schools to improve their disclosure practices.”)
Haines answered questions by e-mail rather than phone, and he wouldn’t tell Inside Higher Ed where he went to law school or whether Ethan Haines is his real name. He is asking for contributions and selling T-shirts to support his mission, pledging to donate 30 percent of the proceeds to a nonprofit that will provide career counseling to law students and recent grads. The rest of the profits will offset marketing and administrative expenses, he says.
Above the Law questions whether Haines is joking and, if he’s not, whether law schools will ever change. “Even if this is a ‘real’ hunger strike, Ethan Haines could wither away, die, instruct his mother to send his dismembered body parts to the random law schools he picked—and it wouldn’t make a law school administrator think one extra second before jacking up tuition on the next class of uninformed lemmings,” ATL writes. “It seems that China will free Tibet before law schools are willing to paint an accurate picture of employment expectations for prospective law students.”
Updated at 12:20 p.m. to include statement from Law School Transparency. Updated at 1:45 p.m. to include information from Insider Higher Ed. Updated on Aug. 12 to include UnemployedJD’s latest Twitter posts.