H/T (and stolen headline) CT Blue
A recent article in The Day reported on the checkered background of a Republican candidate for City Council in New London:
When Andrew Lockwood introduced himself to a gathering of New London Republicans this week after being nominated as one of their candidates for City Council, he said he’s had many careers in his life, including one as a lawyer…
When I asked Lockwood about the reference he made this week to a law career, he said he is entitled to call himself a lawyer because he has a law degree. He said he graduated from the Massachusetts School of Law five years ago and has come close to passing the bar exam twice. He plans to take it again later this month….
Perhaps Lockwood feels like he’s a lawyer because he’s been sued so many times, for allegedly not paying his taxes in New London and Groton, for allegedly not paying a contractor, for allegedly not paying Lawrence & Memorial Hospital for his medical care and for allegedly not making payments on mortgages on properties in Ledyard and New London…
The most worrisome allegations that I turned up against Lockwood, in a routine search, were contained in a story The Day published about 10 years ago.
It reported on a lawsuit in which three separate plaintiffs claimed Lockwood was part of a “racketeering” scam that duped them into buying overpriced properties and securing mortgages for them with phony appraisals and credit applications. The suit also named two lawyers, a mortgage broker and an appraiser.
One of the plaintiffs, who the lawsuit said could neither read nor write and functioned at a “noticeably low intelligence level,” was enticed into buying a house for $63,500 that Lockwood had paid only $20,225 for the year before, according to the litigation.
Lockwood helped him fill out a credit application that erroneously reported that the plaintiff was a general manager of the car dealership Lockwood owned at the time and made $60,000 a year, the lawsuit said. The two other plaintiffs in the lawsuit had similar stories.
CT Blue, whose post alerted me to this story, has more details:
My clients had no business buying houses. The “general manager” of the car dealership, (as well as his wife) was on SSI due to the fact that he was mentally retarded. He certainly didn’t knowingly lie about his source of income. He could barely read. I had two other clients in the same case, each of which had similar stories, though they weren’t retarded. The common thread was poverty and Lockwood….
So this case had all the elements. Inflated home prices. Corrupt brokers. Crooked appraisers. Deceptive loans (all of the loans had balloon payment requirements the clients could never have made) and creditors who passed the risk to deluded investors.
As remarkable as this story is, the most incredible part is the candidate’s response, as posted on The Day’s website:
…i have had 20 years of management experience, a realtors licence, a contractors licence, educational experience and a juris doctrine degree. it is impotant in life to take life experieces learn from them and grow. i went back to college in 1999 and earned 210 college credits to get my doctrine degree…
It’s a Juris Doctor degree, NOT doctrine – and as far as the other 9 mistakes in these 3 sentences – well, no comment.
The Massachusetts School of Law is not an accredited law school. However, the Connecticut bar examining committee currently recognizes two law schools not accredited by the ABA: Massachusetts School of Law, approved in 1997, and Southern New England School of Law, approved in 2001.
Still, questions have to be raised about the quality of the education at least one graduate received there. Here’s how the school describes itself:
The law school’s mission is to make practical, affordable, high quality legal education, and resulting social and economic mobility, available to persons who have been traditionally excluded from the legal profession. Massachusetts School of Law employs the “medical school” model in its approach to legal education. Interested recent college graduates and working professionals learn to write and speak effectively, and to successfully advocate for clients. Of all the law schools in New England, MSLAW, places the most emphasis on the acquisition of the professional skills necessary to practice law immediately upon graduation. LSATs are not required for admission, as Massachusetts School of Law considers an applicant’s entire record in selecting appropriate candidates to enter the legal profession.
Of the 15 Massachusetts School of Law grads who took the Bar Exam last July, only 4 passed.
For some background on the requirements of the Connecticut bar examining committee, read this interesting article about the efforts of a name many bloggers will recognize to be allowed to take the bar exam:
Derby, Conn., resident Mel Thompson believes he has what it takes to pass the Connecticut Bar Exam. The fact that he earned his law degree over the Internet, he asserts, shouldn’t prevent him from putting his gumption to the test.
The regulations are here.