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You Wanna Be a Cop AND a Lawyer? Not in New Jersey!

When I was 8 or so, I wanted to be a cop. I actually said as much in an interview with a local TV station, after unwittingly perpetuating the Jewish mother stereotype by noting that my mom would have preferred that I grow up to be "a docta or a lawya."

I eventually got over the desire to wear a badge, and fulfilled, in some small part, my mother's wishes. Thankfully, some kids don't grow out of the urge to protect and serve, and are out there on the streets keeping us safe (and busting us for driving too fast).

But what if you want to carry both a gun and a briefcase? According to the 3rd Circuit, it's OK for the state -- New Jersey, in this case -- to encourage you, as a state trooper, to attend law school, and then prohibit you from making any side money practicing.

Here's a blurb on the case from the Legal Ethics Forum, and here's a link to the 3rd Circuit's (non-precedential) opinion, affirming the district court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' constitutional claims. It's short and to the point, per the judges' disclaimer that they are "writ[ing] solely for the benefit of the parties." Bottom line: it's not an equal protection or due process violation to make a rule prohibiting outside legal employment while allowing for other forms of moonlighting.

So in Jersey, you've gotta choose between the funny hat and the "prestige" of legal practice. Or you could always give both of those professions up, and somehow get involved in the state's burgeoning douchebag export industry.


Posted by Eric Lipman on November 4, 2010 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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