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Interview: Unemployed Law School Grad Goes On Hunger Strike

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When I was a young overachiever, my parents once hoped that, like all book-smart JAPs with attitude, I would make the family proud and join the ranks of well-paying society with nothing more than my ability to talk fast and memorize hundreds of pages of jargon: I would go to law school.

Years later when I discovered how much work that would be, I dashed their hopes and dreams and instead pursued the lowlier profession of writer blogger somewhat employed web assistant. Turns out, mom and dad, I was right!

In this economy, even lawyers can't get jobs! And Ethan Haines, an '09 law school grad, is fed up with it. So he did what any unemployed JD would do: start a hunger strike.

He has gone "without a drop of liquid or an ounce of food" for over 39 hours to support Law School Transparency, with the demand that law schools provide accurate statistics about employment outcomes for graduates.

"I am just reiterating the same concerns and criticisms that have been directed at law schools by law students and recent graduates -- to no avail -- just in a different way," he told me. "I think they will respond because (hopefully) the world will be watching. It is one thing for everyone in the legal industry to know about this issue and express their concerns but it's ineffective because it's the way things are just done in this field, like on Wall Street. But if people outside the legal community had a chance to really listen and understand these concerns, law schools will take notice and be shamed into doing something about it. It only takes one person to inspire change."

Just like Ghandi, this Ethan kid.

The self-designated "J.D. Class Representative" mailed an "Official Notice of Hunger Strike" to administrators of ten randomly selected law schools ranked in the Top 100 of the 2010 U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings. (He is keeping mum on both his age and the school he graduated from, but admitted that he didn't attend any of those schools). Perhaps not surprisingly, none have responded so far. But the brave soul is carrying on with the chutzpah of a true fighter.

"So far, I am just experiencing headaches and reduced energy. I started preparation for this strike a few days in advance and was down to one meal a day on the day before the strike. Accordingly, my body is reacting to the total nutrient withdrawal faster than expected. But, I am in good spirits thanks to all the support I have received," he said.

He plans to keep 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.

Like many fellow unemployed, Ethan is making the most of his time off by pursuing entrepreneurial efforts. You can purchase "Feed Ethan Haines" tees for $20s on his site.

Fight the good fight, Ethan.

PS: For all you lazy losers who can't give up your carbs to join the movement, he encourages you to show your support via Twitter.

This was cross-posted at Ivy Leagued and Unemployed.