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Alireza Gharagozlou, aka Loyola 2L
A little more than a decade ago, an anonymous internet commenter using the name “ Loyola 2L ” grabbed the spotlight by criticizing the ways that so-called second- and third-tier law schools recruited prospective students, many of whom would eventually have trouble finding jobs, partly as a result of the economic downturn a decade ago . The Wall Street Journal , whose now deceased Law Blog once touted Loyola 2L as its ” Lawyer of the Year “ in 2007, and Above the Law covered Loyola 2L’s self-described retirement from the legal blogosphere in January 2008.   But recent events in Big Law, particularly a push to end  mandatory arbitration and nondisclosure deals  in the profession, have motivated Loyola 2L to join the movement and to come forward to answer a longtime question in legal business trivia by unveiling his true identity.He is Alireza Gharagozlou.Back in June 2017, Gharagozlou met with this reporter at a now shuttered eatery on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip to discuss his legal career and the sudden disenchantment he felt while working at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles. During that meeting, Gharagozlou claimed to be the real Loyola 2L and provided copies of old emails confirming that identity. But concern about how a public confirmation of his internet nom de guerre could affect his future career prospects led the blogger-turned-research attorney at O’Melveny, which he left in early 2017, to ask that any identification of the real Loyola 2L be put on hold.Gharagozlou, who said he finds himself blacklisted from the legal profession as a result of the ” whistleblowing website ” he created with a public blog in March 2017, chose to put his thoughts about the current state of the law firm world in a letter. That letter can be found below, as well as a statement from an O’Melveny spokesman.Dear Readers,I was the blogger once known as “ Loyola 2L ,” part of that late-2000′s effort to inform the public about the problematic aspects of the law school industrial complex, the “law school scam,” if you will. That effort was later picked up by Kyle McEntee, Patrick Lynch and others, who created the website Law School Transparency to accurately inform about the legal market. What they did dwarfs the silly stuff that I was doing, and I really look up to them as, well, heroes of sorts. In that vein, I’m writing to ask you to support a new set of heroes attempting to fight for a more important cause.Those still reading are probably a bit curious about what I’ve been doing since 2008. I should confess much of the Loyola 2L character was fictitious. After graduating from Loyola Law School, I went on to New York University School of Law’s tax LL.M. program. After that I taught for a semester at Fordham University School of Law, where, despite outstanding student reviews, I hesitated to teach another class out of worry that I would be part of the scam I had long complained about. My class was filled with bright and talented individuals who I remember to this day, and it broke my heart when a few came to me expressing their difficulty in finding work. I couldn’t handle that every semester.After that, I worked at O’Melveny & Myers. I was recruited there by Ted McAniff , as I had scored so highly in his bank regulatory class that the dean had to readjust the curve, and I guess he thought I could be a good fit there. Unfortunately, this five-year experience revealed a far bigger problem than the law school scam—namely the lack of diversity in the legal profession. It suffers from these issues more than any other industry, as far as I can tell. I started writing about this in March 2017 at the blog here . Initially there was some trepidation, as very few were doing this, but it seems I have caught another wave of popular zeitgeist because it’s been quite the year of using the internet and social media to expose racism and sexism.One of the biggest problems I saw and wrote about in the first post on my blog was law firms’ use of mandatory nondisclosure and arbitration clauses, which allows them to mistreat employees with impunity. And please note this is not just a diversity issue, as shown by what one firm allegedly did to an attorney who complained of an ethics violation. I saw white males get mistreated at O’Melveny. The reason I’m writing now is that a group of students as heroic as McEntee and Lynch have courageously demanded that firms stop depriving employees of their rights . This is not going to be easy. For example, O’Melveny was told three times by federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit, that such agreements are unconscionable, but it still uses them and I doubt the firm and others will fold. You would have to be more compelling than a federal judge to get them to change!But thanks to Alyssa Peterson of Yale Law School; Molly Coleman , Ian Samuel and Ryan Wheeler of Harvard Law School; Leah Litman of the University of California, Irvine School of Law; Nate Brown of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; Stephen Schultze of the Georgetown University Law Center; and many others, this could eventually happen. Please lend your support to their efforts.Sincerely,Alireza GharagozlouTo The American Lawyer:“Mr. Gharagozlou’s allegations are without merit. While we will adhere to our practice of not commenting on personnel matters involving specific attorneys or staff (current or former), the firm takes immense pride in its excellent record of attracting and mentoring lawyers and staff from all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, ages and sexual preferences and helping them prosper. Discrimination in any form whatsoever is simply not tolerated at O’Melveny. Accordingly, any charge of discrimination by a lawyer or staff member is immediately and thoroughly investigated by the firm and appropriate actions are taken. We treat all such matters with the sensitivity and respect to which they are entitled.”

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