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Fedtime 101: Leveling the Playing Field with Ex-con Coaches (aka jailhouse lawyers)


The incarcerated-wealthy have hard-time coaches – why not everyone else? Say what you will (and I bet there is a lot to say), this story is very interesting, very funny (in a very dark sort of way), and a whole lot provocative. (And, I posted before about a Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, but need to update the link to this .)

About to do time? Meet your best pal: Real estate scammers and other first-timers get a crash course in prison survival from enterprising ex-cons, by Mike Anton, February 27, 2009, Los Angeles Times.


“…. You know I’m not a lawyer, right?” Levine says. He then dispenses some free legal advice: “Have you filed a tort claim? You need to find out who is negligent.”

At a time when no job is safe, Levine is among a small but growing number of consultants who are poised to find work in the economic meltdown as prison life coaches to the perpetrators of Ponzi schemes, mortgage scams and financial swindles.

White-collar criminals have long employed coaches to prep them on what to expect when they trade in their designer clothes for institutional khaki. Past students include Martha Stewart (securities fraud), Leona Helmsley (tax evasion) and financier Ivan Boesky (insider trading).

Now a new crop of consultants is using the Web to democratize this rarefied service, reaching out to small-time hustlers who saw the opportunity of a lifetime and seized it, regardless of the consequences.

Among these self-styled gurus are former prison staffers, disbarred lawyers and self-trained former jailhouse lawyers who’ve hung their shingles on the outside.

“We like to use the phrase ‘jailhouse litigator,’ ” says Levine, 47. “Jailhouse lawyer sounds cheap….” (link to full article)

(Thanks again to Rob T at Law in the News for the lead!)

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