Over at Above the Law, columnists Elie Mystal and Staci Zaretsky have been downright hostile toward folks involved in the protests known as Occupy Wall Street, which seems to be slowly and steadily developing into a real movement. CNN reports today that more unions are joining the protests and that efforts are underway for other “Occupy” cities and for a Global Day of Action. But at Above the Law, generally the most trafficked legal blog in the country, Mistal and Zaretsky have dismissed the protests as “ludicrous,” “barely newsworthy,” made up of “hippies and kids,” “fools,” and “crazies.” Fair enough. But that’s also what Fox News likes to call poor folks who are out to make some pretty salient points about the extraordinary gap between the “one percent” and the “other 99 percent.”
For protests that have now been growing slowly over the past three weeks, and possibly spreading to other parts of the country, ATL’s dismissive tone is actually beginning to be humorous, if not a bit self-righteous. After all, ATL at times seems to bill itself as a champion of unemployed law students bogged down by extraordinary debt. Then again, ATL loves to scoop up endless stories about large law firm bonuses paid annually to well-employed big firm associates. The economic gap widens even among lawyers, especially if you are unemployed, broke, and now heavily indebted. No wonder that those who are young, alienated, and have nothing really left to lose, are out on the street, including some law students.
Maybe ATL’s dismissive tone can be explained by the silliness of some of the protesters and their demands (e.g., removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill). Or maybe Mistal and Zaretksy don’t know what to make of street protests that are, by frequent definition, sloppy and initially unfocused. But, maybe, just maybe, it’s because big firm lawyers are some of the obvious and convenient targets of the protests. As in megafirm attorneys who do soul-crushing work of protecting money and moving it to the right interests. Not illegal mind you, at least for the most part, but true moneyed interests nevertheless, and the kind of big firm readers that ATL loves but that protesters on Wall Street generally have in their sights. Maybe that explains it.
What do you think? Is Occupy Wall Street “ludicrous” and “barely newsworthy.” Or is it something larger, worth following, even worth joining or supporting, whether as a human being or as a lawyer (like this guy has done)?