Tuesday, December 06, 2005

So True!

This was written by a girl who graduated from law school. I though it was funny because most of it is true. It also has some good advice for current law students. It is rather long but quite worth it.

"People always ask me if I hated law school. And Inever know what to say to this question. Honestly, Iam not really sure how I felt about law school. I did have a good time, and I met a lot of great people; I also worked my ass the hell off of my body, and often went without sleeping for literally days at a time. I ended and began some of the most important relationships of my life during law school. I also clocked over seven million hours perfecting my game of Minesweeper, and consumed enough wine to fund the college educations of every man, woman and child in all of Napa Valley. "Law school is f$*ked up," I usually say. And that is certainly true. The worst part of law school (besides the Socratic method, which...I hate you, Socrates. I truly do) is the lack of sleep. I missed out on an enormous amount of sleep while I was in law school, though a lot of that was my own fault, because unfortunately I am just one of those obnoxious people who has to get her grubby little hands all over everything. That is how I ended up competing on our moot court team while also writing my law review note in my second year. It is also how, in my third year, I ended up working 20 hours a week at a pro bono law clinic,while also finishing classes, while ALSO being on the managing board of both my law journal AND the mootcourt board, AND serving as a student/faculty liaisonfor international law, PLUS this is when I started dating Dukay and ALSO had four dogs, and THAT was afun time. Let me tell you what I learned about all of my extracurricular law school activities: they will not help you get a job. No, wait, I'm lying: okay, theyhelp some, but they are not determinative. Don't kill yourself doing everything. Do not do what I have done, gentle readers. For I was an idiot. Still, oddly enough, what I remember about law schoolis not suffering from paralyzing exhaustion, or miserably studying for civil procedure (which, wait, civil procedure is actually the worst part of all of law school, even worse than future interests and the Rule Against Perpetuities), or trying to finish my note the same f*%king night I had the rest of my mootcourt team over to finish our competition brief, which just happened to be due on the same exact day. All of these things have been blocked from my memory, probably due to an unhealthy combination of alcoholand delusion, and for this, I am absolutely not sorry. What I do remember about law school is kind of a collage of things. I remember that I started law school fresh out of college in a desperate attempt to prolong the student experience by not becoming employed. I remember that back then, I was dating the boy I planned to marry, until law school so skewed my view of all things that I kicked him out of the house one morning at dawn, before then attending all of my classes for the day. I remember sitting at a bar downtown, holding the hands of a classmate I had never before spoken to, taking tandem tequila shots and crying to each other that law school is the F*%KING STUPIDEST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE, OH MY GOD, I AM TOTALLY CALLING MY MOTHER. Because, see, law school makes you insane. There are no exceptions. Soon you will be nuts. And it comes on slowly at first; you'll be at a partywith other first years (note: in my experience,"partying with other first years" will only occur immediately after you turn in your first major memo, because prior to that, you are all too terrified to Funk). Someone will fall over during a keg stand, or fall down a flight of stairs, or SOME accident will occur, and instead of calling the party foul, as would be appropriate in such an instance, one of your classmates will instead turn to the group and say,"That is a tort." And you will AGREE. And you will LAUGH. Because it is TRUE. Now. You have just passed an important milestone! At this point, your soul is dead. Sorry. I mean, don't feel bad; it happens to everyone! I myself have stood in a party and announced that the unlocked liquor cabinet is an attractive nuisance. YOU WILL DO THIS. It is going to be okay. But seriously. Your soul is gone. Hope you weren't using it. Oh, and also, all your non-law schoolfriends? They hate you now. "Please do not talk aboutthe law anymore," they are thinking. "Do you not see my looks of desperation? Have you no shame? HAVE YOU NO SOUL?" Nope! You don't. But it's kind of a good thing, because the loss of your soul is the first step toward the Not Caring. The Not Caring is awesome. It has atendency to manifest in the second year, but fail to take full effect until some time in third year, when you will proceed to sign up for all survey classes and something taught by a guy in a cowboy hat, and you stop (a) giving a sh1t, and (b) attending, and yet somehow you pull off the highest GPA of your legal career. You loooove the Not Caring. In the first year, however, You Care. Oh, You Care Deeply. You live in terror of hearing your name called. You find yourself slouching low in your seat, praying for invisibility. You lie awake at night, wondering if you should really be sleeping when you still don't have your future interests straight."Oh, God in heaven," you will think, staring at the dark ceiling. "I have forgotten what a fee simple determinative is. Surely I do not deserve to live."The Caring of the first year will make you crazy and unhappy. Which is why, at some point, you will have to just loosen the hell up. And in our case, we accomplished this through a series of games. For example, I have very fond memories of playing A$shole Bingo. Current law students! Do you play A$shole Bingo? I bet y'all do, because there is some variation of this game everywhere, but here is our own recipe: During the first year at many law schools, you have all of the same classes with all of the same people. So you spend all day going tromping from class toclass in an annoying, sixty-person-wide clump. You get to know all the other people in your section very, very quickly. There are things about those people that you learn extremely quickly. In our section, before the end of the first day, we already knew whose hand would shoot into the air whenever a professor asked a question. By the end of the first day, we already knew that there was a girl in the back who would forever condition her every response with, "Well, as a former CFO of a COMpany..."REGARDLESS of what was being asked. We recognized these people early. Our hatred was both immediate and all-consuming. And this is where the brilliant notion of As$hole Bingo came in. Let's say you are taking five classes:torts, contracts, property, criminal, and civ pro. And say there are five horrid classmates that always, ALWAYS have to pipe up at inappropriate moments, or who feel the need to make some sort of self-congratulatory pronouncement every time they speak, or basically just irritate the shit out of you.Say you've got five of those. Well, you make yourself a little bingo card. And you put those names down the left side of the grid, and your classes across the top. Everyone else playing will have different cards; you can put people and classes in whatever order you choose. Plus, your friends might think that different people are more obnoxious than the ones you've chosen. Whatever! As long as you've got five names and five classes, though, you are golden, and you are ready to play. Now, in Non-A$shole Bingo, someone stands at the front of the room with a metal cage filled with little balls and calls out the numbers to rooms filled with senior citizens. "B-12," the ball-caller might say. "D-6." This is not how A$shole Bingo works. In A$shole Bingo, you get to mark off spots when one of those people listed on your card does something obnoxious in a class that is also listed on your card. For example, let's say "Bob" acts like an asshole intorts. Let's say "Bob" just can't wait for another student, who is struggling a little with her answer to the professor's question, to finish speaking, and so"Bob" lets out a pained sigh, raises his waving hand in front of the teacher's face, and announces, in an exasperated tone, "That is so OBviously gross negligence."This means that you go to the spot on the grid where"Bob" and "Torts" come together, and now? You get to mark that spot. Good for you! We had a group of ten people in our A$shole Bingo game, and every time someone would do something obnoxious in class, ten heads would immediately drop, as we scanned our cards to see whether we’d just made our bingo. I AM SURE WE WERE SO SUBTLE. But we did not care. We were not fucking around with Asshole Bingo, in part because there was money involved. At the beginning of the week, everyone playing Asshole Bingo put five bucks into the pot. Whoever made their bingo first, and traditional rules apply, so you have to make a vertical, horizontal, ordiagonal line on your card, won the pot. BUT WE DID NOT MAKE THIS PART EASY. Because you are required to actually announce your bingo. In class. Out loud. I made my first Bingo when our classmate informed us, once again, that as the former CFO of a COMpany, she believed the property we were discussing was subject to eminent domain. And as soon as the words were outof her mouth, ten heads shot down to look at their bingo cards, and that is when I saw that the space for“Jane” and “Property” was now filled, and I had myself a real, honest-to-God, As$hole Bingo. Which I then had to announce. I raised my hand.”Miss Doxie?” the professor asked.”I was just trying to figure this out last night, this eminent domain stuff?” I began. “And it wasn’t coming to me? But then, what you just said? Man, that did it,the way you just explained it, and I was like, bingo!I’ve got it now!” Three different people cursed under their breath and threw their cards to the floor. The professor stared at me.”So I just wanted to say thanks!” I told him.”You’re welcome,” he said. “May I continue?” Several minutes later, class ended, and we were walking out when the professor came up behind us. “Asshole bingo?” he asked quietly. When we nodded, he rolled his eyes. “Please tell me it was that damned “CFO of a COMpany" remark that won the game,” he whispered. This taught us that we were not smooth. Apparently, ALL of the professors were very aware of our little pastime, and were filled with delight every time someone managed to pull off a bingo in their class. Over the year, bingo was called in numerous ways, but my favorite came from my friend Dan, who plaintively informed our contracts teacher that he'd "bingo-ing to the library looking for books about the UCC, but theywere all checked out." We had other games, too, including Word Of The Day. This involved a mass email every morning; the email contained one word that section members were encouraged to use in the event that they were called on to speak in class. Using the word earned you street cred and the respect of your classmates; failure to use the word resulted in public shaming. Some of the words chosen for this experiment included:Pomp; Obtuse; Boil; Castanets; and Hemorrhoid. This led to many fascinating answers."An interpleader action is like an STD," one brave classmate once offered, before losing the will to continue. Our ancient civ pro teacher just shook his head in disgust. But as silly as they sound, the games served an important purpose. They reminded us that law school really isn't that bad. That you have to laugh at yourself, and that even the most terrifying contracts teacher cannot, in fact, kill you and grind your bones into a fine powder. It really is going to be okay. Really.So...no. I didn't hate law school. It wasn't exactly aparty in my pants every day, but we all survived. Everyone I knew graduated; everyone passed the bar,and is now doing what they want. It's not easy, but it's worth it, even if it costs you your soul. Sure, you'll be embarrassed at some point, but so will everyone else. You can't take it seriously, so you might as well embrace the embarrassment, announce that the contracts homework gave you a hemorrhoid, and call it a day."


Todd said...

Jesus, man, we got enough to read this week.

Kelly said...

So. Funny.

Saucy Lil' Tart said...

Funny post. Brilliant, at times. Yet, so full of crap at the conclusion. Law school blows, and it's not all happily ever after in the end. You think it will be, you think that fancy schmancy degree is the end-all, be-all, but nope, there's fat unemployment and worry and bar failures ahead! Well-written and everything. Just a little glossy.