Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

First draft of next week's newspaper column:

“I’m Sorry, Dean Clark”

The invasion of the suits finally spread to the 1Ls last week. At least to my section. But it wasn’t overeager students flagrantly violating the ban on summer job searching until December 1. No, that will have to wait for next week. It was just for yearbook photos. And for our section’s reception with Dean Clark.

First, the yearbook photos. I’m not sure if that was really a legitimate reason to wear a suit. They suggested we wear “business attire.” But doesn’t that depend on what business you’re in? What if you’re a lifeguard? A hooker? A clown? An underwear model? I think it’s a bit of a stretch to assume that “business attire” means you have to wear a suit. It’s presumptuous. What if I can’t get any of the jobs that require suits and I’m stuck wearing a paper hat and apron? Then assuming that suit and tie as “business attire” will make me feel awfully silly. But I’ll excuse the people who simply wanted to look spiffy for their yearbook photo. After all, yearbook photos are permanent. Like these columns I write. Gosh.

Harder to excuse are the people wearing suits for our section’s reception with Dean Clark. Right before our reception, we had our OCS/OPIA orientation session, which I suppose was an even worse occasion to wear a suit. The orientation presented us with a number of graphs about the career prospects for graduates. First, a graph showing the number of graduates who went to firms as compared with the number who took public interest jobs. It was like a graph comparing the Harvard endowment to the change I’ve collected in a plastic cup on my desk. The only way it could have looked worse is if they’d used a logarithmic scale. The second graph showed the percent of graduates who get jobs as compared with the national average. Perhaps it would have been a fairer competition had they compared the percent of graduates who get jobs with the percent of people with beating hearts. Are we really supposed to be surprised that everyone gets a job after graduating from here? Is this news to anybody?

Anyway, after the exciting career orientation, it was off to the Dean Clark reception. With the people in suits. Unnecessary for a few reasons. First, they said there’d be food there. And my policy is anywhere where there’s food is a dangerous place to wear my one suit (actually it’s not even really a suit – I have a jacket and a pair of pants that come oh-so-close to matching. Barely visible to the naked eye. Almost can’t tell one piece is navy blue and the other is black. Almost. Goes great with my olive green only-pair-of-dress-socks and my brown shoes.). So easy to get it dirty, and then what? Complete and utter disaster. Plus, what could the consequences possibly be of not wearing a suit? Would Dean Clark kick us out of school? Erase our entries from the log we had to sign to get our ID cards? Ensure we get a low pass grade in FYL? Where’s the incentive?

And, frankly, the reception wasn’t really worth a suit. Maybe a polo shirt and a pair of khakis, but definitely not a suit. The leap from styrofoam plates to real ceramic was impressive, though. As was the food. A step above the goldfish and assorted crackers at the all-law school party (does Harvard own stock in Pepperidge Farm?), there were miniature spinach pies, fried wontons, little triangles of toast baked with cheese, assorted fruit, and other finger food that in large enough quantities makes for a filling and nutritious dinner. Especially if you brought a Ziploc bag and loaded up on the chicken on a stick. There were also some assorted flavors of what more sophisticated members of my section told me was paté. It looked kind of like slabs of clay to me, so I’m not sure. Tasted like clay too.

The highlight of the reception with the Dean was when he told us some of the accomplishments of people in our section, like he did for the whole class during orientation: “…a Fulbright scholar, a Truman scholar, two people with an allergy to peanuts, one student who still wets the bed, three hypochondriacs, one convicted felon, four transvestites, and a former stunt double for Barney the dinosaur.” Now there’s one person whose “business attire” most certainly wasn’t a three-piece suit….