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.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

"My Least Favorite Holiday"

There's a holiday coming up this weekend. Everyone seems to be preparing for it. But forget the turkey and cranberry sauce. I'm talking about mail merges and cover letters. December 1st. Officially, it's "the day the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) says that 1L students and employers may initiate contact with each other regarding summer employment," but that's a little cumbersome, so I'd like to just call it "Frito-Lay Resume Day." (Because if it really was a holiday, I'm sure there'd be a corporate sponsor.)

We sometimes hear people complain about how long the Christmas season is, and how early people start preparing. But Christmas is nothing compared to Frito-Lay Resume Day. They've been preparing us for this since the moment we arrived in September. With World of Law panels, letting us hear from lawyers at medium-sized firms focused on inter-jurisdictional litigation, or private public interest firms based in the mountain time zone who have business casual dress codes, or lawyers who work for non-governmental organizations closely affiliated with the Department of Agriculture. Or unemployed lawyers looking to network with their peers and beg for jobs. I actually can't speak with any authority regarding the World of Law panels. I was too busy updating my resume to actually find the time to go.

(But I went to a couple of the law firm panel discussions. Invariably, one of the lawyers would ask, "how many of you are 1Ls?" And everyone's hand would go up. That should have been an indication that these things were useless. Well, not completely useless. I ended up with a pen. And some Pepperidge Farm goldfish. So it was all worth it.)

We had the Public Interest orientation, where they gave out a 414-page book listing every job any lawyer ever got that pays less than $25,000 per year. We had opportunities to meet with Fellows of all sorts - Public Interest Fellows, Christopher Columbus Langdell Fellows, Why-Didn't-I-Just-Hang-Up-On-The-Career-Services-Office-When-They-Called-Me Fellows. Even Female Fellows. However that's possible. We had pre-introductory workshops to prepare us for the introductory workshops to prepare us for the actual workshops where they would tell us that they can't really tell us anything about finding a summer job. And this was all before Gatorade Career Advising Day.

I mean November 1st. The day they were allowed to stop having workshops to tell us they weren't really allowed to talk to us yet but under this or the other loophole, they were allowed to answer questions specifically about how many inches long your tie should be when going on an interview, but not whether you were allowed to double-knot your shoelaces. Since Gatorade Career Advising Day, it's been a whirlwind of meetings and workshops designed to prepare us for Frito-Lay Resume Day. Whirlwind is the wrong word. I really mean "time-sucking monstrosity."

Take a typical recent week. According to the online Career Events Calendar, there were 19 career-focused events one could attend. Like the "Legal Smackdown" program featuring famous WWE wrestlers like Larry the Litigator and Pete the Probate Practitioner. Resume workshops, brown-bag lunches with At-Least-They're-Letting-Me-Keep-The-Frequent-Flyer-Miles Fellows, World of Law: International Tariff panels, and, best of all, tours of the hallways on the third floor of Pound. "To your left is the women's bathroom. To your right are piles of binders listing every job everyone in the class of 1955 interviewed for. Behind this secret panel is the closet where we keep the Attorney Advisors at night. Under the floorboards is a copy of every resume we've ever seen. Enjoy your search."

I finished my resume. It looks like everyone else's, so I know it must be right. I made sure to put that recommended "interests" line at the bottom. "Interests: wearing dark suits, pretending to know what distinguishes your company from its competitors, and revising my resume." I'm not quite done with my cover letter yet. I thought I was done, but OCS told me I needed to spend some more time sucking every shred of personality out of it. "I am a Harvard Law School student. I like the law. Please hire me. You can reach me whenever you want, even at 3 a.m. I'll be in the library, printing out more labels with law firm addresses on them."

Seriously, we've been here three months and already we have to look for a summer job. Aren't we all here to avoid looking for jobs? Isn't that the whole reason we went to law school? I'm not ready to look for a job. I want to go home and enjoy Thanksgiving without having to worry that all of my classmates have exhausted the world's supply of 9x12 envelopes. Okay. Back to my cover letters. "Dear Taco Bell…"