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.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Orientation Tips for getting off on the right foot with your law school classmates:

1. Make sure that whenever you introduce yourself, you also mention where you went to college, your GPA, LSAT score, and any honors or distinctions you may have received. If you studied in England for any length of time, mention that twice. Example: "Hi, I'm Sebastian Franklin IV. I went to Yale, had a 4.2 GPA, and scored a 183 on the LSAT. And I studied at Oxford for a year. And I studied at Oxford for a year. How about you?"

2. It is vital that you demonstrate your legal knowledge to your classmates immediately. This way they will know how much more prepared you are for law school than they are, and they will therefore like you more. Actually, this requires that before law school, you learn lots of names of cases and just enough detail about them to throw them into conversation regularly. It's not important whether you have any real idea what you're talking about -- they won't know if you're wrong -- just that you sound informed. For example, "You enjoy scuba diving? Well, you had better be careful. I'm sure you know that in the recent case of Davidson v. National Scuba Instructors, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland held that scuba instructors are not liable for injuries suffered using their equipment in a non-certified lake. You see, the precedent in that case led the justices to assumpsit sua sponte linguini a priori per se reversed."

3. Whatever anyone else says he's done, you've done also, and even better. This will furthur impress your classmates and let them know you'd be a good person to have in a study group. "You say you've climbed Mount Everest? Well, I built Mount Everest, and I own Mount Everest!"

4. Pretend you know everyone on the campus. If you see random people walking by on the street, say hello. Especially if they look distinguished. This will demonstrate how well-connected you are and convince your classmates to give them their class notes on days you don't show up to class.

5. Pretend you know everyone in the world. Whenever someone tells a story, you, of course, know someone who's done the same thing, or know someone involved in the story. "Your friend went to a nightclub in New Delhi? My friend manages a nightclub in New Delhi! And once drove a rickshaw in Calcutta!"

6. Ask lots of questions. Especially during activities that seem boring, like a library tour. Having lots of questions will demonstrate your inquisitive mind and powerful critical thinking skills. Your classmates will thank you for asking the questions they were just too shy to ask, but were wondering about nonetheless. "The library books are listed in the order of their call numbers? Or in alphabetical order? And how many books are there? Can we count them? Can you show us the storage facility in the basement?"

7. Make fun of people behind their backs. Nothing lets people know your sharp wit like making fun of your classmates when they aren't listening. Mock the fat kid. Joke about the woman with the bad haircut. Imitate the guy with a lisp. It's all hilarious. And guaranteed to make you friends. After all, conventional wisdom says lawyers are generally unpleasant people. So why not start acting like a lawyer right away?

8. Tear pages from important library books. You may have heard the rumors that this goes on at law school. Well, maybe it doesn't, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take it upon yourself to bring back a tradition from the days when people were cutthroat and generally uncivil towards each other. Put the "awful" back in "lawful" by doing things designed exclusively to hamper the progress of others and give yourself an unfair advantage. You'll soon find it's fun to be cruel!

9. Suck up to your professors. There's nothing your classmates will like more than someone who rushes up to the professor's desk after every class and compliments him on a great lecture. Or uses the entire office hour time period to ask the professor what she thinks about the latest Supreme Court decision that has nothing to do with the subject matter of the course. This will show your classmates that you think you're special, and everyone loves special people.