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, September 30, 2003

A very brief comment that will probably be amusing to only one of my readers. I'm checking my e-mail at a computer in the library here at school, and decided to quickly check another weblog I sometimes link to written by a fellow HLS student. And I notice there's all sorts of options on the page that aren't usually there. Seems as if he must have posted from this machine earlier today and didn't log out. I resisted any urge to tamper, of course, and did him a favor and logged him out. But what a fun coincidence.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Diary of an Interview

4:26 pm: I arrive at the Charles Hotel for my 4:40 interview. Dozens of my classmates are in the lobby, all wearing dark suits. Most of the ties I see are red. Mine is blue. I’m screwed. I find the chart with all of the firm names and the locations of the “hospitality suites.” I’m going to room 743. I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it. 734.

4:27 pm: Dozens of my classmates stream out of the elevator. I don’t know how they all fit. I get in. I press 4. 437. That’s where I’m going.

4:28 pm: No, that’s not it. I get back in the elevator. 7. 743. Got it.

4:29 pm: I arrive at the hospitality suite, where they ask my name and tell me who I’ll be meeting with. They hand me a packet filled with brochures, pamphlets, and a one-page bio of the guy I’ll be meeting with in 11 minutes. I have 11 minutes to read seventy-five pages about the firm. Go.

4:30 pm: One piece of paper they’ve handed me tells me my interviewer is in room 913. Got it. I leave the literature some other firm gave me in the lobby on a chair in the hospitality room, and head back to the elevator.

4:31 pm: “Oh, hi.” “Yes, I’m interviewing with them too.” “Room 913.” “Oh, you interviewed with the same guy four hours ago?” “Oh, he was a purple three-eyed monster?” “Oh, thanks.” “Yeah, good luck with your Wachtell interview.”

4:32 pm: Back in the elevator. I press 9. I get out and walk the wrong way, circling the entire floor of the Charles. I eventually double back and find the room. The hallway is filled with people dressed just like me. Except their ties are red, and my tie is blue.

4:34 pm: Sweat is beading on my upper lip. I’m glad I took a napkin from the hospitality room.

4:35 pm: My fly is open. Didn’t notice that before. Let’s fix that. Zip.

4:36 pm: “Oh, hi.” “Did I finish reading all the brochures? No, but you did?” “Yes, that’s right, I should probably talk lower here in the hallway.”

4:37 pm: Someone down the hall has just knocked on the door. It’s three minutes early. And this whole knocking thing seems pretty rude.

4:38 pm: I swear, a girl just bent down over the keyhole and cleared her throat. She cleared her throat into the keyhole in order to get the guy’s attention without knocking. People are weird.

4:39 pm: Someone else has knocked. I feel funny knocking.

4:40 pm: Everyone else has knocked.

4:41 pm: I knock. A voice from inside says, “one minute.”

4:42 pm: It’s been one minute. Cleared-her-throat-in-the-keyhole girl just knelt down on the ground and blew air into the crack under the door to get the interviewer’s attention.

4:43 pm: The door opens. The interviewer and my classmate are laughing heartily. He must have liked her. I have to follow a funny person? Goodness. “Hello, I’m ‘A Lawyer.’” “Hello, I’m ‘Really Nervous.’” “Come on in and have a seat.”

4:44 pm: Someone told me never to sit down until the interviewer sits down, so I stand there awkwardly for three seconds until he sits. I put my resume folio on the table. Then on the floor. Then back on the table.

4:45 pm: “So, how are you?” Good, this is an easy one. I know the answer to this one. “I’m good. How are you?” “Good.” Oh, great, we’re connecting quite well here so far.

4:46 pm: “I see on your resume that fourteen summers ago, you played in a sandbox. Tell me about that.” There’s twenty-six unique “askable items” on my resume. He has just picked the one I ranked twenty-sixth on my list of which items I most wanted to talk about. Great.

4:47 pm: “That’s great.” His tie is red. My tie is blue. I’m screwed. “I also see on your resume that you went to college. How was that?” Glad he got specific with that one. “Well, I thought college was a great experience. I wippledly hoppled.” That’s my best anecdote. The ‘wippledly hoppling’ story. Always gets a laugh. He doesn’t laugh. “And then I snickeldy trifled.” No reaction. Plan B. “And, in one class, I blah blah blah blah blah ---” Stop talking. You’re not making any sense. Stop talking, take a breath, and start over. “Blah blah blah blah ---” He’s not listening, I’m not even listening. I don’t know what I’m saying. “Blah blah blah.”

4:48 pm: “That’s interesting.” Neither of us have any idea what I just said. “So, do you have any questions I can answer for you?” Uh oh. There’s 12 minutes left, and he’s already pulled out his trump card. This can’t be good. “Actually, I noticed on your web site ---” Indicate you’ve done research. Check. “That you have a very strong fiddledy floo practice, which I’m very interested in ---” Say what you’re interested in. Check. “And I was wondering if that’s a place where a lot of people start out.”

4:49 pm: “Actually, we don’t do fiddledy floo. We do bliddley bopple bollywock.” I mixed up my firms. Jeez. That was dumb. “Oh. You don’t do fiddeledy floo? Not even just the floo? What about internationally, in countries like Gobble, Gibble, and Grog?” I figured I’d at least let him know I knew where the international offices were.

4:50 pm: “Well, not in Gibble. And we don’t have any offices in Gobble and Grog. You might be thinking of Toronto, where we are planning to expand next fall.” “Yes, I must have meant Toronto. I hear it’s a lovely place.” “I hate Canada.” “Yes, me too.”

4:51 pm: “So. What to do. Let’s see. I went to Harvard. I had Professor Zipple. What about you?” “I had his wife, Professor Zapple. She’s wonderful.” “I hated her.” “Me too.”

4:52 pm: “Did you hear someone knock?” “No.” “I think I did.” “Yes, me too.” He stands up. This isn’t good. “It was a pleasure to meet you. Best of luck with all of your future endeavors.” This surely sounds like he’s never planning to see me again. That can’t be good language. “I’d shake your hand, but I hate you.” That’s also not real favorable talk. “Go away now.” At least he’s being subtle about it.

4:53 pm: The hallways are empty, and will remain so for seven more minutes, until the good interviews end. I go back to the hospitality suite, pick up a foam squeeze toy in the shape of a pen, and a pen in the shape of a piece of foam, and go on my merry way. Don’t think I’ll be getting a callback from this one.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

"I'll Interview You" (to the tune of the Beatles' song, "I'm Looking Through You")

I'll interview you
And ask you why
You want to work here
And you will try
To give an answer
That's right on track
I'll interview you
And call you back

I'll interview you
Ask why you're here
Ask why you want this
If you're sincere
Ask if you realize
The hours required
I'll interview you
And you'll be hired

I tell you, I
I will not treat you right
I'll have a nasty habit
Of making you work overnight

I'll interview you
The same old way
I'll choose a line on
Your resume
And you'll describe it
And talk some more
I'll interview you
And out the door

I tell you, I
I will not treat you right
I'll have a nasty habit
Of making you work overnight

I'll interview you
And then I'll say
Been nice to meet you
Enjoy your day
I will not call you
I will not write
I'll interview you
And say good night
Just got an e-mail about an annual law school "charity bash," a social event at a bar where the proceeds go to charity. From the e-mail:

Proceeds go to:
"Kick Start for Kidneys"
Finding a Cure For Childhood Kidney Disease

"Kick start for kidneys???" That sounds awfully painful. I don't think kicking kids in the kidneys is going to help them much. Kidneys don't seem like the kind of organ that needs to be "kick-started." What a poor name choice for a charity, in my humble opinion.
World's Worst Interview: The Before-It-All-Starts Vision in my Imagination

INTERVIEWER: Welcome. Sit down.

(I sit down. I miss the chair. Oops. I get up. I sit down. Deep breath.)

INTERVIEWER: Hope you're alright there. How are the interviews going so far?

ME: Just starting. This is my first.

INTERVIEWER: And you're in for a long journey?

ME: I guess.

INTERVIEWER: So I see on your resume that you enjoy walking on hot coals.

ME: That isn't on my resume.

INTERVIEWER: So you don't enjoy walking on hot coals?

ME: No.

INTERVIEWER: Then why does it say so on your resume?

ME: I guess you're not looking at the right resume.

INTERVIEWER: Are you telling me I'm doing something wrong?

ME: I guess. I've got a fresh copy of my resume, if you'd like.

INTERVIEWER: I don't need your fresh copy of your resume. I'll stick with the one I've got. So it says here you're President of the Female Asian Medical Student Association.

ME: Uh, no. That's definitely the wrong resume.

INTERVIEWER: Do you want a job with my firm?

ME: Uh, before I met you I did, yes.

INTERVIEWER: Then you need to answer the questions I ask you. What's it like being an ex-con, 63-year-old first-generation Korean immigrant at Medical School?

ME: It's wonderful.

INTERVIEWER: And why do you want to work for a law firm?

ME: I find law school intellectually stimulating, and think I'd enjoy firm work.

INTERVIEWER: This says you're in medical school, not law school.

ME: Like I said, that's not my resume.

INTERVIEWER: And this isn't my tie.

ME: Huh?

INTERVIEWER: I was making a joke. Do you not have a sense of humor?

ME: If that's the thing that's hurting me in an interview...

INTERVIEWER: Do you want me to hurt you in an interview? Because I can. Even if you're a world-ranked boxer.

ME: I'm not.

INTERVIEWER: So you lied on your resume?

ME: That's not my resume.

INTERVIEWER: So everything on here is a lie?

ME: Not a lie. Just not stuff I've done.

INTERVIEWER: So it's all made up.

ME: As related to me, yes, I suppose so.

INTERVIEWER: Great. So you're a liar without a sense of humor. And you think we should hire you anyway?

ME: Uh... you're twisting my words.

INTERVIEWER: I think I've had about enough of you. (he stands) Best of luck on the rest of your interviews, and you'll hear from us within the next couple of days.

ME: Thanks for your time.


Saturday, September 27, 2003

Happy Rosh Hashana to all those for whom it applies. Happy Weekend to everybody else.

On-campus interviews start on Monday. So I've carved out some time this weekend to research the firms a bit more than I already have and to think about some answers to questions I might get. Things like "biggest weakness," "time you overcame a challenge," "where you see yourself in five years," etc. Questions I hope I don't get, because they probably mean the interviewer is just going through the motions and asking the standard "how to conduct an interview" questions and not really listening to the answers, but that I think I should probably think through a bit, because I'm not the best at this stuff.

My ideal interview, honestly, would be where they ask me for my references and go call them to ask about me. I think they'd probably do a better job of talking about me than I do. I get flustered a bit in these things -- the pressure to start responding right away and not take three seconds to think through what I really want to say. I just need to relax, to actually act like it's a real conversation, to not be afraid to be funny or interesting or honest.

I've been through an on-campus interviewing process before, when I was a senior in college and I interviewed for a bunch of jobs, mostly because I didn't know if law school was the right thing, and at least wanted to give myself a chance to get stolen away from the more-education plan. And my first interview was with the (software) company I eventually got an offer with and worked at for two years (I did marketing stuff, not programming or anything like that -- but I'm sure I've talked about that at some point long ago on here). 8:30 in the morning on day one of interviews. And the eight interviews after that one were all with consulting firms, and I didn't really want to be a consultant, and it showed.

The least-effective interview moment -- I was interviewing with a consulting firm, and the interviewer asked if I "would ever give up on a problem." And I answered that I'd of course first do whatever I could do, enlist help, ask questions, try different tactics, but if it got to the point where it would be more useful for me to move onto something else, where I could actually add some value, and let someone else, who might bring a different set of tools to the problem, take over, then, yeah, I'd think it would make sense for me to give up. And she said "a consultant never gives up" and that was pretty much that. I still don't really know if I agree with her.

This process can't be easy for the interviewers. Twenty minutes each with perhaps two dozen candidates, back-to-back-to-back-to-back, resumes that all look generally similar, grades that probably don't have a ton of variation. There's no one here who, in the right context, can't certainly shine in a twenty-minute interview. A connection, ask a good question, hit on something someone's comfortable talking about, and a conversation will get going, and everyone here is bright and articulate enough to acquit themselves well. So I imagine that sorting us out is hard for the interviewers, and a lot of it is the intangibles -- did you connect with the interviewer, did you "click." Were you"on" at that particular moment.

I had another fairly ineffective interview moment last year, when doing some phone interviews for jobs. I interviewed with a non-profit that dealt with immigration issues -- mostly an informational interview, really; I had a connection, and just wanted to learn more about what they did... I just wasn't sure if it was an area I was interested in or not. So the guy talking to me saw on my resume that I've written songs, and he asked me how my song writing relates to my possible interest in immigration issues. In retrospect, the right answer of course is, "it doesn't really. It's just something else I do." But, especially on the phone, without physical cues, I found it hard to take that breath and think through an answer before saying something, and I said something like, "well, I suppose music can affect people, and make them happy, and if you're helping immigrants get settled in a new country, you're affecting them and making them happy too." What a dumb answer. It's nonsense, really. That's the kind of answer I have to avoid, I guess.

Friday, September 26, 2003

"Last-Minute Interview Tips"

I've been picking on the Office of Career Services a lot lately, but they're the ones scheduling all of these "tips sessions," so it's kind of their own fault. On Thursday afternoon, I went to the Interview Tips panel, featuring hiring partners from three big law firms talking about what they look for in an interview. Not unlike most events like these, the advice was well-meaning, but painfully predictable. "We strongly encourage you to research our firm before the interview." Thanks. The following is a dramatization of the actual event. The dialogue is not real.

Hiring Partner 1: "The key to a successful on campus interview is making a good impression on the person interviewing you. You want to be able to talk intelligently about things on your resume, and show the interviewer that you would be a good asset to the firm. It is important for you not to say stupid things."

Hiring Partner 2: "I agree with everything my colleague said. In addition, you want to be appropriately groomed, dressed appropriately, and give appropriate answers to questions that would make us want to bring you down to our office for a call-back interview. Being inappropriate in any way is not appropriate."

Hiring Partner 3: "I emphatically agree with everything my colleagues have said. In addition, I emphatically suggest that you probably want to bring a copy of your resume with you to the interview, and I emphatically suggest that you probably want to try your best to answer whatever questions the interviewer asks you."

The hiring partners all agreed that interviewers may ask about anything on the resume, or anything not on the resume. One example given was if a candidate "had a great experience with the Oakland Raiders this past summer" that might make for an interesting conversation topic in an interview. Even more so if the interviewee is female. One tip provided was that before the interview, candidates might want to check out the firm's web page and look at any "news flashes." For instance, one firm bragged about getting a death row inmate executed after 18 years on death row. I mean acquitted. Oops.

Law school grades are apparently meaningless but important. But all three hiring partners advised that we should bring up any "outlier grades" during the interview and explain them. Good thing all of my grades sucked. Wouldn't want to have to be explaining any outliers. Apparently, "nothing good can come out of a thank you note." I think they mean anthrax. (As I write that, I'm realizing that anthrax, like Monica Lewinsky, may have somehow lost its relevance sometime between that dude at the tabloid in Florida dying and right now. It will take its place in the pile of discarded comedic material from history, right next to jokes about Pee-Wee Herman, and fake NASA abbreviations corresponding to the Challenger disaster.)

One hiring partner said that he expects some warmth when he tells people they have earned a call-back. "It should be like a party in your phone," he did not say. "Finding out you have a call-back should give you an orgasm," he did not say either. The hiring partners all talked about how we shouldn't lie about what kind of law we want to practice because some fields are "hot," and some fields are "cold." Instead, we should lie about what kind of law we want to practice because otherwise how will we ever answer the question they'll ask us about it. I found it funny that they said "environmental law is cold." Maybe in Canada. But in California, it's quite temperate. And in Ecuador, it's downright steamy.

One hiring partner said that they solicit opinions from everyone a recruit meets at the firm - partners, associates, paralegals, secretaries, janitors, and the man who operates the secret spy camera in all the hallways. "We like to hear from everyone who lives their lives at [our firm]," he said. I don't like to hear that people "live their lives" at this firm. I'd much prefer they "spend their days" there, or "work reasonable hours" there.

A chunk of time was spent talking about questions that students should ask during interviews. Asking "checklist" questions is bad - "what kind of training do you provide?" "what's the summer program like?" "when will this interview be over?" - but questions about things we're really interested in learning about are good. But not things we can learn by reading the web site. Or things that demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge about the firm -- "I don't speak German, and I'm worried that since you're based in Berlin I will have trouble." "Oh, you're based in Cleveland. Oops." Or things that make you sound like a lazy good-for-nothing -- "What's the work-life balance like? I don't enjoy working hard. I'm a lazy good-for-nothing."

So what's the overall lesson here? Don't be dumb. Say sensible things, be polite, know about the firm before you interview. And probably no gum-chewing. Yeah, gum-chewing would be a no-no. Cursing is probably out too. And loud burping. Inappropriate laughter. Unmatching socks. A large top hat. A fake Scottish accent. All bad. I guess.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Got some reading to do? And just an hour to do it? Then you need the Insta-Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser. The Insta-Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser removes the following words from your casebook:

Court, precedent, statute, legislature, justice, judge, "your honor," law, laws, legal, illegal, legality, illegality, the letter "l," all Latin words, three-pronged test, dissent, appeal, appellate, obligation under the law, although, despite, because, all sentences longer than 10 words, all words longer than 10 letters, all paragraphs longer than 10 lines, all cases longer than 10 pages, all decisions by justices older than 10 years, all footnotes, all question marks and the questions that precede them, all parenthetical remarks, all case names, and, of course, the letter "v."

This reduces the typical 800-page casebook to a 4-page booklet, suitable for reading while on the toilet, eating a balanced breakfast, or on the way to your final exam. And, the makers of the Insta-Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser have a risk-free money-back guarantee. Score lower than an "F" on your exam, and your next Law-O-Matic Condensed Casebook is absolutely free (shipping and handling charges may apply).

Disclaimer: The Insta-Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser is not a substitute for reading your casebook. It is not approved by any ABA-licensed law schools, or any law school professors. It has not been approved for use in Canada. All warranties, express and implied, are waived when you purchase the product. Do not eat the Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser. And if you light it on fire, it will burn. Do not remove the tag on the end of the Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser under penalty of law. The small silica packet that accompanies the product is not food. Do not allow babies to play with plastic bags. Small parts of the Law-O-Matic Casebook Condenser may be swallowed, and that's no good at all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Today was the law school's organizations fair, where each of the 50 or so student organizations try to collect as many names as possible to add to an e-mail distribution list. In order to get people to sign up, they give out candy. The amount of organizations is staggering. The amount of candy is staggering. I sat at the table for the a cappella group. The Alliance for Independent Feminists was on our left; the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (see: "Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show" from Monday) was on our right. They each got more than double the number of signups we did.

"Do you sing, are you a feminist, or are you a vegan?"

"I'm all three."

"Oh boy."

I think the Alliance for Independent Feminists got as many men to sign up as they did women. They're going to be part of a grassroots movement to transform the group into the Alliance for Dependent Feminists. The Vegans got lots of sign ups because they were giving out homemade chocolate chip cookies. There's no meat in chocolate chip cookies.

Ten Organizations That Don't Exist Here:

1. Society to Reduce Grade Inflation
2. Law and Infectious Diseases Club
3. Alliance of Lazy People
4. International Appreciation and Acceptance Club
5. Organization to Promote Compromise
6. Math Team
7. The People Who Don't Want Corporate Jobs Club
8. Low LSAT Score Society
9. Menial Labor Club
10. Society for Future Housewives

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

I've updated the previous post with the answer. The real event announcement is for the "Sexual Politics of Meat" slide show. Really. If anyone who reads this goes, report back to me. I'd go, but I have somewhere else I need to be. It would be ironic if I could say something like "I'd go, but I have a dinner appointment at the Outback Steakhouse." But that would be a lie. Oh well.

The 1Ls are the Journals Fair right now. We have a gazillion journals here (I think around 10, but I'm not totally sure), all open to 1Ls (all excluding the Harvard Law Review, that is -- but I'm not talking about them here because they don't recruit at the journals fair and they're a totally separate entity), and all pretty much the same. The big differences are size -- the smaller ones promote people up the ranks faster out of necessity, so you generally get to do more more quickly, and I've also found you get to know more people at the smaller ones because meetings are more intimate and you're always seeing the same people -- and obviously subject matter. And once you're article editing, interest in the subject matter does matter a little, but really not even all that much, and at the lower ranks, checking footnotes, subject doesn't really seem to matter at all.

I worked on a big journal and a small journal last year, and, if my last paragraph didn't give it away, I liked the smaller one better. Less bureaucracy, got to meet more people, had a more rewarding experience. The bigger one gave me a lot more free food though. And really the differences were mostly at the margin and neither was a tremendously different experience from the other. And from what I've heard from friends, they're all really pretty much the same.

That said, if you're choosing a journal -- anywhere, not just here -- I'd say to choose it based on the people you meet. If you like them and feel like you want to hang out with them and work with them and get to know them, that's probably going to be a fine choice. If you don't seem to click, even if you like the subject better, it'll just be less fun. And so little of the work you'll do is subject-specific that it probably won't make up for the people difference.

And, just to undercut the actual advice in this post, I'll finish with something trying to be funny. I mentioned "rising up the ranks" in the journal. That may not have been clear. So here are the twenty ranks of journal work positions:

1. Guy who checks to make sure the commas are all the same length in all of the footnotes.
2. Girl who laminates the bluebook covers so they don't get torn.
3. Guy who keeps track of when the library books are due and sends out a reminder e-mail when it's getting close.
4. Girl who makes sure all of the red pens have ink.
5. Guy who counts the words in the article by hand and divides by 250 to determine the rough estimate page count.
6. Girl who collects the call numbers for all of the sources from the library catalog.
7. Guy who photocopies the sheet with the call numbers.
8. Vice President of Bluebook Rule 5.
9. Vice President of Bluebook Rule 7.
10. Girl who runs the elections for the Bluebook Vice President positions.
11. Guy who buys mini Kit Kat bars for the footnote-checking sessions in the library.
12. Girl who reserves the tables in the library for the footnote-checking sessions.
13. Guy who checks the footnotes for proper form.
14. Girl who checks the work of the guy who checks the footnotes for proper form.
15. Guy who checks the work of the girl who checks the work of the guy who checks the footnotes for proper form.
16. Girl who calls the author to tell him someone from the journal will be calling him soon to talk about the article.
17. Guy who calls the girl who calls the author to find out if she spoke to him or just left a message.
18. Girl who makes a list of everyone else's jobs.
19. Guy who rewrites the girl's list because he has nothing else to do.
20. Editor-In-Chief

Monday, September 22, 2003

Here's a game for you. One of these announcements is real. Two are fake. I swear one of these is real. I am not playing a trick on you.


HLS Squash Club

Do you eat squash or want to learn? The cafeteria has seven kinds of squash ready to eat, perfect during the long, cold winter. The HLS Squash Club provides an informal group of people who love squash, and we gather monthly to eat it. There are no dues, meetings, or squash-eating experience requirements. Eaters of all ability levels are welcomed.


Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show
Sponsored by Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)

What do sexism, racism, homophobia, and speciesism have to do with each other? Everything! Don't miss Carol J. Adams's amazing slide show that, among other things, documents how our culture sexualizes animals and animalizes women in order to facilitate our consumption of them both.


Twister Conference Kick-Off Meeting
Sponsored by Harvard Twister Society

The Twister Conference is a two-day event held every February that is the largest Twister event in North America and
attracts more than 1,000 attendees every year. Perks of participation include exposure to the latest versions of Twister (including the new glow-in-the-dark board with its own built-in smoke machine, contact with the heads of the Twister Corporation, and a chance to meet people from the business school with a similar interest in Twister. Dinner
will be served.

UPDATE: The real one is #2. Seriously.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Anything I read is in danger of being taken out of context when it's getting close to midnight and I haven't written anything all day. Waddling Thunder writes:

"Law school, as we all knew when we came here, is a credentializing system. I'm here to learn, obviously. I actually enjoy almost all the studying. But the whole point is to become a lawyer with a job at the end. In return for HLS's near guarantee of this result, I'm paying a huge sum and staying here for three years."

I'm focusing on the first sentence mostly. Yes, we're here for a degree. Yes, it's lovely that lots of law firms come here to hire people. But the attitude that this is a "credentializing system" in some greater way than undergrad is a "credentializing system" for a job that requires a college degree, or in some greater way than an entry-level job is a "credentializing system" for something better, doesn't necessarily seem justified to me. We do learn things here -- how to think about our legal system and government and justice and the rule of law and all sorts of interesting and valuable stuff. We meet bright and talented people who sometimes enlighten us or enrich our lives. We read some cool stuff. We gain tools for thinking about societal problems and how they could be addressed. You can't get a job as a lawyer without a law degree, no. But to say that being able to get a job as a lawyer is the only thing these three years provide (and that's not what Waddling Thunder is saying -- I'm just attacking that idea, which, with the rest of the quote, is fine -- but I have a larger point I want to make) is selling this place short.

But I do think that a lot of people have this idea -- that we're wasting our time and can't they just give us the degree already.

And it's an idea that spoils the experience, I think. The Dean, last week at her "State of the Law School" speech, said:

"The single worst thing about this school is the detachment of many of its students. I am not saying in any way that you are to blame for this school's problems. We in the faculty and administration have done things to create this attitude, and those things should stop. But the solution lies partly in your hands. This won't be the institution it can be until we all take responsibility."

(by the way -- thanks to new 1L reporter Adina Levine at The Record for choosing this as one of the quotes to pull for her article on the Dean's speech -- quite a nice job on her first Record assignment, actually -- so I didn't have to watch the whole webcast to find it)

Can't think of much that could make someone feel more detached than if they treated this like a stopover on the way to a credential, here to get "stamped and certified" and off they go a "real experience" at a law firm. Which really is just a "credentializing system" for a job in government, or as an in-house counsel, or any number of other things. All of which are just "credentializing systems" for respectable cocktail party conversation and a nice retirement.

It's three years of our lives. I'd rather not minimize it into a waste of time waiting for the degree. There's value to the education; there's value in thinking about the stuff our classes make us think about; there's value in being around our fellow students; there's value in the experience itself, for the sake of the experience. If there wasn't, it'd be pointless to be here.

Just my instant reaction to the comment. Maybe I'm wrong.
"So I have these interviews coming up, and I really want to look like I know something about these law firms. What do you suggest I do?"

Thanks for asking. Here's five valuable law firm research techniques, as outlined in the bestselling self-help career guide for the legal industry, "What Color Is Your Paralegal? Uh, I mean Parachute." You might also think of this as chapter 4 of my upcoming imaginary book, "How to Get a Job at a Law Firm if You Are a Character on a Sitcom."

Tip #1. Go to the office of the firm you want to work for, hit the security guard over the head with a large salami, shove him into a supply closet, steal his badge, and switch clothes with him. Then you'll be able to enter the building and do lots of in-person research. I don't know exactly what you'd be looking for, since the office probably looks like any other office, and what exactly will you find out about the firm by looking at the art on the walls. But still, it's worth the effort.

Tip #2. Call the law firm pretending to be a reporter from the New York Times doing a story on what law students need to say in their interviews in order to get a job at your firm. Of course, this will yield fantastic results, because every firm wants to tell a reporter its secrets. Using the name "Jayson Blair" may help you get them to talk. Using Jayson Blair to write your story may lead to some misinformation, however.

Tip #3. Hang out right outside the firm's office, and casually "bump" into the hiring partner while he's carrying a cup of coffee. Apologize profusely and insist he let you buy him another cup of coffee. This guaranteed-to-work scheme will get you a first interview with the hiring partner and allow you an opportunity to impress! Except for the fact you spilled his coffee all over his $3000 suit. Oops.

Tip #4. Send your beautiful foreign cousin to interview for a job as receptionist. Then, once she gets hired, have her tape all of the phone calls and let you listen. You'll know everything the company's doing. And you'll be committing a felony. A perfect start to any legal career.

Tip #5. Feign disinterest. There's nothing an employer likes more than the chase. Pretend you've never heard of them. Play hard-to-get. They'll be eating out of the palm of your hand. Never mind that they have hundreds of other students to choose from, all of whom know the details of their dental insurance plan. You'll be more intriguing, more of a challenge -- and you'll get the job every time. Or not.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

I've never read David Greising's business column in the Chicago Tribune, but I just came across a surprisingly-compelling article about how it's been phased out of the paper. It's an article about columnists in general, and whether a small but loyal readership -- and an undeniable quality -- should be enough to sustain something even when the general readership ignores it. I admit there's a slight bias on my part toward thinking that a small but loyal readership is a nice readership to have, and the mere existence of this weblog may be the only reason I think the article is interesting. Nevertheless, I found it interesting. Especially:

"Greising may not have had a mass readership, but I find it hard to believe he didn’t have a core of readers who looked for him every day. I know several people who read him who had hardly ever glanced at the business section before Greising was there; and, indeed, many of those folks read Greising but ignored the business section’s uninspiring offerings. While my market research methods may not be as sophisticated as the Tribune’s, I wonder if they are more journalistically sound. There ought to be a place in newspapering for gut judgments, for recognizing quality and sticking with it, for finding a way to convince readers that you have a star on your hands. Maybe that kind of effort is reserved for the likes of “Ask Amy.”

And what if Greising had a small but loyal core readership? Isn’t that worth something? After all, not everything in a newspaper has to appeal to everyone. Put a little something for everyone in there and pretty soon you’ve stitched together a readership."

Friday, September 19, 2003

From The Smoking Gun [link fixed from before], a law student at Tulane has written up a "request for interview" contract he's sending to firms. It's quite amusing. Check out especially points 8 and 9:

"8. I am utterly unconcerned with having any sort of personal life outside the office.... If my mother's funeral was the day of a key deposition, I would do the eulogy via teleconference after the deposition. If my wedding was on the date of a key trial, the wedding would be postponed...."

"9. If a piece of evidence was accidentally dropped into the garbage, I would have no problem going to the local dump and spending days covered knee-deep in the worst foul-smelling sludge imaginable to search for the evidence."

If this guy gets a job out of this, and he probably will, there's something wrong with the world.
Here's an short exercise in stupidity. The Record printed a story this week about Danny Glover speaking at the law school. You can find the article here. The first sentence of the story reads as follows, except the words in bold are my own additions, not in the actual article:

"Wherever there's been some law, some change in attitude, lawyers have been at the forefront of that, defining individual liberties, defining people's rights... and defining people's right to live in peace," declared movie actor and star of "Angels in the Outfield" Danny Glover to a captivated audience on September 10 at this academic year's first Saturday School Event.

Later in the article:

"I'm glad to pay taxes," Glover, who has a heck of a lot of money, and probably doesn't notice the difference, declared as he explained his belief that taxes provide for "those who are incapable of providing for themselves."
As promised, my review of Professor Warren's "The Two Income Trap" is here. The next book I review, I'll try to pick one I'm going to hate, because that will be more entertaining to write. This one was fun to read and fun to write, but I didn't get to use the word "horrific," which is a great word.

Also, you can read a shorter version of my typical first day of class speech (condensed from the longer version posted here last week) over here with the wrong photo on the page. The photo in the paper is of bored and sleepy students. The photo on the web page is of the law school dean speaking, and so the caption, "Mr. Smith, is my interminable speech about the attendance policy keeping you awake?" doesn't quite fit. But you can check it out anyway if you like.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Another google search that led to my site today: "3L and resume and rapist." I really don't want to know what kind of advice this guy is looking for....
I just got back from Career Services' "Looks Can Kill" tips session on dressing for interviews. At the end, there were free botox injections and breast implants. No, just coupons. But seriously, if the color of my belt buckle, or the type of collar on my dress shirt is really making the difference, I have bigger problems to worry about. I expected to either be the only person at this presentation, or to be sitting among people not normally let out during daylight hours -- but it was actually pretty crowded, with some people having totally legitimate questions about what kinds of shirts or shoes or whatever, and some people just there because they thought it would be entertainingly ridiculous. They got their wish.

I took notes, so I wouldn't forget anything. I actually left about ten minutes before the end, though -- I was having a bit of difficulty keeping a straight face (as were many people), and when the "internationally certified image consultant" (who exactly certifies these people is unclear) said that men should remember "to stand straight, but not too erect," I really did think I was going to lose it.

The presenter started with an analogy -- when we see bruised tomatoes in the supermarket, we don't buy them because we think they won't taste good. And firms won't hire us, therefore, if we don't look good, because they'll think we won't work good. Or something like that. Lesson from that analogy: cover your bruises.

She advised us to incorporate our "inner selves" into our images. That's why I'm planning on using my intestines as a necklace. She told us about a friend of hers who was never getting any promotions because she wore clothes that were too tight and skirts too short. This was "inappropriate for where she worked." She worked at a brothel. She advised doing "research" -- going to a firm's offices beforehand and spying on what people are wearing. This seems totally absurd. She said that women and men respond differently to dress: women do not want other women to "outdress" them, and men do not want women to wear any clothes at all. She advised buying the most expensive suit you can afford, because "if you crumple a $3000 suit, it does not stay crumpled." In addition, if you light a $3000 suit on fire, it does not burn; if you spread peanut butter on a $3000 suit it does not stick; and if you try and pay your rent with a $3000 suit, you will soon be homeless. But your suit won't be crumpled.

"Shop with a list," she advised. "Socks, pantyhose, applesauce, cereal, cufflinks, onions, dress shoes." And "try before you buy." Just because you're a size 10 shoe does not mean you're a size 10 shirt, or a size 10 suit. Just because you take a 54 extra fat from one brand, doesn't mean you're not a petite extra small in another. Buy things too big, not too small -- "clothes can be taken it, but not taken out." Insightful. Shop with another person... and that other person's credit card. Do not believe salespeople. Look in the mirror.

Wear a neutral color (clear?). A lightweight fabric -- "wool is good for all four seasons, except when it's hot." Oh, you mean summer. And you should make sure the clothing fits "correctly." Thanks. Make sure buttons are sewn on properly. Do not pull the strings or your suit may fall apart. A $3000 suit will, however, put itself back together again. If your pants fall apart, do not staple them closed. Shoes shouldn't be more than 3 inches tall. Ties shouldn't be more than 3 inches long. Socks shouldn't be more than 3 inches thick. You should have two shoes, no more, and no less. Shoes need to breathe. High heels are risky if there are cobblestones in the office lobby.

Keep jewelry simple. For men, a set of pearls. For women, a neatly trimmed beard. How would she describe interview clothes? "Like being out on a date... going to church." But Catholic priests should avoid wearing the beanies and sailor suits that this might imply. If the pockets are sewn up so it seems like you can't open them, don't open them. "Suits without pockets are more formal; but if you already have a suit that has pockets, don't worry, you don't need to remove them." That was the first time I couldn't stop laughing. "Your jacket should definitely have armholes." That was the second. "Single-breasted versus double-breasted is especially an issue for some women." That, childishly enough, was the third. "Don't wear clothes that make you look like an alien." "Women have more choices than men as far as zippers." They can be open, or closed, depending on the message you want to send.

Go shopping with the shoes you will eventually be wearing. They make great companions. If you have a three-button suit, button the top two. Unless the top button is located under the lapel, in which case only button the middle one. Unless there are vents in the back. In which case button the bottom one. Unless the buttons don't align properly. In which case buy a new suit.

In terms of color: you want to match your own degree of contrast. If you have dark hair and light skin, wear a light shirt and a dark tie. If you have dark hair and dark skin, wear a light shirt and a light tie. If you have light hair and light skin, wear a dark shirt and a dark tie. If you are Michael Jackson, wear a bag over your head. If you are Monica Lewinsky, don't wear a blue dress.

Men shouldn't wear makeup. Collars should only be worn with shirts and not alone. The soles of your shoes should not have holes. The souls of your shoes should be pure. No neon colors. Red, white, and blue combinations may send the wrong message. Especially if you're interviewing with an overseas firm.

"And, finally, I want to talk about non-verbal communication." I didn't think there was much to say about that. Maybe in sign language? Grooming: "hair should be neat. Women, you can wear your hair down -- as long as it's clean." She really did say that.

I'm all set now that I've been through this vital training. I know that I need two shoes, not just one, and I should polish them to a shine and wear them on my hands. And wrap a tie around my neck, zip up my fly, and buy some polyester socks. I can't wait for the interviews.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Thanks to How Appealing for the link this afternoon. Appreciated. Welcome to any new readers finding me from over there.

This afternoon, the law school dean gave a "State of The Law School" address, followed by a party at a hotel reception hall. Given that the party was alreday scheduled, it was safe to assume the state of the law school would be good. Or else the party would be an awfully glum affair. "The state of the law school is bad. We'll be getting rid of most of you tomorrow. Come to the party." She said good things are in store for the distant future when we'll no longer be there -- more technology infrastructure, new buildings, nicer facilities... for the law students to come, after we leave. For us, free coffee and some more weights in the gym. I don't mean to minimize those two developments. It's interesting to think about this stuff -- this is why institutions need deans, and people in charge with the long-term in mind. The people there now will never see the benefits of what's to come; and so we need to just accept that, and in some ways act as advocates for the students of the future... if we think these are good changes, it's almost our obligation to support them even though we'll never reap the benefits.

It's why it's so hard to make grand changes in extracurricular organizations in college or here -- because the students turn over every year, and no one's there for more than a little while, there's no one looking out for the long term, and no one there to guide the ship and put it on a course. Everything's year-to-year -- and some things just can't be done in a year. The law school newspaper changes layouts every year; the a cappella group changes repertoire. These are the easy things. Big things -- developing a loyal audience, creating some infrastructure and plans for growth -- take time an energy that transitory bodies can't focus on. There's no steward in charge, like a dean.

I don't know what my point is. Her speech was really good. I'm excited to be part of the community here. The party was okay. I'll link to the story in tomorrow's Record when it comes out.
Insightful dilemma being debated over at the Princeton Review Discussion Board:

"Would you eat a bucket of vomit to be on law review?"

I actually think that's part of the initiations.
Apologies for not more words yesterday. I'll make up for it this morning, as I await my constitutional law class at 10:40. The a cappella singing group I'm in here at law school had a small (very small) concert yesterday evening, with special guest group The Alternotives from Oxford. They were quite good. We split the Oxford singers among a few of us to host them for the night, which was a lot of fun. One thing they wanted to know about America:

*Is American high school really like "Saved By The Bell?"

My high school wasn't; I don't know about other people's.

Yesterday, in the aforementioned constitutional law class, the professor told us that after talking to some of his colleagues, he thinks it might be a good idea to put a ten-minute break somewhere in the middle of our 100-minute class. Many people clapped. Then he said that to do so, he'd like to start class ten minutes earlier, at 10:30 instead of 10:40. People began to murmur. He told anyone who had a class conflict to raise his or her hand. No one did. But then someone asked if we could vote on it. Starting class ten minutes earlier: very few votes; no break: a lot of votes. How could something that provoked spontaneous applause just seconds earlier be voted down by an overwhelming percentage? It's not like 10:30 is particularly early in the morning, or substantially earlier than 10:40... but people like their sleep. It's kind of silly.

Speaking of classroom votes, in another class, the professor had us vote on how we'd better like our extra-credit (she provides the possibility of "extra-credit" if you miss no more than 3 classes and show up each time having done the problem set to be discussed in that class -- it's a legal problem-based class, which is actually a really cool approach and makes the class sessions really interested, because we're discussing actual situations and not just hearing a professor lecture on what we just read -- because the problem sets make this class more work than most classes, with just reading) -- the choices were:

Choice A: Of the people eligible for extra credit,

Anyone who falls in the top 1/2 of the distribution of the B-minus grades gets bumped to a B, top 1/2 of the B gets bumped up to a B-plus, top 1/2 of the B-plus gets bumped up to an A-minus, and top 1/2 of the A-minus gets bumped up to an A.

Choice B: Of the people eligible for extra credit,

All of the B-minus grades get bumped up to a B, all of the B grades get bumped up to a B-plus, top 1/2 of the distribution of B-plus grades get bumped up to an A-minus, and top 1/4 of the A-minus grades get bumped up to an A.

So basically you trade, in Choice B, a greater chance to go from A-minus to A for a guarantee that if you're eligible for the extra credit, you won't get a B-minus, and if you would've gotten a B you're sure to get a B-plus.

I liked that trade-off (the "risk averse" choice) and went with choice B. Choice B won, in a very narrow 54-48 vote. To me, the jump from A-minus to A provides quite a bit less utility than the B-minus to B or B to B-plus jumps, so I didn't think it was much of a dilemma. But apparently 48 people are more confident than I am.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I don't look at my counter stats often enough. Three of the google searches that found their way to this site just in the last few days:

"stress balls"
"mama leone's restaurant" [I believe that's from a song parody a while back...]
"video of my wife"

Whoever you are, I don't have video of your wife.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Career Services event for this Thursday. I'm posting the description without comment.

LOOKS CAN KILL -- Tips on Dress and Appearance for Interviewing.
It takes less than a minute for an interviewer to form an impression of
you. "Dressing the part" is critical. Learn where to shop, how to figure
out which styles look good on you, what to do with your hair, what color
tie to wear, and other tips to help you exude confidence and
professionalism. We will be joined by a Boston area professional image
consultant who has worked with law students and lawyers.

OK -- I can't resist one small comment. "What color tie to wear?" If my job is hinging on what color my tie is....
Seven things no one ever says on the way out of class:

1. "I'm so upset I didn't get called on!"
2. "Good thing I didn't do the reading!"
3. "Wow, those three hours just flew by!"
4. "I wish I had a tape of that lecture, because I'd love to listen to it again, in its entirety!"
5. "If only the professor was less animated when he talked!"
6. "Man, it sucks that it's Friday and no more class until Monday!"
7. "The only thing that would make this class worse is if they gave out free food!"
I may have told this story before, but I was reminded of it when looking a little while ago at a 30-year-old Harvard Law yearbook. There's a professor emeritus here with the last name Oldman. This guy is really, really old. His last name is Old Man. I think that's funny.
I heard a great story from a friend yesterday. She got an e-mail in her hotmail account, which she never gives out but is just [her name]@hotmail, from a lawyer at a firm she's bidding for, inviting her out to lunch. She was baffled by this. So she e-mailed back and said she thought the e-mail may have been sent to her by mistake, but that she is interested in the firm and bid to interview. The lawyer responds and says it was a mistake -- there's another 2L with the same name as she's got, at another law school, and the e-mail was meant for her... but that my friend ought to send her resume along anyway. Cool story, right?
Just a stab in the dark here: if you're a Harvard 1L and have any interest in writing a biweekly or monthly column in The Record about your experiences, send me an e-mail for more info. This is my attempt to recruit. They're looking; I said I'd help. If you're a Harvard 1L without any interesting in writing a column for The Record but read this anyway, I'd also be delighted if you e-mailed just to say hi. But you don't have to. I'll never know. I am pretty nice about sharing my old outlines though. (This is what happens when I go six hours without any new e-mails... I think I'm just bored.)
I was on the subway (oops, the metro... no, I mean the T) today and I saw an ad for some vegetarian organization. The ad said "call us to order a vegetarian starter kit." Uh, do they mean seeds?

This could be a great late-night informercial or some cool catalog copy... vegetarian starter kit, only $19.95... and all you get are some tomato seeds. Ha. Maybe I'll call just to see.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Dear Harvard Law School 2L,

This personalized note that you and your classmates are all receiving is to let you know about a law firm that's "different" from all the rest. We'll be coming to campus to interview and host an informative reception (read: free food) in just a few weeks, and before we do, we wanted to send you some junk mail. While you may not be considering any firms in Des Moines, we think our firm is "different" enough that you'll change your mind. Unlike the other firms likely to be on your lists, we *do not act within the boundaries of the law.* At our firm, the law isn't a rule, it's a recommendation. We do whatever we can to help our clients regardless of whether or not any of the three branches of government have sanctioned that act. That means we supply free lunches and dinners for our associates each night, stolen from area restaurants. It means there are occasionally dead bodies in the bathroom. It means you don't pay taxes on your earnings -- and you're paid in cash. And it means your billable hour requirements bear no resemblance to the amount of time you actually work. In fact, we're the only Vault-ranked law firm that supplies our associates with handguns -- after just one year! Plus, our dress code is not only business casual, but we provide the mask! And a free car. With lasers.

Come and visit with us, either at our reception next month or at any one of the seventeen federal prisons around the country our partners are currently housed in. We hope to meet you soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Passed by a housing complex today named "River Court" and it gave me an idea for some fun law school housing: what about a set of dorms, each named after a Supreme Court justice, so you'd have Warren Court, and Burger Court, and Rehnquist Court... I think that would be cute...
I know I promised a review of the book about bankruptcy that my professor wrote (see below) -- and it's written, but I'm going to hold it a few days, since the newspaper is going to print it this week. So you can expect to see that on Thursday.

More later.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Blogger has a new function that lets me change the time and date of my posts. I'm telling this to post at 4:00, when it's really only 2:30. Let's see what happens.
"The Standard First Day of Class Speech," Take 2

I posted something a few days ago called "The Standard First Day of Class Speech." I've done a rewrite. So some of this will look familiar; it's not that I've forgotten I posted it, or anything like that.

"The First Day of Class"

I'm Professor Lawreviewandsupremecourtclerkship, and this is Space Law. Welcome. If you're not signed up for this course, see me after class and I'll put your name on a sheet of paper I will intend to bring to the registrar, but instead will accidentally drop down the sewer grate, forget all about it, and you won't know anything until the end of the semester when you don't get a grade for the class and it's too late to do anything about it. If you're on the wait list, keep waiting. If your schedule doesn't say Space Law, and you're expecting a different class, you may be in the wrong room, here at the wrong time, or a combination of the two. I really can't be sure.

What I want to do this morning is get all of the procedural stuff out of the way, talk about how the class will operate and what you can expect. Then I want to jump right into the first assignment, which I'm sure you've all read even though the bookstore hasn't ordered the casebooks yet.

As far as seating goes, I notice you've filled the room starting from the back, meaning that there's not a seat free in the back two rows, yet the first seven rows have just two people in them. One is the guy who came in late; the other is the guy who came in first. If I had a backbone, I'd tell everyone to move down and fill the bottom few rows; instead, I'll just act like I don't notice, and wander aimlessly around the room while I teach, up the aisle, down the aisle, trying to find a spot where you can all actually see me, I can hear you when you speak, and I don't look like I'm just teaching to the two people up front.

I'll expect everyone to be prepared for every class. To that end, I will assign a panel each day who will be the only ones called on, and the only ones for whom I will actually know if you did the reading. This will help me ensure that everyone does the reading. At least once during the semester. I'll assign you to panels based on whether or not you volunteer; people who do not volunteer will very likely find themselves not on a panel. This will not affect your grade.

There are some topics that are particularly dense, that I'll just have to speed through at a pace unlikely to make any of you learn them. This will accomplish nothing, but I'll talk for an hour about them anyway. Other topics are less doctrinal and more public policy-oriented. For those, I'll bring in my new mp3 player and open up the floor for discussion while I check out the new John Mayer album. Since you won't be graded on your class participation, and, heck, hardly even on your final exams, there's no real need for me to listen to anything you have to say anyway. There are a few topics that are so dismal that I will cancel class at the last minute and expect you to learn them on your own. I may test on them. It depends on whether or not the professor I steal the test from tested on them.

Attendance in class is mandatory unless you're not here, in which case it's optional. Please don't e-mail me regarding an expected absence from class. I have no reason to care. The final exam will be hard, and hardly read. Your grade will be based exclusively on the ratio of consonants to vowels in your last name.

A few times during the semester, I will print out a new syllabus that is identical to the old one, but I will insist there's something different about it. On the occasions that I do make a change in the syllabus, I will not tell you and will not print out any copies for you. Occasionally I will provide handouts in class. For these, I will make approximately three-quarters of the number of copies I need, and usually touch them while they're still hot so the ink smears.

I plan on using the overhead projector a bit, but I will make sure not to plug it in so that I can spend 20 minutes at the beginning of class futzing around with it. On the rare occasion I have a video to show, there is no reason to expect I will actually get it to play, and even if I can there's no possible chance it'll be the right video. More likely than not, it will be a video of my wife and me in a compromising position. In the alternative, it may be a video of me and one of your classmates in a similar position.

The casebook for the class is "Space Law." I wrote it three years ago and it's now in its fifteenth edition. Every three weeks, a new edition will come out and you will have to buy a new copy. This is required. I'll be assigning random pages throughout it during the course of the semester, usually corresponding to nothing in particular and occasionally pages that haven't yet been written. Version 8 of the syllabus, which you should all have, goes into more detail.

There is a paper requirement for the course that I will not enforce. There will also be a five-minute break in the middle of class whenever I'm bored and want to run back to my office and take another anti-depressant before continuing. There's a sign-up sheet outside my office for anyone who wants to go to lunch with me. I can't imagine why you would. I'm available for third-year paper advising. My wife just left me. See you tomorrow.
An amusing clip of dialogue from over at Jewish Buddha's weblog, from his Journal Orientation:

"Managing Editor: We publish fifty percent of the notes submitted by students. The odds overwhelmingly favor you getting published!

[His] friend: Obviously, we're not on the Stats Journal."

Thursday, September 11, 2003

This week's Adviser, the newsletter we get to tell us all of the administrative stuff we may or may not need to know -- what the exam deferment policy is, which professors need research assistants, and how to obtain a telemarketing position in the law school's fundraising office, for example this week -- has the following listing:

6:45 PM PON Film Series

I have yet to figure out what PON can possibly mean. I need a glossary.

Moving on to some self-indulgent links:

My latest column from the Sept. 11th Harvard Law Record, about casebooks, interviews, and Warren Christopher. Last week's column from the Record's career guide, which I posted the text of last week, but not the link, about the job search and dress socks. And an article I wrote in last week's Career Guide about students who stayed in Boston for the summer, Boston: Why Leave?

And some non-self-indulgent links:

One of my classmates has a really interesting column in this week's paper about his summer in Africa.

My awesome bankruptcy professor has a new book out called "The Two Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke." It's a wonderful book, and I'll have a review of it up at some point soon (just read it yesterday), and you can listen to her talking about it on NPR, or you can watch a video of her talking about it on the CBS Early Show (where there's also an excerpt). You could also buy the book, if you're so inclined.
I feel like I should write something about September 11th
And how being a law student makes you realize how powerful the rule of law is
And how scary it is to live in a place without the rule of law
And how September 11th made it feel, for a while,
That we weren't under the rule of law anymore
And that was scary

Until I sat down and thought about this
I hadn't really made any kind of connection
Between being a law student and what happened on September 11th
And the rule of law stuff just sounded intelligent
But I wasn't sure I really knew what it meant
I just knew that it was scary
Because who knew what had happened
And what might happen next

But what law school really does make me think about sometimes
Is all of the bad things that can happen but don't
We could have people defying court orders
Rioting, looting
Overpowering the police and militia
If we lost faith in the security of our currency
People would just steal stuff
If we lost faith in our government
And didn't trust the coercive police power of the state
There would be anarchy
Bad things would happen
The future would be uncertain
And as I thought about this, I realized
This is what living under the rule of law means

We're fortunate to live in a country
Where most of the time, bad stuff isn't happening
And when it does, there are ways we deal with it
Bad people do go to jail
Good people generally don't
Our Presidents, no matter their parties, listen to the courts
Leave office when they lose elections
Don't turn the military against its own citizens

We're fortunate that there's transparency
TV, radio, newspapers, Internet
That will tell us if bad stuff starts happening
And won't permit secret government plots
To undermine the rule of law
Most of the time

When I think about September 11th
I think about what it must be like every day in places less secure
And it's frightening
To think that instead of worrying about mundane things
Like whether you're out of toothpaste
You need to worry about whether you can leave your house
Without something bad happening
Or whether something bad will happen
Even if you stay home

September 11th was scary
But without the rule of law
September 12th would have been scarier

And I really don't know why
I've written this as a free verse poem

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Law firm receptions are the law student equivalent of "meal replacement bars." Each day this week, there's a law firm on campus, hosting a reception at a Harvard Square restaurant or other food-providing venue, letting students meet with attorneys, and learn more about the firm as we complete our bidding process where we decide which firms to interview with. It's interesting the way the scale balances -- right now, the firms need us to choose them. They want as many Harvard students as they can get to be interested in them, and want to interview with them. So they host nice receptions, and give out nice food, and pens, and frisbees, and highlighters. Then, once we've chosen them, they interview us and the ball is back in their court. From perhaps 48 interviews, a firm might call back 8 students. Obviously this ratio is lower or higher for different firms, but there really aren't any who call back more than half -- and for some, it's a ratio like 99 interviews and 2 callbacks. So they get to be choosy, and we're the ones hoping to be chosen. Then, once everyone finishes interviewing, the ball is back in our court as we (hopefully) have more than one offer, but can only pick one firm to go to. So the leverage switches back. Finally, when we go work there next summer, we're trying to impress them enough that we get a full-time offer. So, once again, we feel the heat, not them. So it's an interesting process, at least from that perspective. What I've found the receptions aren't bad for is trying out things to say in interviews -- what's the reaction like from the lawyers if I talk about this experience, or that experience... not really -- I mean, I don't talk all that much at these things; I'll talk if approached, but I'm uncomfortable really seeking people out and forcing my way into the conversation... but when I do talk, I find it's not as uncomfortable as I might have feared. I can talk reasonably intelligently about law school stuff. I guess. Anyway, the food was great at yesterday's -- it was at Finale, a dessert place -- they had a really, really good spread. Cheesecake, Fruit Tarts, miniature quiche -- not the usual crab cakes and egg rolls. Finale wins points. And, I suppose, the firm wins points for choosing to host it there...

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I was in the law school cafeteria getting something to eat, and the guy serving the food made polite small talk:

HIM: How's your day going?
ME: Pretty good. How about you.

[Okay, just polite stuff. Figured he'd say "good," give me my food, and I could be on my way.]

HIM: Not so good. Stomach hurts a bit.
ME: Hope not from the food.

[I gestured to the food he was serving me. I thought I was being pretty clever there.]

HIM: Yeah, maybe.


HIM: You know how the chef has to taste everything he cooks. Sometimes when it's not quite cooked. I think maybe that happened.


HIM: So, yeah, my stomach's bothering me a bit. Here's your food.


He should watch out. This is law school, after all. If I get sick from the food, that conversation alone is probably enough for a decent settlement.


Monday, September 08, 2003

The standard first day of class speech:

[I've done a rewrite of this, that's about four days North on the weblog. So if you've been linked to here, just scroll up and you'll find it. And if you're just reading down from the top, you can pretty safely scroll past without missing anything. I'll keep it up rather than deleting it, for no reason I can articulate but just because.]

I'm professor Fringledingle, and this is Space Law. If you're not signed up for this class, see me after class and I'll put your name on a sheet of paper I will intend to bring to the registrar, but instead I will accidentally drop it down the sewer grate, forget all about it, and you won't know anything until the end of the semester when you don't get a grade for the class and it's too late to do anything about it. If your schedule doesn't say Space Law, and you're expecting a different class, you may be in the wrong room, here at the wrong time, or a combination of the two. What I want to do this morning is first get all of the procedural stuff out of the way, talk about how the class will operate and a few other notes. Then I want to give a very brief introduction to Space Law. And then I want to jump right into the first assignment, which I'm sure you've all read even though the bookstore hasn't ordered the casebooks yet.

First, procedural stuff. This class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 in the morning until 10:30, here in Loch Ness Hall, room 74. I expect you all to be here on time, ready to learn; I will be here on time, ready to teach. Sometimes I'll do a lot of lecturing, sometimes I'll call on students, sometimes I'll sleep through my alarm -- it depends on the topic we're up to. There are some topics that are particularly dense that I'll just have to speed through at a pace unlikely to make any of you learn it, or really accomplish much at all. Other topics are less doctrinal and more public policy-oriented. For those, I'll bring in my new mp3 player and open up the floor for discussion while I check out the new John Mayer album. Since you won't be graded on your class participation, there's no real need for me to listen to anything you have to say anyway. There are a few topics that are so dismal that I will cancel class at the last minute and expect you to learn them on your own. I may test on them -- since it's not like I have to actually write out answers to my own test questions -- but, because the material sucks so bad, I won't actually talk about them. Attendance is absolutely mandatory, but don't bother sending me an e-mail or calling my office if you're not going to be here. I don't care why you're not here, I don't really care if you are here, and I won't take attendance. It just makes me feel bad to see empty seats. The final exam will be hard, and hardly read. Your grade will be based on whether or not saying your name makes me feel happy or sad, usually just based on the combination of letters. Hard "K" sounds happen to make me happy. Soft "C" sounds do not. Take that as you will. A few times during the semester, I will print out a new syllabus that is identical to the old one, but I will insist there's something different about it. Ignore my ramblings. I will also occasionally provide handouts, that I will make about three-quarters of the copies I need and usually touch them when they're still hot so the ink smears. I plan on using the overhead projector a bit, but I will make sure not to plug it in so that I can spend 20 minutes at the beginning of class futzing around with it. On the rare occasion I have a video to show, there is no reason to expect I will actually get it to play, and even if I can there's really no way it'll be the right video.

I think that's enough on procedure. Let's move to an overview of Space Law. Space Law is one of the most interesting and rapidly-changing areas of the law, and is where I've chosen to focus all of my research over the past three decades. It used to be this that law school didn't have a course in Space Law. Then I wrote a casebook, and all of a sudden, whoda thunk it? Space Law is largely common law, derived from the federal government, from states, and from local precedent. I'm going to say the word jurisdiction just so you have it in your notes. Buttermilk is also a fun word for your notes. And Plinko. Plinko's a fun word to say. The casebook for the class is "Space Law." I wrote it. It's now in its fifteenth edition. I'll be assigning random pages throughout it, usually corresponding to nothing in particular. Version 8 of the syllabus, which you should all have, goes into more detail.

And now, let's start. I'm thinking of a question. Mr. Adams -- is that what your nametag says? Oh -- Ms. Adams. Gotcha. Ms. Adams, I'm thinking of a question. What's the answer?
The first day of classes just isn't that bad when you're a 2L. It was fun to have new subjects, new professors, new classmates. We'll see if it's still fun tomorrow. And, as a change from 1L year, the seats aren't assigned.

Ten Tips When Choosing A Seat:

1. That guy with the hacking cough? I'll be as far away from there as I can get.
2. Don't sit down on a seat that's got chewing gum on it.
3. The chair that's missing a wheel is not a good pick.
4. If the professor is using namecards to call on people, you want to write your name really small, add some extra consonants, and sit way in the back.
5. But if the professor is using a seating chart, you can sit anywhere as long as you make sure you don't write your name anywhere on the chart.
6. Even though they cost more, check out the luxury boxes on the third deck; they come complete with waiter service and a great view of the lectern.
7. Sitting on a friend's lap can be a real space-saver.
8. I try to avoid sitting next to the guy whose laptop emits an unusually loud hum.
9. The people who habitually eat in class do not make good neighbors. Especially if they like to eat tuna fish.
10. Try switching your seat with the plush leather teacher's chair before class to experience the best in classroom comfort.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

I just found out that the law firm whose name is spelled "Dechert" is actually pronounced as if the h was a k. Deckert. Emphasis on syllable 1. What's up with these French names being completely Americanized in their pronunciations? Debevoise too is pronounced like it reads. "S" included. I guess they figure lawyers just aren't bright enough to deal.

Things I need to remember to do before my first class of the year (my first class of the year!) tomorrow:

1. Go to the bathroom
2. Turn the sound off on my laptop
3. Turn off my cell phone!!
4. Eat breakfast
5. Find a good seat...
6. ...hopefully next to someone who know...
7. ...but who isn't going to spend all class trying to whisper stuff to me...
8. ...because that's annoying.
9. Adjust my seat height
10. Pray not to be called on

I wonder if there are 2L and 3L gunners, or if they go away after a summer to reflect on their 1L year. I bet there probably are, and it's probably the same people. If I was a professor, I'd cut that gunner impulse off pretty quickly by just refusing to acknowledge someone's hand more than once or twice a class. You can talk a couple of times, but then you're done. Give other people a chance, stop monopolizing, if you have question sbeyond one or two, send an e-mail, ask your classmates, come to office hours. Use your two turns wisely and you'll be fine. No raising your hand while other people are talking, no audible sighs when someone messes up, no waving hands around in the air like you're a windmill. Alternative plan: you speak four times in a class and that class becomes yours. You get every question from there on in, like it or not. Third plan: anybody who starts a sentence with the words, "Isn't it true..." gets a bullet through the head from the snipers on the rafters. Same for "What if...." No good question -- from a student, I mean -- ever starts with "what if...." It's always "What if it wasn't really a human who started the fire, but a very smart polar bear?" or "What if the jail fell down?" or "What if the contract was signed in invisible ink?" You're changing the rules. It's not a contest to see what the most obscure rule you find is, or a contest to test how much of the minutiae the professor knows. The only way these things should be allowed is if they can be actually acted out in class. You want to ask about a spaceship crashing on the highway? Fine. All you need to do is have a spaceship crash into the classroom, and that question is totally fair game. A botched surgery that yields a man with three legs? In bounds, if you bring in the three-legged man. The polar bear starting a fire? Steal him from the zoo if you have to.

Things people shouldn't start questions with:
1. "I know this is obvious, but..."
2. "In my experience..."
3. "According to this other thing I read..."
4. "But where I come from..."
5. "I hate to interrupt, but..."
6. "Is it not the case that..."
7. "I feel compelled to jump in here..."
8. "I know this probably isn't relevant, but..."
9. "I don't mean to take us off course, but..."
10. "Can I just add something else here..."
I'll link to it when it's posted on the web site, but in the meantime, here's my column from this current week's Harvard Law Record Career Guide.

“I Should Probably Buy Some Dress Socks”

This time last year, I wrote about how every 1L conversation really just revolves around the same four questions: what’s your name, what section are you in, where’d you go to college, and did you come straight through? (“Come straight through what? The door?”)

New year, new questions. What’d you do this summer, what classes are you taking, where are you living, and, the big one: “You doing on-campus interviewing?”

It’s really not much of a question. I’ve yet to hear anyone say no. Sure, I’ve heard some hedging – “only a few firms – twenty, thirty max,” “just on Wednesdays through Tuesdays,” “not if my smallpox doesn’t clear up,” “depends on how my multi-state lottery ticket turns out” – but everyone’s at least thinking about it. Even me.

I must admit, I’ve done my share of firm research, and come up with some simple tricks for eliminating certain firms from my bid list. Rule one, no firms whose names sound like reproductive organs (goodbye, Allen & Overy). Rule two, no firms that sound like food (goodbye, Fish & Richardson; goodbye, Pillsbury Winthrop). Rule three, no firms that make crayons (goodbye, Binney & Smith).

And now that I’m down to a manageable list of 694 firms, the real work begins. First, of course, a look at the financial stability of these places. I hadn’t thought of this until a friend of mine mentioned he heard that one firm was melting its associates into coins with which to fill its empty coffers. So that’s important to watch out for. Apparently, there are resources for finding this stuff out. I don’t know these resources. The Cartoon Network and are apparently not them. Although Daffy Duck’s cousin has some great advice about supplemental insurance.

Second, a quick read of the firm’s websites. One leading firm has a button at the bottom that reads, “how to view our site.” What you get when you click on it is an explanation of how you need Real Player and Flash, and your own home network in order to really experience the sights and sounds they present. What it really ought to say under “how to view our site” is:

“You should view this site as a marketing piece designed to make us look humane, generous, and socially worthwhile. The information you see on the site is not representative of who we are and what we do, but of what studies show you’d like us to be. The smiling men and women depicted on this site are actors and actresses; the lawyers didn’t have time to come to the photo shoot, and looked like hell anyway. We get most of our money from tobacco companies. We get the rest from nuclear arms manufacturers. Thank you for visiting.”

I will fix my resume. I will think about what I’m really looking for, and do my best to find the firms that match. I will rehearse answers to standard questions about why I want to work there, what kind of law I want to practice, and what kind of tree I would be, if I was a tree at all. I will press my suit. I will comb my hair. I will shake hands firmly. I will ask questions of my own that are neither infantile (“how many urinals are in the men’s room?”) nor frightening (“my sex change operation turned out pretty well, right?”). I will use this column as my writing sample.

That last one may be pushing it.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Blogger seems to have gone down at about 3 AM last night (according to my counter), and just came back up sometime between lunchtime and now. It's been doing that a lot lately. It shouldn't, if it wants people to like it and keep using it.

Actual law school news. Hmmm. Sometime after my post yesterday regarding reading assignments in the professor's own casebook that look like code-breaker instructions (1-4, 8(top)-12(note 2), 345-352, 801-802(except note 3), 911, inside back cover), I got an e-mail from a classmate that said:

"From your Sept. 5 entry, it looks like you're taking [Class X with Professor Y]."

Actually, I'm not. But that just proves it's a widespread phenomenon, not limited to this one class.

Our On-Campus Recruiting website is "open for bidding." I'm about to go bid. If there's anything funny about the website, and the process by which I have to enter my choices, I'll be sure to report. More likely, it's probably just as one might expect, and not that interesting.

Friday, September 05, 2003

An interesting article about happiness and how we tend not to know how to find it, in this week's New York Times Magazine.
Steve, a 3L at Ohio State, shares some bad interview advice for 2Ls. My favorite is number three: "Never, ever stop talking." The post right below his interview advice post talks about how he found out one of his professors reads his weblog, and then she asked him about his summer, "before realizing that she already knew how it went." I find that it's of course neat in a lot of ways to find out that people I know read this thing, and, maybe even more so, people I really don't know. But it does kind of leave me with a little bit less to say in person -- I worry a bit that I'm a letdown if someone reads faithfully... I feel a bit of pressure to be "on," to be funny, to be make up new weblog posts on the spot, or I'll be considered an imposter. Sort of. Not really. Just reading Steve's post made me reflect on that a bit. I met a 1L last week at an orientation event who reads this, and I started saying something, and one of my friends I'd been talking to said that it sounded like all of a sudden I was doing "shtick." Which I guess I kind of was. Sorry.
Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher spoke at the law school today. His advice: "Don't befriend child molesters." Seriously. It actually sort of made sense in context (he was saying that you should build your professional network, and stick by people when they're in trouble... unless they've done really bad things. To wit, "don't befriend child molesters...") But out of context it's pretty funny. I was actually really impressed with him.
I have no problem when professors do stuff like assigning "pages 1-4, 9-12, 176-183(top), 188-189(except note 2), 641(middle)-652, 891(note 4)" for a class, even though it's kind of a pain to keep turning pages and remembering where to stop and start. But at least it shows they have some goal in mind and something they want to accomplish beyond how the casebook authors thought it should be taught. What I don't understand is why that stuff happens *even when the professor wrote the casebook.* If this is how the professor thinks it's taught best, why is the casebook all out of order?

Thursday, September 04, 2003

I started reading for classes today -- the first session of all three of my classes is on Monday, but there's a decent amount of reading to do before then. It took me a little while to remember how to read... not that I forgot how to read, but that I forgot how to really concentrate and focus on what I'm reading, and be able to process it. About twenty minutes of just sort of staring at the page before it started to come back to me.

And so I read a little bit of Constitutional Law, and then I read a little bit of Local Government Law... and then, the best thing ever to happen while reading for a law school class happened. It's never happened to me before, and probably never will again. But it was quite something. For Con Law, one of the readings was Federalist #10. And for Local Government Law, one of the readings was... Federalist #10. Is there a feeling as grand as skipping right past 6 pages in the casebook because you've JUST READ THE SAME THING FOR ANOTHER CLASS?? It was as if the heavens were smiling down upon me. It was, I daresay, as good as one can feel while in a law school library reading a casebook. So I rewarded myself by wasting ten minutes checking my e-mail.

Ten Spam E-mail Headers You Never See:

1. "Lower your credit rating!"
2. "Enlarge your ears!"
3. "Magazine Subscriptions at 50% more than the cover price!"
4. "You owe money to the royal family of Nigeria and we are helping them to collect it."
5. "Ugly people are waiting to talk to you on the phone about their family problems."
6. "Get Poor Quick!"
7. "Domestic Long Distance for the same price you normally pay for International Calls."
8. "Win a free trip to jail!"
9. "Have you ever wanted a lower IQ?"
10. "Clicking on this is a waste of time."
Countdown to On-Campus Interviewing!

We had On-Campus Interviewing orientation this afternoon. We were given a "countdown checklist" which included the following instructions for preparing our interviewing wardrobe:

--> Shoes shined (if possible a professional shine)
--> Shirts purchased and pressed (on hanger not folded)
--> Purchase supply of socks or hose

Good thing they handed out this checklist, or I would have forgotten to wear socks!

From the notes I scrawled:

1. When the career services guy said, "the job market is improving," people clapped. Uh, everyone who wanted a job last year got one. How much can this really improve from that baseline? And why are we clapping?

2. Firms are increasing revenue, but also increasing billable hours requirements. Nobody clapped. I have done enough research to know that "increased bilable hours requirements" is just a fancy way of saying "no weekends, buddy."

3. Summer perks are being reduced. That's a fancy way of saying we're going to be buying our own lunch.

4. "I know you have the handout, and I know you can read it, but --" is never a fun way to start a sentence.

5. He said Harvard charges these firms "a lot of money" to come here and recruit. "And I'll tell you how much." $700. I was expecting a much, much bigger number. Although with 600-odd firms, that adds up. But still. That's like pocket change, kind of. Of course, he did say that a lot of the cost is in lawyer time for interviewing and renting a room at the Hotel, and all that stuff, so I'm sure it does add up to quite a bit. But the $700 entrance fee seems not so bad for these gazillion-dollar firms.

6. Non-discrimination policy: "any kind of discrimination is unacceptable." What about discrimination based on interviewing skills?

7. Referring to a page on the website: "this page here is a subset of what you saw on the front page." Thanks.

8. We have a bid limit of 35 firms, but we can add up to 5 firms a week to our list during the "add/drop period." There are 3 weeks. So we can theoretically have up to 50 interviews in 3 weeks. That's a lot of interviews.

9. "I don't want to say that it's a utopia but last year's numbers speak for themselves." Good thing the market's improving, eh?

10. "You don't want to be dating someone just because they have a pulse." I thought this was interviewing advice, not dating advice. Actually, though, I could use some of both.

11. 52 minutes into the presentation -- "we will keep this short." Excellent.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Got a 1L facebook in my mailbox today. Waddling Thunder has a chart of how many 1Ls come from a selection of schools, this year compared to last year. I can't imagine what conclusions anyone could draw from his chart, or why the information is terribly interesting or important, but it's there, in case anyone's curious.

For anyone who worries that everyone at Harvard Law School comes from Harvard and Yale (of course, a lot of them do), here are some represented colleges and universities that I haven't really heard of before (which obviously means absolutely nothing; as I think I've said before, I certainly haven't noticed any correlation at all between where any of my classmates went to undergrad and anything about what goes on at law school... the admissions people have gobs of qualified candidates to pick from; obviously everyone here did something right, no matter where he or she went to school). Somewhere in this list is one I'm making up. Find it and win!

Alma College, Berry College, Bridgewater College, Colorado School of Mines, The Evergreen State College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Hillsdale College, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Magdalen College, Messiah College, Pacific Union College, St. Cloud State University, University de Deusto, University of Phoenix Online, University of Tokyo.

Of similar uselessness: consider yourself more likely to go to Harvard if your first name is David (13), Michael (12), Jennifer (9), Adam (8), Daniel (7), Jeffrey (7), Joshua (7), Andrew (6), James (6), Kevin (6), Benjamin (5), Charles (5), Emily (5), John (5), Nicholas (5), Rebecca (5), Sarah (5), and Stephen (5). Making this list tells me there are fewer common guys names than girls names, because they seem to be more concentrated. If the Davids had a tug-of-war with the Michaels (and let's give the Michaels the 1 Kurt we've got, just to make it even as far as numbers), I wonder who would win. It's these kinds of second-level questions that the facebook can't answer.

Today was "registration" for 2Ls and 3Ls, which consisted of signing a form to verify your name and address, trading in the form for a renewed ID card, and picking up a bunch of freebies from our good friends at Lexis and Westlaw. Westlaw, with its pen/highlighter combo, pocket-sized federal rules of evidence, and (the tiebreaker) a pretty sweet frisbee, narrowly beats out Lexis and its fancy plastic highlighter, foam cup holder, keychain, and even-smaller-pocket-sized federal rules of evidence.

This afternoon is the On-Campus Interviewing orientation for all 2Ls. Questions I hope nobody asks but I'm sure they will:

1. I'm planning on splitting my summer in thirds between Seattle, Detroit, and the moon. I wanted to know which firms I should be looking at, and was hoping you could take up everybody else's time by answering that for me right now.

2. When I turned in my resume, you made a stray mark by one of the lines. I was wondering if you meant anything by that. I've brought a plastic overhead so you can project it for everyone to see and we can discuss.

3. Here's my list of thirty firms. Can you tell me everything you know about them?

4. Can I leave to go to the bathroom?

5. I'm an PhD student, and not actually looking to work at a law firm. But I came today to try and find out the psychology behind choosing which cities people want to work in. I was hoping we could go around the room and everyone could tell me the cities they're going to be interviewing for jobs in, and why they've chosen them.

6. I have a disability I'd rather not share with the group. Could you tell us all about every firm's policy for dealing with students with disabilities like mine?

7. I didn't receive an offer at the firm I worked at last summer. I have a very long and detailed story I'm going to tell about this, and end by not really asking a question so much as just complaining that it's not fair. Thanks.

8. Can you recite a list of the other career services events that'll be coming up over the next three or four months, slowly and also in German?

9. I came in late. Can you start over?

10. I can't find a seat. Can everybody stand up and we'll play musical chairs in order to determine how the 400 seats for 550 students are allocated in a fair and equitable manner?

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

1Ls start classes here today. A poem:

So you walk in the classroom
And locate your seat
As you wish you'd had more
Than a corn flake to eat
As you boot up your laptop
Your eyes scan the crowd
There's the ones awfully quiet
And the ones awfully loud
There are people who look
Like they've done this before
There's the people who found
The *used* books at the store
There are hands getting ready
To pounce in the air
There are those who put thought
Into what they would wear
There are guys wearing dress shirts
That seem a bit, well...
There are girls with new outfits
It's easy to tell
There are some who seem frantic
Perhaps they didn't read
So if they're the ones called on
Your prayers they may need
There are some who are breathing
So loud you can hear
They are shaking with angst
They are oozing with fear
As the teacher, she enters
All eyes turn to her
What's the class gonna be like?
What frights will occur?
She opens her casebook
She flips to the page
She welcomes you warmly
But this is *her*stage
You're not the one called on
You slowly exhale
Your fingers start typing
Each tiny detail
Of the words that are spoken
The thoughts that you hear
It's just class like all others
Away fades the fear
You have done this already
It's school, you're okay
Your mind starts to wander
Your thoughts start to stray
But you're jarred back to focus
From out of blue
The teacher looks up
And she's calling on you
And you didn't hear the question
You look down at the page
Around at your classmates
Seems *you're* now on stage
And you mumble and bumble
And feel your way through
Ask for clarification
Pray a thought comes to you
You say one thing, another
Some wrong, some okay
And then after what seems like
At least half a day
She retreats and goes after
A classmate, a friend
As your moment of terror
Has come to an end
The class ends and you exit
You ask "how'd I do?"
And you're kind of surprised
None recall it was you
Some were drifting or fading
Exactly like you
Some were in their heads thinking
Of what they would do
If the cards drew them next
No one listened to you
Sure it's nice to do well
But what can you do
And you stumble from class
Vowing better next day
But you realize it's all
Gonna turn out okay.