Jeremy's Weblog

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

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I've never performed stand-up comedy. I wouldn't be very good at it. Nevertheless, if I ever were to...

My Very Own Bad Stand-Up Routine about being a Law Student, Draft One*

(*"Draft One" means I'm writing this on the fly without planning it out first. I imagine real stand-up comics do some editing and rewrites. Although most I've seen don't sound as if they do.)

Hey. My name is Jeremy, and I'm a law student. Law students are generally boring, so I apologize in advance if I'm boring. I was going to start by saying something like, "although it's not visible on the outside, I'm a law student," but I realized that now that I'm in my second year, the horns and tail have started to grow in, so if you look closely, you can pretty much tell I'm on my way to becoming a lawyer.

People hate lawyers, mostly because lawyers hate people. When I started law school, I didn't have any idea what a lawyer did. I figured he sat in his office and manufactured money, or something like that. Which, in fact, is what lawyers do. The big perk about being a lawyer is being able to charge for your time. See, most people can only charge for their work, so if you do things fast, you make more money. But lawyers are special. To make more money, lawyers have to work really slowly. The slower we work, the more hours we can bill, and the more money we can make. As law students, we practice working slowly all the time. It's part of the homework. And law students get used to working slowly, so that by the time we become lawyers, we do everything slowly. It's why lawyers need to take two-hour lunches. Last night for homework I spent an hour on the toilet. I got an A. Actually I got three of them.

Lately I've been consumed with the job search. While in most industries you look for a job after you leave school, or at least when you're getting ready to -- in law school, even though it's 3 years long, you start looking for a job the moment you arrive on campus. Our first meeting, the first week of school, was with the career office. "Welcome to law school. You haven't learned anything yet. It's time to find a job." Law jobs -- or at least law student jobs -- divide into two categories. There's law firm jobs, and there's what they call "public interest." Theoretically, public interest means helping people, which makes it the opposite of a law firm job, where you hurt people. Actually, you don't hurt all people. Just people who don't own big companies. But everyone owns a big company, right? I just bought IBM, in fact. Yesterday. I spent fourteen hours on the toilet to earn enough money. This working slowly thing, it really does the trick.

Anyway. Law firms, and public interest. In practice, "public interest" just amounts to everything that isn't a law firm. Working for the government, working for an advocacy group -- like the Citizens for Bigger Vegetables, or something like that, pretty much anything. At my school, they give out public interest funding for people who don't work at a law firm for their first summer after year one of law school. You can pretty much get public interest funding for anything. Lighting forest fires, kicking the elderly, tossing puppies down the sewer. As long as it's not a law firm.

That's the first summer. But at the end of the first summer, the job search starts for the second summer. Seriously. There are schools where the recruiting process starts in August for the following June. And what's special about the second summer, is that these law firms that hire people for the second summer are really hiring people for after they graduate. The vast majority of people get offers from their second summer firm. Basically to not get an offer, or so I've been told by some of my friends -- talking slowly in a monotone, since they're law students -- you need to do something bad. Not just bad like "I didn't finish my work" bad, or "I stole your sandwich from the refrigerator" bad. Bad like "I got you indicted" bad, or "I maxed out your home equity line of credit and spent it on a new husband for your wife" bad. Bad stuff. And that becomes your job for after law school. So by the end of the fall of your second year -- of a three-year program -- you've pretty much got your job for after you finish. So if you enter law school in, say, September of 3006, then by October of 3007, you basically know what you're going be doing in the fall of 3009. And that way you get two years to pack up all of your stuff for the move to Neptune, and you can charge up the spaceship in the garage.

[Okay, that's enough for now. I have no idea if this is funny or just dumb. If you think it's funny, let me know and I'll write more. If not, I probably will anyway, but at least then I'll know I have to try harder.]