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.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Just in case reading three separate posts about the law review competition was too much for you, I've condensed those thoughts, added some new ones, and even come up with a few fresh jokes. Hence, the definitive 1000 words about the law review competition.

"3 1/8 inches"

Three and one-eighth inches. No, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm of course talking about the law review competition packet. It's a monster. Over twelve hundred pages. Without any pictures. They handed out blow pops when they were giving out the packets. You know why? Because it blows. Heck, just picking up the packet - literally, just picking it up off the table, since it's so darn thick - should be enough to get someone on law review. I was expecting a little packet, a couple of cases, some forms to fill out. I don't know, eleven hundred pages max. But what do I get but a 1200-page monstrosity that almost made me wish I'd only picked it up so that I could write smack about it. Oh wait. That *is* the reason why I picked it up.

The one thing that was missing from the packet - the only thing, I suppose - was a list of reasons to apply. I know everyone says being on law review is great - the parties, the food, the millions of adoring fans, the free sneakers. Oops, I'm getting it confused with being on the Celtics. No, everyone says law review is great because without it, you're pretty much automatically disqualified from this whole bunch of jobs. Like nine of them. Souter, Rehnquist, Scalia, O'Connor, Stevens, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, and the other dude. The one with the black robe and the gavel. Not Byron White but the one who's still alive. Whatever, you know who I mean. And so from what I gather, law review's great if you want to be one of those guys - or clerk for them, I guess. Or if you want to be a professor. Of law. At Harvard. You can still be a professor of screenwriting at Vassar without law review. I hope.

So I totally have no issue at all with people doing the law review competition because they really want to get a job that being on law review improves their chances of getting. That seems like a fine reason to forego sleeping for the next two years. Really, it does. And I guess I have no issue with the people doing it just in case - you know, you don't want to be Justice Breyer now, but maybe twenty years from now, after a law firm has sucked all the spirit of your soul, it'll seem like a cool gig. So you do law review now, just in case. Like the Japanese lessons and the brochure you picked up at the doctor's office about the sex change surgery. Because you never know what you're gonna want down the road. Like, for example, if you saw MTV's "True Life" last weekend, calf implants. There was a crazy dude convinced that his life would be perfect if only he had bigger calves. So he got implants. And if you think your life would perfect if only you were on law review, then cool, go for it.

I guess I just want to know whether the line to pick up the packets was two hundred people long because there are two hundred 1Ls who really want to do stuff for which being on law review will make a difference, or whether they're just doing it because just being a normal Harvard Law student isn't prestigious enough and they need more. I realize I've left out the category of people doing it because they really enjoy subciting and tracking down sources and undangling modifiers. And maybe that's not what people do who are on law review. I don't know. It wasn't in the packet. Or at least not on pages 1 - 347. I stopped when I started seeing footnotes dancing in front of my eyes. Last Friday night, after getting the packet, instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, I counted people on line to get the packet who won't end up making it onto law review. No, actually I counted how many licks it took to get to the center of the Blow Pop.

I told a friend about the law review competition (don't worry, I don't mean I collaborated with him on my answers. That would be a violation of the rule on page 841, footnote 62). He said a "writing competition" didn't sound too bad. Then I told him that meant writing a 20-page comment on a recent Supreme Court case and editing a brief. "But editing can be fun," he said. "I edited my sister's college application essay about the time she finally became a woman, and she got into Wellesley." I said that's not quite what I meant. But after I showed him the packet he understood, and then he called up a bunch of law schools to withdraw all of his applications. Another friend asked me if maybe it wasn't so bad - "you know, it's only a week of torture and then you potentially "win" the competition, right?" (And, yeah, I know it's kind of strange that all of my "friends" ask the perfect questions to fit right into my sentences.)

And what do you win? A grueling, unpaid job. Oh, yeah, right, great, exciting. Again, I don't mean for this to sound like I have anything against law review. I really don't. I understand that it helps put people in a better position to get certain jobs, and so for people who want those jobs, or at least want the option of getting those jobs, or just like the idea that they're not excluding themselves from those jobs, or just like hard work and have some free time on their hands, it's silly not to try to get on law review. Absolutely. And because so many people want to be on it, they need to have a competition packet that's three and one-eighth inches thick. I'm cool with all of that. This is not a negative essay, this is just some rambling thoughts from someone who's still trying to recover from the hernia he got from lifting the competition packet.

But like I said before, I picked up the packet basically so that I could write about it. So I have to say something.

And I know the ninth justice is Thurgood Marshall. I was just trying to be funny.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, John Harlan. Potter Stewart. Oliver Wendell Holmes, that guy from the Dred Scott case with the funny name, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter, Anthony Kennedy. Aha!