They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Which, if you’re in law school, means you shouldn’t let any of these ten rat bastards out of your site for even a minute.
1The Immaculate Altruist. She’s here to get a law degree so she can save the homes of poor immigrant whales from foreclosure. She disdains anyone who doesn’t dream of working non-profit. To her, law, unlike any other field of study, is either about spreading rainbows and peach cobbler to the corners of the universe or greedily snatching up money whilst helping Rich Corporation A sue Richer Corporation B.
Note: Her worldview only applies to law school. It’s okay if geology students don’t want to enter a career with the Peace Corps and dig wells for African tribes—they can just like rocks. But a law student without a Planeteer ring on is Greed Incarnate.
2The Master Debater. A typical conversation with him goes like this:
My parents always told me I should be a lawyer. You know why? Because I love to argue. I argue all the time about everything. And I always win arguments. Seriously, I’ve never lost an argument.
What he means: He’s a social retard who fights over everything and absolutely refuses to admit when he’s wrong. His parents wanted him to be a lawyer so he would finally find someone else to argue with and maybe stop being such an asshole all the time.
Listen for the following red flags repeated intermittently throughout his precious arguments: “Clearly,” “obviously,” and “it’s completely unreasonable to think that…”
What you won’t hear: References to facts, cases, statutes, or any other recognizable, non-self-centric authority.
When he loses his very first argument—which he will—one of two things will happen: (1) He will fall into a deep, inconsolable, self-loathing depression; (2) like Obi-Wan, he will become a bigger asshole than you can possibly imagine, blaming the loss on anything and everything except his own lack of ability.
3The Blonde Bombshell with Something to Prove. She’s as rare as a Giant Panda, but every few years she materializes in a 1L class like a succulent siren through the ocean mist. She has unusual numbers for law school admission: 36-23-33. She also realizes that she’s heart-stoppingly gorgeous, but believes that—like her heroine, the great “Elle Woods, Esquire”—she can overcome all stereotypes and prove herself as a valuable asset to the legal community. And she’s half-right about the asset part; however, she is doomed to either learn how to use her beauty to manipulate others and work her way up the law-school ladder, or to live in hopeless denial.
Addendum: Leave room for the possibility that an absolutely gorgeous and extremely intelligent female law student exists out there somewhere, but if that’s the case, the fact that she will never be my co-counsel is too much to bear. And so, for the sake of psychological self-preservation, I shall vehemently deny her existence.
4The Mighty Mouse. Who is he? Is he even in our 3L class? I’ve never noticed him. Did he transfer in? This person is likely in the top 5% of your class, if not flat-out Numero Uno, but you swear you’ve never seen him before in your life. That’s because he never speaks a word voluntarily, although when called upon he flawlessly utters the insight of a thousand Learned Hands clapping a joyous symphony of jurisprudence. He shows up for classes and exams, and then, like Batman, he disappears into the misty night. (No, he will not let you borrow his outlines.)
5The Drifter. Half the time he doesn’t even know he’s in law school; the other half he’s high. To him, law school is another three…maybe four…years of delaying the dreaded “real world.” In every court opinion, he can see how The Man keeps him down.
Lucy v. Zehmer: “WTF, man! You can’t take his farm! He was drunk, and he wrote the contract on an f-ing receipt man! That’s just messed up.”
Leonard v. Pepsico: “Oh yeah, corporate America offers a harrier jet thinking no one is going to accept. Then Joe Everyman gets enough Pepsi Points to buy it, and what do they do? They f-ing take it back. WTF, man?! And the law just lets it happen?”
After law school, he will go on to become a doctor . . . in something. He will continue like this until his absentee parents or Sallie Mae discovers him.
6The Wunderkind. He started working in a law office delivering interoffice memoranda at age 12. He learned Westlaw before Google. He was the all-star high school debate and moot court champion all four years. His undergraduate degree? Do I even need to say it? It was f-ing pre-law. To him, law school isn’t time to learn; it’s time to shine. After a decade of mentally bench-pressing volume after volume of Corpus Juris Secundum and memorizing the Federal Rules of Evidence, it’s time to oil up those muscles and flex. He doesn’t see peers, only hurdles.
7El Desperato. He’s in the library eight hours a day (ten on Saturdays and Sundays). He owns more Nutshells than Mr. Peanut. He has every professor’s open office hours scheduled into his BlackBerry. Yet, for the life of him, he can’t seem to pull even a C- on an exam. The reality is that he was never cut out for law school. Be it Nature or Nurture, he was designed for a different job.
The good news: He will realize this.
The bad news: At the point he does, he’ll owe $100 grand and will have lost most, if not all, of his hair.
8The Diversity Student. When she’s not busy posing for pictures for the law school’s website and viewbook, she’s enjoying the sweet life of a tuition-free education. How do you spell the name of that Native-American tribe again? Oh yeah, “f-u-l-l r-i-d-e.”
She doesn’t worry so much about preparing for class, taking exams, or career outlooks—and why should she? When her former classmates are sacrificing movie nights just so they can pay back the interest on their student loans, she’ll be relaxing in the comfy leather chair of her 45th-story downtown office. After all, you can only be a diversity student for three years until you’re a diversity hire.
9The Savant. What the hell??? This guy randomly decided to take the LSAT at the last minute and scored a 179 (and that’s because two pages stuck together). Our professor asks him a question about the Necessary and Proper Clause, and he takes the class on a glorious romp through the metaphysical world of constitutional intransience. Did he even read the case? Does he even outline his notes? Fuck it. I hate this guy.
10The Nth Generation Lawyer. Let’s just say that he likes to use his middle initial for things. In fact, he’s probably a “Something Something the Fourth” in his family, which is comprised completely of lawyers, legal scholars, a judge or two, and some wives of lawyers. He didn’t enroll in law school, he inherited it. You ask him what he would do if he wasn’t going to be a lawyer, and all you get in return is a blank stare.
Fun fact: He’ll be the only one at graduation wearing cuff links.