Put away the mittens: summer’s here!

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

THE DRIVING RAIN AND forty-degree temperatures tell me summer’s close here in Cambridge. The year’s gone almost as fast as the coffee in Pound each morning, even though each class on its own seems to move as slow as the automatic handicapped doors in the Hark. As we open our casebooks for the first time all semester and begin studying for exams, a flood of memories fills our heads – the time we signed up to subcite for the Journal of Unmatched Density thinking it sounded like fun; the time we ran for publicity director of the Students For Negligible Reform thinking it would look good on a resume; the time we went with our friends to the professor’s office hours hoping to extract some exam hints; the time we stepped over the body of the law review editor who’d leaped from the second-floor window of Gannett House to his death; and the time we fell asleep on a bean-bag chair in the library and woke up sticky.

We’ll start the summer relieved to be out of the classroom and finally putting our legal education into practice, applying what we’ve learned about sitting in assigned seats, navigating complex and counter-intuitive bureaucratic processes, skating on thin ice (even if that doesn’t make sense, I like the double meaning), and drinking free coffee. But after a few weeks away from this place, I feel confident saying we’ll wish we were back. Our community of highly-motivated largely self-absorbed young people will have been replaced by a community of highly-motivated largely self-absorbed older people; our perhaps-less-than-inspiring extracurricular pursuits will be replaced with perhaps-less-than-inspiring uber-organized mandatory social activities; our inspiring professor mentors will be replaced by people who finished just below them in their graduating classes here or in New Haven and are now actually forced to practice law; an evening at Redline will be replaced by evenings redlining; lunch at Finagle-a-Bagel will be replaced by lunch at Prepare-a-File-for-Trial; dinner at Brother Jimmy’s will be replaced by dinner with Partner Johnny; and nights in the Hark will be replaced by nights in the dark, if you’re in New York and there’s another blackout.

I’ll be at a firm this summer, for the first time ever, so I may not be the right person to provide advice about how to make the most of your summer. But why should I let that stop me? So here’s three ideas to make your summer worthwhile:

1. Convince as many paralegals as you can that law school really isn’t the right choice for them. They look up to us; we’re where they wish they might someday be; isn’t that sad? Show them your casebooks. Let them see a copy of a journal and explain to them that the reason that semicolon isn’t there anymore is all thanks to you. See them flee. Save them before it’s too late.

2. Steal stuff. Staplers, post-it notes, personal shredding machines, trophies and plaques from people’s offices, diplomas off the wall, valuable art in the hallways, sensitive documents, the spare $5000 suit in the partner’s closet, a new BMW, the Yankees skybox pass, the pictures of the partner’s children (they won’t notice), the firm’s financial statements, your 43rd-story view. Come on, it’s fun!

3. And, finally, if you’re a high achiever, try and single-handedly undermine the rule of law in just twelve weeks. This is an awesome goal: Can one summer associate alone bring down a nation? Send Polaroid’s secret strategy memo over to Kodak. Send the partner’s uncorrected brief to The Smoking Gun. Tell the client the deposition will be held on the set of The Daily Show. I don’t know how to do it, but maybe you can figure it out. One summer. Make a big mess. You can do it. I have faith.

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This may not be the funniest of the twenty-three columns I’ve written for The Record this year, but if you’d like to keep receiving my weekly thoughts all summer long, send me an e-mail at jblachma@law.harvard.edu to be added to my e-mail list.

Or, if you think you could do better: The Record is looking for columnists for next year – including 3Ls who may be interested in writing, pseudonymously or not, about their post-graduation pursuits, and 1Ls and 2Ls interested in writing about pretty much anything at all. If you’re interested, or if you have any thoughts about how The Record’s editorial pages could be even better next year, e-mail me.

It’s been fun. Have an awesome summer.

Jeremy Blachman posts commentary daily here.

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