Fenno grinned. It had taken three painful semesters, but he was finally on the sweet side of HLS. 1L year and its associated seventeen-credit workload was a distant memory. First semester of his 2L year was quickly becoming a blurry melange of chocolate-covered pretzels and Fried-spewed obscenities. And as far as Fenno was concerned, that about did it for his law school career. Job in pocket, passing grades… all the pieces were in place.
He had thought fleetingly about a clerkship until the first OCS meeting on the subject put the kibosh on that idea. He remembered the words of Kirsten Solberg on that fateful day: “First, have the best grades you can. Second, cultivate relationships with professors so that you can secure letters of recommendation. Third, you might want to consider being on Law Review. Judges seem to like that.”
Fenno recalled glancing over at the contingent of HLRers, who, naturally, had arrived in an indistinguishable pack from Gannett House and occupied several rows in the front of the room. Throughout the talk, they intermittently turned to each other and delivered knowing smirks, wholly secure in the fact that they were headed for the elysian fields of circuit courts and not, like Fenno, the ass-end of a magistrate’s chambers. Fenno slumped in his chair, wholly insecure in the fact that, unlike his firm interviewers during the OCI process, judges wouldn’t as easily buy into his bullshit about why that B in Property was simply the result of clashing views with his professor over the theory of alienability. Judges would probably ask about Fenno’s own take on said theory. Which, of course, didn’t exist; but in a twenty-minute firm interview, firm partners never seemed to make it to that point – or, more likely, they just didn’t care.
So a clerkship was pretty much out of the question, and that was perfectly fine with Fenno. It left him free to pursue with impunity some of the classes he had wanted to take since first thumbing through the course catalog as an overeager senior in college. Fenno grabbed a nearby copy of the catalog and turned to the electives section. So many choices… of administrative law. Undeterred, Fenno highlighted some of the powder-puff classes slated for his spring schedule: Art Law, Trusts and Estates, Leadership in the Public Sector, and, just for kicks, something with those wacky Crits. In other words, classes that were strictly verboten to judges, but were now, to Fenno, freely available for the taking.
Even after three semesters, however, the registration process was still something of a Gordian Knot to Fenno, so he decided to pay a visit to the first floor of Griswold to get some of his questions cleared up. Entering the Registrar’s office, Fenno encountered swarms of students buzzing about the place. Some, like him, merely sought to have their questions answered; others were there simply hoping to catch a glimpse of the illustrious but elusive “john d at hls.” But it was clear to Fenno what was causing most of the hubbub. It was that annual spring registration ritual: the lining up of the 3Ls to cross-register for courses as absolutely unrelated as possible to law school, the study of law, or the presence of the word “law” in any of the desired courses’ required reading. A line streamed out of Joe Cook’s office.
Fenno spied Katie Loncarich waiting in line. Mmm, thought Fenno, Katie Loncarich. By her side stood a sullen Rob P., his eyes half-shut. Drat, thought Fenno. Nevertheless, he struck up a conversation.
“Hey, Katie! Looking to cross-register?”
“You bet, Fenno!” Katie replied. “You know, just to vary things up a little bit.” Her enthusiasm was infectious. Rob scowled.
“Anything specific in mind?” asked Fenno.
“Oh, it doesn’t matter. Whatever they’ll approve,” she bubbled. Rob glowered.
“Well, good luck to you with that. I hear the Ed School has some choice offerings these days.”
“Oh, that sounds great! I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks, Fenno!” she giggled. Rob glared. Then he fell asleep.
Behind Katie stood Lauren Sudeall. This was unexpected; the ever-responsible Ms. Sudeall was the last person Fenno expected to see trying to skimp out on her law school credits. “What’s up, Lauren?” asked Fenno. “Are you taking classes somewhere else?”
Sudeall, jotting down notes for an amicus brief she planned to file with the Court the next day, looked up. “Oh, hey Fenno. Yeah, I’m looking for clinical opportunities at other Harvard schools. Turns out I’ve taken every possible clinical they offer here at the law school, including two they created just for me this past winter term. Besides, I’ll have some time opening up once I finish my run as Law Review Treasurer, and I don’t know how else I’ll fill up that remaining two hours of my day.”
Hovering nearby were Nick T. and Dimitri K. Fenno detected a suspiciously strong smell of Febreze on their clothes. “‘Sup gents,” said Fenno. “What are you petitioning to take?”
“Uh, an undergrad pottery class,” replied Nick. “Or sculpting. Basically, anything with a kiln.”
Fenno furrowed his brow. “Why?”
Responded Dimitri, “Uh, no reason.” He looked around furtively. “Say, you’re not wearing a wire, are you?”
Fenno figured that any more questions would prompt Dimitri to take the Fifth, so he moved onward. Nearby, Soren Aandahl leaned against the wall outside Joe Cook’s office. Despite it being the depths of winter, Aandahl wore a seersucker jacket and madras shorts. Fenno was surprised to see him.
“Soren, aren’t you a 1L? What are you doing here? Are you cross-registering?”
Aandahl replied, “Yeah, I’m actually looking into taking game theory at the College.”
Fenno was surprised. “Wow! Game theory. That’s pretty hardcore. Is this because it relates to your undergrad courses at Chicago? Or are you more just interested in the strategic interplay of parties within a negotiation setting?”
“What the hell are you talking about, Fenno?” Aandahl replied. “I’m taking game theory to work on my game. It’s been suffering lately. I was with this one girl the other night, and I couldn’t get more than seven hickies on her neck before I passed out. Law school has totally been cramping my style. Hopefully this course will help.”
Aandahl paused. “And hey,” he grinned, “I hope it’s as hardcore as you say it is.”
In the corner of the Registrar’s office, Fenno saw a cot set up. Reclining on it, with Law Review issues and a Parody script scattered about him, was George Hicks, who had set up shop for his semiannual ritual of pestering the Registrar 24/7 to ensure he got into every class he wanted. “Waitlists are for chumps, Fenno.” He dusted off his corduroy blazer and applied another layer of polish to his shoes. “You just have to know how to turn on the charm.” With that, he brushed back his hair and strode into Steven Kane’s office, exclaiming, “Big guy! How are the kids? Need to talk to you about my schedule this spring.” Flashing a confident wink toward Fenno, he closed the door behind him.
It was clear to Fenno that with all the surrounding hullabaloo, he wasn’t going to get his questions answered that day. He exited the office, walking into the lobby of Griswold while pondering all the ways he might someday game the registration system himself. He hadn’t advanced more than five steps when, completely lost in thought, he found himself upended and on the floor. He looked upward into the smiling face of Julie Black.
“I’m so sorry, Fenno!” she cried. “I was just practicing my swing dancing, and you walked right into my tuck turn.”
Ow, thought Fenno. It had been a while since he’d been hip-checked. “Think nothing of it,” Fenno replied. If there was anyone at the top of his list he couldn’t stay mad at, it was the utterly delightful Ms. Black.
“Are you doing the Parody this year, Fenno?” she asked sweetly. “I hear you’re a great dancer.”
Fenno hesitated. “Ah, gee, I’m not really sure if that’s my sort of -”
“I’m one of the choreographers, you know.”Fenno was sold. “Sign me
up! As long as it’s all highbrow, of course.”
She stared at him. “Uhhh… yeah. Highbrow all the way. See you there!” She turned and jitterbugged down the hall.
So Fenno had just signed himself up for the Parody. Interesting. But then he paused in consternation. Uh-oh, he thought. How would he find the time to be able to write his columns? Where in the world could he find material to support another 1,200 words?
What could he possibly poke fun at on the Harvard Law School campus in the next several weeks?
All of a sudden, a shining light from above focused on a bulletin board in the Griswold Hall. Angelic music wafted through the afternoon air. And it all soon became clear to Fenno. The brilliant beam focused on a single poster in the middle of the board. It read, “Federalist Society National Student Symposium, February 25-26, 2005, at Harvard Law School.”
Fenno smiled broadly. It was going to be a good semester.