I am the highlighting master

BY RODNEY ACHESON

Fear the broad swath of colors I bring to the Langdell tables! You sit not beside an ordinary law student, but a legend! I will not be satisfied until you submit to the superiority of my highlighter collection, for it is a collection three years in the making, and one which, unless you have made a concerted effort from your infant days in Lexis training, you could not possibly mimic. I truly am the highlighter master.

But even if you have been as coldly calculating as have I in amassing a veritable Crayola-copia of highlighters, I doubt most sincerely that you have brought the same critical acumen and intellectual prowess to the task. Oh have you? Consider that I separate the forms of red that I use to highlight both subordinate and superordinate forms of the Court’s holding. I have an entire set of colors reserved for the opinions of the Legal Economists on the Seventh Circuit. When I publish the 3L paper I am writing for Virginia Wise, you will see the brilliance of my coloring scheme.

I have faced danger. But despite this danger, nary a firm reception passed during my inaugural year at the law school where I failed to retrieve scores of highlighters from the cold Cambridge bars. I overcame obstacles you cannot imagine to seek my prizes – from young associates who prayed that I would truly love their firm the way that they once did to managing partners who jealously guarded their resources – the task was not simple. Do you not think you would have heard of me by now had my task failed? Had Mr. Weber been told of the jolly loot I have been amassing, would he not post in the Advisor to warm the rest of the school against such a lawless path? Of course he would. That he has not done so is a testament to my skill and agility. Who could doubt at this point that I am the highlighting master?!

There is history behind my marker collection; it speaks to a past that is prologue. In my desk drawer, I closely guard the history of law firm collapses and mergers, told through pens. I will never use nor cannot fathom the thought of losing my highlighters from Brobek, Phleger & Harrison LLP, or Gunderson, Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian LLP. Silicon Valley lives! Try to hide your envy for my Piper Rudnick and Shaw Pittman markers; never again will there be such highlighters!! As Dean Kagan is my witness, I will never use these national treasures; my passionate fire for life, law, and fiduciary responsibilities would extinguish with their precious ink.

BarBri, Lexis, and Westlaw tables are beneath me! It is well known that their highlighters are not worth the plastic they are enclosed in. When I watch the ink seep through the casebook pages I feel as though I am burying my only child. I shall never succumb and use these highlighters. They are an unacceptable compromise; they temp; they titillate, but do they serve the greater good? Can they further my learning the way that Paul Weiss has done by supplying the only turquoise highlighter seen in the halls of Harvard?

Certainly not. Only a fool would use those!

Yes, my expertise is great; and what is more, there is a story to each one of my highlighters, more precious than gold.

Rodney Acheson is a pseudonymous 3L at Harvard Law School. If you’d like to write something for the Record, but are too ashamed of it to put your name on it, send it along!

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