Speed Dating for the Perfect Partner

BY JEFF JAMISON

You have been pre-screened, the computerized yenta has worked its magic and you have been matched with several potential suitors. You got or will get the chance to meet with some of these “matches” over drinks, and you are certain that you will get lucky. You’ve done your research, put on your best outfit — the one you wore to your cousin’s wedding two years ago — and you are feeling confident about your prospects. After one last look in the mirror, you enter the room and meet your first possible partner. You exchange pleasantries and decline offers of food or drink. Just when you think things are going well and you have met your soulmate, it hits you. They are only after one thing…your transcript. Okay, some of them want to get to know you before asking for your transcript and others want more than your transcript…they also want a writing sample. After they get what they want from you, they escort you out the door to meet with someone else. You are left standing the hallway feeling uncertain, confident, and/or dejected, but there is no time to reflect on this experience because another possible “love connection” waits for you in a hotel room across the Square.

Welcome to the speed dating process that is OCI.

By now the mystical yenta of Pound Hall has paired you with your prospective match and you are probably starting to get more nervous than Tom Cruise in a maternity ward. You are probably also getting a little frustrated that you were not matched with one of your dream picks –better get comfortable with rejection, it is going to happen several times over the next month. You will spend hours working on your lines, practicing your handshake, picking out that perfect outfit, finding out who else is meeting with your “dates,” learning all you can about them and dreaming about your life together. You meet with OCS counselors, the oh-so-helpful headhunters, and your friends. They all tell you the same thing, “just be yourself.” Which is good advice unless you are a total freak. Fortunately there is no one like that at HLS (don’t worry, I think you’ll be fine. Just stick to short sentences and remember to take your meds).

As daunting as the whole speed dating process seems now, after only a few weeks of wearing the same suit and racing back and forth between class and hotel rooms, it will all be a blur. Your suitors will blend into one entity that has three names with “&” somewhere in the middle of it all. They will feed you lines that are suppose to make your knees quiver: “We staff leanly” or “strong commitment to pro bono work.” They will tempt with you food, beverages and “fabulous” gifts like the highlighter that doubles as Ginsu Knife. Throughout it all, you will only be certain of one thing: the chocolate covered pretzels at the Charles are best part of this process.

When the day is over, during your walk of shame back to campus, you will be left with this uneasy feeling. Did they like me? Will they want to see me again? Why did I say that the most important merger of the last year was Bradgelina? You start to hear the rumors that other people have gotten a second “date” and from your dream firm. Ignore those people, with clear self esteem issues, who need to brag about their dozens of callbacks. They will never find true happiness. The silence is maddening. Why haven’t they called? Did I give them the right number? What is wrong with me? Just when you are about to give up hope, the calls and letters start to arrive. A call means that you got a second date. A letter means that you are a wonderful person with a lot going for you, but it is just not going to work out between the two you. It is not you, itÕs them. The rejection hurts, especially when you learn that others got another chance with your dream partner and they don’t care about them the way that you do. What do they have that I don’t have? What is wrong with me? You know you can change to be the person they want you to be, but then the reality sets in that you are not getting another “date.” You blast “I Will Survive” and pledge to make them pay, as you trash the inflatable pen/stapler/Rubik’s cube with their name vainly emblazoned on it that they gave you to remember them by. “One day you will be on the other side, I WILL beat you, and, when I do, I will show you this rejection letter and you will wish you had not rejected me!” Okay, maybe that was just me, but fortunately the court-ordered anger management courses are helping. Serenity Now. Your friends try to comfort you; there are other fish in the sea, if they don’t want you then they aren’t worthy of you, they are making a big mistake, yada, yada…

Nothing helps until you realize that you are good enough, you are smart enough and gosh darn it firms like having HLS students, so there will be several firms that want you. You can also be comforted by the fact that you will probably not have to go through this again…

That is until you apply for clerkships…

Jeff Jamison is a 3L who thanks every deity possible for the fact that he has a job offer after graduation.

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