God, I Am So Prestigious


After four months at Harvard Law School and an embarrassing number of hours reading the can’t-look-away train wreck of a message board at xoxohth.com, I have come to realize that there is only one true goal in life: to become prestigious. Really prestigious. When I walk into a room, I want people to say, “I heard she has a Scalia clerkship lined up 3 years in advance. I heard she bet her entire section $1000 she’d win the 2008 Fay Diploma and no one would take the bet. I hear she’s the new litigation partner at Quinn.”

In light of this, I am reorganizing my entire life. Gone are my public interest goals; public interest is highly unprestigious. I even asked Roger Pao if I could change my title to “Editor of Prestige,” but he was huddled in the corner of the Record office writing a sonnet in the margins of a Fed Courts textbook, and I don’t think he heard me. Public interest, and especially legal services, which I was sort of getting into, is the “third tier toilet” of legal goals; instead, I will stop at nothing to work at Wachtell or Cravath.

Remember that “I Was a Firm Widow” editorial I wrote? Now that I’ve guilted my husband into turning down his Vault 15 offer (specifying Vault ranges is prestigious), he’ll be writing “I Was A Firm Widower” sob stories to the Record. Awesome. No, not “awesome.” 180. Rating cool things by LSAT scores is more prestigious.

I start this quest by taking stock of my current level of prestige. It looks pretty solid. First, I’m at Harvard. Automatically more prestigious than everyone in the country except the 25 kids that make up Yale’s entire student body, and you folks reading this. Good.

But I’m a minority! Oh no. People might think I’m an affirmative action admit. Affirmative action is unprestigious. If I were a legacy admit, I might be getting somewhere.

But I rocked the LSAT. Phew. Like I said, LSATs are prestigious. High GPAs and work ethics are for suckers. In the middle of both of my take-home exams, I took a break, ate some fruit cocktail, and played some Yahoo games. Text Twist is prestigious, am I right?

But I was in Teach For America. Helping poor kids out of the goodness of your heart is unprestigious. I should have tried consulting, or investment banking. Maybe I can dig that McKinsey flyer out of my trash can.

My husband goes to Chicago. Everyone knows Chicago is full of intense, genius, law-and-economics-obsessed conservatives who spend their free time in the student lounge building statues of Epstein and Posner out of dollar bills. That’s super prestigious. I know I ruined his biglaw dreams, but maybe that Chicago vibe can still rub off on me.

Oh man, I’ve done a bunch of volunteer work, though. Immigrants and disabled kids and whatnot. And I went to a state school. With a humanities major. And I’m liberal, and a feminist. And I bought these jeans at Robinson’s-May, and I think I’m wearing socks that don’t match. This is looking bad. Seppuku may be my only option. That, or a transfer to Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.

My quest to be uber-prestigious is in dire straits, and I’m only one semester in. Maybe I’m screwed. Maybe I’m doomed to a life of upper-middle-class mediocrity, a life of spending time with my husband and future kids. Living on two decent lawyer incomes and buying things I actually have the time to use. Having a job that makes the most of my skills and values – a job that doesn’t even come with magazine rankings! God, that’s depressing. Hold me.

Andrea Saenz, 1L, is from Long Beach, CA. She kids because she loves.

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