Choose Your Own Adventure: The Paper Chase

BY KATIE MAPES

1. Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to Harvard Law School! You have made your parents very proud and your peers very envious. If you choose to accept your offer of admission go to 3. If you decide to hold out for Yale, go to 2.

2. Yale rejects you. On the way back from your mailbox, you are hit by your apartment complex’s gardener’s lawnmower. You feel yourself fall to the ground and then everything goes dark. You know nothing more.

3. You arrive two days before orientation to move into your Gropius 1 dorm room. While you are dismayed to find out that your cellphone doesn’t work anywhere within a ten mile radius and also that your room is the size of a standard refrigerator box, you’re super excited to be here. If you choose to go to HL Central’s annual party at the Kong, go to 4. If you decide to stay home and read the case assigned by your orientation leader one more time, go to 5. 4. You are the first one called on in orientation. Because you only read the orientation case three times, you give only a mediocre answer, and are quickly put to shame by your classmate’s outside research. Your other classmates do not hate you and so you make friends with some of them. Everything is going swimmingly – you’re even managing to keep up on your reading and no professor has made you cry yet! – until Thanksgiving rolls around. If you decide to go home to see your dog, go to 6. If you decide to stay at school and work on your outlines, go to 7.

5. Your clumsy attempts to brief a case despite having no idea what a brief is drive you insane. You fall to the floor and find yourself licking the paint off your cinder block walls. Everything starts to go black. The last thing you think is “Wait, are they supposed to have lead paint here? Can I sue?”

6. Unfortunately, you forgot that seeing the dog also means seeing your entire extended family. You persevere until Thanksgiving night when you finally shove a piece of turkey in Aunt Josephine’s mouth just to shut her up. She chokes on a bone and dies. Oops. You’re forced to take the dog and flee to the Canadian border where you’re unfortunately caught out by federal agents in a routine prescription drug smuggling check. You are thrown in jail where you try, and fail, to convince Professor Dershowitz to defend you. You are convicted, sentenced under draconian state sentencing guidelines, and spend the rest of your natural life in prison.

7. You stay at HLS and accomplish absolutely zero work on your outlines, deciding instead to watch the Thanksgiving weekend Full House marathon on ABC Family. After a cheerful thanksgiving dinner at John Harvard’s – the only place open – you retire back to your dorm room for another night of not-studying. Unfortunately, the shame of having wasted your thanksgiving break and your paralyzing fear of the upcoming finals period drives you into a near panic state from which you are unable to recover. After a Christmas Break spent sniping at everyone you know (and, again, failing to study), you return to HLS to buckle down before finals. Three weeks later, you emerge from your room having finished your finals and desperate for some form of sustenance beyond those egg and cheese bagels from the Hark.

Now the long wait for grades begins and your job search intensifies. If you schedule an advising appointment with OPIA, go to 8. If you schedule one with OCS, go to 9.

8. OPIA tells you that you too can get a great public interest job and gives you a book listing 900 great job opportunities. Unfortunately, your worry over student loans combined with the pressure of waiting for grades gets to you and leaves you a bitter, jaded shell of a law student. You feel you have little choice but armed insurrection. You seduce most of the 1L class (and those 2Ls and 3Ls who have TiVos they can set to record Grey’s Anatomy) to your following. Unfortunately, it turns out that the University does not really employ that fleet of lawn mowers because the lawns need to be mowed Every. Single. Day. during Property. They employ them to crush just such an uprising. The battle is long and bloody and in the end your forces are greatly reduced. If you decide to order your army to retreat to Three Aces, go to 10. If you decide to push onwards to the Science Center, go to 11.

9. OCS advises you on approximately 900 firms to send your resume and transcript to. You get your grades and while you are secretly disappointed by your B+ average you are thrilled to realize that it is plenty to gain you employment at the Vault 10 firm of your choice. You accept an offer after your 1L summer and work there happily for three to seven years after graduation, after which you are pushed out and forced to seek refuge in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where you are very happy and also allowed to carry a gun.

10. You order the spaghetti with meatballs special and catch food poisoning from the bad garlic bread. As you lay dying, you hope with your last breath that your revolution doesn’t perish with you. It does.

11. You annex the Science Center as Law Student Revolutionary Army territory and find that yourself and your army are sustained by the delicious salad bar, so different from anything on offer at the Hark. You decide to broker a peace agreement with the law school administration: you will offer them permanent control of the Science Center in exchange for prompt release of grades and a blanket amnesty. They are thrilled to agree. Unfortunately, this means that (a) Sodexho has to take over all Science Center catering, and (b) it is now overrun by law students. It is thus no different than the Hark. You are stunned and saddened by this potent illustration of the dangers of war.

On the other hand, your grades are now promptly released. You are secretly disappointed by your B+ average, but are thrilled to realize that it is plenty to gain you employment at the public interest organization of your choice. You accept an offer with a Vault 10 firm after your 2L summer and work there happily for three to seven years after graduation, after which you are pushed out and forced to seek refuge in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, were you are very happy and also allowed to carry a gun.

The End.

Katie Mapes, 2L, thanks www.amateurgourmet.com for reminding her of the marvelousness that was Choose Your Own Adventure.”

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