For Admitted Students: Your Personal Tour of Harvard Law School


Welcome to Harvard Law School, admitted students! I’ll be your tour guide today. Since I’ll be walking backwards for the next 20 minutes in order to deliver perky and insightful commentary about what we’re seeing, make sure to let me know if I’m about to run into anything. First, let’s step into the Harkness Commons, our student union, where we’ll begin our tour. Yes, it does have pretty glass windows overlooking the ice skating rink, doesn’t it? Shhhh, make sure to keep your voices down; we don’t talk in here. Yes, of course we have a library too, guy in the Cornell sweatshirt. Don’t be snarky.

Please, let’s continue into the hallway and file into this little room with all the boxes. You’ll each have your own mailbox, which probably makes you feel like you’re an important part of the community already, right? That’s good, because you have no idea how many people have special messages they want to give to you via your mail box! Just make sure to check it regularly; you wouldn’t want to be one of those people whose Valentine’s Day flower has shriveled into a desiccated flower corpse.

No, that is not symbolic, Cornell guy.

In the hallway, you’ll notice we have several computers for student use. This is good, because sometimes it will be too much trouble to take your laptop out of your bag between classes, and if we didn’t have these, you might have to spend the five minutes it takes you to walk from Pound, to the Koffee Klatch, back to Pound without checking your e-mail. And people get angry if you don’t check your e-mail.

Which reminds me, did you all receive your special Harvard e-mail address with your acceptance? You did? Oh, good. It’s pretty, isn’t it? Bask in it for a while; do not deny the power of the e-mail address.

Continuing on, let’s descend into the tunnels where, if you live off campus, you’ll get your very own locker. Just like high school you say? Ha ha! What a funny and totally original thought!

Actually, it’s much more like junior high, except that this generation of junior high school students grew up with MySpace and thus is much more mature about their Internet usage.

The tunnels are very useful though, in that they’re how we survive the hellish Boston winters and, presumably, any impending nuclear holocaust. Don’t forget to stop by the course distribution center where you can pick up several dead forests worth of material that is generally also available on-line.

Oh, does your school make you pay for photocopies, down-on-your-luck kid in a University of California, Riverside sweatshirt? How funny! Next thing you’ll tell me they don’t give you USB drives emblazoned with your school crest either.

Really? Oh, wow. That’s just like those episodes of “The O.C.” where Ryan returned to Chino and everything was shot with some kind of blue filter. Don’t worry, honey; you’ve been rescued from that life of grinding poverty. It’s just like the American dream, except with student loans.

Alright, we’ve reached the library, which is full of many thousands of dead forests that are now available on-line with the press of a button. Fortunately, many student journals insist that you reference the dead tree version when you’re subciting, and some even insist that you make additional, dead tree based copies, so none of this will go to waste!

What’s subciting? Oops, I wasn’t supposed to mention that yet. Umm, you’ll hear more about that after you send in your deposit. But look! Look at how much fun these people with the laptops, the dead eyes, and the extra long sheets of paper are having! Okay, let’s hustle here, guys. No lagging behind.

We’ve arrived at Austin Hall, which is apparently the oldest building at the law school. This is the Ames Courtroom, which you can watch on closed circuit television when Supreme Court Justices come to visit. It’s also the site of fun events like our annual public interest auction where people like you, Riverside girl, get to learn about the dangers of combining free alcohol with ludicrously inflated summer associate salaries. Yes, very much like on “The O.C.” when they had Casino Night! Too bad that show got so cruelly and summarily cancelled, eh?

Finally, let’s make our way back to the dorms where some of you may or may not be living, depending on what gets demolished, turned into offices, or designated a Superfund site. But that’s just the kind of real world litigation experience we excel at providing at Harvard Law School. Like in A Civil Action, except without the Scientologists.

That concludes our tour. I hope you all enjoy the Student Activities Fair this afternoon, and remember, dinner is on the law school!

Katie Mapes, 2L, is kind of sad she never got to go to admitted students weekend.

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