Note: This serial is fictional.
The first person Fenno told about his LP was an OCS advisor. It struck him that his confidant was not a family member or a friend, but this stranger who recited assurances that he would get a job, but it would take work, hard work. He wanted to tell her that it wasn’t because he was stupid, that he was different from every other student who had gotten an LP. He wanted to fill the awkward pauses in the room with a sob story—his mother had died, his laptop floundered—anything but the truth, that he had no one to blame but himself.
He shuffled off to class later that day and, as he had done every class since the day grades came out, adjusted his seat so he could hide behind his peers. No longer did he fancy himself impressing his classmates with the facts he carefully gleaned from the casebook. Now, he merely wanted to pass through each class unnoticed. His classmates, too, had been transformed by their grades. Those who had done well were inflated by a new confidence to offer their opinions, unsolicited. Raj, for example, was routinely volunteering to parse concurring opinions and recent legal scholarship. And those, like him, who had been disappointed by mediocre evaluations, sank lower into their chairs and gazed glumly at their casebooks, hoping to avoid the almost certain public humiliation of the cold call.
That night, Fenno fumbled through his first reception. He had long shunned the practice of networking; to him, there was nothing more degrading than such an eager reliance on personality, rather than quality of work, for advancement. But the OCS advisor told him to attend, and he was no longer in a position to stand by his lofty and admittedly flimsy principles.
The firm that night was Simpson Thatcher, a firm he, in his new position at the bottom of the barrel, could now never hope to work for. Still, he feigned confidence and a passion for the law. He declared his devotion to Mergers and Acquisitions as one would professing undying love to a princess. He waxed poetic about contracts. He echoed New York was indeed the center of the world.
He walked back to his dorm feeling that he had done very well, that he had played the part of a promising legal enthusiast and perhaps that would be enough.
“Coming back from a reception?” his neighbor asked, spying him in his dark suit. When Fenno nodded, the aged 3L said cynically, “Those don’t really matter. They’re just going to decide based on your grades.”
Fenno was quickly deflated again.
“Fenno” is a fictional serial written by an anonymous law student. The main character is always named Fenno and is always a 1L, but his or her character changes every school year. This installation is part of the series for the 2011 to 2012 School Year entitled “The Uncertain Fenno, 2011 to 2012.”
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