Fenno and the Final Countdown

Note: This series is fictional.

The First-Year’s Guide to the Law School has this to say on the subject of Thanksgiving break:

They say that time is an illusion; the reading period, doubly so. Law students have for decades observed the strange changes in the rate of time’s passage that occur each and every late-November. Tests that seem, when pondering them over a pile of dried-out turkey, to be eons away, suddenly upon a return to Cambridge accelerate over the chronological horizon with alarming speed. Or, put another way: oh no, tests soon.

Fenno was with his study group, talking through an old Torts issue-spotter and quickly realizing that he had not spotted very many issues at all. He’d barely come up with anything for the question about the landlord who didn’t repair the showerhead with a design defect that caused it to fire ball bearings at near-supersonic speeds instead of emitting water like it should’ve. That probably should have been caught at some point in the R&D.

“Christ,” sighed Fenno, “how do you guys catch all of this stuff? I’ve got a 50-word answer.”

“Oh, for this one the outline I got from ACS had all kinds of good stuff. But for that last one, I got a lot out of the FedSoc stuff. That one’s a bit shorter.”

“Wait. How short is ‘shorter’?”

“This one’s…what, 75 pages? Sounds about right.”

Fenno swallowed, hard, and quickly minimized his 13-page torts outline.

The Guide, on “outlines”:

It is vital to accumulate as many outlines as possible, from any and all sources. Do not shy away from making gray-market deals for bootleg outlines from student orgs you’ve never heard of; accumulating this wealth of past knowledge is one of two known purposes of these organizations.

Here the guide cross-references “Lunch.” The “outlines” entry continues:

A phenomenon dubbed “outline envy” by the health center is natural and healthy. A good 1L will quickly realize that the number of outlines in her collection is rivaled in importance only by their length. An outline should be easily consultable under time pressure, in order to alleviate the need to actually retain any information. Thus, an outline should be kept at a reasonable length. The classically accepted formula for determining the rough target-length of an outline is as follows:

(Length of the course’s casebook)/2 * (your worth as a student and a human)3 + 42

The equation’s result can be then adapted to fit your personal idiosyncratic habits, and to make sure it’s at least as long as everybody else’s.

It was late, and Fenno was hunched over a five-year-old Civ. Pro. exam. Chevy wandered past the younger’s open door, either going to or coming from the bar. He paused.

“Did I or did I not see you in the same position six hours ago?”

Fenno sighed. “Perhaps. But these tests loom large; the fear of the LP is strong.” He paused for a beat. “Don’t you have any exams?”

“Oh, sure. Four of ‘em. Better than actually having to write a paper; turns out, when you have more time people expect something resembling quality. Gotta embrace those low expectations.”

“So…you do…study, yes?”

“That would be one word for it.” With that, he was gone.

Fenno paused, and looked down at his 23rd practice exam. He pulled up his measly 17 pages of Civ. Pro. outline, and for a minute thought about plugging it into the Guide’s equation to solve for personal worth, and thought better of it. He poured a drink and went to track down Chevy.

“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 2012-13 School Year, entitled “Fenno: Mostly Harmless.”

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