Fear Not: I Have This All Under Control

I have observed in recent days that many people on this campus seem shellshocked by the election result. Not so me. As careful readers of my previous columns will note, I have always assumed that Donald Trump would be our 45th president. To the half-a-dozen of you who read my previous columns, and failed to heed my warnings, you have only yourselves to blame. How many times did I try to tell everyone—the Dean, my fellow-classmates, the professors in whose classes I am nominally enrolled—that this day was at hand? How many times did they say to me, “Oh no, Fenno, you’re crazy!” Oh, I’m crazy, am I? I’m crazy? Would a crazy person LAUGH LIKE THIS????!!!!!!

No. No one is laughing now. This is serious.

Continue reading “Fear Not: I Have This All Under Control”

An Exclusive Interview with Dean Minow

You may have read about the HLS administration’s refusal to allow the Record to publish its recent interview with Dean Minow. Our editors-in-chief, I regret to say, are staggeringly incompetent and weak-willed. Like all Harvard Law students, they are anatomical curiosities, who are at once both hidebound and spineless. You can depend upon them for nothing. And so, for the good of the paper, I considered it my duty to salvage the whole operation and interview the Dean myself.

How did I secure an on-the-record interview with the Dean, you ask, after she denied the same to my editorial overlords? Well, I’ve been around this school a long time, you see, and I know things. I know who has their fingers in the door. I know who has their foot in the pie. And oh yes, I know where the bodies are buried. They say they can’t tear down the Gropius Complex because it’s a historical landmark, but who really believes that? Oh, the terrible secrets that lurk in the bowels of that concrete monstrosity! How many nights have I lain awake on the sofa in the Record basement, listening to the faint finger-scrabbling of Harvard’s hapless enemies, entombed within the walls!

But I digress.

Continue reading “An Exclusive Interview with Dean Minow”

Fenno: Ignore These Lessons at Your Own Risk

As the longest-serving member of the Harvard Law School student body, I am happy to offer a few words of advice to incoming 1Ls. As you embark on this exciting new phase of your life, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. The law is a terrible profession.

Judicial opinions are nothing but a mix of bad philosophy, amateur sociology, and half-remembered historical anecdotes. They are appallingly written as a genre, and reading too many of them will inevitably make your own writing much worse. Unfortunately, only those who fully steep themselves in this cesspool of verbiage will ever manage to become judges, and thus the hideous cycle of unreadability perpetuates itself forever.
Continue reading “Fenno: Ignore These Lessons at Your Own Risk”

Fenno’s Guide to Writing a Good Exam

Let me begin by saying that the “free press” in this country is a sham, and The Record is no exception. I recently submitted two pieces for publication in this paper: one, an exposé entitled “Time-Travelling SS Officers at Harvard” (with chilling video evidence), and the other, a detailed proposal for replacing the Harvard Law School crest with a picture of an orca devouring the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Both of these pieces were rejected by the Harvard Law Record Editorial Board, on the grounds that they were a) badly spelled and b) “not a constructive contribution to the serious conversations currently taking place on our campus.”

Rest assured that I will continue to speak out on these matters, regardless of what the Dean has to say about it (I don’t think she’s said anything yet, but in case she does), or the student-journalist junta that controls this so-called newspaper. However, in the interest of actually reaching my HLS readership this week, I’ve chosen a “safe” topic upon which to expound my wisdom: HOW TO WRITE A GOOD EXAM. Continue reading “Fenno’s Guide to Writing a Good Exam”

The New Adventures of Fenno

About the author: Fenno is a long-time contributor to the Record, recently returned from hiatus. A perpetual Harvard Law student, Fenno never ages, graduates, or experiences liver failure, but continues to sporadically attend classes whenever a busy recreational schedule permits.

I woke propped like a plank across two leather footrests in Caspersen Student Center. I spent a good five minutes working out which of my limbs was which, and which muscles controlled which limbs. Then I executed a controlled roll onto the adjacent couch. The sweaty skin on my face came unstuck from the leather with a sound like saran wrap being removed from squashed banana. I blinked into the hideous brightness. I attempted to utter the words “Good morning, cruel world” in a quiet voice of world-weary cynicism, but all that came out was “Nrrrrrrrrrrrrk.”
Continue reading “The New Adventures of Fenno”

Fenno: A cold day in hell

It was a cold day in hell. There were a lot of signs pointing in that direction, but Fenno was absolutely sure of it once he saw James stroll in ten minutes late to Liz Warren’s bankruptcy class, take off his parka and gloves, and mutter something about having to put chains on his tires. Also, the icicles on his pitchfork rendered it too heavy to use to stab the laptop screens of classmates who had souls and therefore dared to play solitaire or Snood during class. Everyone got high scores!

Fenno decided to figure out what was going on. The easiest thing would have been to ask James directly, but that would have been risking a conversation. Instead, Fenno trudged off in the direction of Areeda. But Stephen said that Arthur Miller had been completely snowed in. Fenno declined the offer of iced coffee.

Off to Griswold. Professor Hanson was crying, and the last day of Torts was still months away. “My Corporations class has ruined Cardozo! I love Cardozo,” he blubbered. Fenno offered him one of the Diversity Cookies he’d picked up in the Lehmann Lounge. Unable to choose only one, Hanson shoved all ten of them in his mouth at the same time, just to be fair. Greatly relieved to have someone to talk to at last, he continued: “Mmmph mmph mmchhk, mmffchk.”

“Yes, you are much too tall to cry,” Fenno replied. Hanson swallowed, slouched a bit, and explained, “They mocked the ‘punctilio of an honor’ speech. They were all laughing at Cardozo. I knew I shouldn’t have let Joe Nuccio read it aloud.” Fenno reached up and gave Hanson a hug. And since he’d attended an ’80s retro anti-war rally in the Square that morning, Fenno knew he was in a perfect position to help out. As he left, Fenno casually dropped a couple “No Nootch” stickers on his chair.

Still not satisfied that all was right with Harvard Law, Fenno sprinted back through Areeda and out the front doors of Langdell. He caught Brent Bickley, Dave Axelrod, Justin Tichauer and Mike Gottlieb taking a study break on the steps. Fenno hailed them: “What’s up fellas?”

“Me and the crew is just chillin’,” said Dave. “We were thinking about maybe going wilding later. Want in?” Fenno paused. He’d heard of this before. Wilding involved sitting outside Pound Hall drinking forties during a seriously in-your-face discussion about the ideal incentive structure for maximum deterrence against insider trading. There was also a lot of shoulder-punching.

Fenno politely declined: “No, too extreme for me, dudes.” Fenno also thought he might not have enough hair product to hang. Brent turned to Justin. “Dude, have any hair product? I just ran out.” Tichauer responded by putting his cigarette out on Brent’s arm. End of conversation.

Fenno took his leave and sloughed back through Langdell. He heard a loud screech overhead. Looking up, he saw the library hawk. It had a crow in its mouth. The crow had a piece of cheese in its mouth. Fenno asked the hawk if he knew anything about the source of the troubles at the Law School. But the hawk wasn’t falling for that old trick. He flew off south, in the direction of the yard. Fenno watched him go, and noticed a strange mist wafting from the roof of Austin Hall. Ever suspicious and handsome, Fenno ran as fast as he could to Austin. It was very dark inside. The front doors creaked open of their own accord. Fenno stepped inside and felt a chill run down his spine. He heard organ music. He turned off his walkman. He heard live organ music. Oh, and some wailing coming from upstairs. He grabbed a torch from off the wall and quietly started up the staircase.

He peered into Ames Courtroom. It was strangely lit, and quiet as the grave. This made perfect sense as soon as Fenno saw Professor Murray reading a blank PowerPoint slide to his ITA class. Fenno felt a tug on his sleeve. Still intent on the rather surreal scene in the courtroom, Fenno drew his arm away. Then he felt something biting into his ankle. It was Allison Caplis. She took his hand and dragged him away from the door. “Fenno! Oh thank God you’re here,” she whispered, somewhat out of breath. “Something terrible is happening in the attic.”

“There’s an attic?” Fenno asked, incredulous.

“Of course there’s an attic. What did you think the ‘70-Foot High Club’ meant?”

“There’s a 70-Foot High Club? At the Law School?! Do we go to the same law school?” Fenno thought this might be a trick.

“Well it only happens once every 15 years or so, but it gets a lot of press,” Allison explained. “But never mind that. Come with me.” Fenno followed Allison up the next flight of stairs, past the Morgan Courtroom. He heard something like tapping on the wall as they went past. “Don’t worry,” Allison said, “it’s just the Tenant Advocacy Project advocating tenancy.” Fenno shook his head. It can’t be as easy as that, he thought.

They arrived at the door to the attic. Fenno put Allison on his shoulders so she could pull the doorknob from the ceiling. They lowered the stairs and walked up. The organ music was very loud, and Fenno could barely see from the clouds of mist pouring down. At the top of the stairs it was almost freezing, but the air had cleared, though it was still dark. In the middle of the room was a 10-foot high cage, and inside was the figure of a man, suspended in the air, shackled, the lower part of his face covered with a muzzle.

A voice came from inside the cage: “Greetings Fenno. I knew you might find me on your own, but I thought I’d give you a little help.” Fenno looked around for Allison, but all he saw was a little white mouse. It wrinkled its nose, then ran into the cage and sat on the man’s foot. “I’m just doing a little research for my latest controversial stand,” he continued. “Funny how easy it is to get research assistants at Harvard Law School. They don’t even ask what they’re researching.” As Fenno’s eyes adjusted to the dim, he saw human shapes hanging from the walls, and he began to make out faces. He didn’t recognize any of them, but that was probably only because they were 2Ls. Each of them wore a dark-colored XXL sweatshirt, with “Property of Alan Dershowitz” on the chest.

“Professor Dershowitz, what are you doing?” Fenno cried.

“I’m just getting a little . . . information,” he cackled. “Surely you’ve heard of academic freedom.”

Fenno was stunned. He scanned the room again. There was a face he recognized. “Clifford Ginn. C’mon, Professor. You’ll never get anything out of him. Didn’t you read his almost poetic attack on the Supreme Court’s disregard for the Fifth Amendment in last week’s RECORD?”

Dershowitz’s eyes opened, and he looked towards the budding Con Law scholar writhing on his wall. “Oh yeah,” he sniffed. “Him I’m just plain torturing. I figure anyone who can’t tell the difference between an editorial in The RECORD and an article in the Law Review deserves it.”

Fenno gave him a thumbs up.