“But law school is for people who are boring, and ugly… and serious. And you button are none of those things.”
“You came first runner-up in Miss Hawaiian Tropic – why do you want to throw that all away?”
Watching Legally Blonde the other night, I wish my parents had been just like Elle Woods’. Only, their equivalent statements would have been something like:
“Now that you’ve grown past that awkward phase and ditched the glasses, you don’t want to get pasty and fat at law school,” and:
“You came third in a cross country race one time – why do you want to throw that all away?”
Unfortunately they took my commitment to the popular 90’s television courtroom drama The Practice as an interest in the law, and coupled with my ability to voice an opinion (ad nauseum) they were supportive of any legal ambitions. Hello, I really was just interested in Dylan McDermott… and television.
Luckily my friends were rather more honest.
“Law school? Are you dead inside?”
“But… I don’t understand. You don’t like wearing beige.”
“Jess, you’re the devil.”
Rest assured, I am not exaggerating.
But here’s the funny thing. Despite declaring I would quit law school after one semester, I never did. I think being legally qualified might be like being a lapsed Catholic. Once a law student, always a law student. I think like a lawyer. I talk like a lawyer. I look like a lawyer. I give legal advice, in a voice two decibels lower than usual. On every first date I’ve been on: “So, did you say you’re a lawyer?” Umm, no, I didn’t, I DIDN’T, GOD!
So my question is – why? And I think I have the answer – because, like Scientology and people who bake cupcakes obsessively and force you to eat them at the office – law school is a cult. One from which you cannot escape. Consider the evidence, if you will (sorry):
- Judges wear funny outfits. Big, voluminous moo-moos. And wigs. I could say something about ritual, and costuming, and how it’s all very religious but I’m just going to sum it up in a word: weird.
- There’s a whole other language. Stuff like, “with respect” and “your honour” and “obitus dicta” and “precedent” and “ratio decidendi” (so 4 years of law school and $40 000 was clearly well spent on this brain because that’s about all I remember. And something about “loss of a chance” at some pharmacy in the UK, which was like, apparently a big deal). Apart from helping us sound smart, it creates a common language that only a few select, special, chosen people (that’s us, not you) understand. Which helps us with the whole “us and them” thing we have going.
- We put people through ridiculous tests so they can be admitted to the bar. Ok, it’s one test. Ok, it’s not as complicated as the Freemason handshake (trust me, I know, I met one, and it’s a lot like playing thumbsies but that’s a story for another day) but still. It’s harder than blogging, so…
- A select few in the legal cult, sorry community, make a crapload of money and the rest of us slave away scrubbing their floors, sorry proofing contracts and pretending to understand credit loan obligations.
- They like to get together and have parties where all they do is talk about the law in their funny legal language. And it’s reasonably forseeable that this would lead to someone drinking some very suspicious Kool Aid and/or everyone there simply just losing the will to live.
- If you decide not to be a lawyer, they shun you.
Ok that last one’s not true. Then again, I finished law school and refused to get admitted to the bar and practice; and I don’t have any friends who are lawyers so…I rest my case (sorry).
And despite being 7 years out of law school, I still refer to them and me as us. See? Cult.
Oh, and did I mention I love the law? #brainwashed #knowitanddon’tcare #lawschoolisawesome! #someonehelpme