Friday, January 06, 2006


I went to a reception last night hosted by one of the big law firms here in the city. They invited 1L's to come by and say hello and begin the recruitment process for summer jobs. It was really weird. Strutting up Park Avenue in my suit, looking purposeful, I felt like a fraud. When I finally made it into the conference room where the reception was taking place, there were only about ten other people there. The students had nametags with green writing, and the lawyers had nametags with red writing. So you spent a lot of time craning your neck to see who you should bother talking to, because what's the point of sharing that funny anecdote from Torts class with some schlub from Cardozo? It was like a frat party where the girls hadn't arrived yet. So some girl came and talked to me who recognized me from undergrad and we hung around for a bit.

It was really bizarre. The same awkward conversation repeated twelve times over, or spinning some conversational gold out of nothing. Awkward silence, then "how do you like law school?," countered by "how long have you been at the firm?" And then you're off to the races. There were attendants passing around gorgeous hors d'oeuvres, little flaky pastries and kabobs and these juicy lamb chops, but who would eat a lamb chop at a professional mixer like this? I had one beer and after 90 minutes had hit my saturation point.

As I was walking back I thought about how this life of wealth and comfort seems pretty darn close, in a way. And also how these firms are like the Cheneys of the legal world. Product liability cases, when a medicine makes people sick and they die? The firms defend the pharmaceutical companies, and they win. Environmental cases? The firms defend the polluting industries, and they win. I don't know if I can do that.

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