Sunday, September 03, 2006

How I became the most infamous 1L in law school (Part 1)

It was a normal day in my contracts class. The professor is bombarding us, with the Socratic Method style questioning. I realize this professor is fairly intense and demands respect, but I had no idea what was coming. He definitely gets a thrill out of freaking people out, by showing how they did not understand the case or how they did not read the case carefully. He instills fear in students like a lion staring down at you and is the most feared teacher in the school. Often I am not completely sure that the people he picks on aren’t going to cry. But at least it’s only for a minute, a few minutes at max. In all fairness he is brilliant, a Rhodes Scholar, and has a great sense of humor (British dry wit). But he is intense and demands respect.

So out of the blue on a fine Monday afternoon, Contracts Professor calls on me.

Now being that it was the second day of class, I had not realized the depth that you need to read the cases. So I browsed over the case on the bus ride from the parking lot. I only understood the basic ideas. The case was assigned on Friday but he did not get to the case till the following Monday. I did not review over the weekend. I had errands to run, other cases to read, and alcohol to put in my liver.

So come Monday, he asks me my opinion on the case.

He proceeds by bombarding me with questions about offer and acceptance until I am in complete vertigo. First I try to BS; this is usually an effective technique. Worst case scenario, you may not look smart but at least it looks like you did the reading. But trying to BS my way through was not working very well, since he wanted exact quotes from the case. I obviously can’t supply the answer since I just browsed over the case. He realizes I haven’t read the case’s details at all and then corners me with a question I couldn’t possibly answer by just browsing.

So I figured I should put the charm. I reply that I had not highlighted the case and apologized for my lack of preparation and suggested that he call on someone else. If you thought this is where he stopped, you would be very wrong. He then prepared to grill me on another case we had read. I had also only browsed over it a few days back. He continued grilling me on the cases for about 10 minutes. I think he was frustrated that he couldn’t get me to fold and be embarrassed. But the class was in sheer horror that this teacher could fire bomb after bomb at a student, in such a way to attempt to try to make them feel like shit. There was much gossip in the locker room about the guy that got grilled by Contracts Professor. If you think this is where the grilling of me ends, you are still very wrong.

The very next class, Contracts professor calls on me to explain facts of a case. Which, after a momentary pause I was able to successfully do. He then proceeded to grill me for another ten minutes with questions, which I somehow manage to dodge the heat. He finally moves on to another student. I am greatly relieved and figured I am safe for the rest of the class. There are plenty of other students to pick on in an 85 person class. With every other student he had called he had limited his attacks to about 3 minutes, tops. Both of my encounters had been far longer than any other student.

A little bit of time elapsed.

Then it happened.

“Mr. Slacker, where in the entire UCC code would you find justification for the claim?”

The class fell silent and the faces all around me are in sheer horror at the prospect of being asked where in the entire Uniform Commercial Code a justification is located. Especially since no one had any idea that they had to look up anything in the UCC.

I was flabbergasted and didn’t know what to say. I did not say anything. I think I chuckled at the sheer ridiculous nature of the question. I flip through the book to humor him.

“Is it in there? Or are we just making this up?” He quipped as he attempted to make fun of me.

“Being that your asking, I am willing to bet that it is” I retort sarcastically .The class laughed out loud. It’s safe to say that he did not rather appreciate this. Although, I think deep down he found my answer rather hilarious. He proceeded to grill me and grill me hard; harder than any student before.

I struggle with the case which I had read, but not briefed, and reconciling it with the UCC. With several awkward pauses of 30 seconds where he had the class wait while I was reading the UCC I slowly found the needed material.

I eventually, concocted several UCC codes and several facts of the case to give the right answer. I was relieved. I think he was impressed with my intelligence, but not impressed that I am a sarcastic slacker that did not buy into his game of fear. Secretly I think he respected me more for it though. At the minimum, I had gotten the right answer unlike the first day.

But nonetheless, he had made it his mission to continuously call on me in every class. This is certainly a problem and thoroughly unenjoyable. So I came up with a way to defeat the Rhodes Scholar in a battle of wits.

The talk in the locker room after class was almost entirely about me. I had probably around 20 people come up to me and express their sympathies. They spread the word to other 1Ls, and soon the tale of the slacker that Contracts Professor keeps calling on was infamous. They feared being the person getting called on like me. My fellow students were supportive, I am thankful.

To see how I turn it around you must wait till part 2.


Post a Comment

<< Home