Last year, in our douchiest law school competition, Duke Law was crowned as the douchiest law school in the land. But we might have to run the contest again based on the new information we have about UVA Law.
On the law school’s website, the school is posting summer associate stories from UVA students who were able to secure SA positions. The one posted yesterday is so full of sweetness I developed adult-onset diabetes before I finished the post. It’s 565 words from a rising 2L at UVA about the (apparently glorious) opportunities available at Arent Fox. Yes, that’s the same Arent Fox that revoked offers to several members of its incoming associate class this past September. I think we can safely say that the idyllic summer experience at the firm isn’t at all like the nightmarish reality of getting your career aborted before it starts.
But such weighty issues are of no concern to this UVA student. You’ve got to check out her report.
Warning: you are about to enter a trippy world of lollipops and rainbows, so proceed with caution….
My experience working as a summer associate at Arent Fox in New York has been challenging, exciting and, yes, even fun.
Fun? We are the Weakest Generation, aren’t we? We’re in a tepid recovery following a terrible recession, and yet our best and brightest youths are still concerned with whether or not their job is “fun.”
Each day I may follow the same routine going to work: I say goodbye to the doorman at my building, I take the subway to the office, walk a couple of blocks to our building overlooking Times Square and then I swipe my card to enter the elevator bay that takes me to my floor. However, once I get into my office, there is no same routine. Each day brings a new legal challenge and fun activity, and each challenge requires a new approach to tackling it.
Christ monkeys. This seems like an appropriate time to point out that the UVA administration decided to throw this post up on the same day that rising 3Ls were able to bid on the measly number of firms UVA managed to dig up to give their underemployed student body a shot at jobs. What’s the message here from UVA? “Most of you are totally screwed, but here, take a look at this 1L that we’ve pumped full of Kool-Aid!”
Instead of giving the students a potentially useful story about how to overcome the terrible job prospects facing graduating attorneys, UVA gives them this:
Most importantly, Arent Fox maintains a high quality of life for its employees. This summer, the firm took us to watch a taping of David Letterman, a Broadway show, a tour of King Tut’s Egyptian treasures and we had a team running in the JP Morgan 5k challenge in Central Park, to name just a few examples. I am even a member of the firm’s Happiness Committee.
You’ve got to be joking. Arent Fox has a Happiness Committee? Did they get the idea from an Aldous Huxley novel? Does their firm cafeteria sell Soma?
Sorry, let’s keep our eyes on the ball. The end of this post is without question the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard about a law school or law firm:
Even though this is only a 10-week summer program and a mere snapshot at real attorney life, it has been my greatest learning experience and is extremely rewarding. I did not want to leave UVA after finals because life there is so much fun, but now I do not want to leave Arent Fox because my experience as a summer associate has been quite fun, too.
Some random thoughts, in no particular order:
- If the greatest learning experience of your life is a ten-week summer program, you haven’t learned anything.
- I do not think the word “fun” means what you think it means.
- You know who I feel bad for? Thomas Jefferson.
- You could put a bunch of UVA / Arent Fox PR guys, yes-men, and other assorted flunkies in a room, and they wouldn’t have come up with this post.
- If Arent Fox no-offers this girl, she’s gonna blow a gasket.
Here are the thoughts of some in the UVA Law community that have been shared through a series of forwarded emails:
[The writer of the article] is a member of the “hooligals” according to my sources on N. Grounds. She baked cookies with fellow law school women to give to the men’s softball team. They were heard to say upon men’s blue’s victory in the tournament this year that “this was probably the best day of their lives.”
I did not want to leave UVA after finals because life there is so much fun, but now I do not want to leave Arent Fox because my experience as a summer associate has been quite fun, too.
With any luck her position on the Happiness Committee can be turned into a permanent non-legal one and she can stay in the Candyland that is Arent Fox for the rest of her eternal childhood.
Honestly, UVA, whatever the hell you are trying to do with this is not working. It just makes your law students look naïve and totally unprepared for the real world. You’re supposed to be preparing people for serious work, handling their clients’ most complex and sensitive matters. This makes it sound like you are preparing students to go to a holiday resort. When employers — you know, the people who won’t touch your 3Ls with a ten-foot pole — complain that law students don’t know their ass from their arms, this is what they are talking about:
No matter the legal topic, one of the things I’ve learned while working at a firm is that part of the thrill of “lawyering” is the pursuit of the right answer. The right answer may not be the one I assumed it would be, or the one the client would like for it to be, or it may simply not exist at all. The important thing is knowing where to look for the information I need, knowing what I do not know, and being confident that I can ask for assistance from any one of my colleagues on the attorney or staff side of the firm.
UVA legal educators, you’ve got some work to do.
New York Firm Work Offers Variety [UVA Law]