Fashion, Job Searches, Law Schools

Will You Help Clothe a Law Student?

To steal a line from Sports Illustrated, I must bring you this week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us.

Law students are struggling to find jobs; this we know. But what I didn’t know until this very day was that law students are also struggling to find the basic professional necessities. Like clothes. That’s right, clothing drives are not just for homeless people and impoverished third-world children. Not anymore.

The good people at Duquesne University School of Law are putting together a clothing drive to help out their first year law students get the professional clothing they need for interview season. Don’t worry, it’s not too late to give your used clothing to distressed 1Ls in need of assistance…

Okay, I know I shouldn’t poke fun. The bleeding heart that pumps inside me tells me that this is a compassionate, even laudable idea. Not every law student comes to school with an interview-appropriate wardrobe at the ready. And not every law student, especially the ones who are trying to minimize their debt burdens, has the spare cash to purchase appropriate business attire for their crucial meetings.

But I don’t get paid to “not poke fun” when the hilarity of suffering is uncloaked right in front of me. I’ve given away nearly every article of clothing I’ve ever outgrown (yes there have been a lot them) to charity. But when I think of charity I think of the mass of humanity not lucky enough to be born into my comfortable, American, middle-class existence.

When I think of hard-luck cases, I do not think of a group of college-educated individuals, now enrolled in professional school, who can’t afford functional belts.

Yeah, I said belts. Check out the text of the Duquesne flyer a tipster sent us:

The Duquesne University School of Law is holding a Professional Clothing Drive for Law Students.

We are accepting gently worn professional clothing* for 1st Year Law Students preparing for the Oral Argument Program in the spring and all Law Students preparing for job and internship interviews.

Clothing can be dropped off at the Main Office of the Law School between the hours of 8:30 am and 8:00 pm (Monday through Friday) and 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (On select Saturdays please call for dates). A receipt will be provided for your tax-deductible donation.

* We are accepting business suits for women and men as well as shoes, ties, belts and accessories.

It’s the footnote that kills me. Ties, belts and accessories. You’ve got to be kidding me. I mean, are there really law students running around in desperate need of a freaking interview-appropriate handbag? Are there guys who got through four years of college and into a law school without owning a basically acceptable tie? My ties suck, and I don’t really want to spend the money on a really nice one (at least not in a world where I need to update all of my Rock Band peripherals). But I go on television with my crap-ass ties. Call it an overdeveloped sense of pride, but I’d be horrified to accept a tie upgrade in a clothing drive.

Who are these Duquesne law students who would want somebody else’s belt? There are people who legitimately cannot afford a belt. I see them on the subway, and they have strings around their pants. I give them money (if they sing me a song or play an instrument — you can’t just give money to every homeless person you see in New York). I feel bad for them, even though sometimes they smell and often they are taking up too many seats at rush hour. Please stop me when you think I’m describing a Duquesne law student.

And if, IF, there are shoeless, beltless, Duquesne law students shuffling around campus with exposed butt cracks, pushing shopping carts full of soda cans and Emanuel’s outlines — then why the f**k did they go to law school instead of getting a real job for a couple of years? Is Duquesne so hard up for tuition dollars now that it is admitting actual homeless people off the street? Is it now a Tea Party reeducation camp? I just struggle to imagine the actual law student who needs the charity of others to make himself look presentable for a 15-minute interview in a hotel room.

I can imagine the Duquesne law students who want the charity of others to help them through the interview process. I just can’t summon the requisite sympathy for such a person. At the very least, we should expect our American law students to be able to clothe themselves before meeting others.

So I don’t think I’ll be donating to Duquesne’s “dress a law student” drive. And before you ask, I also won’t be contributing to Duquesne’s “feed a law student” initiative, or its “read a law student a story before you tuck them in” wellness program. I’ll have to look at the “bathe a law student” auction on a case-by-case basis.

If you would like to participate, the drive runs until February 28, 2011.

(hidden for your protection)

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