Thursday, February 19, 2009


Ask any law student, and they will tell you that the most terrifying sound in the world is the sound of your own last name. You’re in class, minding your own business (although it must be noted that the twelve people behind you are also minding your business while you’re reading your facebook wall in class). In the back of your mind, you vaguely register the fact that the professor is asking a question. And then you hear your name.
There is a moment where your subconscious tries to protect you, a split-second where you find yourself glancing around the room in search of this elusive “Smith”, “Jones”, or “Williams” who was just called on. Hmmm, Your mind tells you, smugly. They must be absent today. And then reality kicks in. That was your name. And you are, clearly, present.
“Ahh…” you clear your throat, pretend to consult your case brief, anything to buy time. After a moment it becomes patently obvious that you don’t even know the question that was asked, let alone the answer. “Could you…I didn’t understand the question, could you repeat it?”
The professor gives you a piercing stare and flicks his eyes around the classroom, either amused or irritated, depending on his mood and personality, that you have the gall to admit that you’ve been paying no attention. At all. “Counselor,” he says, “I asked you what the holding of the court was in Marbury v. Madison.
No kidding, it is the most terrifying moment of your life every time it happens to you. Those who were called on the first day of law school are remembered forever by their classmates.
Don’t believe me? Ask another law student. But do me a favor—call them by their last name and watch them jump.

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