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The First Day

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On the first day, all the first-year law students gather in the auditorium for the welcoming assembly. You feel exactly like you did on the first day of kindergarten, except that you are not carrying a Bert-and-Ernie lunchbox.

The dean, a grizzled old grizzly with a mossy beard, stands up. You are sure that photosynthesis is occurring in his beard. This is what a law school dean looks like; half animal and half vegetable -- The Swamp Thing. The dean steps to the podium. He asks, "How many people like it better than the microphone?" A few hands go up. "How many people like it better without the microphone?" A few hands go up. A student shouts out, "How many people don't like it either way? Almost all the hands go up.



With his acute powers of observation, the dean can see that the students are anxious--mostly because swarms of them are either clinging to the ceiling, or passing out in the aisles from hyperventilation. He graciously and soothingly tries to help everyone to relax relax-relax. He tells them, for example, how several of last year's flunk-outs have actually been able to pick up the pieces and have meaningful lives anyway. Some people are able to say just the right thing at the right time, and the dean has that gift. Some would say grisly.

The dean then introduces the members of the faculty, who are sitting in attack formation at the front of the room. As he names the faculty members in alphabetical order, each professor stands up and glowers menacingly at the students. The dean recites a VERY long list of accomplishments and honors pertaining to each professor. This is generally pretty interesting, at least until you get into the middle of the names beginning with "B," but by then it has become an ordeal similar to the ancient (but effective) "dripping water" torture. Regrettably, there are twenty-four letters of the alphabet to go.

The dean jokes, "Professor Snizzie graduated from this law school with the highest GPA ever achieved. And as long as he is on the faculty, he's going to make sure that it stays that way." Everyone laughs. Everyone, that is, except Professor Snizzie. You check your registration materials. Uh-oh. Professor Snizzie for Property, section 1.

The dean then gives his "Welcoming Speech," in which he admonishes students about the absolute paramount importance of ethics in the practice of law. Given the absolute paramount importance of this issue, this is only the first time that you will hear about it. The second time will be in a speech at your graduation.

At the end of his speech, the dean encourages everyone to gather on the patio for the Gala Sloppy Joe Extravaganza. He says that he always enjoys this luncheon because, if it weren't for this annual event, he would have no social life at all. For some reason, you don't find this particularly difficult to believe. You also realize that it will soon become true for you, too. About the most excitement you will have in the next three years will be to buy the barbecue-flavored Pringles instead of the regular flavor. Whoopee.

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