What a week!

When the release of grades from first term coincides with gray weather and the first serious cold snap of the season (see? Those of you who accuse me of being delusional should acknowledge that I am capable of being reality-based about the weather), there’s a bit of character-testing occurring.  That sort of character-testing and resilience-development, of course, is just one more excellent benefit of going to law school in a cold climate.  But since appreciation of that benefit is sometimes a slow-growth phenomenon, it’s nice when the challenge coincides with a lot of short-term rewarding distractions, as occurred this week.

Tuesday saw a lunchtime talk sponsored by the ACLU student group, by 2001 grad Adam Wolf, staff attorney for the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project in Santa Cruz.  Adam’s most recent claim to fame, litigation-wise, was his successful argument before the Supreme Court last year that a school’s strip-search of 13-year-old Savana Redding (in a hunt for illicit ibuprofen) was unconstitutional. A Supreme Court win on a civil liberties issue for someone out of law school less than a decade?  Not too shabby.  Dreaming about that kind of achievement was a big part of my own law school hopes and aspirations, and I am pretty sure I have lots of company.  That resonates with what Adam said in wrapping up his talk, come to think of it—a comment about his faith in the aspirational power of law. 

Wednesday brought us another junior achiever—2007 grad Jennifer Hill made the trek northwards from the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami to talk to SNARL, to students in the Human Trafficking Clinic, and to the entire 2L class in its celebration of Midway Madness (three semesters down, three to go!) about a recent FIAC success in a federal trial on behalf of two Peruvian domestic workers who had been abused by their employer. Having principal responsibility in a trial a mere two years after graduation is, frankly, more along the lines of my law school nightmares than dreams, but stunningly impressive all the same, and certainly an inspiration for what one can achieve with a law degree. 

But last night, Thursday, was the real inspiration—the sixth annual Mr. Wolverine contest.  Sure, it has its philanthropic-feel-good aspect—it’s a LLSA fundraiser for summer public-interest stipends—but that’s not why people go.  They go because the spectacle of 18 dancing male law students is not easily matched, and never disappoints. They go because the prospect of seeing five or six faculty “judges” gently mocked, while they then have to go grade the mockers on the success of their mocking, creates a frisson of hilarity. The power of three hours of law humor and goofiness to catapult people out of winter doldrums is enormous.  (How long will it be before people discover that the secret to admission is experience in choreography, I wonder?) 

And what do you know—the sun is shining, and I see melting snow.  Off to lunch!     


-Dean Z. Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions