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Law School (and LSAT) Immersion

Our guest blogger this week is Morgan Janssen. Morgan is a 3L at NYU School of Law. In between studying and coming up with law puns, he teaches LSAT classes for Blueprint.

I recently received the delightful gift of a pair of boxers inscribed with the logo “ex parte in my pants.” Awesome. Until a friend pointed out that ex parte essentially describes “a proceeding brought by one person in the absence of and without notifying any other parties.” Well, shit. Maybe a better slogan would be Amor vincit omnia.

Legal puns and latin jokes. Really? Yes, really.

Around this time of year during my 1L year I began to realize that there was something deeply strange about the people with whom I was attending school. My law school hosts a yearly Halloween party, and at the soiree I noticed there seemed to be a higher-than-typical-or-even-acceptable concentration of topical pun costumes:

The new friend: “Let’s all be the Bill of Rights!”

The friend who was left out: “I’m the right to bare arms.” (Alternately manifested as a bear strapped to a gun, or in its best form, someone carrying a bear-gun around all night).

The almost ironic Law School Commentator: “I’m a Gunner! But not me actually, I mean that guy who we all know is a gunner, but I’m not saying I’m not smart or good at law school, just that I’m not a jerk. This is funny, right?”

The non-ironic Social Commentators “I’m Extraordinary Rendition! Do you even care about what’s happening?” (Actually, a very intense and badass Halloween costume, if only they would have gone all the way and shut the hell up.)

Those with a flair for the risqué: “I’m a pair of legal briefs!”

The more fully clothed version: “I’m a law suit!”

The loud and proud: “We’re Lawrence v. Texas!”

I grew up in a culture where Halloween is about body paint, pasties, and accessories you can whack people with. Even accounting for the fact that east coast elites are decidedly more square than their west coast counterparts, there was no way that this many people were actually this completely en fuego for the law school experience. And while I may not have gone so far as to actually dress up as Optimus Prima Facie, I sure as hell recognized the reference when he shouldered in front of me at the keg. What the hell was going on?

You know that friend of yours who spent a semester abroad and came back as the most ridiculous poseur of all time? He bought 5 pounds of Yerba Mate, started correcting your pronunciation of Ar-hen-tina, would only drink his wine with Coke in it, and complained about how early all the discothèques close in the States. Yeah, that’s what happened to us. Law school is a full-immersion experience in the strangest country imaginable. The inhabitants are a little bit less well-rounded than where you come from, a little less socially adept, and a little more willing to relate every single thread of conversation back to the goddamn law. If you are in any way reasonable or rational, you don’t want to become one of them, and you will freak out the first several times you catch yourself saying “I’m unestoppable!” during a game of beer pong.

On the other hand, that’s what learning is. There are a number of Logical Reasoning stimuli that can explain the function and structure of the brain more effectively than I, but there’s no getting away from the fact that when you insert an ass load of information into your head, it is going to start coming back out in a variety ways. And if you are deep in the trenches of LSAT prep, you should already be familiar with the first phases of the transformation into a legal geek, and – like a much less awesome version of Neo becoming one with the Matrix – you will start to see glowing LSAT structures in everything you look at. You wouldn’t be a good student if you weren’t spotting the invalid structures in tv commericials, cable news channels, and Top 40 music. I suggest you embrace your new powers with a public media outlet of your choice.

Public Safety:
(California) not click it → ticket
(New York) see something → say something

Pop Music:
(Beyonce) Like it → ring on it
(Lady Gaga) Not rough → not fun
(Shakira) She Wolf —(some)— closet
(50 cent) not rich → died trying

Television and Film:
Not Orange County, not New York, and not Atlanta -→ not real housewife

It doesn’t matter whether it is law school, the LSAT, or a new language. Embrace it. Be it. The truth is, it’s going to infect your life no matter how hard you try to resist. Better to channel that excess mental mojo into pretentious puns than to have it spill over and desecrate your sexy dreams. For real.