My Triumphant Return to the Hallowed Halls of Virginia’s Most Prestigious Educational Institution

It seems like just last week that I was basking in the warm Edmonton sun with nothing better to do than to enjoy the freedom from any kind of deadline or obligation that vacations are designed to provide. But alas, since then I have been caught up in a such a large whirlwind of school and job searching that I almost expected to see a the Wicked Witch of the East fly by, laughing that distinctive cackle that further reminds me that I am definitely not in Alberta anymore. However, the fresh blanket of snow that greeted me when I awoke at 2:00PM, in Charlottesville for the first time since December, I almost was able to convince myself that that entire previous day of traveling was but a dream—that I was alone in my admittedly comfortable bed quickly dispelled that illusion. With my wife once again a continent away, it was August 2006 all over, except, of course for the aforementioned snow, the furniture in my apartment that allowed me to spend the night in a bed instead of on the floor, and the previously alluded to fact that, unlike the first semester, UVa Law did not feel it appropriate to ease us back into the swing of things and, at least in my case, scheduled four classes for that Monday, none of which had I completed the first days reading assignment.

The area’s law firms joined the school in thinking that the returning 1Ls are all well-enough aware of the comings and goings of law school life that they do not need any adjustment time, and scheduled receptions starting on Tuesday. These receptions are basically opportunities for us future lawyers to acquaint ourselves with our future career possibilities, but in my humble opinion, their real purpose is nothing more than an opportunity to eat hors d'oeuvres and, if its your thing, drink free alcohol. I mean, there is so much sucking up at those receptions it reminded my of the time when my sister thought it would be a nice gesture to my mother to invite in a vacuum salesman who promised to clean our living room carpet; and like that day, I imagine that some of the firm lawyers who were at the receptions would have like to have exercised the same tacit to avoid the various brown-nosing 1Ls who perfected their gunning skills last fall that my parents did to avoid the salesman: hiding in their rooms. In short, the student to lawyer ratio was so high that I doubt that any hiring partner will remember any potential employee enough to influence their decisions in the slightest. The evenings weren’t a total loss, though: there was food, and at one I even picked up one of those cool highlighters that have built-in sticky tabs. Oh boy, I can’t wait to start outlining now!

The other firm even that I was able to participate in was the mock interview program that took place on Friday. Now that 30 minutes or so was not a complete an utter waste of time and resources. I had an interview with Kennedy Covington, and had spent the previous night perfecting answers to questions I expected to receive, such as “What assists do you think you will bring to this firm” or “So, why do you think you want to work in North Carolina” (which was a little harder question to come up with a convincing answer considering I don’t want to work in North Carolina). However, none of my carefully prepared responses turned out to be of any use, since we ended up spending almost our entire time together discussing Alberta weather, last year’s Stanley Cup final when the beloved Edmonton Oilers took on the heartless Carolina Hurricanes, and my preference to Macs over PCs. The fact that employers are more concerned with how well a student will fit in to their firm that their qualifications just showed me that Haines was right all along: First Year Associates are just fungible billing units. I’m glad I’ve chosen a profession that will value my skills so much.