My name is Self-Appointed Expert, and this is my blog. It is part memoir, mostly fiction, and above all just trying to be funny. Some of is based on stuff that happened to me, some is based on stuff that happened to people I know, and a good deal is just entirely made up. So, if you find yourself offended, just remember - it's a joke. When you give me that look, it's a joke. Consider it my homage to the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, A Million Little Pieces, John Hodgman, and Christopher Guest.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

How a New York Summer Associate got drunk, got naked, and still got a job: An update to the Clara V. story.

By now, anyone who’s spent any time on the law firm interview circuit in the last year has heard the story of Clara V., UVA ’06, and her infamous 2L summer. The long and short of the controversy is that at some point during the summer of 2005, Ms. V. is alleged to have been in attendance at a typical summer event hosted by her typical New York law firm. The event, as you might recall, was a bar night on a pier of the Hudson River. The story, of course, is that Ms. V. got drunk, got half-naked, and then – to the shock and horror of everyone around her – jumped into the river.

Like the 1L at Michigan who CC’d his entire first-year section and the law school dean in a ranting email upbraiding his professor for turning in final grades a few days past deadline, Ms. V.'s ignominy spread throughout the inboxes of law students and young associates all across the country. The popularity of her story was partly due to its sheer gossip value, but its real appeal was its inspirational value for aspiring summer associates everywhere. If Ms. V. could teach us anything, it was that a soft offer is still an offer. You, too, could drink like a fish until you literally had to be fished out of a river by the U.S. Coast Guard, and still talk your way into another job in another city the following year. And you didn’t even have to go to Harvard to do it.

As is usually the case with all really juicy gossip, however, there is more to the story of drunken Clara and the river that made her famous. After conducting a very thorough journalistic investigation (i.e., Googling her name), your humble reporter has discovered that while Ms. V. has certainly spent a more than typical amount of time swimming in the Hudson River, not all of it has been to her chagrin. On the contrary, the alumni report of the Colorado College Department of Neuroscience (her alma mater) celebrates her for it. As it turns out, within only a few weeks of her infamous night swimming on the pier, Ms. V. won second place in the women's 20-29 age group in the 2005 “Race for the River,” a 2.4 mile swim in, you guessed it, the Hudson to raise funds for river clean-up and preservation.

In the end, however, there is still much that we can learn from our hero, Ms. V. As law students, it turns out that the sheer magnitude of our egos is sufficient to inspire us to do things that, for “the normals,” could only possibly be explained in terms of a potent combination of tequila and very poor judgment. So, for this, we thank you, Ms. V. The field of legal egology will be forever in your debt for this important contribution.

Eds: Although we included Clara's full name in
the original version of this post, out of courtesy we've abbreviated her title to Clara V. To readers who may not approve of the edit, or who may find it disingenuous since we still link to her alma mater's site, we offer the following prayer: may all your faults and embarrassments remain not easily Google-able.


Blogger Alex said...

that michigan kid's email is awesome. Don't say ignominy. That kid has balls.

9:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a strange glimpse into youth at its worst!

I don't know what really went on at the supposed party, or how "naked" this particular young woman was. (Probably no more naked than a lingerie ad, I am gessing.)

She certainly left herself "exposed" to being scoffed at and scorned. but that seems to be all she did. not that I could reconstruct the incident accurately...

I googled her all right. I found evidence that she is probably very sharp acedemically, athletic, altruistic--and a threat to men. (I never would have dreamed so many mean spirited remarks could have been posted about her looks. and she is clearly very attractive indeed.)

What a tempest in a teapot. Worst thought? THESE (posters on law student site) ARE THE FUTURE OF OUR PROFESSION??? Heaven help us.

3:13 PM

Blogger Self-Appointed Expert said...

Yeah, I don't think that counts as a "worst thought." We may hear about crazy law students jumping into rivers a lot more frequently now that we have the internet and that there is an audience for for legal sub-news. And we may hear other people making fun of those students in a mean and mean spirited way. But that doesn't mean that lawyers haven't been weird, unprofessional, evil, without judgment, and drunkards for generations before this. As far as I'm concerned, both (1) jumping into rivers, and (2) being totally mean-spirited in a public setting, is our charge to keep as we become the lawyers of tomorrow.

10:07 AM

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