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Archive for October, 2012

“Well, Judge Stinson,” I said, “I don’t know that I’d call a ‘Pass’ a ‘subpar’ grade….”

Yale Law School has a somewhat spare grading system: Honors, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail. My single grade of Pass, on a transcript otherwise filled with Honors, was Business Organizations — “Corporations” at most other schools — with the fast-talking, hard-grading Regina Ranieri.

“Audrey, you’re cute,” said Judge Stinson, smiling. “But don’t get cute with me. You’re in your third year of law school. Have you heard of any of your classmates receiving a Low Pass or Fail?”

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I wasn’t sure what to do with myself while waiting to see Judge Stinson — normally I’d check email on my iPhone, but that seemed vaguely disrespectful — so I turned my attention to the offerings on the coffee table. There was a reprint of Judge Stinson’s article from the Virginia Law Review, which I thought was odd coffee table fare. I had already read it, so I set it aside in favor of shelter porn: a book of California country-style houses. Feeling my typical pre-interview anxiety, I welcomed the distraction of “seaside estates, canyon villas, and courtyard bungalows.”

I began by admiring the ocean views from the terrace of a Malibu mansion. Then I lost myself in the architectural ingenuity of an ultramodern barn-style house in the Russian River Valley. I’m not particularly materialistic — like many lawyers, I prefer prestige to wealth — but the rewards of wealth cannot be denied.

“You’re reading my favorite book, I see!”

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“This is it?” Pervez asked. “Are you sure this is a courthouse? It looks like a hotel.”

But then he pulled the car up a bit, and we saw a large rectangular sign on the lawn, in a shade of pink that perfectly matched the stucco of the building: “Richard H. Chambers United States Court of Appeals Building — 125 South Grand Avenue.”

The taxi fare came to a little under $80 on the meter. I gave Pervez five crisp $20 bills. I felt that tipping generously would bring me good luck for the interview.

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