Scott Moss on Harvard Law Students With No Pants and Red Pants

[Eric’s note: today I’m turning over the wheel to my colleague Scott Moss. We discussed the recent news item about a student from Scott’s alma mater (Harvard Law School) who got arrested for drunkenly flashing his “pot of gold” in public on St. Patrick’s Day. This sparked a response from Scott that he is uniquely positioned to share, so here is his story:]

By Scott Moss

Eric brought to my attention this hilariously disturbing story of a drunken Harvard Law School student who exposed himself in public and then, according to the police officer who happened upon the scene, “made it a point to make it known he was a Harvard Law School student and that he would see us in court…It seems he thought it would make a difference in the outcome of the incident.” I’m guest blogging about this primarily because I have the “in-group privilege” to have some fun with this one; it reminded me of a much tamer (but still ridiculous) story from my own law school days.

When I was a first-semester 1L at Harvard, my assigned seat in Contracts class was in the front row. Seated behind me was another student…let’s call him “Cameron.” Cameron’s attendance was… well, let’s say “spotty”; so I was sitting in front of an empty seat more often than I was sitting in front of Cameron. One day, Cameron came to class — which, again, was a minor event itself — and, halfway through the class, I started to hear a faint metallic tapping noise behind me. “Emily” (the student who sat next to me) and I briefly exchanged a puzzled smirk, as if each of us was asking the other, “do you have any idea what he’s doing?” A fter a few minutes, the irritating tapping ended with one louder metallic “pop!” sound. Emily and I both instinctively turned around; we saw a shocked Cameron holding an unopened can of V-8 on its side — with a ball-point pen puncturing it, V-8 splattered everywhere. Apparently, this genius spent the class — the first class he had attended in a week or three — stabbing his can of V-8 with his pen, until he accidentally (but pathetically foreseeably) pierced the can, splattering V-8 all over himself and the desk.

I occasionally get asked, mostly by non-lawyers, “is everyone at Harvard Law really smart?” I quickly respond, “of course not,” and I proceed to tell the V-8 story, or any number of other such stories; granted, several of these stories are about the same doofus (Cameron), but several others are about different folks in my class (including myself, when I said or did some dumb or immature things).

Any allegedly “elite” institution is likely to have some number of superstars, but also some number of total duds — the irresponsible, the lazy, the immature, and the just plain stupid. So don’t ever be too impressed at a degree from an elite school, or a letterhead from an elite law firm; it just might be Cameron you’re dealing with.