It’s All Upper Year Moot from Here

Kevin Schoenfeldt (2L)

Every once in a while, law school reminds you that you are essentially a complete, one-hundred percent, total failure. Just a useless pile of junk. You find yourself thinking, “This isn’t so bad. I didn’t fail out of 1L and I speak in class sometimes, so I must be alright.” You’re not. You’re terrible. Law school always finds a way to remind you of that fact. But whenever you find yourself feeling this way—whenever you think you’re the biggest waste of space here— remind yourself that you’re wrong. You’re not even close to the biggest waste of space.

I am.

Let me explain.

Have you ever heard the sound of a small child crying so much that when they try to explain what’s wrong, nobody can understand what they’re saying? Have you ever heard the sound of someone throwing up and then you feel like you’re going to throw up, too? Have you ever heard the sound of the air slowly coming out of a balloon, like a weird, high-pitched fart? If you’ve heard any of those sounds in the law building recently, don’t worry, that was just me doing my moot tryout.

Here’s what I remember: The unrelenting stares from my panel. The certainty that my lungs no longer existed. A question about s. 7—something along the lines of, “Is there a s. 7?” and me not knowing the answer. Darkness slowly enveloping me. Another question, maybe: “Can you name a Supreme Court justice?” and me contending that there is no Supreme Court. The sound of my voice betraying me. The one-minute warning flashing when all I had said was good afternoon and my name. It was morning. I think I got my name right. The strong urge to apologize personally to each panel member. Blackness. Coming to in Queen’s Park somewhere.

Maybe you tried out, too. Maybe you don’t think it went very well. Rest assured, you surely did better than me. If your panel didn’t throw out your ranking sheet immediately after your tryout, you surely did better than me. If you said one coherent sentence, you surely did better than me. If your panel didn’t make plans to invite you to Law Ball, elect you Law Ball King, and pour pig’s blood on your head in front of everyone while a video of your tryout plays behind you and the entire school laughs and laughs and laughs, well, then you surely did better than me.

Let me apologize now. From the bottom of my heart, dearest moot panel, I’m sorry. If I could take it back, I would. Thanks for the reminder, law school. See you at next year’s tryouts.