From the Vault, February 2000 Issue: Follies Writer Achieves Every Law Student’s Dream of Being Discovered and Not Actually Having to Practice Law

John D. Fakeman (17L) [Original] & Kevin Schoenfeldt (2L) [Update]

Susan Fielder woke up last Thursday morning thinking one thing: “I hope today isn’t a total disaster.” Later that night, she would go to bed having signed a seven-figure development deal with Miramax. What happened in between? Law Follies, of course. Or, as it was called this year, Law Wars Episode One: The Factum Menace.

“I fought hard for that title,” Fielder said. “Everyone else wanted to go with Hey Now, You’re a Law Star but I just don’t think a great band like Smash Mouth should have their name sullied by the pun treatment. You might say they don’t deserve to be PUNished like that. Get it?” It’s that kind of wit that got Fielder noticed by a film executive in the audience.

In addition to the show’s title, Fielder also wrote a number of sketches in the show. In one, “The Sixth Law Club,” a lawyer discovers that his legal partner was himself the whole time and that he’s actually a solo practitioner. Then, through the help of a young paralegal, he also finds out he’s been dead the whole time. This of course was a brilliant parody of two films, Fight Club and The Sixth Sense.

Fielder didn’t only do film parodies: she also showed off her Weird Al-esque ability to write parody song lyrics, with audience favourites like “Law Street’s Back” and “Bills Bills Bills.” The latter was performed by the Admissions Committee, who sang “Can you pay our bills, can you pay our tuition bills, can you pay our textbook bills, if you can then maybe we can chill.” This showed off Fielder’s ability to not only be funny, but topical. Dean Ron Daniels was seen in the audience scowling throughout the entire song.

It’s clear that Fielder is very talented, but she is also fortunate that a Miramax executive happened to be the mother of a fellow Follies performer. Immediately after the show, she demanded to know who was behind the skits described above, and others like “The Farting Judge” and “Wild Wild Westlaw.”

So how does Fielder feel after all this? “Honestly, I’m just happy that I don’t have to be a lawyer anymore,” she told me. “I’ve been dreading it ever since I started law school. I’m so relieved I’m getting out.”

We should all be so lucky, Susan, we should all be so lucky.

Update: In the years following this article, Fielder wrote four screenplays. One of these, Courtroom Drama Movie, a lesser-known Friedberg and Seltzer parody film, was eventually released direct-to-video and became a cult favourite of law students across the world. Then, after working as a script doctor for a number of years, Fielder wrote a bestselling autobiography: Getting to ‘Sure, Why Not?’: How to Excel from Law School to Hollywood.