The Personal Touch

–From Jim (last name withheld on request); University of North Carolina School of Law; Date of event: Fall 2004

Three law students, all guys, lived together. They had similar GPAs and were getting interviews from a lot of the same firms. Two of them decided to gang up on the other one. They started intercepting his mail at home; specifically, his law firm rejection letters. They would steam open the letters and add “personal” handwritten notes from the interviewer at the end.

Things like:

“You may want to consider getting a better haircut.”

“You had a weak handshake.”

“You need to sit up straight and not cross your legs.”

“Don’t look me straight in the eyes. That makes me nervous”

“Need to look interviewers straight in the eye.”

“You should use better deodorant.”

“Were you hitting on me?”

Etc., etc. The best part was that the other two guys also put personal notes on their rejection letters so that the roommate thought it was a normal, common practice. Enough of us were in on the joke that we would also talk about our own personal notes.

This went on until December when a drunken classmate, at an end-of-semester party, walked up to the joke victim and said he couldn’t believe how funny the rejection letter practical joke was. The guy said, “What rejection letter practical joke?”

The good times were over.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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