Monday, August 22, 2011

Quiz: how to face "free pizza season" in law school

Let me guess: the admissions office didn't tell you about Free Pizza Season when you applied to law school. No, it was not wedged in next to median LSAT scores and judicial externships on that glossy brochure. Nonetheless, Free Pizza Season (FPS) has officially arrived at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. FPS is the time of year when student groups and various commercial ventures attempt to capitalize on your three-year vow of poverty in order to capture a slice of your precious time. It's the law school equivalent of the free-vacation-in-Florida-to-sell-you-a-condo-time-share. This week alone, for example, there are three days in a row of lunch meetings sponsored by student groups. For the uninitiated, I offer the following true/false quiz on FPS.

1. I should go to as many FPS events as possible because I'm broke and free pizza sounds great.
Answer: FALSE. It's a good idea to become familiar with a few of the student organizations at the law school that cater to your own personal interests, but you'll be blowing valuable study time if you go to all of them.

2. I should at least go to all of the FPS events that offer something better than pizza, such as catered box lunches or Qdoba.
Answer: TRUE. Notwithstanding the above, you should always get free Qdoba and box lunches. They just don't come around very often. Furthermore, FPS typically winds down by early October.

3. I need to join a student organization if I eat their free pizza.
Answer: FALSE, although you can "join" most student groups at U of L Law by simply putting your email address on a list. And you won't be invited to do much of anything until your 2L year.

4.  It will help my resume if I join a few student groups.
Answer: FALSE. OK, maybe that's a bit harsh. But in most cases, employers will not look closely at membership in student organizations. They already know your resume is thin. They usually care about three things: grades, grades, and grades. However, joining one or (at most) two student groups is a nice way to meet other people, lay the foundation for joining a study group, or maybe do some volunteering in the community.

5. I thought this quiz was about pizza. It seems like we're getting off topic.
Answer: TRUE.

6. FPS events sponsored by groups such as Westlaw, Lexis, Barbri, and Kaplan are not as valuable, even though they typically have better free stuff.
Answer: TRUE. At least in my opinion, you should choose wisely when it comes to burning an hour of your time with one of these groups. I'm not saying that the intriguing info session on how to search state statutes using truncators isn't worthwhile. Just be careful with your time.

7. I can take the free pizza, stay for five minutes, and then go study somewhere else.
Answer: TRUE. You could, but it's tacky. Don't do it.

8. I should also be careful about the FPS events hosted by the law school to discuss job interviews, professionalism, studying abroad and other stuff.
Answer: FALSE. At least in my opinion, the events hosted by the school itself, especially those focused on OCI and job interviews, are worth attending.

9. Student groups that host an FPS event with no pizza are definite skippers.
Answer: FALSE. Some of the best student organizations at U of L Law do not offer free food because they are small, have meager budgets, or simply choose not to spend money on free food. In many cases, it will be easier to get involved with these groups because there are fewer students in their membership, and they need volunteers.

10. FPS is a good representation of how Louisville does pizza.
Answer: absolutely, positively FALSE. Most student groups, at least the ones I'm familiar with, buy the cheapest pizza for FPS events. That means Domino's, Papa John's (actually a local company), Pizza Hut and the like. If you want to try "real" local pizza in Louisville, check out Wick's, Spinelli's, Papalinos, or one of the other shops that appear on this list.

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