Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Law school class photo day: time for a moustache?

Today is class photo day for graduating law students here at U of L.  It's an occasion that doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but then again maybe it does. Large framed class photos line the hallways of the law school on its first and second floors, stretching back to the late 1800s. Gazing at the bygone fashions of eager young attorneys is a fascinating way to waste 15 minutes of your life when you really ought to be studying. The class portraits also become a source of attention when a lawyer does something particularly embarrassing, or especially impressive.
The magnificent (and short lived) moustache
For me, photos have always been yet another opportunity to do something eccentric. For example, I have a photo of myself in high school with my eyebrows shaved off. In another, taken in my mid-20s, I'm hanging upside down inside a ski gondola. Which is why, last week, I figured it would be a great idea to take my law school photo with a giant moustache. At home, our family is obsessed with the moustache. The kids wear fake ones, my wife decorates moustache mirrors, and we take notice of moustaches in public. I even went so far as growing a 'stache (see photo, above right) in honor of this under-appreciated form of facial hair. But after careful consideration, I've decided to sport a clean shave, a starched dress shirt and tie, and a dark suit coat for the class photo.
My decision reflects two things that I've learned in law school. First, I've learned to seek advice from those around me before making rash decisions. I am at least two or three times as likely to consult other people for advice today compared to before law school. In this case, everyone I talked to about the moustache class photo told me it was a terrible idea. Second, I've found a new level of appreciation for the art of discretion. It's taken almost three years to drill this concept into my head, but I now hold my tongue way more frequently than at any other time in my life. I still enjoy a good joke, and don't shy away from controversy, but I am keenly aware that reputation is everything in this industry, and if you're going to clown around, you'd better think about the implications carefully. So long moustache.


  1. Apparently the class photo has been postponed due to an emergency with the photographer. Time to rethink the moustache thing?

  2. Moustache AND shaved eyebrows whilst hanging from the Brandeis portico!