Issue 3, Semester 2, 2019
In many ways, an offer for a clerkship position is like a new relationship, exciting, intoxicating and a little scary. In many other ways, a rejection letter is like a breakup, or the realisation that you’ve let love slip through your fingers, and requires an appropriately calibrated emotive response. Remember, a good law student is well-prepared, so when offers come out, set aside some time to pour a glass of wine, draw the curtains, and blast some lachrymose tunes to feel appropriately miserable to.
The Platters – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
This 1959 number one hit from Californian vocal group the Platters was one of the breakout hits of the early rock and roll era. Replete with strings, harps and kettle drums, it’s a soaring weeper ballad about losing yourself to love, only to be forced to admit later that all your friends were correct about things ultimately falling apart, a fitting analogy for letting yourself run away with the hope of securing one of the most competitive clerkships. One can easily imagine this song playing over the closing montage of a high-class cable drama like Suits or Mad Men, with cinematic shots of Harvey Specter or Don Draper staring out mournfully over the New York City skyline from a penthouse balcony, so save this one for the crushing of your dreams of becoming a high powered corporate attorney when you receive your rejection letters from HSF and Ashurst.
Death Cab for Cutie – Someday You Will be Loved
Sometimes things just weren’t meant to be, but we all need to remember that there is someone else out there for us. Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard reminds us with this ‘sorry-not-sorry’ ode from their fifth studio album, that rejection is a fleeting part of life, that will one day be abraded by the coarse edges of time, into dull and distant memories. The song plays like an apology letter reads, so when tears are smudging the ink on your letter from King & Wood Mallesons, find solace in the stately melodic indie pop of early 2000s fame, and just remember ‘your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet’.
No Doubt – Don’t Speak
Sometimes you want an explanation why. Sometimes you don’t. Few firms will provide reasons for unsuccessful applications, leaving most of us in the lurch, wondering what we could have done differently, how we could have done better, what would have made the hurt go away. When, for the twentieth time that day, your eyes are glazing over as you read the insincerely condolent phrases of another response, the raw nerves of Gwen Stefani’s lyrics will have you angrily tearing paper with a pure distillation of the crushing subtleties of heartache.
Connie Francis – I Will Wait for You
When you have your heart set on someone, you can’t always just walk away. Maybe you’ve loved them for too long to ever let that flame die. Maybe this firm has a really cool lobby and would be super convenient for your daily commute. Connie Francis’ soaring tones corporealise the quiet nobility of soul-crushing loneliness, the inner monologue of those of us who resolve to reapply next year or strive forward anyway in the usually doomed hopes of an open market offer. Be warned – the second half of this song does not so much merely accompany feelings of sadness, as it actively induces trauma.
Ben Folds Five – Song for the Dumped
So this is it. Not a single offer. You’ve hit rock bottom. Now what? Well, you could play yourself another self-pitying tear-jerker. You could hide beneath the bed covers for a week. But you know what? Screw that, you’re better than that. You’re better than all of this. It’s time for a tune to feel some righteous anger to. Ben Fold’s infamous Song for the Dumped is a song for slamming doors and dramatically storming off. Tear off your tie, swing by the local BWS for a bottle of cheap tequila, and as you exit the building in contemplation of the tens of thousands of dollars of debt you’ve amassed with your education, make sure that you sing along to the chorus, directing the sound to the MLS management on level nine, “give me my money back, I want my money back, you bitch!”
Anonymous is a Second Year JD Student