The Coolness Vacuum

Law firms, like law school, have a certain phenomenon called the “Coolness Vacuum.”

This is mainly because law firms, like law schools, are filled with third tier “cool” kids (I know you probably think you’re cool. I’m sure you are.) These are the kids who weren’t in fraternities (or were in the catch-all fraternities that weren’t even cool enough to supply drugs to the real frats) in undergrad, didn’t play football with the cool jocks or ultimate frisbee with the cool alternative kids. No, these kids were always the third tier cool kids. They were either the gunners who had no friends, or the kids who were slightly smarter than the other kids but had a chip on their shoulder, so had no friends.

So off these third tiers go to law school because law schools are for people who 1) want to help the world; 2) want money; 3) are pompous SOBs that want money; and 4) for people with no discernible practical skill who would be killed off first if food became scarce. All the cool kids went to business school to be i-bankers and commit date rape. The second tier cool kids are content with their status–they lead regular lives and get “normal” jobs.  But the third tier kids cannot accept their fate.  Hence, the coolness vacuum at law schools.

But these third tiers are ambitious. They are determined to be the cool kids in law school. So they vy with one another, talk loudly about themselves, and slowly they make the sheep believe them that they are, in fact, cool. And all the girls with “nice personalities” who never got the hot guys, throw themselves at these third tiers–after all, if you can’t be a cool girl, be a slut. If you can’t compete with them, sleep with them.  And so the third tiers became the “cool guys” and the girls with “nice personalities” became the “cool girls” (but only from the waist down).

The law school cool guys shouldn’t be mistaken with real world cool guys. Law School Cool Guys (we’ll call LSCG) are the type of guy you wouldn’t look twice at on the street (except to remark to a friend “wow, what an ugly pompous little man”). But LSCGs are fine with this. They like the Coolness Vacuum because it’s like their own video game where they can pretend they’re cool, except they really get laid.

And so it is in law firms. You know the associate who all the girls and secretaries woo over but you can’t get over how birdlike and shrimpy he looks. The Law Firm Cool Guy (LFCG) is normally the guy who talks the loudest, drinks the most, is kind of an asshole, drives a nice car, maybe smokes a little when he drinks, and gropes you and summer associates. But time after time, the LFCG gets the girl (or the girl summer associate).

Then you find yourself envying him a little bit even though everything in your nature tells you he is just a loud dork that used to get shoved into lockers. He only has attorney friends or dates junior associates, or hostesses at chain restaurants, or girls in “PR/marketing.”

You see friends, it is only in law firms where the dorky can become the cool and the cool become confused. It is only in law firms where the LFCG can survive. And that is why BigLaw associates like the Coolness Vacuum.


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