Back in 1992, I was finishing up a bachelor’s degree in political science on Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. At the time, I was taking classes part-time, living in married student housing with Jennifer and working full-time at WordPerfect Corporation. Remember WordPerfect?
Law school admission required taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I signed up and took it the first time–I don’t remember where. I do remember, however, crushing the first three sections and then completely collapsing on the fourth section. It was a reading comprehension section, the second of the exam. That meant that one of the reading sections contained evaluation questions that didn’t count for my exam and were just being reviewed for possible inclusion in a future exam. The problem was that I had no way of knowing which of the two counted for me and which didn’t. I immediately went home that day, called the special number they’d given me and canceled my test score. Back to the drawing board.
When I took the exam the second time a couple months later, I struggled again with the reading comprehension section, but this time I was bumping up against applications deadlines so I just had to take whatever score I got. On the day my score came in the mail (back before the internet), I tore open the envelope, glanced out the score and nearly passed out: 96th percentile! That meant I was still in the running for all but the Harvards, Yales and Georgetowns. I had no problem with that.
I ending up applying to a bunch of schools: Emory University, University of Washington, University of Georgia, William and Mary, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, Duke, George Washington and Boston College. Ten schools.
My application to Duke crossed in the mail with their rejection letter. A “no” from the University of Washington followed closely. Then I got acceptance letters from Arizona, then Georgia, then Emory, then Illinois, then William and Mary. How about that! I was going to law school somewhere!
I was wait-listed at Iowa, Boston College and GW. Eventually, I got acceptance letters from those three schools as well. Jen and I made plans to move first to Arizona then to Georgia and then to Illinois. When I finally got the call from Boston College Law School saying they had a place for me, that was the one we were waiting for.
In late August 1993, Jen and I packed up a U-Haul, strapped Jen’s Honda Prelude to a tow dolly and headed out of the cul de sac where Jen’s parents lived. As I drove around the corner I glanced in the side view mirror to see the Prelude rolling up over the curb and onto the sidewalk. The last thing I heard was Jen’s dad hollering, “Wide turns! Wide turns!” Sounded like a good idea.
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