The Proverbial Gorilla in the Room

In 1L year, my philosophy was “try everything and see what sticks.” Problem was, nearly everything stuck. I liked so many of the things I tried, I was fated to have that incredibly busy 2L year I swore I wouldn’t have. One activity I promised myself wasn’t so great, to the point where I swore I wouldn’t try it again this year, was moot court.

And then came time to sign up for moot court. I was in line for free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (an annual tradition at BU Law that may in fact be designed to capitalize on students’ brain freeze and resulting poor decision-making). My friend was behind me in line. He said he hadn’t found a partner yet. One fist bump and two scoops later, I was committed, with sprinkles on top.

Writing my brief took up the better part of an entire weekend and had me regretting my choice to participate and declaring that I refused to care about the outcome. My oral argument was yesterday — Halloween. My partner came in a gorilla suit, as promised — I thought, tongue-in-cheek. But there he was, in a gorilla suit with a moderately shredded business suit on top. I told him to take it off. He refused. I asked the judges how it would affect my scoring. (That’s the scoring I didn’t think I cared about at all until I was there, with a gorilla.) It wouldn’t.

Getty Images; Imagine trying to argue with (or against) this.

Getty Images
Imagine trying to argue with (or against) this guy.

The nerves I didn’t have an hour before — or the day before, when I was in real court for the first time — were all kinds of worked up, and it was all because my friend, my partner, my classmate who normally looks decidedly not like a gorilla, was in a goofy, smelly gorilla suit. But at that point, I didn’t feel that I had a choice but to give it my best shot. My best was good enough to be named best oralist in the room. It was gratifying, to know that even the proverbial gorilla in the room (that’s a proverb in some culture, right?) couldn’t shake me too much.

I don’t know whether I had a good enough score to advance to the next round, and I certainly don’t know whether I want to compete if selected. But I surprised my worst critic (you guessed right, that’s me) yesterday by having fun doing something I didn’t even know I wanted to do, so who knows where I’ll be this time next semester.


Optimista posted on November 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Congratulations!! Best oralist with a gorilla as a partner…definitely something to be proud of, with a great accompanying story, to boot.

margolis posted on November 3, 2014 at 9:21 am

Thank you, and thanks for reading! 🙂

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