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Recollecting My First Day of Law School

A recent agreeable Facebook post (pasted below) by GMU law professor Michelle Boardman reminded me of my first day of law school at the University of Virginia. It was late August 1989. All first-year law students were assigned to a “small group,” each group having in it about 32 students. Members of each small group took all first-year required courses together. And for each small group there was appointed a second- or third-year law student to serve as that group’s first-year sherpa.

When my small group first assembled, our sherpa had a bright idea for how to break the ice and have all of the group members get to know each other better. Our sherpa asked each group member to reveal “One thing about you that your mother doesn’t know.”

I distinctly recall being very surprised to discover how many of my fellow first-year law students had traveled through Europe that summer spending what apparently were embarrassingly large sums of their parents’ money the precise dollar amounts of which their mothers had yet to learn. With undergraduate diplomas freshly fisted from schools such as Duke, Stanford, and Yale, my new classmates had jaunted off to explore London, to party in Paris, to backpack along the Rhine, or to frolic in sunny Sicily. All well-earned R&R before the rigors of law school – and all on mom’s & dad’s dimes.

For me, the son of a shipyard worker, finding himself suddenly the peer of several people with open-ended access to their parents’ bank accounts to fund European vacations was startling.

But, hey – thanks to Biden – so very many people now find themselves with access to the bank accounts not only of their parents, but of everyone in the entire country!


Here’s Michelle Boardman’s Facebook post:

When I started college, I was surprised to meet people who, while obviously wealthier than my family, complained about their loans and student aid. They talked about trips to France, cruises, expensive restaurants, and their pricey clothes. My parents paid for two college educations using one military salary, backed by family camping trips, meals at home, and no frills. I wouldn’t have qualified for any help, not because of the salary, but because of their savings. In grad school, I took on loans of my own.

Setting aside for the moment whether the executive branch has the power to force the rest of us to repay others’ loans, I am having the same feeling today. The educational cost system is broken, largely because of government intervention, but this unfair move is at most a few-year “fix.”