Coffee… Addiction in Law School

It's... it's speaking to me...

By: Chris Dibbern


The most obvious law school addiction is coffee.  We all love it exactly the same way we’ve been getting it for years.  For some, it’s a daily ritual of setting the coffee maker the night before and waking up to that rich aroma of…  I’m going to stop before I start sounding like every coffee commercial ever.  In any case, the caffeine gives us an unbeatable rush.  For some, that rush becomes too much and overtakes them to the point of jeopardizing their legal career.

You can easily identify a coffee addict at USD Law.  They’re the ones who take notes in actual Mead spiral-bound notebooks.  This is because they’ve spilled a bit too much Yuban on their previous laptops.  Yes, that’s laptops, plural.  Other signs of addiction could be coming into class ten minutes late with a Starbucks cup that looks like an LA freeway sign, half-covered with graffiti.  Sadly, this graffiti is not La Raza claiming their turf; it’s some hipster barrister marking up the addict’s detailed instructions.  And yes, because of the job market these days, the words “barista” and “barrister” are interchangeable.  (Writer takes a coffee break.  Wow, the best part of waking up is Folgiers in my cup.  Oops, I need to get back to writing this article on coffee addiction.) Anyway, as this person sits down, they inevitably make a comment about their name being spelled wrong on the cup.  The person next to them responds with a concerned sadness in her eyes.  They don’t care about her coffee problems.  No one does.

The addict never lets go of her curse, not even when it’s time to drink alcoholic beverages.  She sneaks in flasks of Baileys to bar reviews in a poor attempt to fit in.  She’ll say it’s vodka but we see the truth in her eyes.  Her eyes are so bloodshot that if she only had one eye, she’d be a Bond villain.  In fact, if you ever work at a place that serves coffee, the addict will hound you about the single detail to your coffee that’s preventing them from enjoying their time there.  At the Grad Law Commons, I’ve almost come to blows because we didn’t have Sugar in the Raw, whatever that is.  Another addict once threw a temper tantrum because the Whole Foods lavender vanilla coffee creamer was missing.  The worst offender was the person who yelled at me over not having a French press.  I don’t even know what that is.

There’s one obvious comparison when it comes to a coffee addict’s behavior.  If you’ve ever known a drummer, you’ve seen that they like to practice the drums with their hands when they’re not playing the real drums.  You’ll hear the familiar desk taps.  Like a drummer, a coffee addict looks like they’re playing the piano.  Unfortunately, coffee addicts’ fingers are so jittery it always looks like they’re practicing piano, although I doubt you could find an addict who could play Taps, much less Mozart.

There is no coffee rehab program.  There is only decaf or death.  In all seriousness, I’m sure most of the following addicts would prefer the latter.

Social Event Attendance

The attendance addict fits in rather well her first month at school, but you soon start to notice that this girl goes to every single event the law school puts on.  She’s front row at the Black Law Students Association meeting.  She lies to career services by saying she’s a 2L just so she can go to those events.  She even brings in food from lunch meetings to other lunch meetings!  She’ll mix and match Business Law’s selection of Doritos with Environmental Law’s eco-friendly lettuce wedge-like substance that obviously is someone’s yard work.  She’ll go in and out of conflicting meetings pretending like she’s going to the bathroom.

You might think that being an attendance addict is ok, until you realize that this person misses class because of her problem.  When she does make it to class, she’s always looking at the SBA or the SDCBA master calendar on her laptop.  She’s even on a first name basis with Leilani because she wants to know the lunch meeting event calendar months in advance.  You might think that there’s no getting through to this person.  Actually, a scientist at Blobbity-Blah University had a compelling breakthrough.  He concluded that it is possible to stage an intervention for this person, as long as you make a Facebook event and ask SBA President Andrew Gil to announce it at the next SBA meeting.


Probably the worst addiction to have is hobnobbing.  In law school, it’s good to network with professors and practitioners because they’ll be able to help you start your career, but sometimes networking goes too far.  You know those business cards Career Services helps us get?  There are 500 cards total in each order.  I’ve personally used less than 100 of them.  The hobnobber ordered them three times.  The hobnobber also keeps different cards with different variations of his name just in case he goes to events with young practitioners (cards with his nickname) or with judges (cards with his full name).  The hobnobber has a deep yearning to rush the stage at SDCBA events.  He wants to make it rain with his business cards.

You can easily identify a hobnobber by his dull speech patterns.  This person thinks about what he is going to say and practices it hundreds of times in his bedroom before going out.  When he introduces himself, even he doesn’t understand what he is saying.  The worst nightmare for a hobnobber is stumbling over his words, so he pays out-of-pocket for a speech pathologist because his insurance laughed when he asked if they covered it.  The hobnobber keeps a stress ball at all times to keep his grip strong.  He keeps a towel to wipe off hand sweat.  God forbid he shakes an attorney’s hand and the attorney isn’t inspired by the refined superiority of his handshake.  The hobnobber cannot practice his handshakes with family because they all know him.  The worst kind of hobnobber converts to Catholicism so he can go to church and practice “in the wild” (with strangers) during the “peace be with you” part of the mass.

Sadly, the hobnobber has no friends in law school because they can’t take him to where he wants to go in his career.  In fact, even though he doesn’t drive, he will not carpool with you to school because “you can’t take him to where he wants to go.”  The hobnobber is an aberration to the normal well-adjusted law student.  The hobnobber is haunted by years of weak handshakes with his father.  Little does he know that 99 percent of all children give weaker handshakes than adults.  When you try to tell him that it’s because they have smaller hands, he quietly weeps.

OCI is the worst time to be a hobnobber.  We’re all walking around in suits during OCI so this causes great confusion for the hobnobber.   You see, the hobnobber sees no faces, only business suits.  He’ll compliment your paisley tie and try to hand you a resume.  He tells you about his past internships and his career goals.  Little does he know that I sit next to him in corporations!  Plus, I am at least four years away from becoming a hiring partner (conservative estimate).  Since it’s the holidays I want all of us to give hobnobber the greatest gift of all: a networking referral.  It will be his best Christmas ever if you tell him there may be an internship or a job opening.

To sum up: addiction is bad, but it’s the absolute worst when it annoys your friendly neighborhood Motions writer.

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