WC Answers Your Questions: Why Law School?

Jamie Smith's take on Charles Atlas's comic book ads, used with permission

Jamie Smith’s take on Charles Atlas’s comic book ads, used with permission

One of WC’s readers commented recently,

When John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate I was drawn into the world of Alaskan bloggers and followed many of you with great interest. I still look in on Immoral Minority and find you on his list of blogs. What sets you apart for me from the others on the roll is your obvious connection to Chicago. Who else writes about Chicago politics and the Chicago Cubs? Well, in a word, nobody. Those happen to be two of my favorite topics. Lifelong Cub fan. Lifelong supporter (usually on campaigns) of all the pointy headed liberals who have run for and held office in my life time. I was especially struck by your post on the great Abner Mikva. And the Kosher Nostra. A precursor, I believe, to the Crazy Eights

Always flattering to hear from a reader. WC doesn’t have permission to use his name, so we’ll call him TS. And TS goes on to ask,

So, can you tell me a bit about who you are and how you wound up going from NU Law School to Alaska? No problem if I have invaded your privacy. Just tell me to bug off. But I’m really curious. I have a feeling that it would be a really really interesting story. Long time Evanston Resident (Grew up on Greenwood) Medill Graduate School degree 1978.

WC lived in Alaska from age 4 to age 65, with time off for undergraduate school (University of Oregon) and law school (Northwestern University). WC first lived in Bethel, Alaska, where he was the only gussuk (white kid) in the school. Every other kid was Yup’ik, the Alaska Natives of the southwestern part of Alaska. At age 9, WC’s family moved to Fairbanks, WC’s home until 2015.

So it wasn’t a matter of going to Alaska from Northwestern; it was returning to Alaska. And there was never any doubt.

The why WC went to Northwestern is simple enough: following undergraduate school, WC took off for an extended visit to Europe. WC left his girlfriend1 in charge, with instructions to pick the first school – graduate or law school – to accept him and offer at least a 50% scholarship. Northwestern was the first to meet the requirements. The short answer it that Molly picked Northwestern.

But the real mystery is how WC got into Northwestern University School of Law. At that time there were about 25 applicants for every position. As first year students do, WC and some of his classmates sat around a table drinking Red, White and Blue beer,2 and the conversation turned to Northwestern Law’s admission requirements.

“You have to have at least a 725 Law School Admission Test score,” JF said.

“No, I know that’s not true,” WC responded.

“Well, you had to have a 3.75 grade point average,” GB said, in his impenetrable, back of the yards, Southside accent.

“No, I know that’s not true,” WC responded.

“Well, if you don’t have the LSAT or the GPA, you have to be related to an alum,” TM said.

“No, I know that’s not true,” WC responded.

The only thing that WC can figure is that the Admissions Office saw WC had lived in Bethel, Alaska, and assumed he was an Alaska Native. Which would explain why, second year, WC wasn’t offered a scholarship but instead a job. And the look of surprise on WC’s faculty advior’s face when we first met.

So, TS, the answer to your question is WC went back to Alaska, his girlfriend chose Northwestern and WC thinks he got in by accident or error.

Oh, and the Cubs have certainly reverted to form, haven’t they?


  1. Technically, it was WC’s buddy’s girlfriend, and yes, there was a certain amount of ugliness later and WC stayed on in Europe after his buddy returned to the states. 
  2. Pabst Blue Ribbon’s low end beer. $1.29 a six-pack at the Walgreen’s at Chicago Avenue and Michigan Avenue. Truly dreadful stuff. Only Rainier Green Ale – the Green Death – was cheaper but there are some things even law students won’t drink.