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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2149078
Rated: 18+ · Non-fiction · Legal · #2149078
I didn't want to win like this.
Law school affords many opportunities for extracurricular activities. One such activity is the trial-advocacy team. Teams of four students are given a packet of information and face other schools in simulated trials. In other words, we practice being lawyers against each other.

Organizations hold tournaments across the country. Our school entered one in Houston, TX, USA, which would require a massive time commitment, including sacrificing our Spring Breaks for more practice time. Five of us presented ourselves for three available spot. After a vote, I won the last spot on the team. This is a great honor, for which I should be very grateful.

But I'm very upset about being selected.

Specifically, I reject the selection process. A week ago, eight of us competed in a different competition. Most competitions allow schools to send two teams of four advocates. This one limited us to two teams of two advocates - which we didn't know until the professor realized, a week before show-time, that he didn't read the rules. So four of us, including me, got bumped. We still got to go, but we were limited to playing witnesses.

I accepted this decision. The professor promised us that, for Houston, he would select members based on merit, with those of us who got bumped getting special consideration. One of my friends who got bumped didn't take kindly to this. The professor never discussed the situation with us and never gave those who got bumped the option to step aside. My friend and I would've done so, but the outcome was imposed on us. My friend felt screwed; I don't blame her.

Now, however, it's time for us to cash in our chips. Here's what the professor promised us: the team would be selected by merit, with bonus points given based on (1) being a third-year student (law school takes three years), (2) graduating early, and (3) getting bumped in the previous competition. No third-year student could commit enough time to go.

Three of us had a bonus point for getting bumped, and my friend had a second bonus point for graduating early. She also put in more work than anyone I'd ever seen for the last competition only to get bumped. She put in a good amount of work for the Houston competition, and we haven't even started preparing for that one. But she would be spending her Spring Break in Israel. She would still be available on Skype to attend practice, though, and I tried to help her out by saying that I would be willing to practice with her on Skype. Yet, the professor told her she shouldn't be doing that. Our team president, a third-year student, also felt the need to announce to all of us that her Israel trip should be held against her.

The selection process became a straight-up vote. The professor could've converted our bonus points into extra votes, but that didn't happen. He broke his promise to us. We were now on equal footing. The professor tried to encourage the voters to select those who got bumped, but he already discredited my friend. Furthermore, the team president gave a speech encouraging voters not to select us, because, since we already went to a competition (even if only as witnesses), we should step aside.

After the first round of voting, my friend finished dead last. She was out, I wasn't happy about it. I was tied for third. I immediately offered to withdraw and give the last spot to the other guy. I was pissed that my friend got screwed again, so I didn't feel very motivated. A few of the voters insisted that we have a tiebreaker vote rather than let me walk away.

So we did. With twelve voters, I got six votes. Another tie, right? Except the other guy got only five votes, because someone wasted his vote on a person not in the running.

I was livid. I shot out of my seat. "This is bullshit! I'm not winning like this! Do a revote! The other guy got screwed! I'm not accepting this spot!" I threatened to walk away several times. Finally, one of the coaches, a practicing lawyer, pulled me aside and explained to me that, no matter how it seemed, I won the spot legitimately. Sure, somebody wasted his vote, but that didn't change the fact that more people voted for me than for the other guy.

The other guy should've been given a chance. If that vote ended in a tie, we would've found another way to break the tie. Maybe I would've won anyway. Maybe he would've won. Maybe that's when my bonus point would've finally come into play. I'll never know, though. As far as I'm concerned, they stole the spot from him, and I dishonorably inherited it.

I know I should be grateful for this opportunity, but I can't be happy about winning when I won it like this.

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