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Telling it like it is

|Written By Matt Powell
Telling it like it is

Andrew Black says he is just one of the many creative people at the University of Windsor’s law faculty. 

A just statement, considering the regular updates on the school’s student law society’s YouTube channel, which now boasts 11 videos since it was created last November. Videos range in topics from coverage of fundraisers and pro bono and legal aid programs.

Black, 27, is a third-year Windsor law student, hoping to pursue a career in litigation.

He posted his “Tell ’em They’re Your 1st Choice (Even if They’re Not)” video in mid-February and within a week it had already been viewed 5,500 times.

It is also being featured in Maclean’s magazine’s online edition. Ironic, considering Maclean’s rated Windsor’s law program 15th out of 16 common law schools in their law school rankings last September.

“The video is getting more attention than predicted,” says Black. “Everyone is getting a kick out of it.”

“Tell ‘em They’re Your First Choice (Even if They’re not)” features the backing music for Snoop Dogg’s 2005 single, “Drop it Like it’s Hot,” and original lyrics by Black.

It is a well-executed parody of the on-campus interview (OCI) process, and was designed to make light of the process that Black came out of feeling disillusioned.

“I got a bunch of OCIs, more than a couple in-firms, callbacks, lunches, and dinners with all of them, but I never got an offer,” he says.

“Inevitably, you reach the stage that they want to assess your level of interest in them, so I gave them an honest answer. I told them there were a lot of great firms, great people, but I came back empty-handed.”

Black says he made it a point during his articling process last summer to go out of his way and express sincere and enthusiastic interest in the firm he wanted to work for.

“They were my first choice, and I got an offer,” he says. “My OCI experience was a hard pill to swallow at the time, but I look back on it with a sense of humour.”

Black and a group of his classmates started shooting last October, and finished editing in January.

The video shows Black and company sauntering around downtown Windsor and dancing on Bay Street in Toronto, and includes fictional OCIs — which point out things you probably should not do in an interview, like trying to seduce the female interviewer or stopping the meeting to do a breakdance on the floor.

He says the connection between the Toronto and Windsor shoots is that a lot of his classmates are from the Greater Toronto Area.

“I’ve always called Toronto home, and I wanted to help establish the connection between Windsor and Toronto in the sense that so many Windsor law grads, like so many of our counterparts, end up practising on Bay Street.”

Like any good rap video these days, there is the cliché hip-hop necessities like flat-brimmed baseball caps, female dancers, and of course, a nice car (Black burns out of a parking lot in a white Porsche).

Black attributes his desire to do the video to his gratitude toward his school for giving him the chance to study law.

After the first three years of his undergrad at the University of Guelph, studying economics and finance, Black knew he wanted to go to law school. He admits his first years at Guelph were filled with fun, and his marks reflected that. But, wanting to go to law school, he boosted his marks and joined two executive boards, and graduated with honours.

“It was the first time since high school that I walked away with an A average,” he says.

But, he says those three years of undergrad fun contributed to the difficulties he had getting into law school, noting that most schools look for straight As and 180 LSAT scores. That’s when Windsor law came in.

“Windsor was one of the few law faculties in the country that gave me a chance. I had a decent LSAT, but the first part of my undergrad pulled me down competitively,” he says. “I was accepted to Windsor on an argument outside the numbers. It’s a running joke with myself that I had to ‘lawyer’ my way into law school.”

He says the video is just his small contribution to advocating Windsor’s law program, and also hopes that students do not take the video as informative — that was not his aim.

“Anyone going around saying, ‘You’re my first choice’ is being corny, cliché, and ineffective. [The video] is only meant to poke fun at a process that we all find stressful, but necessary.

“It parodies a rite of passage.”