Basic Etiquette for Law School and Beyond– Free food.


I don’t normally write so many unsolicited advice posts, but with the upcoming year starting and me looking back with a perhaps mawkish affection for my first couple of weeks of school, I just can’t help myself.

Back in my Umass days, my friend Steve would say that you can learn a lot about a person and how they were raised by how they act around free food. Especially when its self-serve.

In law school, there is free food every day. And lawyers have a lot of buffet-filled events. Various clubs sponsor food to increase attendance for their meetings. The bar study programs provide food. The research engines provide food. Its everywhere. I seriously judged people by how they behaved around food. Its kind of like how you can see the real person by how they treat waiters/waitresses. Here we go.

1. Take one serving. After everyone has had food, go back for seconds. You’d be shocked at how many people would load up their plate. For instance, I’d order chik fil a (1.5x how ever many people I expected to be there). In my mind. a normal person takes ONE sandwich. NOT IN AMERICA! People would load up with THREE sandwiches. No one here is starving. The person ordering your catering didn’t count on three sandwiches per person. That’s 1230 calories alone. THATS MY DAILY CALORIE ALLOTMENT. When someone takes more than a serving, they are announcing to everyone that they are a glutton and that they are more important than anyone else.

2. Don’t RUSH to the free food. You aren’t starving. There is NO need to run to the food, or hustle people aside (I’ve seen it, its disgusting).

3. Clean up after yourself. I can’t believe this even has to be said. You are an adult. Put your plate in the garbage can. If there are a lot of crumbs, use your napkin to sweep them onto your plate before you toss it.

4. If the food is for an event, attend the event. That’s the whole point of using budgeted money for food. Don’t be so tacky as to just take the food and bail.

5. Thank the person who provided the food.

Even if you think that all of this above is BS and you can do what you want. Go for it. At least remember how it looks to those around you.

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