In high school, prom was an event that many thought would define their teenage existence. People planned for months, making seemingly life-or-death decisions like: What dress do I wear? Who should I ask? Where will we eat dinner? How big of a limo can we afford? And when can we leave? With so much build-up and apprehension, the actual events of prom—for most of those I know—never lived up to the hype.
Fast forward about half a decade, and there’s Law Prom. More formally known as the Barrister’s Ball, Law Prom is an event put on by KU Law’s Student Bar Association every year. Pretty much every law school across the country has a similar event at which law students from all classes dress up and get together for a night of formal(ish) entertainment. I prefer calling it “Law Prom” rather than “Barrister’s Ball” for two reasons: 1) the word “barrister” rings of powdered wigs and pretention, two things that are thankfully absent at the event; and, 2) because calling it a “prom” actually highlights how ironically dissimilar the event is to the one way back in high school. While high school prom was about everything but the event itself, Law Prom is all about a night of stress-free abandonment with your friends in the midst of what can be an otherwise stressful semester.
(Footnote: I should mention that perhaps the one constant from high school to Law Prom was the music. With the exception of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and a few other relatively recent hits, the Law Prom’s DJ strayed little from the music that served as the soundtrack to the mixers and dances of my formative years. I distinctly remember self-consciously swaying back and forth at arms’ length with a girl—whose name I will pretend escapes me—to the very same *NSYNC song that played at Law Prom.)
Not only is Law Prom a welcome break from schoolwork and other mid-semester business, but it also serves as a reminder of all the amazing friends I’ve made in a relatively short time at KU Law. Plus, at Law Prom, there’s no Vitamin C song that has to play at the end. Maybe I should explain that: While I came to law school afraid that I’d be greeted by über-competitive, highlighter-wielding classmates, what I actually encountered was a small class of peers who want nothing more than to see everyone else succeed. We went from a group of strangers to a very close-knit community in an astonishingly short amount of time. Without a doubt, the folks I’ve meet at KU Law will be my friends and colleagues for a very long time, and Law Prom is a great reminder of that. I already can’t wait for next year. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally win the best hair award.
— Paul Cassat is a 2L and KU Law Student Ambassador.