Law student blackmails and kills to secure job at top firm
A group of University of Auckland law students has released a comedy video which interweaves the plot of political drama House of Cards with the quest to get a foothold in the legal profession.
For those unfamiliar with the hit show, House of Cards tells the story of Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) and his relentless pursuit of the US presidency by any means possible.
In the students’ version — entitled ‘House of Cards Law School Parody: House of Clerks’ — the prize of the US presidency is substituted for a training contract at top Antipodean commercial law firm Minter Ellison.
The eight-minute video begins at a firm graduate recruitment event where a law student version of Frank Underwood can be seen sizing up his rivals for a trainee position.
“I’m a glass half full kind of guy, but I simply detest having to submit myself to this vetting process,” he begins. “I’ve spent the evening narrowing down the competition…My interview is in two days, let the games begin.”
Frank then sets about eliminating the other candidates — law student versions of House of Cards characters Michael Kern, Linda Vasquez and Peter Russo — one by one.
First Underwood blackmails Auckland University law school dean Dr Andrew Stockley (who plays himself) in order to sabotage the perfect grades of straight A student Kern. The move recalls the dashing of Kern’s bid to become Secretary of State in House of Cards.
Next Frank leaks to the press a story about impropriety and cocaine use at the student law society — a tactic used by Underwood in House of Cards — to do away with Linda. Finally, he picks off Russo by allowing him to be struck by a car after deliberately dropping his wallet while the pair cross the road.
With the student who plays Frank doing a convincing impression of the House of Cards lead character — complete with distinct southern US twang — and the video producers incorporating the series’ piano accompaniment and direct monologues to the camera, it’s a pretty impressive piece of work.
What makes it even better is the inclusion of elements of law student humour — for example, when a deliveryman identifies Underwood as a lawyer and proceeds to ask him a legal question, rather than go for something conventional he rattles off a generic law exam problem question involving multiple parties.
The skit comes to an end with Frank sitting in his training contract interview and being asked:
“So why do you want to be involved in the law?”
Despite the amoral rampage that has taken him to this point, his answer is:
“I am passionate about helping people.”
Regular Legal Cheek readers will have noted that this isn’t the first piece of work by the students — who are part of the University of Auckland law review — with ‘House of Clerks’ preceded by legal parodies of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Lorde’s song Royals (‘Lawyers’) and Akon’s ‘Smack That’.
But with this latest video having already pulled in over 6,000 views after being released on Sunday, you get the sense that ‘House of Clerks’ could be the biggest hit yet.