How to get your fellow law students to pay for your summer holiday

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Foolproof method! Guaranteed results every time! Win, win, win!


There is a famous scene in Guys and Dolls in which Sky Masterson says to Nathan Detroit:

Let me tell you a story. When I was a young man about to go out into the world, my father says to me a very valuable thing. ‘Son,’ the old guy says, ‘I’m sorry that I am not able to bankroll you a very large start. But not having any potatoes to give you, I am going to give you some very valuable advice. One of these days in your travels, you are going to come across a guy with a nice brand new deck of cards, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the Jack of Spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not take this bet, for if you do, as sure as you are standing there, you are going to end up with an ear full of cider.’

This is the legal exam equivalent. As a law student you may know little law yourself but the one thing you will know is the law students who do know the law. The shy woman in the tutorials who knows so much that the tutor only comes to her as a last resort to avoid allegations of favouritism. The man who bashfully asks for another ream of paper twenty minutes into the land law examination.

Both the woman and man are not only clever enough to know all the law there is to know they are also so clever that they realize there is ever more law to know out there. They are perfectionists. The law student who knows the most is often the one who thinks they know the least.

They are, in short, the perfect mark.

And making money out of them couldn’t be easier. There is plenty of time in between exams ending and results being announced to organise a few soirees featuring said men and women.

Follow this simple 10 point plan:

1. Stun your friends by buying the first round.

2. Kick-start the conversation by casually mentioning that you think you have bombed your exams.

3. Let the talk flow.

4. Rest assured clever woman/man will also say they have bombed.

5. Introduce concept of gambling on exam results by having small wager on person present getting a 2:1.

6. Knock your friends out by buying the second round.

7. Offer odds on your own exam performance and take some small wagers.

8. Ask clever woman/man for odds on their performance.

9. The conversation will proceed as follows:

“Oh, gosh, I mean a 2:2 must be favourite at, I don’t know, even money, and I can’t truly rule out a third so that better be 5-2 and I suppose if I’m really really lucky I might just sneak a 2:1 so that might be 5-1..”

“I’ll have one pound on that.”

“You’re crazy, but one pound wins you five.”

“And what about a first?”

“One thing I know and that is I didn’t get a first.”

“I know, we all know, but I’m crazy me, indulge me.”

“Gosh. I suppose, I don’t know, 25-1.”

At which point quick as a flash remove five twenties from your pocket, slap them on the table and say: “A ton wins me £2,500. I thank you.”

And the clever woman/man will pause for a second and very quickly calculate that if the impossible happens and they do get a first this will pretty much guarantee the TC at Freshfields and all things considered 2.5 large is chump change among Davis Polk trainees. So as sure as the Jack of Spades squirting cider in your ear they will take this bet.

10. And when the results are announced, and despite your low third, you too will be punching the air.