Rock, Paper, Scissors: A Tale of Triumph; A Tale of Defeat

A common question students ask about a firm is “how do you and the other students distribute work?”

At some firms there is the horrible very helpful randomizer, while at others it is on a  first come first serve basis.

Here at Cassels we have a different way of administering tasks…. ROCK. PAPER. SCISSORS. Honestly just saying the name gives me shivers as I currently have the worst record for these battles. While the wounds are still fresh, I am here to explain how this process works, and why it actually does work.

Don’t worry young grasshoppers, I will first give you some background so you can laugh along with the jokes like you have some idea of what’s going on.

To understand the point, dare I say significance of rock paper scissors you need to understand how the students get work at Cassels. Much of the work you receive as a summer student comes through a list-serve which any lawyer can use as a means to reach us with an assignment they have. There are two types of students (1) List-serve students; and (2) Students who are apparently too busy for the list-serve. But, that’s a story for a different day. As I was saying. When a list-serve email comes in,  that is where the bloodbath begins!

Well, virtually.

When an assignment comes through the list-serve, every student pretends reads it. Sometime from the title alone you can gauge whether it’s a yasssss queen (said in the voice of Jonathan from Queer eye) or a hard pass for you personally. Once you have decided it is the assignment of your  dreams,  you will obnoxiously post, “ME ME ME!!” in our CBB student WhatsApp group chat and secretly hope no one else wants the assignment. If no one else wants the assignment, then either you have poor instincts or everyone else is “SUPER BUSY.”

But alas, that is not always the case and there are many times when 2-3 students want the same assignment. When this inevitably happens, we need to find a fair way to decide who gets to do the work.  Now, I could make up a story about how it came to be but as a certified investigative journalist – I am going right to the source – scrolling through 3 months of Whatsapp messages to find the initial messages that started this system.

The first virtual Rock Paper Scissors came to be in the following manner:

  • Erin: Can I do this? (referring to an assignment that came through the list-serve)
  • Reza: Meeeeeeee
  • Erin: No meeeeeee
  • Kieran: We need a Rock Paper Scissors function in WhatsApp
  • Reza: Very true. I have nothing right now…
  • Erin: Sameeee
  • Kieran: [emojis of Rock, Paper Scissors]
  • Reza: Where is your office
  • Erin: 19th floor
  • Reza: Hahaha, kk on my way!
  • Kieran: Both of you message me either rock paper or scissors and I’ll tell you who wins

[the rest of the conversation is not important except that I’d like to point out I did win that battle]

After this event the student of Cassels realized Kieran, now officially known as Sheriff Kieran, was onto something. It has become standard practice in our group chat that if there are 2 or even 3 (yes, we’re skilled enough to do a three-way RPS battle) students who want an assignment, Rock Paper Scissors is in order. However, there are times where we crave the in-person drama and will make the trek to the other student’s office for a LIVE EVENT. Because RPS has become such a source of entertainment for the students, if there is an “in-person” battle, the students involved will send pictures of the event – usually of the loser crying in the corner.

I’m going to be totally frank with you – RPS has ended friendships, started rivalries and resulted in a lot of tears. It’s not a game for the weak. I’ve learned that the hard way. For every rock I play, there’s a paper to smother me, for every scissors I play, there’s a rock to crush me, and for every paper I play there’s a pair of scissors to cut me up. Luckily at Cassels, they hire students who are positive and resilient. So, while I may lose almost everyday in RPS, I know that one day, maybe not this summer, I will be a winner.

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