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Mindy Kaling, unwitting patroness of struggling law students

As if I needed any more reason to love Mindy Kaling. It's no secret that I adore her, as an actress, as a character (Dr. Lahiri is my spirit animal), and as a person. But wow, hearing this from her, right smack in the middle of the hell that is Finals - man, shivers down my spine.

This is Mindy giving a speech at Harvard Law School Class Day last year. I actually find it quite amusing that she was invited, of all people. I'm just as puzzled as she is; I mean, she's not exactly the first person you'd imagine giving a speech to law students, and from Harvard, at that. Harvard, of all places, does not need the media attention. But apparently, for some law students in other parts of the world, we need this kind of talk, from this intelligent girl that speaks the truth and delivers it with a lot of heart (and humor.)

I love you, Mindy. No truer words have been spoken. I don't think I've ever come across a more beautiful speech to describe the profession of law and what it means to pursue it. Of all the people who would make me really want to fight, stay, and wade on through, I never imagined it would be you. But how glad I am that it is.

The thing I find the most fascinating, is that you are responsible for the language of justice, for the careful and precise wording in all those boring contracts that I sign while I watch Real Housewives.

You wrote the Terms and Conditions that I scroll through quickly while I download the update for Candy Crush. Terms and Conditions are the only things keeping us from the purge, everybody. I don’t read them—I just hit Accept. iTunes may own my ovaries for all I know.

“Employees must wash their hands before returning to work.” A lawyer wrote that.

“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” A lawyer wrote that.

“Mindy Kaling may not come within 1,000 feet of Professor Noah Feldman.” A lawyer wrote that.

These are protections that we take for granted. Your dedication to meticulous reading is a tedium that I find so admirable. You take words and you turn them into the infrastructure that keeps our world stable.

The seductive southern lawyers from John Grisham novels get all the glory, the Noah Feldmans, but the rest of you form the foundation for our day to day lives. It's backbreaking and often, there is not much glory. And in that way, a lot of you will become the quiet heros of our country. And those of you that go on to work for big pharma and Phillip Morris, you will become the loud anti-heros and someone is certain to make an AMC series glamorizing you.

Either way, you can't go wrong. I look at you and see our nation's future. Attorneys, corporate lawyers, public prosecutors, judges, politicians, maybe even the President of the United States. Those are all positions of such great influence. Understand that one day you will have the power to make a difference.

"You are responsible for the language of justice. You take words and you turn them into the infrastructure that keeps our world stable."


The law is a beautiful language in itself. And we are lucky to be gifted the opportunity to learn it, be fluent in it, and use it for the greater good. Thank you, Mindy, for making me realize this when I need it the most.


Read the whole transcript of Mindy's speech here.