Tomorrow We May Die: PILA Auction Last Chance at Pre-Exam Social Life

Jacob Jones ‘21
Tyler D’Ambrose ‘21
Staff Editors


The PILA Auction is a special annual event that allows UVA Law students and professors to join in courageously consuming inordinate amounts of alcohol while bidding on hot-ticket items ranging from poker with professors to choosing someone else’s next tattoo. The proceeds go towards cash-strapped UVA Law students who earn grants to work in low-paying public interest jobs over the summer.  For the first time, the event was split into two separate auctions: a live auction on Thursday evening (featuring free alcohol and professors being pied in the face), and the Yule Ball-themed silent auction on Saturday night. Dividing the events proved successful this year: around 600 tickets were sold to Saturday’s “Law School Homecoming”—many more than were sold last year—and on Thursday, one lucky student paid $350 to pie Professor Mitchell in the face[1].


Silent Auction attendees mill excitedly around the auction tables. Photo Kolleen Gladden / The  Virginia Law Weekly

Silent Auction attendees mill excitedly around the auction tables. Photo Kolleen Gladden / The Virginia Law Weekly

The division of events allowed professors to bid on fancy items, such as private band performances and music lessons with guitarist extraordinaire Read Mills, without interacting with students over the weekend. It also excused students and professors alike from having to mutually acknowledge how much the student body likes to drink, and for that reason, many awkward interactions were avoided. Eager Thursday bidders spent more than twice as much during the live auction this year than last, which will hopefully enable students to do more public interest good in summers to come.


Saturday’s silent auction[2] featured men donning their best JCPenney or Sears suits and women puttin’ on the ritz with their snazziest dresses. Over 600 students and their dates crammed into a hotel ballroom for the event. Silent auction ticket items featured common themes including dog sitting, gift cards,[3] and various offers from talented people promising to teach the rest of us skills we can use to impress our mothers over winter break.[4] It seemed everyone had pregamed sufficiently to feel just fine about placing max bids on items ranging from stick-shift driving lessons and home-cooked meals to the chance to choose somebody’s next two-inch tattoo. Students who were most inebriated were easy to recognize by the trails of max bids in their names scrawled illegibly around the room.[5]


For many items, competition was fierce: Multiple items quickly reached their maximum bid amounts, and law students desperately tried to outbid those maximums. Sometimes, people left mean comments in the margins for their competitors. Fortunately, a good samaritan scribbled over nasty comments and wrote “I ‘heart’ you” instead. There was no shortage of items to bid on, and since there were no announcements of who won, everyone got to go home feeling like a winner. The hottest ticket item was a 2”x 2” tattoo of the bidder’s choice offered by the bold Andrew Sexton ’19, which quickly reached its $650 buyout. The legality of buying rights to a part of someone’s body is sketchy at best, so it is important to make sure we all normatively enforce this contract through peer pressure.


While the event was supposedly Harry Potter-themed, there were no magicians promising to make all of our dreams come true.[6] On the other hand, there were several elixirs offered at the cash bar, which seemed to boost law students’ spirits when consumed in the right amount. Students without the foresight to bring cash were forced to locate the lone ticket booth amidst the drunken crowd. Their struggle was rewarded once they got to see their tickets magically transformed into intoxicating elixirs.


The event provided students with plenty of food, and all were challenged to eat back some of the $35 ticket cost.[7] 3Ls led by Daniel Grill ’19 could be heard grumbling about the price difference between 1L and 3L. “Tickets were what, forty bucks when we were 1Ls?” Grill said. “And we got two drink tickets!” One PILA representative, who spoke off the record with the Law Weekly’s editors, blamed the Omni for driving prices up. The Omni lavishly provided “chicken nuggets,” mystery meat on a stick, pulled pork sliders, and $8 rum and cokes. Many law students hit the dance floor when they were not busy walking around the bidding tables in a magic-potion-induced stupor. While the dance floor was flooded with nerdy law school students, the dancing was surprisingly classy. Most students left plenty of room for Jesus, or whichever religious figure they prefer. As one attendee stated, “Thank God I didn’t see any twerking.” Both flossing and the robot are still considered classy and appropriate dances for a law school shindig, however.


After pre-pregaming, pregaming, and then sweating a lot in an environment that felt like a high school gymnasium for around three hours, many students went home. Those with the courage and stamina to continue the party rallied at Rapture, where their long trek was rewarded with the familiar siren songs of Gunners n’ Roses.[8] For many students, this was the last official chance to go out and party with classmates while collectively and negligently blowing off our outlines.[9] According to meteorologists,[10] winter is coming, and it is time for students to move into the library for the next month. We will now settle down into our favorite corners of the gunner pit to hide away as we slowly become one with our outlines.

[1] Between the live-auction bidding and the pre-event donation war to choose the lucky professors, students spent a total of $537.48 on pieing Mitchell alone.

[2] Which was actually very noisy from all the music and conversation.

[3] Hopefully not for JCPenney.

[4] Other than 1Ls newfound ability to say a string of facts and then declare “res ipsa.”

[5] This author’s heart goes out the drunken guy or gal who bid over $75 for a basket of life savers and beauty products.

[6] However, Lena Welch was particularly on-theme, with a homemade robe and a time-turner in her bun.

[7] Or $30, or $40, depending how early or late you were to the game.

[8] This author takes no official position with regards to the recent Court of Petty Appeals decision concerning Gunners n’ Roses and Panic! At the District Courthouse.

[9] “Res ipsa.”

[10] Also according to Jon Snow and the maesters.