Stanford Law Student Realizes Dream of Competing on Jeopardy! – Twice

3L’s Amusing Grammar Gaffe Makes Him a Social Media Star

Stanford Law Student Realizes Dream of Competing on Jeopardy! – Twice
Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings, left, with 3L contestant Jack Weller.

Jack Weller, JD ’23 (BA ’15), grew up in San Diego watching Jeopardy! with his family. He honed his competitive trivia skills in middle school as a geography bee state finalist. Literary references and obscure historical facts have long been his jam.  

So the early months of the pandemic lockdown seemed like the ideal time to finally audition for the long-running trivia show. After his initial online test in 2020, he aced several more rounds of quizzes and screen tests before being selected to play in his first tournament, which aired in January 2021. Weller came within inches of winning against Stanford University alum Brian Chang (BA/MA ’06), a Chicago-based lawyer. After losing a tie-breaking challenge to Chang, Weller was one of a select few invited back for the game show’s new Second Chance Tournament, which aired on October 25, 2022. 

“Lawyers are actually highly represented as Jeopardy! contestants,” says Weller, who spent months preparing for the tournaments by reading up on everything from Balzac to the Bible, making thousands of flashcards, and using a ballpoint pen as a makeshift buzzer while running through practice games. “I think it has something to do with the competitive nature of most lawyers, the fact that they tend to be well read, and are generally good at accessing a lot of data quickly, and thinking on their feet.” 

Ironically, it was the one moment Weller did not think on his feet, during the recent Second Chance Tournament, that garnered him social media fame and a starring role in Jeopardy!’s first-ever TikTok video.

“Plurals That Don’t End in S” was the category. The word: moose. What’s the plural of moose?

If “geese” is the plural of “goose,” why isn’t “meese” the plural of “moose?” Anyone who has considered the idiosyncrasies of the English language has thought about it.

Unfortunately for Weller – or perhaps fortunately, given the ensuing notoriety – he thought about it just as he pressed the buzzer.

“As soon as the word ‘meese’ came out of my mouth, I knew it was going to go viral,” laughs Weller.

And go viral it did. 

Entertainment site The Wrap summed it up best on Twitter: “Jack Weller didn’t just win “Jeopardy!” on Tuesday, he also won audience hearts with a hilarious wrong answer that even gave host Ken Jennings a laugh.”

Luckily for Weller, he already was comfortably ahead of his opponents when he made his “meese-take.” He went on to win $10,000, which he plans to use for his post-graduation bar trip. After that, it will be on to Washington, D.C., where he will join the progressive voting rights law firm Elias Law Group.

“I think studying for Jeopardy! is actually not far removed from bar prep in that both require digesting large amounts of information, some quite obscure,” Weller says. 

His experience on the game show will surely inform his future practice of law, he continues. “One thing I learned from the ‘meese-take’ was that even when you make an obvious mistake (and on national television!) you have to keep a cool head.”