Today we’ve got an entertaining topic – the eccentric characters you’ll meet in law school, along with some tips on law school etiquette (if you don’t want to find yourself on this list in the future).
Now, you might be wondering what we’re talking about. Isn’t law school just a bunch of students studying the law? Ha, as if. For whatever reason, law school tends to attract a rather eccentric cast of characters, some of whom you’re likely to run into, for better or worse. Read about the some of the types of people you will find below:
Ah, the notorious gunner. This is the person that always answers and asks questions, is a nonstop talker in class, and shows off, talks all the time. Their hand is the first one to shoot up and they make the professor say, “Anyone else?? Anyone??” You can find them sitting at the front of the class, arguing with the professor, raising hypotheticals, and confusing the class.
While we encourage being engaged in classes, don’t be that person. Office hours and study groups are the places to avidly debate without monopolizing class time. This is especially true as a 1L, when you should be absorbing knowledge, not trying to prove your smartness. The impression you make as a gunner won’t necessarily help your grades either, considering most tests are blindly graded. If anything, you will leave a bad impression as that person who messes up the professor’s class organization. Be engaged, but check yourself!
The person who takes everything too seriously and is worried about their future. Now, we encourage taking most things seriously, but this is the kind of person who politicizes who they are friends with because they worry about who will be an “ally” in the future. The result is often that they come across as a jerk to other people and create more enemies than friends.
While you should be aware of the reputation you are creating with others, don’t close off your friend group in the name of future goals! Be social, be kind to everyone, and those impressions will get you the furthest in the future.
Whether it’s the lazy pothead or the raging drinker, there is always that guy or gal. They’ll sound stupid to make the professor avoid calling on them. They will drink all weekend until they pass out and seemingly party their way through the three years. Don’t be that person. Think about your reputation.
Also, avoid being roommates with these people. Ask questions about your roommates on day one, like, “do you drink heavily or frequently? Do you smoke?” If you want to occasionally partake in these activities, we are not saying you can’t. We are saying, however, that you should be thoughtful about that community and your persona. Don’t get drunk if you’re a stupid drunk. Be aware that substance abuse is rampant in the profession and you will have to pass a character and fitness test for the bar. A law school DUI would not help you pass!
These people came to law school with one purpose in mind: arguing. And they argue about anything. Planning, communicating, collaborating, with them is hell. Remember, don’t always be argumentative. That’s not how you will be a lawyer.
The Social Justice Crusader
These are the do-gooders who think the entire world is evil. Don’t get us wrong, having a moral compass is fantastic, but these people cross the line into thinking everyone is terrible. They attack the students who want to be corporate lawyers instead of pro-bono community helpers. They can be well-intentioned, but seemingly clueless about “the real world.”
The Silent Gunner
“Who got the highest grade on that test?? They go here??” That person. The person who wins, all the time, but on the down low. They’re in the back of the room, don’t say much, but they’re on the law review. They have their nose to the grindstone, absorbing material, paying attention, and focusing on right things. These are great people to add to your study group!
The Wise Owls
These are the people who took time off before law school and are therefore more experienced. But they think they know everything. Most of their sentences begin with, “from my 12 years of experience, I know that…” While insight like this is very valuable, it will get annoying if they bring it up every five minutes.
These are great people to befriend, but only if they are reasonable instead of demeaning. Remember, they may more know about life, but they know as much as you about law school!
AVOID BEING A BULLY AT ALL COSTS. If someone wrongs you, you will eventually get them back in your career, trust us. Don’t be mean! No one needs a bully on top of all the stress of law school. Be a good person, but don’t be a pushover.
Law school is a time you can redefine yourself and be authentic. It’s the beginning of your legal career and you will meet many of your future colleagues, which is why it is important to know that your reputation precedes you.
What is most important is to find your people. Our list may cover a total of only 10 people. You will find great people to make great relationships with in law school. Find those people! You’ll need a support group, and there’s so many places to find that.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.