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How Not to Make Friends in Law School: The Gunner

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 22, 2016 11:57 AM

The people you meet in law school likely won't disappear from your life after just three years of law school. Many of them could become your colleagues, lifelong friends, or opposing counsel. A few you may just see at the local bar, or local bar events.

The opinions your law school peers make of you in law school will follow you for some time. And some of your law school classmates might kind of hate you. Especially if you're a gunner.

The Law School Gunner

The law school gunner is the kid who raises his hand in every class, who argues with the professor, and who thinks his one or two experiences with a topic are worth sharing with everyone else. He is a potent mix between a try hard and a blow hard.

Why is being a gunner bad? Well, for many law students, class is a drag and pretty transactional. They put up with excruciating cold calls and tedious exegesis on the Rules of Civil Procedure not because they're really jazzed about joinder, but because they want to get the information they need to do well on the final exam, and maybe in their career. Being excited about the law isn't bad, but being excited in a way that causes more work for your classmates is going to draw their ire.

Don't Be the Center Square in Gunner Bingo

Law students hate gunners. If you trust law student internet comments (and they're always a dubious source) the University of Texas once had to ban "Gunner Bingo" during its orientation. This wasn't a generic game of bingo either, the type where you'd mark X if someone raised their hand more than five times in one hour. This "Gunner Bingo" included the actual names of 1Ls, and students would fill in squares each time those gunners would speak.

Finding yourself on gunner bingo means you haven't exactly made the best impression.

Now, if you're the kind of person who is truly vested in a topic and who really has something to contribute, go for it. You shouldn't hold back in class because someone else might judge you. (After all, you're paying a ton of money for this education.)

But if you see your peers rolling their eyes or letting out a not-so-subtle sigh when you start going on a diatribe, dial it back. Save that enthusiasm for office hours, where no one but your professor will have to put up with it.

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