Friday, April 11, 2014

The Many Law School Personalities

Law School is filled with a medley of intelligent, ambitious individuals. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, educational focuses, and lifestyles. As I observed my surroundings in my first law school class, we all seemed like a clump of petrified humans. No one wanted to be the first to raise his or her hand, appear overly confident nor under-prepared. For such a diverse group of students, we all looked exactly the same.

However, second semester marked a drastic shift. In fact, the “personalities of law school” emerged. There are many interpretations about the kind of people you will meet in law school, and here is my own rendition.

The famous “Gunner” is a well-known character, almost every law student knows about. According to the very credible Urban Dictionary, the Gunner is “a person who is competitive, overly-ambitious and substantially exceeds minimum requirements.”  While we may have all experienced a Gunner or two in our past educational institutions, nothing is quite like the Gunner in law school. The Gunner is the person who promptly raises his or her hand as soon as a question ends and is often heard discussing the copious amount of notes they took in Torts, all the outlines they finished months in advance, or how prepared he or she already is for finals. I’m pretty sure I have even seen a Gunner or two bring camping supplies to the library during finals. The Gunner may extract a sense of self-consciousness in even the most confident of individuals.
On the opposite end, “The Mumbler” is the very bright kid who has so much to say, however we simply can’t hear The Mumbler’s hidden brilliance.  The Mumbler may be tired, nervous, or maybe he or she just has a quiet voice. However, when we look at the blank section in our notes, we know that The Mumbler was most likely responsible.

One of my favorite law school personalities is “The What-If Guy”. Torts and Criminal Law tend to bring out the What-If Guy in all of us. The What-If Guy is a creative individual who was probably involved in some creative writing in the past. He or she comes up with the most elaborate hypotheticals that are extreme and impracticable, but nevertheless, very entertaining. Everyone in class looks up from their as soon as we hear a sigh from the teacher and a cautious, “yes, What If-Guy, what would you like to add to the discussion?” We all know it’s time to brace ourselves for an epic hypothetical. For instance, the What If- Guys needs to make sure every base is covered by asking what if… “two cars are driving down the road, one driver [“D1”] has contracted with a rental car company, and the other driver [“D2”] stole the car from the neighbor, D1 was planning to murder D2, however D1 was drunk and crashed into a third party truck driver [“D3”], BUT THEN there was a bolt of lightning [“LB”] that hit D1, and then a gorilla [“G”] comes and kills D2, and then the master-mind [“MM”] of the initial murder appears and a tiger [“T”] pops out of the trunk and…wait what was the question?”

“The Debater” is another common personality in law school. Law students are all very outspoken and opinionated individuals and each and every one of us likes a good debate, especially in a favorite class talking about an interesting case. The Debater loves the topic or class and comes prepared to argue. At this point in class, everyone stops taking notes and eagerly watches the heated back-and-forth between the passionate Debater and his or her newest victim. It’s almost like a sporting event, law school edition.

And of course, “The New Law School Couple” emerges. During my first orientation, one of our speakers noted that most of us will break up with a current significant other and will most likely date someone in the school, or perhaps even in the same section [although we were also warned of this option]. Immediately we all looked around, sizing up our options. The speaker was more on point than we realized at the time. After spending endless hours in the library and in class together, it is inevitable a pair will spark a love interest. Unexpectedly, the day comes when a pair is holding hands, walks in late to an 8 am class together, and all the pieces come together; two students become law school official!! [It’s like Facebook official, but more serious].

 Lastly, every law school has the beloved “Class Clown.” Everyone loves the Class Clown. The Class Clown is witty, intelligent, and confident. He or she promotes all the outside events and is friends with everyone in the section. The Class Clown lightens the mood on test day, and reassures the rest of the section that we will get through whatever intense assignment is due the next day. The Class Clown brings us all back down to earth when we feel bogged down with endless reading and outlining. Everyone is thankful for the Class Clown for cracking a joke or two and making even the most serious of teachers let out a little chuckle.

Despite all the stories I’ve heard about the personalities of law school, what I realized on my own is that at one point or another each law student fills one of these personalities. Whether a student fills the role of the Debater in criminal law class because criminal defense is their calling, or The Mumbler in civil procedure because the difference between Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Personal Jurisdiction, and Venue is still a mystery. Or perhaps one embodies the Class Clown in contracts because he or she is “besties” with the contracts Professor. Either way, I have noticed an interesting evolution of first semester personalities into the more confident second semester personalities. Second semester displays the new found confidence in law students as we all start to find our niche in law school and adapt accordingly. It has been a fun journey watching myself as well as the individuals around me. After these eight months together, I’ve grown to know the “law school personalities” very well and really love my section. As much as I will be overly-joyed to complete my first year of law school, I am going to miss my goofy section and spending all day, every day with them!

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