Law School Gunner

Law School Gunner

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Want to know more about law school gunners? Curious if they get better grades? Stay to the end as I define the term and provide
you with eleven characteristics that typify most law school gunners. Don’t forget to hit the like button if you
enjoy the episode and click the subscribe button and bell if you don’t want to miss
any future episodes. Hi, this is Beau Baez, and today I want to
discuss gunners, the best-known law school stereotype. And no, it’s not a person who comes to
law school with a gun—that would be a gunman. Law school gunners are a common phenomenon
at law schools that utilize the Socratic method, and they have certain characteristics. If you meet most of these characteristics,
you just might be a gunner. First, they are almost always the first students
to raise a hand in class when the professor asks a question. Two, they raise their hands when another student
is answering a question incorrectly. Three, they tend to raise their hands so they
can publicly disagree with the professor. Four, they participate in every class session,
or almost every class session. Five, they raise their hands multiple times
each time that class meets. Six, they tend to sit towards the front of
the classroom, so they can be seen by the professor. Seven, the gunner will sometimes blurt out
an answer, even if someone else was called on to answer the question. Eight, the gunner’s answer tends to be longer,
as they wax eloquently on the law. Nine, they tend to have overinflated egos,
believing that they are smarter than everyone else. They accomplish this by using longer words
that are not commonly used in society or even by lawyers. Ten, they are overly ambitious, going far
above and beyond what is required. For example, one gunner I knew would cite
to law review articles that were not assigned or even mentioned in the reading. The gunner just enjoyed looking for additional
law, which he then mentioned in class. And eleven, they keep their hand raised for
long periods of time, even when being ignored by the professor. This last strategy actually works sometimes
because I get embarrassed for them and I call on the gunner just to get them to put their hand down. Now, the question on your mind: does the gunner
get better grades in law school. From my experience as a law professor, and from what I’ve found from doing some research, is that gunners rarely get the highest course grades. During my law school career, I clearly recall
my section’s gunner. He came off as exceptionally well educated
and he seemed to understand the class material at a deeper level than the rest of us. But when final exam grades were posted, he
suddenly became less vocal in class as it was rumored that he did not do as well as
he had hoped for. The person with the top grades was a student
that I didn’t know well because she was so quiet in class. Now fast forward a few years, and I became a law
school professor. In the nearly 20 years of teaching first year
law students, I’ve paid attention to the gunner and their course grade. About twenty percent of the time they do end up getting the highest grade in the class—that’s about once about every five years. Most of the time though, the gunner ends up
somewhere in the top quartile. Good showing, mind you, but just not the highest
grade in the class. First semester grades often have the effect
of quieting the student down during the second semester of law school, though not completely
stopping them. In fact, the law school gunner tends to be
much more sheepish in the second semester of law school now that the wind has been let
out of their sails. But in those years when the gunner is the
top student, they continue their gunner behavior as the grades have validated them. One final note. Not everyone who raises their hands all the
time is a gunner. Some students learn by vocalizing concepts. And they actually need to repeat some of what
the professor says, because that is how their brain processes new information. It’s very hard to work with this kind of student
in the classroom, because there isn’t enough time for me to accommodate this particular learning style. So cccasionally this student is misidentified
as a gunner. Make sure to share your gunner stories in
the comments below. If you enjoyed this material, hit the like
button. Also, to avoid missing any future episodes,
hit the subscribe and bell buttons. For more resources to help you get ahead,
including my blog and newsletter, check out Thanks for watching.

16 thoughts on “Law School Gunner

  • Rafa Nadal Post author

    Great to have you back, please do more videos, they are really helpful

  • MrSmallANDLoud Post author

    First one to raise hand? ….BLAHAHAGA …..oh yeah people do that . It’s fine if they want to keep answering. Gives me time to memorize my outlines.

  • Nnamdi Uyalor,Jr Post author

    Mr Baez: I think a student who comes off as obnoxious in a law school setting is detrimental to that student's success.

  • tb p Post author

    Number 8😂😂😂!

  • Faron Iron Post author

    I just realized I'm a gunner. Darn, I thought I couldn't ever get correctly labeled, till now.

  • Anne Reilley Post author

    Some of these traits are positive, like sitting close to the front. I believe you even recommend that in another video, as there are less distractions than further back. A lot of things listed I was taught are good, like class participation, preparation, and work beyond what's required. Maybe you could do a video about what you do want a student to be like in class?

  • Wild Bill Post author

    I think it mostly important to participate in class when asking questions. It’s better to get out uncertainties in class, rather than when taking your final exam.

  • R N Post author

    This video was disappointing, sorry. Here’s why:

    1. You seem to include every extrovert in the “gunners” camp.

    2. This list could easily be condensed into 4 or 5 characteristics instead of 11, as most involved hand raising in class.

    I love your other videos, though.

    Cheers. 🙂

  • Mitch Yurkowitz Post author

    Any tips for those of us who learn by vocalizing?

  • Lucas Post author

    That moment you realise you are the gunner of all your classes hahaha. I have always had the impression that it is a good thing to be a gunner however, as it demonstrates to your tutors that you are indeed engaging with the subject and reading the necessary materials. I personally just really enjoy giving my input in class and talking to lecturers.

  • William Post author

    The smartest students don’t show off and are the quietest in lectures, they get the highest grades and don’t go to all of the lectures because you see some students just naturally have a legal mind (perhaps they came from a legal family such as I did [although I’m not a gunner I’m pretty average] with a federal judge for a dad who has exposed his kids to legal thinking from a young age— perhaps inadvertently). The point is not only are some students quiet in class yet hard working, there are some students who are quiet in class but don’t work hard and still achieve higher than the gunners because law comes naturally to them.

  • Ethan Krassenstein Post author

    Oh my! You just described me in classes.

  • Cole Soliz Post author

    I am in high school currently and jr. year I want to take classes at community college with high school. Will this help my chances of getting into law school?

  • Lyndon Bliss Post author

    "OK, before we all go home for the weekend, does anyone have any questions?"  I dreamed of punching that guy who then asked theoretical questions. He often made unsolicited comments: I see, yes, of course, you're right, I understand. Maybe I whispered something rude to him outside. To my surprise he apologized. I then apologized for being rude.

  • A T Post author

    Hahaha being able to participate in class means nothing in law school. Only thing that matters is how you structure your exam and always always do what your professor says is right not what the book says or anyone else. Remember law school isn’t school it is a game that you must play alone and for other people.

  • A T Post author

    You see how people being involved in class is looked down on? You have to be patient and combative at the same time. You must fall in line but also be able to stand up for your ideas with vigor. Law school is going to tear you down and never build you up. If you can’t build yourself up you will be left behind ruthlessly. Your professors and students will pretend they care but will look down on you and talk about you behind your back. If you do not mind fighting and having conflict with people you spend every waking moment with go to law school.

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