Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

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scifiguy
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Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:46 am

I've heard about the notion of what's called a law school "gunner" from friends and also from reading a bit about law school online.

A bit curious about some aspects of the idea of a gunner.

What precise definition can be given for a gunner and what is it exactly that makes the gunner unliked and a pejorative term? Is it possible to be enthusiastic about law school and simply want to discuss the material out of genuine interest and raise your hand a lot, but not have any intentions of trying to show people up or show off?

What is it exactly that seems to rub people the wrong way about what the gunner does compared to a naturally outgoing and passionate student?

Conversely, what types of qualities and characteristics of people do you find most pleasant and to have the most likeable etiquette?
Last edited by scifiguy on Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby ph14 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:48 am

scifiguy wrote:I've heard about the notion of what's called a law school "gunner" from friends and also from reading a bit about law school online.

A bit curious about some aspects of the idea of a gunner.

What precise definition can be given for a gunner and what is it exactly that makes the gunner unliked and a pejorative term? Is it possible to be enthusiastic about law school and simply want to discuss the material out of genuine interest and raise your hand a lot, but not have any intentions of trying to show people up or show off?

What is it exactly that seems to rub people the wrong way about what the gunner does compared to a naturally outgoing and passionate student?


Just don't be annoying and you will be fine. E.g., don't argue with the professor, say things like "when I studied this in undergrad/grad school/study abroad," etc.

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:50 am

ph14 wrote:Just don't be annoying and you will be fine. E.g., don't argue with the professor, say things like "when I studied this in undergrad/grad school/study abroad," etc.


But what if we want clarification? Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong? lol.

I would think that intellectual freedom in the academy would promote this sort of open debate.

But, I can see how someone migth be annoying in their approach.

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ph14
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby ph14 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:53 am

scifiguy wrote:
ph14 wrote:Just don't be annoying and you will be fine. E.g., don't argue with the professor, say things like "when I studied this in undergrad/grad school/study abroad," etc.


But what if we want clarification? Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong? lol.

I would think that intellectual freedom in the academy would promote this sort of open debate.

But, I can see how someone migth be annoying in their approach.


Golden rule: Don't be annoying. You can ask for clarification in a way that is annoying and in a way that isn't annoying. Also, something that might otherwise be fine can be frustrating when it drags on much longer than is necessary, especially when it is a tangent. Just use common sense. If you can't figure this out on your own then you are probably beyond helping.

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20130312
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby 20130312 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:58 am

scifiguy wrote:Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong?

Sounds like the beginning of gunnerdom to me.

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tfer2222
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby tfer2222 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:58 am

ph14 wrote:
scifiguy wrote:
ph14 wrote:Just don't be annoying and you will be fine. E.g., don't argue with the professor, say things like "when I studied this in undergrad/grad school/study abroad," etc.


But what if we want clarification? Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong? lol.

I would think that intellectual freedom in the academy would promote this sort of open debate.

But, I can see how someone migth be annoying in their approach.



Go to the professor after class or to his/her office hours. Don't waste other people's time with BS.

Also, It doesn't matter if you think the prof is wrong- whatever they say is right for purposes of their exam, and the exam is all that matters.

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:59 am

ph14 wrote: If you can't figure this out on your own then you are probably beyond helping.


lol. I might be beyond helping. :lol: Just kidding. I think I know what you mean. I had a studnet who may be considered a gunner in one of my classes last year. In fact, by many standards he may have been a super gunner.

Fact: This student raised his hand and held it (in perfect, unbent form like a robot) up in the air for what seemed close to 10 minutes while the professor was talking in an attempt to answer a question posed. He sits in the front three rows as well. And when other questions were asked, he'd shoot his hand up immediately and attempt to answer questions right away.

On the one hand, you could maybe say he's passionate, but I kind of felt he was trying to show off or maybe needing a lot of personal reassurance or approval of his knowledge. It really felt competitive to me. Llike he was trying to out-do us.

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Shmoopy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby Shmoopy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:03 pm

scifiguy wrote:
ph14 wrote:Just don't be annoying and you will be fine. E.g., don't argue with the professor, say things like "when I studied this in undergrad/grad school/study abroad," etc.


But what if we want clarification? Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong? lol.



You sound like a gunner.

Intellectual freedom doesn't mean that not understanding why you're wrong makes you right. If you disagree with the prof, read and think about it for a while, and then ask a thoughful question, preferably not in front of other people. You'd be shocked at how many ideas might sound cogent to you, but absolutely terrible to others.

I don't go to law school. I'm speaking on the basis of experience with gunners in UG.

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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby nucky thompson » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:06 pm

its all about how you do it - just like anything else. If you have a likable personality/disposition and you speak in class a lot - you will still be labeled a gunner but it will not be held against you. Before participating in class, the likable gunner thinks "will this be beneficial for other students in the class" - if the answer is no, then save it for office hours.

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:08 pm

Shmoopy wrote:You sound like a gunner.

Intellectual freedom doesn't mean that not understanding why you're wrong makes you right. If you disagree with the prof, read and think about it for a while, and then ask a thoughful question, preferably not in front of other people. You'd be shocked at how many ideas might sound cogent to you, but absolutely terrible to others.

I don't go to law school. I'm speaking on the basis of experience with gunners in UG.


Well, I'm trying to understand and get at what bothers people about what is labeled as "gunner" behavior. I definitely don't want to be unlikeable!!!

In some classes, we've had the professor in UG try to pry conversatin out of us (like with a crowbar lol), because the class wasn't participating. I guess in my Eng. Lit. classes participation is considered a very good thing and the prof. will often encourage it and let us run conversations with each other in the class for quite a while (while he sits back or moderates).

Other classes it's just not possible, because of size and/or a different dynamic. In philosophy, there are some profs who really encourage this sort of back and forth debate as well.

But, again, I can see how it could be annoying depending on how you do it.

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:16 pm

nucky thompson wrote:its all about how you do it - just like anything else. If you have a likable personality/disposition and you speak in class a lot - you will still be labeled a gunner but it will not be held against you. Before participating in class, the likable gunner thinks "will this be beneficial for other students in the class" - if the answer is no, then save it for office hours.


That makes sense to not drag a class on a tangent.

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Skye
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby Skye » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:17 pm

The two extremes are;
put your hand in the air and never pull it down
stealth works just fine since the professor cannot tell whose test he/she is scoring

Take your pick or land in the middle.

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:25 pm

Shmoopy wrote:Intellectual freedom doesn't mean that not understanding why you're wrong makes you right. If you disagree with the prof, read and think about it for a while, and then ask a thoughful question, preferably not in front of other people. You'd be shocked at how many ideas might sound cogent to you, but absolutely terrible to others.


Yueah, I think it dpends on the class and dynamics. I was just thiking about this and in one of my philosophy classes where participation was very much encouraged, we did have one student pick out a fundamental flaw with something the professor said and our professor took a few minutes to think through it and acknoledged it.

Professors can be wrong, but I know what you mean that more likely than not they are right and it may be better to ask after class. But with this professor, he did really encourage participation and I think he was fine with being corrected from what I could tell.

But yeah it might be safer to do it privately still. Just in case. ....I'll think about this more. Sometimes I've had professors love and encourage truth, analytical thinking, and participation so much (as a way of building up and practicing our skills) and don't have big/sensitive egos and run the class in a way where they really would want you to ask a question that may be a correction of something they said.

But I can usually sense the dynamics of those classes and feel like it wouldn't be threatening or anything. Not all classes seem to have that dynamic.

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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby Icculus » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:28 pm

scifiguy wrote:In some classes, we've had the professor in UG try to pry conversatin out of us (like with a crowbar lol), because the class wasn't participating. I guess in my Eng. Lit. classes participation is considered a very good thing and the prof. will often encourage it and let us run conversations with each other in the class for quite a while (while he sits back or moderates). .


Law school classes are not like this. Generally a prof will cold call a particular student and that student will then answer questions, it is not like discussion in an undergrad class. I had one prof 1L who would cold call a student at the beginning of class and that student was on call the whole class, 55 minutes, and sometimes the beginning of the next class.

Typically a gunner, in the pejorative, is the type who refuses to accept an answer from the prof., or drags particular questions and issues out forever when the question has already been answered, or ask questions just for the sake of speaking rather than for the sake of getting actual clarification. I also found many gunners from first semester 1L were eerily quiet second semester, one can assume why.

If when you speak the rest of the class gives a communal eye roll, you just may be a gunner. If you begin questions with, "well in my con law class in undergrad...." or other such nonsense, you're probably a gunner. If you offer to tutor your fellow classmates on material you read over the summer before 1L before classes even start, you are definitely a gunner (and yes, this actually happened to a friend of mine). And never assume that being a prelaw, crim. justice, etc... major gives you any insight into a law class.

Finally, if you need to keep getting clarification as to what behavior is acceptable or not you are either a gunner or have never learned proper social mores. And if you're sitting in class and can't figure out who the gunner is, take a look in the mirror.

Edit: As for correcting the prof., 99% of the time when a student tried to correct the prof in one of my classes it was because the student had a fundamental misunderstanding of the law and the analysis. The few times a prof did correct himself (and this happened maybe once or twice all 1L) it was because the prof got an email asking for clarification, or a student went to office hours and the prof then emailed or addressed the class.

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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby IAFG » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:31 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
scifiguy wrote:Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong?

Sounds like the beginning of gunnerdom to me.

It was obvious at
What precise definition can be given for a gunner

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:33 pm

Icculus wrote: If you offer to tutor your fellow classmates on material you read over the summer before 1L before classes even start, you are definitely a gunner (and yes, this actually happened to a friend of mine). And never assume that being a prelaw, crim. justice, etc... major gives you any insight into a law class.

Finally, if you need to keep getting clarification as to what behavior is acceptable or not you are either a gunner or have never learned proper social mores. And if you're sitting in class and can't figure out who the gunner is, take a look in the mirror.


Wow. @ tutor example.

I think I understand where people are coming from more now. Thank you!
Last edited by scifiguy on Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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scifiguy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby scifiguy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:36 pm

Icculus wrote:Edit: As for correcting the prof., 99% of the time when a student tried to correct the prof in one of my classes it was because the student had a fundamental misunderstanding of the law and the analysis. The few times a prof did correct himself (and this happened maybe once or twice all 1L) it was because the prof got an email asking for clarification, or a student went to office hours and the prof then emailed or addressed the class.


I can see how that might be best. I'm going to keep that in mind now that I understand more.

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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:37 pm

scifiguy wrote:On the one hand, you could maybe say he's passionate, but I kind of felt he was trying to show off or maybe needing a lot of personal reassurance or approval of his knowledge. It really felt competitive to me. Llike he was trying to out-do us.

This is classic gunner activity.

Gunners can also be genuinely interested in the material and raise good points, but get bogged down in a particular point and drag the class along with them. Especially 1L, it's hard to know what's really important in the grand scheme of the class, and what's just a minor point, and so delving really deeply is best left for office hours.

Also, re: intellectual debate and what not - remember that the JD is a professional degree. People are there to get licensed to enter a specific profession. There's a sort of pragmatism/utilitarianism for most people that's different from undergrad liberal arts classes. That's one reason why discussion is different. And like Icculus said, it's very different from undergrad discussion classes (unless you're in a seminar).

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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby 20130312 » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:39 pm

IAFG wrote:
InGoodFaith wrote:
scifiguy wrote:Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong?

Sounds like the beginning of gunnerdom to me.

It was obvious at
What precise definition can be given for a gunner

I guess I'm a little desensitized after his OP didn't start out with "assuming arguendo..."

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby Bildungsroman » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:42 pm

Sounds like gunnerdom for you. Best buy a roller backpack and embrace it.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby Rahviveh » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:19 pm

saw this in another thread HTH

Image

RodneyRuxin
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby RodneyRuxin » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:26 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
scifiguy wrote:Or want to delve deeper into something or possibly think that professor really is wrong?

Sounds like the beginning of gunnerdom to me.

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DamnLSAT
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby DamnLSAT » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:17 pm

Immediate giveaway of a gunner when answering a questions: "well, it seems to me..."

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Shmoopy
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby Shmoopy » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:31 pm

scifiguy wrote:
Shmoopy wrote:Intellectual freedom doesn't mean that not understanding why you're wrong makes you right. If you disagree with the prof, read and think about it for a while, and then ask a thoughful question, preferably not in front of other people. You'd be shocked at how many ideas might sound cogent to you, but absolutely terrible to others.


Yueah, I think it dpends on the class and dynamics. I was just thiking about this and in one of my philosophy classes where participation was very much encouraged, we did have one student pick out a fundamental flaw with something the professor said and our professor took a few minutes to think through it and acknoledged it.

Professors can be wrong, but I know what you mean that more likely than not they are right and it may be better to ask after class. But with this professor, he did really encourage participation and I think he was fine with being corrected from what I could tell.

But yeah it might be safer to do it privately still. Just in case. ....I'll think about this more. Sometimes I've had professors love and encourage truth, analytical thinking, and participation so much (as a way of building up and practicing our skills) and don't have big/sensitive egos and run the class in a way where they really would want you to ask a question that may be a correction of something they said.

But I can usually sense the dynamics of those classes and feel like it wouldn't be threatening or anything. Not all classes seem to have that dynamic.


I'm not a law student, so I can't really comment on how the dynamicis are different in law classes, but I want to point out that there is a big difference between being responsive when a prof is asking questions and trying to create dialogue, and trying to create that back and forth dialogue yourself in a lecture environment.

Also, many liberal arts classes encourage "independent" thinking where being able to articulate your ideas clearly is more important than arriving at a certain conclusion. I think law is different in that how you approach an idea doesn't matter if you are reaching the wrong conclusion. Law is pragmatic - there are lots of rules and precedents you have to accept whether they make sense to you or not.

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kiwi4president
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Re: Law School "Gunner": Etiquette

Postby kiwi4president » Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:52 pm

In my experience, to find the gunners just look for the rolling backpacks.




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