new vocabulary

Law school has its own terminology. Here are some things I have learned from recent reading:

One L/1L (n.) – A student in his/her first year of law school, or the actual first year of law school.

When you go to admitted students weekends people from the school introduce themselves as 1Ls, 2Ls, 3Ls, graduates or professors. There is also a famous book by Scott Turow titled “One L,” about his first year at Harvard Law in the 70s.

Socratic method (n.) – The method by which most (all?) law professors run their classes. This involves some variation on choosing one student per class period to answer questions about the case or issue being discussed. Depending on the professor there are apparently various levels of interrogation, and also various degrees to which a professor will accept the answer: “I’m sorry, I’m not prepared today.”

I have never, ever been the class-participation sort, so out of everything I have learned about law school, this part terrifies me the most. I had a vague idea of what the Socratic method was before a month ago (okay, that vague idea came from Legally Blonde) but the fear of being called on in class is one of my biggest challenges. I know I will have to overcome it. I will have to come to class prepared or deal with a deep sense of fear which will hinder my ability to take notes and learn.

Gunner (n.) – a law student who makes it a habit to voluntarily participate in class at every opportunity.

As I’ve just started orienting myself with the world of law school, I’m surprised how prevalent the frustration with the “gunner” is on blogs, forums, etc. I can only assume that is because every class has its gunners, meaning I will have to deal with them too. I will not be a gunner, and I will probably dislike the gunner(s). I don’t really enjoy people who believe in the inherent importance and special benefit of everything they have to say.

Class participation has nothing to do with ones grade in law school classes. Your grade depends completely on one exam at the end of the semester.

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