5 People You May Meet in 1L Hell

By William Peacock, Esq. on August 19, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Welcome to hell, young first-years. We made that decision once, and if you haven't heard, the economy made a fool out of us upon graduation. You're entering a depressed field, full of depressed surplus graduates, at a very depressing time. And now, you're about to meet the weirdest batch of anal retentive folks you've ever seen.

Just remember, none of these people will harm you, even the ubiquitous gunner. Also note that most people don't fit neatly into tiny boxes -- they may be a gunning butterfly or a burned-out scholar. And if you (gunner!), think we've missed a category, tweet us.

Without further ado, or scare tactics, are 5 types of fellow students you are likely to come across in Hades your 1L year.

1. The Sincere Scholar

A personal favorite, this is the person who works until their fingers bleed from paper cuts, every single night. She'll continue to do so for the next three years, so unless you are placed in a small discussion-style class with her, or join her on law review, you may never meet her.

That's a shame too. These are the best kinds of law students, as they usually got here by hard work, will kick the grading curve's butt with hard work, and will succeed in life with even more hard work.

You can't hate this person. You can only hate yourself for your lesser work ethic.

2. The Social Butterfly

Here to study? He isn't. He's head of seventeen different clubs, plays on every intramural sports team, and is at every single party.

If he doesn't disappear after a semester or two, beware: he's probably a secret genius or is using a sufficient quantity of methamphetamines to stay awake all night, memorizing study supplements.

3. The Slackers and Burnouts

She only attended law school because her philosophy degree was worthless, at least career-wise. Much like the social butterfly, she can get by without putting in 12-hour study sessions. She doesn't, however, clamor to "lead" or "participate" or even "try."

Everyone enters law school wanting to be the top student. Many, many law students will eventually fall into burnout, however. My effort and class rank dropped to levels of comfortable mediocrity once the depression of the desolate job market set in during 2L year. Others may make it to 3L year before ceasing effort.

4. Da Gunner

Don't fear the gunner. He will attend a pre-law "Law School Preview" course, which promises to teach him the secrets to succeeding in law school. He'll buy every study supplement in existence. and read them all, before school even starts. He'll raise his hand fifty-seven times per class and chase the professor back to his office with questions.

He'll also ask his contracts professor for his thoughts on the issue of standing in Hollingsworth v. Perry, while still discussing consideration in contract law.

The gunner is an idiot. Had he any brains, he'd realize that he was (a) irritating his classmates, (b) asking truly stupid questions, and (c) putting forth effort in class sessions that mean absolutely nothing (tip: it's all about the tests).

5. The Wrong Turn

They've gone too far to quit, but these people don't really belong in law school. They are too shy to be effective advocates, lack analytical skills necessary to truly grasp and apply the law, and look near death by the end of finals.

They probably got here through hard work. They may survive law school, barely, with more hard work. Five years from now, it's a sure bet that they'll be doing something else entirely.

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