I Hate Law School Gunners


QI’m a first-year law student and just have a general question. A lot of kids from high school who thought they were “cool” ended up getting fat and stuck in dead-end jobs. That makes me wonder, what happens to gunners when they grow up?  Do they ever make partner?  Or do they just curl up into a ball of douchebaggery and die?

AFirst off, I love the anger. It practically pops off the page. Nice.

As for your question— Do gunners ever make partner? Sure, some do. But remember, all gunners aren’t created equal. Some of those who “gun” have no bullets. They can gun all day and never hit the target. Others shoot from the hip far too often and ultimately miss the mark. And, yes, others are simply douchebags. But like I said, some do end up making partner.

The real question is: Does one have to gun to make partner? In other words, can you become a partner without being an ingratiating, overly-enthusiastic asshole as a junior associate? To me, the answer is yes. You have to work hard, be smart and excel relative to your peers, but you don’t have to gun. At least overtly. The most effective gunners out there—the gunners most likely to make partner—are the ones nobody really knows are gunning in the first place. That is, the stealth gunner.

Anyway, why do you hate gunners so much? Do they threaten you?  Make you feel lazy and inadequate by comparison? Or do you just detest all the ass-kissing and gung-ho legal BS? Or are you a pacifist, anti-NRA lefty who just hates the word?

I say, “Don’t hate the gunner, hate the game!”

Ex-Bitter is on vacation (yes, he gets an occasional vacation). This is advice he first posted in 2008 but is still good today. He will be back and rested next week.

(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atomicity/50653995)

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

3 Comments

  1. Guano Dubango

    October 21, 2011 at 8:51 am

    What is a gunner? I used to know this exchange student from Germany named Gunner Hueblin, but I do not believe he carried a weapon, which was unusual in my country.

  2. MagicCircleJerk

    October 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Gunner either burn out and become hippies on communes, open their own weird practice, or become biglaw partners.

  3. BecameAGunner

    February 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I used to think the same way, then somehow as a 3L I have gravitated to the front row and have my hand up more than down………………….maybe its out of fear of the bar exam, out of fear of needing an extra edge to land a job, or just caught the germ, I don’t know.

    It happened.

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