You know, one of the biggest problems with law school is that it’s too much like high school. In college, you have a sense that people were sick to death of high school (I didn’t go to a state school) and are invested in actually growing up. College kids don’t handle things like adults, but at least there’s a sense that they’re trying.
By the time you get to law school, it’s like people have devolved or something. Law schools seem to be crawling with snide, backbiting saboteurs. Playground bullying is replaced by intellectual bullying, and all sense of collegiality falls prey to petty competition (I didn’t go to a state school).
You want to know how to cut through all of the pushing and shoving? Push back, hard. That’s what a Georgetown 1L did. He found himself the subject of a whispering campaign and decided to shout down the allegations against him — in an email to his entire section….
I don’t know this GULC kid, but I like him. Apparently some of his classmates suspected him of cheating on an exam. They didn’t tell on him; they just started talking crap behind his back. Sounds like every American high school I’ve ever heard of.
But the Georgetown 1L under suspicion didn’t handle the situation like a high school boy. He didn’t run home and cry to his mama; he didn’t exchange faux pleasantries with the people who were bad-mouthing him. Instead, he sent out an email to his entire 1L section, defending himself and calling them out:
Hey section [Redacted],
Some students in our class told me they saw me cheating on the civil procedure exam. Apparently they feel like they are going to do me a favor by not reporting me and instead just talking shit about me and trying to make into a pariah or something. What they saw was me copy pasting my essay into google docs to do a character count that didn’t include spaces since I was using open office and that does count spaces.
Anyway don’t take my word for it, anyone who is convinced I cheated can report me to the ethics counsel. I don’t mind since my time stamp should absolve me. Don’t do me any “favors”.
Happy holidays and new years all,
What a great email. Report me or STFU.
And really, this is a skill that every lawyer should have. You have your discussions, your negotiations, and your alternative dispute resolutions, but when all that breaks down you have to have the stones to say, “Screw you, sue me.” That’s what this guy is essentially saying. No more innuendo; if you have any evidence, bring it.
It’s a great lesson for the other students in his section too. If you are going to make policing other students your business, then go out and police. That’s what people expect from future lawyers. You get no points for just knowing ethical rules, you get points for being ethical. And if that means you end up looking like a tattletale douchebag, you’ve just got to stand up to that criticism.
Otherwise, leave the gossip-mongering to legal bloggers.