The Ten Etiquette Rules of Columbia Law School

Nolan Thomas / Morningside Muckraker
Nolan Thomas / Morningside Muckraker

Restatement the First on Etiquette at Columbia Law School

§1. Under the Shameless Law Student Rule, you may walk into a lunch event and walk out with a serving of the offered food without attending the event itself.

(a) The minority rule, followed by the few who are either endowed with a conscience or unable to shed their embarrassment, mandates that you stay for at least fifteen minutes of an event to consume the food, unless the food offered is pizza or you reasonably believe that there will be more than enough food for genuine attendees.

§2. Asking a 2L about his or her summer job search before November (for private interest students) or April (for public interest students) is an acceptable icebreaker to begin a conversation.

(a) This is particularly recommended as a conversation starter with strangers or casual acquaintances, as it is a great way of finding common ground between the two of you and quickly eliminate any awkwardness in the conversation.

(b) If you have secured employment for the summer but the other student has not, you will provide an additional service by reminding the student to write more cover letters. The other student will be very grateful for your help in this regard, though he or she may not demonstrate it.

§3. Engage in substantive discussions about your 1L classes with your classmates every time you enter the JG elevators. Be sure to speak loudly and clearly so that everyone in the elevator can hear you.

(a) Though the others in the elevator may not actively participate in your conversation, be assured that they are deeply impressed by your depth of knowledge and insight into your coursework.

§4. Every time you are cold called in class, take an hour or two to fully dissect your cold call afterwards with your friends, who are just as invested as you are in how you come off to the class. While your cold call was probably either terrible or forgettable, obsessing over it will probably convince everyone you talk to that you were, in fact, brilliant and/or “fine,” and that is what your friends will repeatedly conclude out loud once they have come to this realization.

§5. Be sure to check your progress in your readings and/or outlining with everyone around you at every step of the process. Your classmates will be thrilled to have you volunteer such valuable information.

(a) In addition, constantly talking about your work is likely to help you find the motivation to work more efficiently.

(b) It is fine to assume that everyone is always interested in your study habits and progress at all times. It is also fine to assume, in general, that the law school revolves around you.

§6. Under the Gunner Spotter Rule, if you diligently point out every gunner-like behavior in other students, you yourself will be seen as the “chill” and “cool” student.

(a) It will also have the additional benefit of discouraging others around you to act in a gunner-like fashion, thus allowing you easier access to the top of the grading curve.

(b) This is also your final opportunity to be “cool” in a school setting. Fortunately, you are surrounded by gullible nerds, thus making the task of being “chill” or “cool” much easier.

§7. Enlarge the content of your screen as you shop for clothes online or watch funny videos while in class. Those behind you are immensely entertained by such activities but are often frustrated when they cannot read the accompanying text on the screen.

§8. Choose your study group members with great precision and forethought.

(a) It is recommended that you ask everyone in your class for a copy of his or her resume and undergraduate transcript during Legal Methods in order to form the best study group possible. Prospective members may submit case briefs as writing samples during the process.

§9. Do not wear brightly colored clothing to class.

(a) Your outfits should only contain dark gray, navy, faded black, or murky brown. Other colors are acceptable only if they are dark and worn in the form of knitted sweaters, cardigans, or socks.

(b) This is out of respect for the general atmosphere of intellectual gravity and spiritual decay at the law school.

(c)This has the added benefit of decreasing your chances of being cold called in class, as you are less likely to stand out from your classmates.

§10. Under the Maximizing Tuition Rule, you may use the toilets and other facilities at JG in as thoughtless a manner as you like.

(a) In fact, the cost of your tuition justifies every act you perform at the law school that may cause any discomfort or inconvenience to others, especially the custodial staff. See also supra 5(b) (noting law school revolves around you).

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