The Musings of

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

And everyone has recourse to the law

It's been great fun over the past couple of weeks reading the posts from newly minted 1Ls as they nervously begin taking their first classes. If I focus really hard, I can actually dredge up a few memories from that time -- the excitement, nervousness, and general confusion as you tackle a foreign and seemingly vast task with little or no outside preparation. (Does "Wayne's World" flashback sounds and motions "doo-doo-loo, doo-doo-loo).

I have been wrongfully accused of being a "gunner," and I want to clear my good name. I admit that I have no problem dispensing my opinions about, but I made a concerted effort not to talk too much in law school unless I had something to add or a serious question. Sure, I participated more due to the former reason than the latter, but that doesn't make me a gunner.

As I remember it, there were 2 reasons that I had a small reputation as a gunner: (1) the infamous Prince Albert case and (2) because I was a conservative in Con Law. Lemme 'splain.

1. Krell v. Henry: There are certain unwritten laws of law school. When I started, I assumed one that turned out to not be true. I thought that in large section classes, once you were "on call" for a case, you could slide the rest of the semester -- or at least until everyone else in the class has been called on. I was wrong.

I took Contracts first semester and had a very engaging professor. I was called on relatively early in the semester, and I was thrilled because I could cruise through the rest of the semester without having to prepare to get peppered on every case. Life is good.

Fast forward a month or so. I'm sitting in class, enjoying some space out time, when the Prof states, "I was going to call on Mr. Centinel for this next case, but since we only have a few minutes left and I want to get it done, I'll just cover it." This surprised me quite a bit. As I stated, I had been called on, and, more importantly, no one had been called on twice, and half the class still hadn't been in the hot seat.

I got home that evening and began my reading for the next days class. As I was working through the next case, I had an interesting thought -- what are the odds that I'll be called on tomorrow in Contracts? The more I read, the more convinced I became that I was going to be called on, so I decided to C my A.

The case de jour was English case of Krell v. Henry. The facts were fairly simple. Guy rents an apartment overlooking the parade route for the coronation of King Edward VII. Eddie gets sick. Coronation is called off. As both parties to the room rental agreed that the purpose of the contract was for Defendant to view the coronation, and as that purpose had been frustrated, the court refused to make the Defendant pay the rent. It was a simple case, but I was curious. What was Ol' Ed's illness, and why was the coronation called off? So I flipped on the internet and read up on King Edward VII for 10 whopping minutes just to sate my curiosity.

The next day, the professor begins his discussion of Krell, and calls on me sure as shootin'. "Mr. Centinel, have you had the opportunity of reading Krell v. Henry?" "I have." "And are you prepared to discuss it?" "I am." "Well, Mr. Centinel, this case concerns the coronation of King Edward VII. Do you know anything about him?" "Yes I do." "Please, enlighten us." So I did. I explained his background, why he was being coroneted, and why he called it off. When I got done, the Prof began slowly clapping his hands and led the class in a round of applause.

Now, if you had been in class, I'm sure you would have thought I was the Gunner Supreme, but remember, I thought I was going to be called on. Therefore, it shouldn't be a surprise that I was ready the next day. Several people asked me if I was a history major (no) and other similar questions. Clearly, they'd forgotten that I'd almost been called on, so they assumed I was just a nerd (true to an extent). Whatever the case, this class (unjustly) helped cement me as a gunner.

2. Class Bitch: I took Con Law during my 3rd semester. On the first day of class, my Con Law professor got done fisking the first poor soul, and then addressed the class in general -- "Who's my 'class federalist?'" Most of the class turned at unison and looked at me. Smiling, the Prof proceeded to engage me in a lengthy argument on the subject matter at hand for the rest of the class.

What I didn't know was that this was the Prof's M.O. -- in the first class he would identify a conservative foil to play off and he would call on him/her to comment on every @#$% case. Sure, I spent a good amount of class time debating the professor, but I didn't ask to -- he called on me! How does that make me a gunner???

Ridiculous. I want a new trial.
Centinel 2:20 AM #


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