But before I go further, may I digress to make a fashion observation? Guess what’s rivaling Gucci shoes and Bottega Veneta briefcases as the must-have accessory for lawyers? Guns.

The most obvious example, of course, are the McCloskeys (Mark and Patricia), the lawyer power couple who rose to fame when they were photographed aiming their guns (rifle for him and a dainty handgun for her) at Black Lives Matter demonstrators in front of their manse in St. Louis. Looking like a pair of suburban Bonnie and Clydes (polo shirt and khaki for him; striped T-shirt and matching capri pants for her), they became instant icons of firearm chic.

Though the McCloskeys got far more attention (they got invited to speak at the Republican National Convention for heaven’s sake!), another lawyer (actually, almost lawyer) deserves equal recognition—and that’s Harvard Law School 3-L Chance Fletcher, who’s also president of the school’s Federalist Society. Last spring, when classes suddenly went online because of COVID-19, Fletcher caused quite a stir on Zoom when he started cleaning his gun during a criminal procedure class.

One student told Slate that Fletcher “probably had the gun on-screen for at least 15 minutes.” This student added, “I was worried I was going to watch my peer accidentally shoot himself. None of us had any way to know the gun was loaded or unloaded.”

Fletcher told The Daily Caller he didn’t mean to make a fuss: “Today I was working on cleaning one of my handguns so that I could go shoot vermin in my Grandmother’s yard after classes. I wasn’t quite done cleaning my gun before my Criminal Procedure class began, so I went ahead and logged into the Zoom class. I never intended for my cleaning of a firearm to be a disruption. It seems the armadillos will have to wait until tomorrow.”

Needless to say, some folks didn’t buy Fletcher’s story that it was just another day at Grandma’s. Screenshots of him sporting a floral shirt while cocking his gun went viral, and he got pilloried.

But Harvard Law School is taking action that might protect future provocateurs from public shaming. The Crimson reports (hat tip: ABA Journal) that it recently adopted a social media policy—the HLS Community Principle on Non-Attribution—that prohibits students from revealing the identity of speakers who talk in class on social media or elsewhere. The goal, according to HLS’s statement, is to “encourage our students to take risks, to make mistakes, to advocate for different positions, and to test arguments that they believe deeply and those that they might be trying out for the first time.”

Though the Crimson suggests that Fletcher’s gun-cleaning incident might have triggered HLS’s new policy, no one is saying if there’s a direct link. (Neither Fletcher nor HLS will comment.) But you certainly can’t argue that Fletcher did a lot of the things that the policy mentions—taking risks, making mistakes, etc.

In any case, you have to appreciate the irony that someone who’s identified with a segment that’s actively railed against censorship of unpopular speech on campus is now part of the protected class.

I mean, shouldn’t Fletcher demand to be freed from the non-attribution policy and work on its demise? After all, isn’t suppressing the identity of those who make controversial remarks—from the left or the right—antithetical to free discourse?

Chances are, though, Fletcher just wants all this to go away. He’s got a big future ahead: Already, he’s secured a clerkship with Judge William Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. And Pryor, who just made it more difficult for Florida’s felons to vote (he ruled that felons who have completed their sentences cannot vote unless they all pay fees and fines owed to the state), is now on the president’s shortlist for the Supreme Court.

And before you know it, Fletcher will be headed for a Supreme Court clerkship, and this gun-cleaning episode on Zoom will be part of his folklore.

vchen@alm.com

Twitter: @lawcareerist