Desert Fox wrote:
thisone2014 wrote:Do people who had UG majors where exams were curved feel that law school grading is as "random" as the OP seems to suggest? It seems possible that the cliche that the "exam I felt best about, I got the lowest grade in" comes from people not used to being graded on a curve.
Most of my UG exams were curved to B-.
Law school grades feel random:
A) because it is fairly random due to the subjective nature of grading. Prof might not like your argument even if you know what you are talking about.
B) since it is on a curve, you can't tell between this test is easy v. I'm destroying this hard test. So if you think you are doing well, everyone probably is too since it's easy. you have to distinguish yourself from the pack to get the A-. C) law school exams value particular styles and values that are essentially capricious. It values vomiting out pretty straight forward analysis at insane paces rather than thoughtful, deliberate analysis.
D) the material is easy. No concept in law school is difficult to understand. So good luck standing out when competing against other people with similar skills. It would be like if Math School was just who could do the most multiplication and addition problems in 3 hours.
I have to say, these last two are pretty much on point.
I believe I am mostly a victim of C. I'm methodological, careful, deliberate, and kind of a perfectionist when it comes to thinking and writing about stuff. I don't want to "speak up" if I'm not 100% sure of the answer. This is a bad quality to have re: law exams. It turns out to be a good quality to have as an actual lawyer, though. I've never had any negative feedback on any assignment I've ever turned in, including in environments where the expectations are very high. My last few memos, according to feedback, were essentially perfect. Basically every boss I've ever had has complimented me on my writing skills. I had about median grades, but I wrote onto a journal, and then I had my note published (4 out of 30 were published on my journal) despite the fact that I basically wrote my note submission in three days. I'm even neurotic about the posts I make on here, despite it being an internet forum. I try to use perfect grammar and editing, and will re-read my posts after I make them to make sure I didn't make any errors--it's almost a neuroticism.
So I know I can write, I know I can analyze legal issues as close to perfectly as you can get. And I know that people that finished in the top 5% aren't significantly better at it than me, because I was in study groups with them, and when we did practice problems and exams together, I got just as much as they did, if not more.
What I can't do is just spit out whatever half-baked legal theory pops into my mind simply because it's a possible argument. And I can't type fast. If you give me 3 hours, the best you're going to get is just north of 3,000 words. Which isn't enough to consistently score well on law exams.
I have a pretty good feeling about my long-term prospects in this profession, because I get great feedback wherever I work, and I can visually compare my work to memos written by people who used to work here that went off to prestigious clerkships and were in the top 10%.
But whether I ever get a chance to prove it at a place that is actually hiring is another thing. It's very, very difficult to overcome the hurdle of the false, empty prestige that law school grades create. I just have to build up great references and writing samples and hope my resume doesn't get superficially glanced at and thrown out.