Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

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TragicBronson

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Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby TragicBronson » Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:49 pm

First time poster but long time lurker here.

To preface this post, first I want to say that I understand the traditional TLS logic to assume median. That being said, it's probably safe to assume that there's at least a weak correlation between being at a higher ranked school and placing lower in your class. There's also such a thing as "competitive" and "collegial" law schools, which I know has more to do with the attitude students have, but I imagine there's also slight differences in how hard the students try.

So my question is this: Assuming a student would put forth the same effort at any school they go to, which schools would they place higher/lower at based off of other students simply trying harder/caring more? Obviously, the answers to this are especially interesting when a lower ranked school would require more effort for median than a higher ranked school (example: Easier to get median at NYU than Cornell because the students at Cornell try harder). I've heard whispers about schools like Baylor and BYU being more difficult to get median than it seems they ought to be for their ranking and that schools like W&M are easier.

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby TLSDookie » Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:56 pm

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=263705&hilit=Easiest+law+schools

To quote the most succinct response from that thread: "How would anyone definitively know this?"

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oidsedidy

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby oidsedidy » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:04 pm

TragicBronson wrote:First time poster but long time lurker here.

To preface this post, first I want to say that I understand the traditional TLS logic to assume median. That being said, it's probably safe to assume that there's at least a weak correlation between being at a higher ranked school and placing lower in your class. There's also such a thing as "competitive" and "collegial" law schools, which I know has more to do with the attitude students have, but I imagine there's also slight differences in how hard the students try.

So my question is this: Assuming a student would put forth the same effort at any school they go to, which schools would they place higher/lower at based off of other students simply trying harder/caring more? Obviously, the answers to this are especially interesting when a lower ranked school would require more effort for median than a higher ranked school (example: Easier to get median at NYU than Cornell because the students at Cornell try harder). I've heard whispers about schools like Baylor and BYU being more difficult to get median than it seems they ought to be for their ranking and that schools like W&M are easier.


I cannot confirm this, but I have heard that Baylor's curve includes F- meaning that the bottom of the curve fails. That seems insane to me, but if true it would certainly explain why that school in particular has the reputation it does.

The curve is weird. I have to imagine that if your LSAT was say, 170, it would be much easier to be median at Cooley than at Michigan. If that doesn't sound very helpful, it's because your question seems a little silly; I think people in law school tend to work very hard, regardless of the school's rank. Because it is so hard to know how exams will treat you, it's wise to consider the intersection of COA and employment outcomes.

I can envision a scenario in which Cornell gave you $$$ and NYU was very stingy- you think to yourself, NYU is the better school, but is it so much better than Cornell that I should turn down a near full-ride for sticker? The rational part of your mind says, fuck no. But then the weirdo part of your mind says- but wait! What if NYU is easier than Cornell? What's the point of saving all the dough if I won't find a job with my bad grades from Cornell when I could have been living the high life at easy ole NYU?? I hope this sounds comical enough to you that this question no longer plagues you. Just assume exams are hard and median is tough to avoid.

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby Mullens » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:06 pm

TragicBronson wrote:First time poster but long time lurker here.

To preface this post, first I want to say that I understand the traditional TLS logic to assume median. That being said, it's probably safe to assume that there's at least a weak correlation between being at a higher ranked school and placing lower in your class. There's also such a thing as "competitive" and "collegial" law schools, which I know has more to do with the attitude students have, but I imagine there's also slight differences in how hard the students try.

So my question is this: Assuming a student would put forth the same effort at any school they go to, which schools would they place higher/lower at based off of other students simply trying harder/caring more? Obviously, the answers to this are especially interesting when a lower ranked school would require more effort for median than a higher ranked school (example: Easier to get median at NYU than Cornell because the students at Cornell try harder). I've heard whispers about schools like Baylor and BYU being more difficult to get median than it seems they ought to be for their ranking and that schools like W&M are easier.


Is there probably a weak correlation? Yes. There's a weak correlation between LSAT/GPA and first year grades so when the inputs go down as you go down the rankings, the schools are probably "easier." I would argue that employment prospects fall off a cliff and decline much more rapidly and so choosing a lower ranked school for "worse" competition is almost always a terrible choice, given equal costs.

It would be impossible for anyone to measure this or compare two schools, even if they had transferred from one to another because at a lot of top schools with incoming transfers, the native students try a lot less hard in 2/3L than 1L.

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rpupkin

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:07 pm

TragicBronson wrote:First time poster but long time lurker here.

To preface this post, first I want to say that I understand the traditional TLS logic to assume median. That being said, it's probably safe to assume that there's at least a weak correlation between being at a higher ranked school and placing lower in your class.

I think that's a safe assumption. But beyond that assumption, I'm afraid your path here is going to result in a bunch of misleading anecdotes.

The ABA mandates the 1L curve. Every law school--from Harvard to Cooley--is full of students who want things that depend on doing better than other students. It's inherently competitive.

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emkay625

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby emkay625 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:38 pm

As other posters have said above, unless there is a person who has done a repeat of 1L year at a different school, no one can really even an offer an anecdote about this. Transferring anecdotes aren't really helpful, as 1L and 2L year are just inherently different.

That being said, I would venture a guess that at schools that don't have real grades, students feel less pressure. Not that there's less gunning or anything, but just less pressure in general/less stress. That being said, my school had grades, so idk if that is true.

And some low-ranked schools DO include Ds and Fs on the curve and require profs to give a certain percentage. So I would guess that it's more stressful at lower-ranked schools that do that than lower-ranked schools that do not do that.

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rpupkin

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:42 pm

emkay625 wrote:That being said, I would venture a guess that at schools that don't have real grades

Besides YLS, which schools don't have grades?

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:52 pm

I agree with emkay about no grades v. required failing of some portion of the class. I also think, though, that it's pretty unlikely that one person is going to be choosing between these two categories of schools (which is directed at OP, not you, emkay). OP, the thing is that most schools people are going to be deciding between are not so radically different (in terms of student ability and curves and so on) to assume that you will easily be higher at one than at the other. The differences between the LSAT/GPAs at, say, NYU v. Cornell are not great enough to draw any conclusions about where you'll place in Cornell v. NYU. The differences between, say, NYU and Thomas Jefferson probably do allow you to draw the conclusion that if you get into NYU you'll get good grades at Thomas Jefferson, but the tradeoff is absolutely not worth it. (It may get a little more complicated if it's something like NYU at sticker and a full ride at UNC for someone who never wants to leave UNC.)

Also, as for students who try more/less, you're assuming effort put in determines law school grades, and it isn't doesn't, at all. Besides that, though, I again don't think you're going to see a significant difference between schools with students with comparable LSATs/GPAs. At a school with lots of low scorers, you can maybe assume that some percentage of those students didn't put a lot of effort into UG/the LSAT (which is probably unfair to a lot of the students, but not totally unreasonable). At a school with a lot of high scorers, you can maybe assume that there's a good chunk of overachievers. But you can't correlate that directly with success on law school exams, and again, you probably don't want to go to the school with lots of low scorers - because of employment stats.

Re: the schools you mentioned - Baylor is just notoriously grueling, and it wouldn't surprise me that BYU has a strict curve - but generally speaking the same person shouldn't be considering both those schools anyway. As for W&M, what that probably means is that something like 60-70% of the class is actually "median."

tl;dr - you can't guarantee success in law school by parsing school culture this finely. Focus on what you can control.

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emkay625

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby emkay625 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:28 pm

rpupkin wrote:
emkay625 wrote:That being said, I would venture a guess that at schools that don't have real grades

Besides YLS, which schools don't have grades?


I didn't speak precisely enough. By "real grades" I was comparing the variety of schools that are HP/P/etc. (Harvard and Berkeley come to mind) with schools that have the traditional A/A-/B+/B etc.

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby rpupkin » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:59 pm

emkay625 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
emkay625 wrote:That being said, I would venture a guess that at schools that don't have real grades

Besides YLS, which schools don't have grades?


I didn't speak precisely enough. By "real grades" I was comparing the variety of schools that are HP/P/etc. (Harvard and Berkeley come to mind) with schools that have the traditional A/A-/B+/B etc.

Harvard and Berkeley (and Stanford) do have real curved grades, though. The competition is fierce for Hs, HHs, Book Awards, Dean's Scholar Prizes, etc. Although Stanford/Harvard/Berkeley no doubt have a more relaxed atmosphere during 2L/3L, I suspect that there's plenty of competitiveness to go around during 1L. The whole "you can relax because you don't have grades!" thing is basically flame.

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emkay625

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby emkay625 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:06 pm

rpupkin wrote:
emkay625 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
emkay625 wrote:That being said, I would venture a guess that at schools that don't have real grades

Besides YLS, which schools don't have grades?


I didn't speak precisely enough. By "real grades" I was comparing the variety of schools that are HP/P/etc. (Harvard and Berkeley come to mind) with schools that have the traditional A/A-/B+/B etc.

Harvard and Berkeley (and Stanford) do have real curved grades, though. The competition is fierce for Hs, HHs, Book Awards, Dean's Scholar Prizes, etc. Although Stanford/Harvard/Berkeley no doubt have a more relaxed atmosphere during 2L/3L, I suspect that there's plenty of competitiveness to go around during 1L. The whole "you can relax because you don't have grades!" thing is basically flame.


I said I feel like there's still a large amount of gunning. But at those schools, you don't really have 30% of the class freaked out spring semester because they have a transcript full of B-s or whatever placing them in the bottom 30% of the class. they just have Ps along with the other 70% of the class who got Ps. They're probably disappointed, but you don't get the same "shit the sky is falling" business.

I generally hate anecdotes. I'm chastising myself as I type this. But I have a friend at Berkeley who is not gunning for a clerkship or anything, just wants a transactional big law gig. We had drinks a few weeks ago and he talked about how unconcerned he was about grades as a 1L because he knew he just needed Ps. Again, an anecdote. But at schools with traditional grades, you can't really take that attitude. Because there is a difference in between a transcript full of B-s and Cs and a median transcript at a school with normal grades. But no one knows who got the P at the bottom of the class and who got the P right at the 30% cutoff for HP or whatever it is/however it works.

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Re: Law Schools where more effort is needed for similar grades.

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:39 am

emkay625 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
emkay625 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
emkay625 wrote:That being said, I would venture a guess that at schools that don't have real grades

Besides YLS, which schools don't have grades?


I didn't speak precisely enough. By "real grades" I was comparing the variety of schools that are HP/P/etc. (Harvard and Berkeley come to mind) with schools that have the traditional A/A-/B+/B etc.

Harvard and Berkeley (and Stanford) do have real curved grades, though. The competition is fierce for Hs, HHs, Book Awards, Dean's Scholar Prizes, etc. Although Stanford/Harvard/Berkeley no doubt have a more relaxed atmosphere during 2L/3L, I suspect that there's plenty of competitiveness to go around during 1L. The whole "you can relax because you don't have grades!" thing is basically flame.


I said I feel like there's still a large amount of gunning. But at those schools, you don't really have 30% of the class freaked out spring semester because they have a transcript full of B-s or whatever placing them in the bottom 30% of the class. they just have Ps along with the other 70% of the class who got Ps. They're probably disappointed, but you don't get the same "shit the sky is falling" business.

I generally hate anecdotes. I'm chastising myself as I type this. But I have a friend at Berkeley who is not gunning for a clerkship or anything, just wants a transactional big law gig. We had drinks a few weeks ago and he talked about how unconcerned he was about grades as a 1L because he knew he just needed Ps. Again, an anecdote. But at schools with traditional grades, you can't really take that attitude. Because there is a difference in between a transcript full of B-s and Cs and a median transcript at a school with normal grades. But no one knows who got the P at the bottom of the class and who got the P right at the 30% cutoff for HP or whatever it is/however it works.


At Columbia, there are only four grades. At Harvard, there are only four grades. At Berkeley, there are only four grades. I don't understand why the distinction between A's and B's and H's and P's is so significant or why people on TLS talk about it so much. As rpupkin explained repeatedly, high achieving students will always find out what the 'system' is and compete to do better within it, unless literally everyone receives the same grade and there are no curves (YLS fall 1L).



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