Pumpkin wrote:but the new Harvard wrinkle will be the enforced percentage that gets low pass? that seems lame... i know that everyone assumes that they won't be the ones in that category but then again..someone who got into harvard will have to be the unlucky one.
I don't think that there is any hard evidence that there will be an enforced percentage getting a low pass. As far as I know, there will simply be a suggested percentage, which many professors choose not to follow. For instance, one of my professors, who has been quite loose-lipped about the grade change with us, has assured us that he intends to give no low passes (as long as no one tests his generosity). This is no different than with the old grading scale, which also had a suggested percentage for B- grades. Also, I think you can reasonably assume that a competent effort on any exam will save you from a B-. One professor told me that the LP (which is approximately what was formerly a B-) was retained because, hard as it may be to believe, even those unpleasantly competitive super-gunners that comprise the entirety of HLS students blow off classes and exams (particularly as 2Ls and 3Ls).
Pumpkin wrote:Broader question about Harvard.. it's been described for years as a corporate law powerhouse. they've obviously done a lot recently to increase the focus on public interest. anyone (preferably hls students) have any take on whether this has lessened the corporate atmosphere?
First, Harvard has a lot of students. Even if only half of a class went to corporate law, it would still be a corporate law powerhouse. That being said, I haven't felt any pressure to do corporate law since I have arrived here. If anything, I have felt pressure to avoid working at a big firm. None of my teachers advocate going into corporate law (this is probably most people's experience), and campus life is so full of journal writing, pro-bono work, and clinicals that corporate practice seems to have nothing to do with the law school.
Pragmatically, I feel like most students who are serious about having a career in law see the value in spending a couple of years with a big firm to learn the ropes. Certainly once people start thinking about debt and job security, a nice corporate job starts to seem appealing (and firms are always waiting at the nicest restaurants off-campus to wine and dine you). But you can comfortably avoid any interaction with firms your whole time at Harvard, and there are plenty of people and events to support you.
If you want to do government work in the Obama administration (which is starting to seem like it is being staffed by HLS), Harvard gives you a huge edge. Harvard is favored in international public interest placement, too, due to its name recognition. As far as domestic public interest jobs, it is no more or less advantageous than Yale or Stanford. It is one of the best places to go if you want a clerkship or academia. The whole "corporate law dominates at Harvard" myth is so far from the truth it's sort of silly.