Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

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shoeshine
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Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby shoeshine » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:41 pm

Is networking more important than grades at schools with a pass/fail grading system?

Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Berkeley don't give out regular grades. Their pass/fail systems disguise those in the bottom of their classes but generally the top quarter is easy to distinguish.

Wouldn't it be prudent for a mediocre student at these schools to spend less time studying and more time networking and making contacts in his future area of practice? (i.e. big law, public interest, etc.)

I know this question applies more to HS and especially B and not so much Y.

Sorry if this has already been answered.

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stratocophic
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby stratocophic » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:52 pm

shoeshine wrote:Is networking more important than grades at schools with a pass/fail grading system?

Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Berkeley don't give out regular grades. Their pass/fail systems disguise those in the bottom of their classes but generally the top quarter is easy to distinguish.

Wouldn't it be prudent for a mediocre student at these schools to spend less time studying and more time networking and making contacts in his future area of practice? (i.e. big law, public interest, etc.)

I know this question applies more to HS and especially B and not so much Y.

Sorry if this has already been answered.
They'll know where you are in the class at B pwn you accordingly. Nontraditional grading isn't going to save your ass if firms can pin down your class rank.

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thesealocust
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:09 pm

If your goal, like most law students, is to get a big firm job in a major market, there's not a hell of a lot of 'networking' you could do to improve your chances. Certainly not nearly enough that it would in any way impede your ability to study for your classes.

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iagolives
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby iagolives » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:17 pm

At HLS at least, the grading isn't really Pass-Fail. There are DS, H, P, LP, which roughly correspond to A+, A/A- B+/B/B-, and C as I understand it. Also, while it isn't on your transcript, it is common knowledge both in the school and with employers who regularly recruit from HLS what percentage of each class receives each grade. So, while the distinctions created aren't as refined as with the traditional system, it would be a mistake to say the grading system doesn't allow for employers to tell a basic class ranking.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:31 pm

iagolives wrote:At HLS at least, the grading isn't really Pass-Fail. There are DS, H, P, LP, which roughly correspond to A+, A/A- B+/B/B-, and C as I understand it. Also, while it isn't on your transcript, it is common knowledge both in the school and with employers who regularly recruit from HLS what percentage of each class receives each grade. So, while the distinctions created aren't as refined as with the traditional system, it would be a mistake to say the grading system doesn't allow for employers to tell a basic class ranking.


Truth. Non-traditional grading systems help graduates who apply to employers that do not frequently hire graduates, as they do not frequently encounter graduates from that school. But if an employer hires 1 or more people every year from a school with a non-traditional grading system, it is aware of where any given student lands relative to his/her peers at that school.

The whole "we don't rank" thing is primarily to help students feel better.

lawschoolROCKS22
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby lawschoolROCKS22 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:46 pm

Nah, grades still matter far more than networking. As the above posters noted, it's pretty easy for employers to figure out where you stand within your class at any of the schools that "don't rank." Don't get me wrong, there definitely are students who land jobs largely through networking. However, I think that all of this hype on networking is mainly put out by law schools to try to explain why Classes of 2010-2012 haven't been doing so well (omg, these guys just aren't networking enough anymore!!!).

saladfiend
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby saladfiend » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:50 pm

Berkeley has more grades than Stanford, Harvard, and Yale:

HH (high honors)
H (honors)
P (pass)
PC (substandard pass)
F (fail)

Between HH, H, and P, there are grades.

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iagolives
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby iagolives » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:04 pm

I feel like the school that comes closest to not having grades is YLS. As I understand it, they have H, P, and LP, but LPs aren't really given. Also, there are no prescribed curves, so all H tells an employer is that "this person was better than some people" and P only says "some people were better than this person."

HamDel
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby HamDel » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:39 pm

Networking won't trump mediocre/bad marks, but I think people on this site generally underrate the value of getting to know people you want to work for.

I have a lot of friends who went to pretty bad law schools and got mediocre grades that wanted to work in entertainment law. They all got jobs with top LA firms in the field by networking during school. They interned without pay at the firms during the year, took positions on boards, and were all really proactive about getting big name entertainment guys to come speak for their clubs etc. By doing this, they convinced lawyers that they were competent and trustworthy, and also that they are fun to be around and that clients would like them. They are all unusually funny, engaging, and athletic so that had a lot to do with the networking paying off I think, but it might also work for people who have less going for them socially but a better academic pedigree.

These experiences may be unique to entertainment law and the culture in Los Angeles generally, but it couldn't hurt to try. If nothing else it will give you some more insight into what these people do.

shoeshine
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby shoeshine » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:29 pm

Thanks for the replies. I understand that most firms are probably extremely familiar with the grading systems of the schools they are hiring from.

Let me rephrase the question and see if it changes any of your responses. Imagine you are an average student that had very little chance of being top of the class but could probably get slightly above median if you put all your effort into studying. I think that most people are in this situation but they never realize it because they always think they are going to get top 10%.

You could spend 100% of your time (8 hours a day, 7 days a week) outlining and doing practice tests for your classes.

OR

You could study 5 hours a day 6 days a week and join clubs, associations, clinics, secondary journals that give you access to people who are already in your field or are also looking to go into your field while padding your resume.

I think in a pass/fail system these two courses of action would generally earn the same grades but the later may have a better resume and possibly more contacts.

I am very interested to hear what TLSers think about my theory.

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thesealocust
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:10 pm

shoeshine wrote:You could study 5 hours a day 6 days a week and join clubs, associations, clinics, secondary journals that give you access to people who are already in your field or are also looking to go into your field while padding your resume.


(1) Everyone who is actually trying to get good grades already does this (the cake can be had as well as eaten). It's not that time intensive and also often a black mark to those who forsake it to pursue nothing but grades.

(2) You aren't going to get a hell of a lot of a networking boost from being besties with the 80 other people on the Harvard Journal of Barely Relevant Law & Resume Puffery. Beats a kick in the pants, and there are some real opportunities for right-proper schmoozing to be had, but it's not hours per week on the table that most grade obsessed 1Ls ignore in a myopic quest for GPA related brass rings.

You've basically just created a false dichotomy and are asking for justifications.

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stratocophic
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Re: Networking>Grades at schools with pass/fail grading?

Postby stratocophic » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:21 pm

thesealocust wrote:
shoeshine wrote:You could study 5 hours a day 6 days a week and join clubs, associations, clinics, secondary journals that give you access to people who are already in your field or are also looking to go into your field while padding your resume.


(1) Everyone who is actually trying to get good grades already does this (the cake can be had as well as eaten). It's not that time intensive and also often a black mark to those who forsake it to pursue nothing but grades.

(2) You aren't going to get a hell of a lot of a networking boost from being besties with the 80 other people on the Harvard Journal of Barely Relevant Law & Resume Puffery. Beats a kick in the pants, and there are some real opportunities for right-proper schmoozing to be had, but it's not hours per week on the table that most grade obsessed 1Ls ignore in a myopic quest for GPA related brass rings.

You've basically just created a false dichotomy and are asking for justifications.
I enjoyed every word of this. tyvmft




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