Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

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DreamShake
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Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby DreamShake » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:43 pm

Question: Do employers especially care one way or another about the 1L skills course most (all?) schools require? Are they generally regarded on even ground with other classes (taking into account credits)?

Context: I'm at a T14 and was pretty happy with my first semester grades, and I'd like to keep that going....thing is, the skills course's work load is killing me even though the class is worth only 1 credit. Because of my school's curve, I'm positive I can still get median in that class without too much effort...but the effort required for a higher grade would be way disproportional to the class' 1 credit worth, in purely GPA terms. If I put forth my fullest effort in that class, it may very well cost me a letter grade in one of my more heavily-weighted classes.

I do have previous legal work experience, but I don't yet know where I'll end up this summer. My legal writing skills are adequate enough not to hold me back in whatever job I enter; I've written a casenote; I will be on law review or a secondary journal; etc. It's purely a question of weighing GPA maximization against employer perspective.
Last edited by DreamShake on Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby romothesavior » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:48 pm

I imagine what you mean by "skills classes" is research and writing, correct? If so, they won't have much of an effect on your 2L job hunt. Employers care most about your GPA, and that's about it. If you go the criminal law route or something they may look at your grade in crim, but even that is probably not a huge deal in most cases.

I got good grades 1L year, but my two semesters of legal writing were below median and median, respectively. Out of all the people I met at screeners and callbacks (probably around a 100 if I were to guess), only one person brought it up in an interview. No one else even seemed to notice or care. They are primarily looking at your resume, not at your transcript, so I doubt it is an issue. I got a number of offers and I don't think my LP grade mattered at all in the grand scheme of OCI.

DreamShake
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby DreamShake » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:58 pm

romothesavior wrote:I imagine what you mean by "skills classes" is research and writing, correct? If so, they won't have much of an effect on your 2L job hunt. Employers care most about your GPA, and that's about it. If you go the criminal law route or something they may look at your grade in crim, but even that is probably not a huge deal in most cases.

I got good grades 1L year, but my two semesters of legal writing were below median and median, respectively. Out of all the people I met at screeners and callbacks (probably around a 100 if I were to guess), only one person brought it up in an interview. No one else even seemed to notice or care. They are primarily looking at your resume, not at your transcript, so I doubt it is an issue. I got a number of offers and I don't think my LP grade mattered at all in the grand scheme of OCI.


Yep, meant research & writing. Good to hear your experience, sounds positive for the route I want to take...any others w/anecdotal evidence?

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:10 pm

Assuming you're talking about WOA, don't underestimate how hard a lot of your classmates will work in that class (especially those who perhaps realize that time-crunch exams aren't their cup of tea, and who thus decide to really work insanely hard on their graded brief). I think many people were unpleasantly surprised by their WOA grades. It may be just one credit, but employers at EIW (or anywhere else, for that matter) won't be "averaging" your credits in their head when they look at your transcript. They won't be seeing any GPA. They'll mostly just glance at the course names -- and the grades -- and I think it helps to have a good grade in the one class that is most directly relevant to what you would be doing as a litigator.

If you're definitely going the transactional route, it probably doesn't matter as much. But in general, I think during 1L year, you should bust your ass at everything. I know some people who did very well in WOA, and I think it really helped them during the job application process.

bdubs
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby bdubs » Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:40 pm

The problem with this approach is the assumption that you can't do well in both your "skills" class and your substantive classes.

My impression is that the situation at every T14 is that the LRW type class takes an amount of effort disproportionate to its credits (when graded), but that doesn't mean that it isn't worth trying hard to get a good grade. If you truly think that you don't have the bandwidth to handle LRW and your substantive classes then you should definitely cut back on LRW first, but most people are not at the point where they really need to cut back.

Not sure about your school, but my school has LRW memos due well before finals period starts up (this semester we don't have any graded LRW work after spring break). That leaves plenty of time to get the substantive course materials down cold.

Bottom line, ask yourself if you're just looking for an easy way out.

Anonymous User
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:37 pm

I interviewed with a firm during 2L OCI that said they specifically look at the legal writing and research grade, FWIW. I wouldn't blow it off.

turbotong
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby turbotong » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:38 pm

I have heard some people that the writing classes matter a lot, especially for 1L judicial internships. I mean you're going to be doing a lot of reading, researching, and writing reports for the judge.

truevines
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby truevines » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:22 pm

DreamShake wrote:Question: Do employers especially care one way or another about the 1L skills course most (all?) schools require? Are they generally regarded on even ground with other classes (taking into account credits)?

Context: I'm at a T14 and was pretty happy with my first semester grades, and I'd like to keep that going....thing is, the skills course's work load is killing me even though the class is worth only 1 credit. Because of my school's curve, I'm positive I can still get median in that class without too much effort...but the effort required for a higher grade would be way disproportional to the class' 1 credit worth, in purely GPA terms. If I put forth my fullest effort in that class, it may very well cost me a letter grade in one of my more heavily-weighted classes.

I do have previous legal work experience, but I don't yet know where I'll end up this summer. My legal writing skills are adequate enough not to hold me back in whatever job I enter; I've written a casenote; I will be on law review or a secondary journal; etc. It's purely a question of weighing GPA maximization against employer perspective.


If I am right, your potential employers won't see your GPA; they'll see a bunch of P's, H's, and HH's. A HH/H in WOA might save your ass if you have a lot of P's. On the other hand, a P in WOA might stick out among all the other H's and HH's.

WOA is only one credit and probably does not affect your GPA much. But that GPA works for calculating class ranks that are used for clerkship purposes only. You can't disclose class ranks to other employers.

Then, it goest back to my previous point: the HH/H/P of the 1-unit WOA will be viewed the same as the letter grades of property, torts, contracts, etc. Few people will notice that credit distribution (even if they do, they probably won't bother to calculate).
Last edited by truevines on Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby romothesavior » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:29 pm

I agree with the above posters and especially bdubs that you should work hard and that you shouldn't assume you can't do well across the board. 1L requires a lot of work. Just do it and then live large as a 2L and 3L. I still say don't fret if your LRW grade is low and your GPA is solid, but why not just do your best in all?

DreamShake
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby DreamShake » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:44 am

Thanks for all the input guys...looks like I'll give WOA a full effort and hope for the all-around best. I had completely forgotten that it ends a while before finals, which alleviates a lot of my concern about underperforming in other classes.

For the Boalties--how did y'all guess which T14 I was talking about?? Was it the "based on my school's curve" bit??

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:31 am

No, it's just because I saw you post in another Boalt-related thread. :)

Anonymous User
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:37 am

The senior partner I interviewed with at Cleary told me the first grade the hiring committee looks at is Legal Writing. Every firm is different, but there are firms out there that place a great deal of importance on your performance in that one class.

03121202698008
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Re: Do Skills Classes Grades Matter?

Postby 03121202698008 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:33 am

A great writing grade won't help a ton but a bad one will tank you. I'd be careful assuming you'll be median.




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