dingbat wrote:I keep reading about how professors will write a question with, say, 200 points total, and an A student gets maybe 60.
Anyone else care to chime in on this?
This is often true, but professors can be very idiosyncratic. An example from my school: we had an exam where the highest score was 63 points, an A range grade was around 30 points, and the lowest score was around 15 points. I highly doubt the professor knew concretely how many "points" were even going to be available when he wrote the exam; they try to make them dense enough to put everyone under time pressure then they just curve whatever results come out. Any time you test a population with a reasonably difficult test, the results will be approximately normal, because statistics are a supernatural force that dictate our every action.
dingbat wrote:I was questioning his claim that he didn't drop any points on his essay questions - I didn't know it was possible (at any school)
That whole discussion is weird. Your average law school exam (that most deviate from to an extent) is a gigantic issue spotter that touches on a grab-bag full of issues, some of which interrelate and some of which don't. You can't really lose points, and often it doesn't even make sense to talk about "missing" points because the prof might not know how many are possible.
Most law profs then either add a checkmark every time they see a good argument (grade = number of checkmarks) or has a more formal system to accomplish roughly the same thing; i.e. a list of issues and a 1-5 point scale for your treatment of each issue (5 being especially thorough analysis, 1 being spotting without analysis of with faulty analysis, etc.). From there, the "curve" is just the (approximately) normal distribution of the class's scores, with the top score either being the highest A or an A+ depending on how the school works.
Lastly, it is strange that OP (a) had a midterm in every class and (b) received detailed, curve-based results from each exam. Definitely an outlier amongst law school programs.