How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

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agent433
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How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby agent433 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:28 pm

Maybe a stupid question, but answer anyways, lol. When a school says they got a B- curve, what does that mean for grades/GPAs?

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Corsair
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Corsair » Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:40 pm

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agent433
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby agent433 » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:10 pm

so is it better if a school has a higher curve? like a b or b+?

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Formerbruin
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Formerbruin » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:12 pm

It doesn't really matter. The stat that employers look for first is your rank among your peers.

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Corsair
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Corsair » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:48 pm

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orangeswarm
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby orangeswarm » Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:20 pm

Whatever helps you sleep at night. :wink:

qwerty
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby qwerty » Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:57 pm

So I'm bad at statistics...if the curve is around the median grade, how does the mean fit in?

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Corsair
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Corsair » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:04 pm

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TTT-LS
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby TTT-LS » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:19 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

patentlaw
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby patentlaw » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:30 pm

Nice as it sounds, I don't think our ploy at NU is very effective anymore. Employers know we've got a cushy curve (just like a few other T14s) and adjust how they view our GPAs accordingly. Plus, from what I understand they get published cutoffs -- though I do not know where these cutoffs correspond to (e.g. top 1/10, top 1/3, top 1/2, etc.).


All employers get is the cutoffs for latin honors. At least that's all they gave my firm.

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observationalist
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby observationalist » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:34 am

patentlaw wrote:
Nice as it sounds, I don't think our ploy at NU is very effective anymore. Employers know we've got a cushy curve (just like a few other T14s) and adjust how they view our GPAs accordingly. Plus, from what I understand they get published cutoffs -- though I do not know where these cutoffs correspond to (e.g. top 1/10, top 1/3, top 1/2, etc.).


All employers get is the cutoffs for latin honors. At least that's all they gave my firm.


Same for Vanderbilt, and all they provide students with for application purposes is the cutoff for Dean's list (top 20% in a given semester). A firm with a 3.5 gpa cutoff might interview the top 1/3 at Vandy come OCI, even though they might only be looking for people in the top 20%. Thankfully, career services is adamant about refusing to tip off employers about where exactly their cutoff should be if they're looking for a certain %, and they usually are willing to interview more applicants as a result. And since we aren't all applying to the same firms in any particular city, the chances of a particular firm receiving enough Vandy resumes to calculate their own curve is fairly low. It's a pretty good gimmick IMO.

Rayster
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Rayster » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:39 am

I have a related question. Several schools say not to put your GPA on your resume. Do they just ask during the interview? Why not just put it on the resume, if they are going to stop listening to you after the first question anyway?

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Corsair
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Corsair » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:57 am

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nonunique
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby nonunique » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:24 am

Grade set one - A, B, C. Median is B. Mean (Average) is B.
Grade set two - A+ B, B-. Median is a B. Mean is 3.5 (between an A- and B+)


Uhhh...I'm no mathematician...but I think you are wrong, sir. I mean, you're right, but also profoundly wrong. The median in both cases is certainly a B (3.0). The mean in the last case is a B+ (3.33). (4.33 + 3.00 + 2.67)/3 = 3.33

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Corsair
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Corsair » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:27 am

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ari20dal7
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby ari20dal7 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:07 am

There should be an option for interviews like what Rutgers has on its app:

"Would you like to be judged by your interviewing skills or by your GPA?"

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orangeswarm
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby orangeswarm » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:46 am

The reason for leaving off GPA is so you aren't pre-judged by it. Obviously they'll see your grades when you show up with a copy of your transcript in hand, but this at least lets you present yourself at the same time.


But typically leaving off your GPA implies you have a lower GPA. Therefore, in your effort to avoid pre-judgment you actually get pre-judged.

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NewHere
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby NewHere » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:48 am

I don't know that that's true. Out Career Services does not allow us to include the GPA.

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Corsair
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Corsair » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:50 am

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Rayster
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Rayster » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:59 am

But it is going to be approximately the first question asked, right? So you get to sit there for your 20 mins, but will they really hire you if you aren't up to their standards? (Admittedly, many firms could care less about your rank if you are from a top school, but some want only the top students from the top schools, though in my experience book smarts and actual skill are very different.)

As an aside, some schools do a lottery system for OCI. How does that work? If I'm number 1 in the class and I want to interview with Kirkland & Ellis, I really won't be guaranteed a spot?

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orangeswarm
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby orangeswarm » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:04 pm

NewHere wrote:I don't know that that's true. Out Career Services does not allow us to include the GPA.



Yea, I guess that was a bit of an overstatement. The atmosphere is really different at different schools. Our school does not have that requirement so the norm is to put on your GPA if it is good.

We had an employer panel speak the other day that mentioned if they did not see a GPA they assume it is bad. I guess I just assumed that was the norm for everyone.

patentlaw
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby patentlaw » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:52 pm

As an aside, some schools do a lottery system for OCI. How does that work? If I'm number 1 in the class and I want to interview with Kirkland & Ellis, I really won't be guaranteed a spot?


Not guaranteed but practically guaranteed. You have a ranking system and the lottery is run with those rankings in place. Firms like Kirkland have way more spots than people who rank them first, generally I think everyone gets their top 7-9 or something like that, then the rest may vary. So if you really want K&E you rank them in your top 3 or whatever. I think when I did mine I had my top 16 or something like that and the last 6 interviews were spread out lower on my list. I guess it's possible for the #1 in the class to not get an interview at some small elite boutique but I never heard of that happening.

The major firms also almost always have spots that open up day-of that you can sign up for. I remember Latham had someone just sitting around in case people wanted to just go up and do an impromptu interview (not a "fluffer" that some firms use to just chat with interviewees before their real interview, yes some firms call them "fluffers" at least internally).

We had an employer panel speak the other day that mentioned if they did not see a GPA they assume it is bad. I guess I just assumed that was the norm for everyone.


Employers know which schools don't allow GPAs, so what you say is mostly true for schools that do allow GPAs but it's not a detriment to those that don't.

Rayster
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby Rayster » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:05 pm

Thanks all, very useful information!

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NewHere
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby NewHere » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:15 pm

The ranking system patentlaw is talking about does not refer to the student's ranking in the class, but to the order of preference submitted by the student. The idea is that everyone should have the chance to talk to every firm. Of course if you're at the bottom of the class, you'd be wise to include some firms on your list that are not outside of your range. I've also heard that people who REALLY want to interview with a particular firm but are unlucky in the lottery generally can get an interview scheduled if they explain the problem to the firm.

(By the way, I've heard of other law schools where they do it differently, where the lottery IS based on grades, so it probably depends on where you are.)

I'm curious about the fluffers now. Tell us more about them, patentlaw, what do they do?

patentlaw
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Re: How Do Curves Work at Law Schools?

Postby patentlaw » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:21 pm

Right, I mean the ranking system based on student preferences. And people aren't stupid, they mostly aren't asking for interviews with firms that are completely out of their league.

Fluffers just sit around and chat with the interviewees who are there early (as almost all of them are), generally they're younger associates (some firms have a bit of a rep. for sending their attractive younger associates). If they have a particularly good conversation it may end up making a difference when they talk about candidates at the end of the day, but for the most part they're not there to interview, just to talk up the firm and loosen up the interviewees a bit.

If you're asking about the other type of fluffer you'll have to get someone else to explain that to you.




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