What do I do––unreasonable professor.

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
holttc12435

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:50 pm

What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby holttc12435 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:53 pm

This semester I am taking a pass/fail trial class. I am taking it with a new professor, but in the past the course has been known as a write-off “easy” course. We have 5 assignments and you have to receive a 3/5 on all 5 to pass. On assignment #4 I totally dropped the ball (didn’t pick up the new instructions at the end of class + did it in the hour before class) and received a 1.5/5. The professor is now claiming that he has “no choice” but to give me a fail. I apologized profusely and offered to do any sort of make-up. Besides this my work has been well received and I am one of the only students who routinely (1) shows up (2) shows up prepared (3) participates. I tried to reason with him and say that I am in the middle of the clerkship application process as well as possibly interested in trying to change firms at 3L OCI, but he won’t budge. I’ve worked my entire life to go to a top law school and make good grades, and now I might have a fail on my transcript. I really do not know what to do, the professor has a very high sense of self and seemed more than anything personally offended that I would treat his class with such disregard and “offend him” (yes he said that) by turning it such a lousy assignment.

cam1992

New
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:40 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby cam1992 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:59 pm

Take a deep breath, and then go talk to student affairs. At least at my school, it is relatively difficult to truly fail without cheating or just never showing up to one class.

Something similar happened to my older sister when she was in law school. The professor ended up giving her the choice between writing a 40 page paper (two weeks before finals!) or taking the fail, and she decided that she needed to just take the fail, focus on killing her exams, and move on. She did decide to not go through with her clerkship applications because of the transcript mark, but it has never come up again. She even lateraled 1.5 years into her career (when a firm may conceivably still care about transcripts) and it never came up.

cavalier1138

Platinum
Posts: 6477
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:45 am

I'm not sure what you find unreasonable about this situation. You were told the standards for passing the class. You failed to meet them.

Having the NP on your transcript isn't a good look, but it sounds like you have a SA offer already. And it won't affect your GPA (presumably why you took the class P/F to begin with). So just keep your head down, do well in your other classes, and do good work at your SA. Learn from the experience instead of trying to make this about the professor being unreasonable or the school needing to step in and save you.

lawgirl3521

New
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:11 pm

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby lawgirl3521 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:43 am

I would drop the class immediately - regardless of the financial penalty - before he has the chance to ruin your transcript. He knows how devastating this would be to your cgpa and future employment prospects, what a d*ck.

I had a similar professor who was unreasonable with about half my ls section - he ended up getting fired after a 1 year "sabbatical" - total grade tyrant.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1647
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby nixy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:48 am

It's not really tyrannical or unreasonable - it's not like the requirements weren't clear to the OP from the start and they've admitted they dropped the ball and it was a bad assignment. But withdrawing sounds like a reasonable option, if it still is an option (don't know if your school does WP/WF though).

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2643
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:50 am

If it's possible to drop the class without getting a WF or equivalent, drop the class. If possible, that's really the best and easiest solution IMO.

If it's not possible to drop the class, or dropping the class would result in a WF or equivalent, then go to student services to see if they can help. If you're at a T13/T20, there's likely a general guideline against failing students bar truly egregious, bad-faith conduct (never showing up, not taking the final, academic misconduct, things like that). If you're at a lower-ranked school that routinely hands out Fs, then you may be out of luck, but it still doesn't hurt to check. The professor is already planning on giving you an F, so it's not like he can do anything worse to you in retaliation for an unsuccessful appeal.

gregfootball2001

Bronze
Posts: 497
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:35 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby gregfootball2001 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:54 pm

holttc12435 wrote:This semester I am taking a pass/fail trial class. I am taking it with a new professor, but in the past the course has been known as a write-off “easy” course. We have 5 assignments and you have to receive a 3/5 on all 5 to pass. On assignment #4 I totally dropped the ball (didn’t pick up the new instructions at the end of class + did it in the hour before class) and received a 1.5/5. The professor is now claiming that he has “no choice” but to give me a fail. I apologized profusely and offered to do any sort of make-up. Besides this my work has been well received and I am one of the only students who routinely (1) shows up (2) shows up prepared (3) participates. I tried to reason with him and say that I am in the middle of the clerkship application process as well as possibly interested in trying to change firms at 3L OCI, but he won’t budge. I’ve worked my entire life to go to a top law school and make good grades, and now I might have a fail on my transcript. I really do not know what to do, the professor has a very high sense of self and seemed more than anything personally offended that I would treat his class with such disregard and “offend him” (yes he said that) by turning it such a lousy assignment.

So you essentially need a 15/25 on all assignments to pass? Can you numerically make it to 15 with the last assignment? Or it is truly that if you get a 2 on any one of the assignments, you fail the entire class?

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2643
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:44 pm

gregfootball2001 wrote:So you essentially need a 15/25 on all assignments to pass? Can you numerically make it to 15 with the last assignment? Or it is truly that if you get a 2 on any one of the assignments, you fail the entire class?

Even if 15/25 on all assignments is the requirement to pass, and even if OP could numerically make it to 15/25, the professor has already indicated that he intends to give OP an F (and the professor could easily grade the last assignment to make OP fall short of 15/25). Thus, I stand by my previous advice ITT.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1647
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby nixy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:48 pm

I read at least 3/5 on all as 3/5 on each. If you don’t pass any, you fail. (Which is a little draconian but it also sounds like a practice class where having the students prepared for each class is pretty key.)

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2643
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:31 pm

Also, just thinking out loud (so other TLSers, please feel free to jump in to criticize this trial balloon):

I still think either dropping the class (if possible) or going to student services (if not) are the best initial steps to take. But if going to student services doesn't work, what if OP goes back to the prof to ask whether the F is truly locked in? Maybe OP could tell the prof that if the F is truly locked in, they will simply save their time and stop coming to class and not turn in the last assignment - because what's the point, if they're going to get an F anyway? But if there's any chance of a pass, then OP will put forth their best efforts (as was the case prior to this one assignment) and do everything they can to compensate for their one bad assignment. Do other TLSers think this might work? Because honestly I think this has a nonzero chance of working.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1647
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby nixy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:12 pm

I don’t think it’s going to hurt anything to try, but it sounds like the OP already tried essentially that and the prof has said he has “no choice” but to fail the OP. So I think if withdrawing/student services don’t work, the OP can try again but should be prepared to get another no.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2643
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:27 pm

nixy wrote:I don’t think it’s going to hurt anything to try, but it sounds like the OP already tried essentially that and the prof has said he has “no choice” but to fail the OP. So I think if withdrawing/student services don’t work, the OP can try again but should be prepared to get another no.

I guess my idea is that last time, OP was simply begging the professor for another chance, and the professor said "tough luck, my mind's made up." But this would be framing it as more of a negotiation, using the "threat" of ghosting the class as leverage. Maybe the professor would prefer not to have OP "ghost" the rest of the semester and would be willing to negotiate to get that outcome. Maybe, if that's an option at OP's school, by giving OP a D instead of an F in exchange for OP's continued efforts. Or maybe the professor would tell OP he'd prefer not to see him again anyway. But I think there's a nonzero chance of success and, if dropping and student services don't work, OP would seem to have nothing to lose.

holttc12435

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:50 pm

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby holttc12435 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:01 pm

OP Here. Thank you all so much for the advice.

For what it is worth, I totally know I messed up...when I said "unreasonable professor" I was more referring to the punishment not fitting the crime (yeah I know what the syllabus says, but this is a mandatory pass/fail "skills" class that half of the class skips on any given lecture). I spoke with student affairs this morning (God Bless the T13's inherent bureaucratic reluctance to let any student fail/not pass) and they basically told me that this professor is known to be difficult and that it would probably work itself out. Well, I decided to try and talk to him again and he basically told me that he decided to not give me the "No Pass." He said he just wanted me to "sweat" a little, so I would learn my lesson and never turn in a late/just really sh!tty assignment again. Seems like student affairs was correct.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2643
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:12 pm

Terrific, glad things worked out!

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1647
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby nixy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:06 pm

Ditto (though I think making you sweat over it is actually more dickish than sticking to his guns, though it’s a much better outcome for you!).

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 2643
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby QContinuum » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:00 pm

nixy wrote:Ditto (though I think making you sweat over it is actually more dickish than sticking to his guns, though it’s a much better outcome for you!).

My take is he was sincere about failing OP, but the school made him back down. To save face, he spun it as him being dickish.

nixy

Gold
Posts: 1647
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby nixy » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:06 pm

Oh yeah, that’s true, that’s probably what happened.

hagoomata

New
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:57 pm

Re: What do I do––unreasonable professor.

Postby hagoomata » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:10 pm

Fair warning/assumption of risk doesn't magically immunize something from being unreasonable. You could mathematically get a 90% in his class and still fail. That's ridiculous.

Glad it worked out OP



Return to “Forum for Law School Students?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests