romothesavior wrote: I'm sorry to continue debating you on this, jcougar. I like you a lot and I've always enjoyed your input on TLS.
Right back at you.
romothesavior wrote: But I fundamentally disagree with you on this (and I believe the majority of our class would as well), and I don't want 0Ls coming in this fall with the idea that grades are random or meaningless.
We will have to agree to disagree then, because studies show there's little to no connection between grades and your ability to practice law, as long as you're not a slacker that fininishes in the bottom of the class due to poor or even average work ethic.
And whatever correlation there might be, no matter how small, could easily be the result of a student's increased sense of self-efficacy simply from receiving good grades, or the law partner's perception of that person's efficacy.
The truth is that law exams are a sloppy, horribly designed relic from 50 years ago, before we really knew how to develop effective tests that predict future performance. There's a reason they drive people to the brink of madness: they don't make any intuitive sense. They were intended to be an incentive for students to study hard. They were NEVER intended to be treated as an employment test. Because Biglaw has realized they can turn law grades into a marketing opportunity doesn't mean they actually measure any skills or predict any future performance. It's just that 50 years ago, some squirrely-faced law partners in New York figured out that they could profit based on the illusion of increased competence they created. Their business strategy worked, and everyone else followed suit.
The biggest law firms are just recently adopting the same kind of hiring practices that the business industry has been adopting for the last 30 or so years. It's a much more scientific method of selecting employees who will be happy and competent in Biglaw, and who will last a long time and thrive in the Biglaw environment. It involves considering a large number of factors other than grades. Since law grades don't correlate to retention or success, they are using them more as a minimum benchmark than anything else...simply to weed out people that have a bad work ethic.
Strict grade cutoffs will become more of a thing of the past, until law schools decide to change their testing methods and produce an exam score that actually measures competence in understanding complex legal matters. Until they do so, law exam grades reflect more of an arbitrary number than anything else. It does take a lot of brains and effort to do well on them, but they don't necessarily have any differentiating power or validity other than the people who get straight B- or C+ grades due to lack of effort.
The only lesson I'm trying to teach is to not let these archaic academic exercises define who you are. Lots of law students have extremely high standards for themselves and have never before dealt with anything less than academic success. I don't mean not to try hard, because trying hard and the challenge of law school is in itself a reward, and it's very humbling, which is good for your character. But don't lose your sense of self-efficacy if you don't kill these exams.