Sh@keNb@ke wrote:Could someone be willing to explain how the grading system is viewed by employers. To my knowledge there is Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Does 33% of the class get each of these? How bad would straight P's, for example, look for employers?
According to the people who seem to care about these things, the scale is the same as it was when it used to be published - 37% HP, 55% P and 8% LP. However, (and this is a big however), LPs are now discretionary and the ratios are flexible it the professor wants. Therefore, most people say that if you made a good faith effort, you are highly unlikely to get an LP.
As far as employers, most of what I heard IRL (I'm a 1L) echoes what is on the board - outside the V20-ish, grades don't really matter much; it's more about fit.
I think the difference between this system and real grades is that there are no gradients. If you got straight Ps, you might be at the bottom of the class. Or you might be consistently above median. If gradients were possible, there is a clear distinguishment in class rank.
I have a slightly different take on grades, though most of the above is credited. While the %s seem about right, for 1L classes most professors follow the curve (curve goes out the window for small seminars, but a lot of "large, basic" classes would still follow it even into 2L/3L year) -- except fewer LPs are given out now due to their discretionary nature. There are also a number of Dean's Scholars (SUPER HPs!) given out per class -- though they are also discretionary so you could have a professor give anywhere from none to a handful.
For employers, it isn't outside of the V20-ish that don't really much...it is more like outside the V2 lol. Well no, more like the most selective don't care (re: vault ranking isn't great for actually telling you which firms are the most selective). Quinn Emmanuel, Boies, any of the lit boutiques like Susman, Wachtell, Cravath, W&C -- these places will care about your grades and might even have a quiet cutoff in mind. Everywhere else? More about "fit"...or actually bidding strategy and interviewing skills. I know of a lot of friends with V5 jobs who were at median or below median in grades. Know of some above that did just as well or a tad worse (though still having V30 jobs isn't really "bad"). Of course, having really great grades could only help you -- better way of looking at it is, aside from the most selective firms and later on if you want to go after certain judicial clerkships, grades will not hold you back from an employment prospect.
Most people talk as if 3-4 Hs = about median. You get a strong sense of what grades are at the top of the class and what grades aren't. The exact breakdown, however, is hard to pin down -- for students OR employers. LPs are obviously hurtful, but I know of a couple of people who have an LP or two and still got biglaw (and then there are those with LPs who did not get biglaw...and a few median who did not either, at least from EIP; refer to my earlier paragraph lol). Straight Ps would probably net you below median for sure for 1L year, but you'd still be able to get biglaw if you bid smart (i.e. not all DC or Chicago or top NYC firms lol) and interview well.