Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

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WhatWouldHolmesDo?
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Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby WhatWouldHolmesDo? » Tue May 24, 2011 8:41 pm

Hey y'all - just finished finals and the law review writing competition. TLS was really helpful and comforting to me when I was going through the application process so I thought I'd pay it forward. I'll try to answer any question to the best of my ability.

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Moxie
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby Moxie » Tue May 24, 2011 8:42 pm

Maybe this one will get more interest than the other one, which only ever get sporadic questions :(

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=141188

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SubwaySandwich
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby SubwaySandwich » Wed May 25, 2011 4:51 pm

Thanks for taking questions! I was wondering how the selection of courses for 1L first semester works. Does it just depend on what section you are put it, and if so, when does one find out about this?

WhatWouldHolmesDo?
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby WhatWouldHolmesDo? » Wed May 25, 2011 5:29 pm

SubwaySandwich wrote:Thanks for taking questions! I was wondering how the selection of courses for 1L first semester works. Does it just depend on what section you are put it, and if so, when does one find out about this?


Unfortunately, "selection" is the wrong word. Harvard has six "core" (though I've never heard the administration use that word) required courses for 1Ls: Criminal Law, Property, Contracts, Civ-Pro, Leg-reg, and Torts. You'll also be taking Legal Research and Writing both semesters.

For your first semester, you will be enrolled in four of those courses plus LRW. Which four you are enrolled in will just depend on your section and I believe you find out which section you are in and what classes you are enrolled in sometime in mid-August. That's when I did at least; it could differ year-to-year.

They loosen the reins a bit in the second semester. You'll be enrolled in the two core courses which you did not take first semester. You will get to choose an international elective from one of roughly seven courses (Noah Feldman's "Constitution in the International Order" class is particularly popular, but there's generally something for almost everyone). You will also get to choose another elective, where you'll have your choice of classes that do not conflict with the rest of your schedule, and where you'll enrolled along with 2Ls and 3Ls.

It sounds pretty rigid, but you have to hit these subjects to form the legal foundation you need for the rest of law school. If you're into the "study of law" it won't bother you much. And even the boring sounding ones can be pretty interesting with the right professor.

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Knock
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby Knock » Thu May 26, 2011 2:33 am

How common are LPs and how damaging are they at OCI?

WhatWouldHolmesDo?
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby WhatWouldHolmesDo? » Thu May 26, 2011 10:07 am

Knock wrote:How common are LPs and how damaging are they at OCI?


The short answer is really uncommon, but quite damaging.

Though I believe the official curve recommends that the bottom 10% of the class receives LPs, it seems that professors are actually discouraged from giving them. How the administration views LPs is a bit hidden from us, but most professors understand them to be discretionary. When asked, every professor I had this year basically said something along the lines of "to get an LP, you have to earn it." In other words, unless you really blow it (i.e. not study, not complete the test, never go to class), you will pass. That seems to be most professors' approach, though there may be a few outliers who more strictly conform to the curve or believe in giving LPs on principle. One of my professors said he "didn't like" to give them. Others just said not to worry about it. What that translates to is probably 1-2 LPs handed out in most large classes...they'd be even more rare in seminars.

One of the reasons professors are so reluctant to dole out LPs - and this gets to the second part of your question - is because they really do screw you over. I haven't gone through EIP (the early interview program in August) but what I've picked up from others makes it sound like an LP is a really serious blot on your resume that is difficult to overcome. My sense is that it will likely kill your chances at a top-tier firm and generally make the job search significantly tougher. It's a red flag, plain and simple. That said, as long as you have some other stuff going for you or an otherwise decent transcript, you'd almost certainly still be able to get a BigLaw job. And if your transcript is otherwise filled with H's, it would do significantly less harm. All of that assumes one LP. If someone had multiple LPs. I'd imagine it would be basically impossible to get a BigLaw job unless you're a fantastic interview or are otherwise extremely impressive.

But yeah, as noted above, it's really not a serious concern, even for classes you might struggle in. It's scary first semester when you haven't taken any law school exams yet, but then you realize it's not much to worry about it.

Keeper1125
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby Keeper1125 » Thu May 26, 2011 6:28 pm

Have lots of questions but don't want to type them all out on my crummy phone. Will edit this post later, thanks for doing this!

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BruceWayne
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby BruceWayne » Thu May 26, 2011 6:32 pm

WhatWouldHolmesDo? wrote:
The short answer is really uncommon, but quite damaging.

Though I believe the official curve recommends that the bottom 10% of the class receives LPs, it seems that professors are actually discouraged from giving them. How the administration views LPs is a bit hidden from us, but most professors understand them to be discretionary. When asked, every professor I had this year basically said something along the lines of "to get an LP, you have to earn it." In other words, unless you really blow it (i.e. not study, not complete the test, never go to class), you will pass. That seems to be most professors' approach, though there may be a few outliers who more strictly conform to the curve or believe in giving LPs on principle. One of my professors said he "didn't like" to give them. Others just said not to worry about it. What that translates to is probably 1-2 LPs handed out in most large classes...they'd be even more rare in seminars.

One of the reasons professors are so reluctant to dole out LPs - and this gets to the second part of your question - is because they really do screw you over. I haven't gone through EIP (the early interview program in August) but what I've picked up from others makes it sound like an LP is a really serious blot on your resume that is difficult to overcome. My sense is that it will likely kill your chances at a top-tier firm and generally make the job search significantly tougher. It's a red flag, plain and simple. That said, as long as you have some other stuff going for you or an otherwise decent transcript, you'd almost certainly still be able to get a BigLaw job. And if your transcript is otherwise filled with H's, it would do significantly less harm. All of that assumes one LP. If someone had multiple LPs. I'd imagine it would be basically impossible to get a BigLaw job unless you're a fantastic interview or are otherwise extremely impressive.

But yeah, as noted above, it's really not a serious concern, even for classes you might struggle in. It's scary first semester when you haven't taken any law school exams yet, but then you realize it's not much to worry about it.


I hate to say it, but this does make all of those Stanford trolls seem more legitimate.

sarahlawg
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby sarahlawg » Sat May 28, 2011 1:55 pm

Am I looking at the schedule right in that you get a couple weeks off from classes to study for exams?
Also, are the 1L law classes all in the same building?

thanks for taking questions :)

APimpNamedSlickback
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.

Postby APimpNamedSlickback » Sat May 28, 2011 2:15 pm

.
Last edited by APimpNamedSlickback on Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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haus
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby haus » Sat May 28, 2011 2:27 pm

APimpNamedSlickback wrote:Hey, I'm a fellow rising 2L. Any idea when we get our spring semester grades?


Graduation was held Thursday, the other schools at Harvard posted their grades on line on Wednesday (many even posted a day or two early).

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20121109
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby 20121109 » Sat May 28, 2011 3:04 pm

haus wrote:
APimpNamedSlickback wrote:Hey, I'm a fellow rising 2L. Any idea when we get our spring semester grades?


Graduation was held Thursday, the other schools at Harvard posted their grades on line on Wednesday (many even posted a day or two early).


Thank you for not answering his question.

APNS, I have a feeling we'll be in a for a bit of a wait. I think we should get them earlier than last semester, but we should prob just wait for the email from the Dean's office that tells us the exact date.

Good luck. I'm sure you'll do great this semester :)

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Moxie
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby Moxie » Sat May 28, 2011 3:15 pm

APimpNamedSlickback wrote:Hey, I'm a fellow rising 2L. Any idea when we get our spring semester grades?


Not soon enough, but it can't be worse than the wait after fall semester right?

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haus
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby haus » Sat May 28, 2011 4:20 pm

.

WhatWouldHolmesDo?
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby WhatWouldHolmesDo? » Sun May 29, 2011 12:24 am

sarahlawg wrote:Am I looking at the schedule right in that you get a couple weeks off from classes to study for exams?
Also, are the 1L law classes all in the same building?

thanks for taking questions :)


Sorry I'm a little late in responding to these questions. In the Fall semester, I think they gave us a full week (and maybe a few additional days) before finals started. 1L exams start a little bit after 2L and 3L exams for this purpose. They do something similar with Spring exams, where 1L exam period is a full two weeks after classes end, although your elective will be before then (if it has a final) as well as your international elective (probably). In general, they do a nice job with spacing too, making sure that you don't have back-to-back days with finals.

It is a very reasonable amount of time, although unless you are really on top of your game and start outlining/studying in early November, you will probably wish you had more. It's not that bad though. Outlines are widely available, such that you can get by just fine only beginning to study during reading week.

As to your second question re: the location of classes, they are not all in the same building. One of the nice things about HLS is that it has its own real campus with several building. Pound Hall (in all its functionalist ugliness) is the main site for classes - and I actually had all my classes there last semester - but classes are also held in Austin Hall, Langdell, and Hauser Hall. I think even Lewis and Areeda get in on the action too through their seminar rooms. This probably does not mean much to you, but the point is class locations are varied and that's kind of nice. I'm sure the new HLS building (Wasserstein) will hold a lot of classes as well.

To my fellow rising 2Ls wondering about when grades are coming out, my mildly informed speculation is that it will be sometime in mid-June. If you look at academic calendars from past years, they listed expected grade release as June 17th or so. Also, a 3L friend of mine told me grades came out last year on June 9th. But yeah, trying not to think or worry about it too much...

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20121109
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby 20121109 » Sun May 29, 2011 1:33 am

WhatWouldHolmesDo? wrote:To my fellow rising 2Ls wondering about when grades are coming out, my mildly informed speculation is that it will be sometime in mid-June. If you look at academic calendars from past years, they listed expected grade release as June 17th or so. Also, a 3L friend of mine told me grades came out last year on June 9th. But yeah, trying not to think or worry about it too much...


This is great info. Thanks a lot!

hulahoop
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby hulahoop » Sun May 29, 2011 10:42 pm

not as serious a questions as the others, but im wondering if you guys have/know people who have bikes? I wont be living far from campus, but far enough that some form of transportation might be nice. Is the campus/area north of it pretty easy to navigate?

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haus
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby haus » Sun May 29, 2011 10:49 pm

hulahoop wrote:not as serious a questions as the others, but im wondering if you guys have/know people who have bikes? I wont be living far from campus, but far enough that some form of transportation might be nice. Is the campus/area north of it pretty easy to navigate?


Getting around campus and the surrounding area is fairly easy. Bikes are used, although not as much as some other college campuses. The Cambridge area is well served by public transit, with the T, local buses, and campus shuttle.

hulahoop
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby hulahoop » Mon May 30, 2011 4:48 pm

cool thanks guys. got another one: are there any groups/activities that you joined your 1L that you would recommend? Why/what was the time commitment like?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon May 30, 2011 4:55 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
WhatWouldHolmesDo? wrote:To my fellow rising 2Ls wondering about when grades are coming out, my mildly informed speculation is that it will be sometime in mid-June. If you look at academic calendars from past years, they listed expected grade release as June 17th or so. Also, a 3L friend of mine told me grades came out last year on June 9th. But yeah, trying not to think or worry about it too much...


This is great info. Thanks a lot!


This is true. I've spoken to 3Ls and it tends to be mid-June. My personal (read: arbitrary) date is June 20 lol. HLS seems to always shift the grade release dates by a few days (as they did with our fall grades this past year vs. the year before).

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon May 30, 2011 4:56 pm

hulahoop wrote:cool thanks guys. got another one: are there any groups/activities that you joined your 1L that you would recommend? Why/what was the time commitment like?


There are a ton of groups to join -- that's one great thing about having a large campus/resources. Time commitment for 1-2 group activities or organizations, I imagine, are not that bad at all. For me, I had plenty of time both semesters, and I am a part of a secondary journal (I think virtually everyone joins a journal), a social organization, and a student practice organization. I have not felt the pinch much at all.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon May 30, 2011 4:58 pm

WhatWouldHolmesDo? wrote:
sarahlawg wrote:Am I looking at the schedule right in that you get a couple weeks off from classes to study for exams?
Also, are the 1L law classes all in the same building?

thanks for taking questions :)


As to your second question re: the location of classes, they are not all in the same building. One of the nice things about HLS is that it has its own real campus with several building. Pound Hall (in all its functionalist ugliness) is the main site for classes - and I actually had all my classes there last semester - but classes are also held in Austin Hall, Langdell, and Hauser Hall. I think even Lewis and Areeda get in on the action too through their seminar rooms. This probably does not mean much to you, but the point is class locations are varied and that's kind of nice. I'm sure the new HLS building (Wasserstein) will hold a lot of classes as well.


To add to this, the buildings are all very close to each other (in case that was something you were wondering lol).

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon May 30, 2011 5:04 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
WhatWouldHolmesDo? wrote:
The short answer is really uncommon, but quite damaging.

Though I believe the official curve recommends that the bottom 10% of the class receives LPs, it seems that professors are actually discouraged from giving them. How the administration views LPs is a bit hidden from us, but most professors understand them to be discretionary. When asked, every professor I had this year basically said something along the lines of "to get an LP, you have to earn it." In other words, unless you really blow it (i.e. not study, not complete the test, never go to class), you will pass. That seems to be most professors' approach, though there may be a few outliers who more strictly conform to the curve or believe in giving LPs on principle. One of my professors said he "didn't like" to give them. Others just said not to worry about it. What that translates to is probably 1-2 LPs handed out in most large classes...they'd be even more rare in seminars.

One of the reasons professors are so reluctant to dole out LPs - and this gets to the second part of your question - is because they really do screw you over. I haven't gone through EIP (the early interview program in August) but what I've picked up from others makes it sound like an LP is a really serious blot on your resume that is difficult to overcome. My sense is that it will likely kill your chances at a top-tier firm and generally make the job search significantly tougher. It's a red flag, plain and simple. That said, as long as you have some other stuff going for you or an otherwise decent transcript, you'd almost certainly still be able to get a BigLaw job. And if your transcript is otherwise filled with H's, it would do significantly less harm. All of that assumes one LP. If someone had multiple LPs. I'd imagine it would be basically impossible to get a BigLaw job unless you're a fantastic interview or are otherwise extremely impressive.

But yeah, as noted above, it's really not a serious concern, even for classes you might struggle in. It's scary first semester when you haven't taken any law school exams yet, but then you realize it's not much to worry about it.


I hate to say it, but this does make all of those Stanford trolls seem more legitimate.


Well, not necessarily. I've actually heard slightly differently from Holmes (but a lot of this is anecdotal so one is not necessarily more correct than the other). Technically, all grade curves are just "suggested" at HLS, but they are pretty strictly followed for classes over a certain size (non-seminar, it was somewhere between 20-24). Roughly 37% or so get Hs, rest get Ps. DS and LPs are possible too, though usually only a handful per class (if any at all). In the past, LPs I believe were 8% and this was pretty stringently applied, but starting our year that went away. Now it is completely discretionary. As Holmes mentioned, some profs dont give it at all, some may give a few. tbh, I wouldn't worry too much about it -- I feel as if you really had to mess up on the exam or not know the material (or some unique reason) to warrant an LP.

Where I've heard differently from Holmes is that some 3Ls have told me that LPs aren't that damning (assuming 1 LP). Plenty wandering around from prior years, given that they used to be more "encourage" on that 8% curve setting or whatnot. Still, a good number of students with an LP got biglaw jobs. Will it shut you out of V10? Possibly, but not biglaw (all based off of anecdotal evidence I've gathered from 3Ls).

The real question is, now that LPs are even more rare, will having 1 hurt you. I have no idea (no one does I guess since we'll have to see in the coming months lol). Having multiple I'm sure is really ugly though regardless.

WhatWouldHolmesDo?
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby WhatWouldHolmesDo? » Mon May 30, 2011 8:22 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
hulahoop wrote:cool thanks guys. got another one: are there any groups/activities that you joined your 1L that you would recommend? Why/what was the time commitment like?


There are a ton of groups to join -- that's one great thing about having a large campus/resources. Time commitment for 1-2 group activities or organizations, I imagine, are not that bad at all. For me, I had plenty of time both semesters, and I am a part of a secondary journal (I think virtually everyone joins a journal), a social organization, and a student practice organization. I have not felt the pinch much at all.


I'll second that. Student practice organizations (SPOs) such as Harvard Defenders, Harvard Negotiators, the Tenant Advocacy Project, and Prison Legal Assistance Project are all great programs which provide hands-on experience with real-life legal problems from the get-go. At the beginning of the year, the school will hold a panel discussion and SPO fair where you can get details on each program and figure out which one, if any, work for your schedule. Some of them are selective, while others aren't. Some require commitments to take on hearings (Harvard Defenders, Tenant Advocacy Project), while others don't (PLAP). Some require weekly office hours, others don't. You get the idea. Joining one is certainly not necessary, but if they are doing work you're interested in, it can be very rewarding.

The deal with journals is that you can join whichever ones you want. The work (checking the technical and substantive accuracy of footnotes, i.e. "subciting") is pretty boring and that is pretty much what you are guaranteed to be doing first semester (though it well help acclimate you to the bluebook). Still, most people view it as a near-requirement - whether it actually is or not probably depends on what you want to do later on (get a clerkship, yes; corporate work, maybe not). It definitely is a nice thing to have on your 1L resume. There is room for upward mobility within journals in your second semester if you desire it. The time commitment is not bad at all, but it comes in annoying spurts. Some journals hold "mass subcites" where everyone gets together for 3-6 hours and just bangs it out. Others leave you to your own schedule and give you a deadline. Most journals limit themselves to giving 1 subcite assignment per semester (though I know of at least one exception), which can take anywhere between 4-10 hours depending on what kind of groove you are in. The school will have a journal panel and fair around the same time as the SPO events.

WhatWouldHolmesDo?
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Re: Rising Harvard 2L taking questions

Postby WhatWouldHolmesDo? » Mon May 30, 2011 8:34 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
WhatWouldHolmesDo? wrote:
The short answer is really uncommon, but quite damaging.

Though I believe the official curve recommends that the bottom 10% of the class receives LPs, it seems that professors are actually discouraged from giving them. How the administration views LPs is a bit hidden from us, but most professors understand them to be discretionary. When asked, every professor I had this year basically said something along the lines of "to get an LP, you have to earn it." In other words, unless you really blow it (i.e. not study, not complete the test, never go to class), you will pass. That seems to be most professors' approach, though there may be a few outliers who more strictly conform to the curve or believe in giving LPs on principle. One of my professors said he "didn't like" to give them. Others just said not to worry about it. What that translates to is probably 1-2 LPs handed out in most large classes...they'd be even more rare in seminars.

One of the reasons professors are so reluctant to dole out LPs - and this gets to the second part of your question - is because they really do screw you over. I haven't gone through EIP (the early interview program in August) but what I've picked up from others makes it sound like an LP is a really serious blot on your resume that is difficult to overcome. My sense is that it will likely kill your chances at a top-tier firm and generally make the job search significantly tougher. It's a red flag, plain and simple. That said, as long as you have some other stuff going for you or an otherwise decent transcript, you'd almost certainly still be able to get a BigLaw job. And if your transcript is otherwise filled with H's, it would do significantly less harm. All of that assumes one LP. If someone had multiple LPs. I'd imagine it would be basically impossible to get a BigLaw job unless you're a fantastic interview or are otherwise extremely impressive.

But yeah, as noted above, it's really not a serious concern, even for classes you might struggle in. It's scary first semester when you haven't taken any law school exams yet, but then you realize it's not much to worry about it.


I hate to say it, but this does make all of those Stanford trolls seem more legitimate.


Well, not necessarily. I've actually heard slightly differently from Holmes (but a lot of this is anecdotal so one is not necessarily more correct than the other). Technically, all grade curves are just "suggested" at HLS, but they are pretty strictly followed for classes over a certain size (non-seminar, it was somewhere between 20-24). Roughly 37% or so get Hs, rest get Ps. DS and LPs are possible too, though usually only a handful per class (if any at all). In the past, LPs I believe were 8% and this was pretty stringently applied, but starting our year that went away. Now it is completely discretionary. As Holmes mentioned, some profs dont give it at all, some may give a few. tbh, I wouldn't worry too much about it -- I feel as if you really had to mess up on the exam or not know the material (or some unique reason) to warrant an LP.

Where I've heard differently from Holmes is that some 3Ls have told me that LPs aren't that damning (assuming 1 LP). Plenty wandering around from prior years, given that they used to be more "encourage" on that 8% curve setting or whatnot. Still, a good number of students with an LP got biglaw jobs. Will it shut you out of V10? Possibly, but not biglaw (all based off of anecdotal evidence I've gathered from 3Ls).

The real question is, now that LPs are even more rare, will having 1 hurt you. I have no idea (no one does I guess since we'll have to see in the coming months lol). Having multiple I'm sure is really ugly though regardless.


I'll defer to Double's description of the curve since he seems to know what he's talking about. I had heard the 8% number before, but not the 37% one. As noted, the 8% number is basically meaningless now.

I do have a different understanding of Dean's Scholars (DSes). My impression is that professors are, if not required (which I think they might be), encouraged to hand out several to the best tests in the class. I could imagine a situation like a small seminar where no one gets a DS, but in lecture classes I think it is pretty much guaranteed that at least one will be handed out with the professor having discretion to hand out more as he sees fit. My impression is that 2-4 are handed out in each class.

Double and I also have different conceptions of how damaging an LP is and, as s/he noted, I think this is based largely on anecdotal evidence. My description was based in part on my firsthand knowledge of a few people with LPs who have struggled to get BigLaw jobs. I think it probably depends on the market that year and how high you set your sights. I'd be shocked if someone with an LP could crack the V10 in an average market year (whatever that means at this point). I think it also kills one's chances at one of the more coveted clerkships. One could offset an LP by making law review or having several DSes on their transcript, but it's hard to envision that kind of transcript/resume as realistic. Will an LP stop you from getting a job? Of course not, but it is definitely a significant handicap in my view.




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