What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

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hernanday

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What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:33 pm

I've heard many lower ranked schools try to trap students there by having low gpa grading curves to prevent them from transferring out and to ensure they don't get to keep their scholarships. I also know many employers just look at the grade as a cutoff. What tier 2,3,4 law schools have very generous gpa grading curves like 3.2, or 3.3, B+, etc?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:56 pm

Don't go to any of those schools, and you won't have to worry about this.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby FND » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:22 am

of all the questions ever asked on this board, this may be the most useless.
There are valid reasons to avoid going to T2-T4 schools, and there are valid reasons for going to these schools. The curve is not one of them.

If you must know, University of Washington's curve has an average GPA of 3.40, which is the highest I'm aware of. After that comes Elon University (3.39) and University of Utah (3.38)

But it is interesting to note that generally speaking better schools give better grades, with HYS not even giving real grades, and places like Cornell and Northwestern having curves that average to 3.35, while bottom-dweller schools like Cooley having an average of around 2 to 2.4, Barry an average of 2.5, and Thomas Jefferson 2.7.

It actually makes sense - Cornell screens out really weak students, so nobody should be getting bad grades, and smart students screen out Cooley, so nobody should be getting good grades.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby FND » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:36 am

hernanday wrote:I've heard many lower ranked schools try to trap students there by having low gpa grading curves to prevent them from transferring out and to ensure they don't get to keep their scholarships. I also know many employers just look at the grade as a cutoff. What tier 2,3,4 law schools have very generous gpa grading curves like 3.2, or 3.3, B+, etc?

To address this more directly, a T14 won't accept a transfers from a T3 or T4, no matter what their grades. From a T3/T4, you're generally only transferring to another T3/T4. Those schools will accept just about anyone, so grades don't matter. To transfer to a more selective school, you generally need to come from a school that's just as selective; to transfer up a notch, you need to be at the top of your class. And these schools know how to tell. For example, if you're transferring from Stanford to Harvard, you'll probably be accepted no matter what. If you're transferring from Boston College to Harvard, you'd need to be in the top 10% - and Harvard gets enough applicants from BC every year to know what that looks like. And if you're transferring from Massachusetts school of law, Harvard will simply reject the application without looking at grades.

As for losing scholarships, it's true that people dumb enough to attend a T4 school are dumb enough to not cross-check the minimum GPA stipulations with the school's listed GPA curve. But that knowledge is available for those who bother to check. What's not as obvious, and far more important, is that a lot of schools will "section-stack", whereby everyone who gets a scholarship is thrown in the same class. If two-third of the class is required to be top 33% to maintain their scholarship, half of those scholarships are guaranteed to be cancelled.

As for employers, while it's been a while since I interviewed, I've been asked about my class rank a lot more than I've been asked about my grades. Which makes a lot more sense. But it's also ridiculous, because it doesn't take into account the quality of the school. On the other hand, if that mattered, I probably wouldn't have even gotten an interview.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:13 pm

T14s do accept transfers from T3s, and this is verifiable via their mandatory ABA disclosures. The first one I checked, Northwestern, took transfers from DePaul and Howard. Of course, you'd have to have a high class ranking grades, but it's not categorically impossible.

Out of curiosity, I checked Harvard. The T2s they took transfers from:

Villanova, Rutgers, Pepperdine, Northeastern, UMD, University of Kansas

T3s:

Howard

Howard doing well with the transferring! This is not to say that transferring is realistic or something an applicant should rely on, but saying it's categorically impossible is wrong.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:46 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Don't go to any of those schools, and you won't have to worry about this.

Thank you for your input.
If I had a gpa/lsat range that was competitive for a t-14 I would go there. There might be 1-2 that I might apply to, but I understand I have very low chance of attending them. I've written the LSAT multiple times and already graduated so the gpa/lsat profile isn't getting better.

If someone has the grades to get into a t-14, all the power to them, but I don't and it is not going to happen. I believe there are still relatively successful lawyers without necessarily going to the best law school. I accept there are obvious benefits/advantages to going to tier 1 schools. But at this point I've chose to accept the reality if I want to practice law, I'm going to a tier 2 or 3/4 school.

I know there are many hypothetical counters like "o you won't get to practice law because only half your class does". I'm fine with that, as a mature student with a previous successful business I have the resources to start my own and I have successfully sued people in court, so if worse comes to worse I can do that.

The only thing I care about, is which school tier 2 or less school I can attend that has the highest GPA curve. It gives better chance for transfer, and better chance for getting jobs that have a gpa cut off and towards grad school. I don't want to end up in one of those tier 2/3/4 schools who try to trap you in with low grades.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:01 pm

FND wrote:
hernanday wrote:I've heard many lower ranked schools try to trap students there by having low gpa grading curves to prevent them from transferring out and to ensure they don't get to keep their scholarships. I also know many employers just look at the grade as a cutoff. What tier 2,3,4 law schools have very generous gpa grading curves like 3.2, or 3.3, B+, etc?

To address this more directly, a T14 won't accept a transfers from a T3 or T4, no matter what their grades. From a T3/T4, you're generally only transferring to another T3/T4. Those schools will accept just about anyone, so grades don't matter. To transfer to a more selective school, you generally need to come from a school that's just as selective; to transfer up a notch, you need to be at the top of your class. And these schools know how to tell. For example, if you're transferring from Stanford to Harvard, you'll probably be accepted no matter what. If you're transferring from Boston College to Harvard, you'd need to be in the top 10% - and Harvard gets enough applicants from BC every year to know what that looks like. And if you're transferring from Massachusetts school of law, Harvard will simply reject the application without looking at grades.

As for losing scholarships, it's true that people dumb enough to attend a T4 school are dumb enough to not cross-check the minimum GPA stipulations with the school's listed GPA curve. But that knowledge is available for those who bother to check. What's not as obvious, and far more important, is that a lot of schools will "section-stack", whereby everyone who gets a scholarship is thrown in the same class. If two-third of the class is required to be top 33% to maintain their scholarship, half of those scholarships are guaranteed to be cancelled.

As for employers, while it's been a while since I interviewed, I've been asked about my class rank a lot more than I've been asked about my grades. Which makes a lot more sense. But it's also ridiculous, because it doesn't take into account the quality of the school. On the other hand, if that mattered, I probably wouldn't have even gotten an interview.

How would I know if they section stack?
Don't I see some tier 2 schools like Villanova transfering into Harvard?
I agree employers care heavily about class rank but grades also count as a factor. Many (probably not top law firms) employers are lazy to check some out-of-state school grading system. They will just see A>B and not care when screening resumes, some even have gpa cut offs. Which is why I asked my initial question.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:14 pm

FND wrote:of all the questions ever asked on this board, this may be the most useless.
There are valid reasons to avoid going to T2-T4 schools, and there are valid reasons for going to these schools. The curve is not one of them.

If you must know, University of Washington's curve has an average GPA of 3.40, which is the highest I'm aware of. After that comes Elon University (3.39) and University of Utah (3.38)

But it is interesting to note that generally speaking better schools give better grades, with HYS not even giving real grades, and places like Cornell and Northwestern having curves that average to 3.35, while bottom-dweller schools like Cooley having an average of around 2 to 2.4, Barry an average of 2.5, and Thomas Jefferson 2.7.

It actually makes sense - Cornell screens out really weak students, so nobody should be getting bad grades, and smart students screen out Cooley, so nobody should be getting good grades.

With all due respect thank you for your answer. Uselessness is in the eye of the beholder :D

I already know the most generous curves are at t1 schools, but I am not competitive for a t1 school, so I live in reality not fantasy of thinking I will attend Harvard with t2 grades.

I would put forth an alternative theory to yours. I do not believe t1 schools have more generous grading curves because they accept stronger/smarter/etc students. I believe they are strong enough in employment numbers that the risk/fear of the top 3rd of your class defecting to better ranked schools is so low that they can do so. Cornell knows that many of its students turned down higher ranking schools and that most of the top of the class won't transfer out even with a 3.35 average because the employment outcomes are not that wildly different.

If Cooley allowed its class to have a 3.3 average, they'd all transfer out to better schools. The admins know this so they essentially seek to keep the students hostages trapped in these poorly ranked schools. This is why they do not replicate this behaviour in their other grad schools.

I would argue in support of this theory that Brookyln Law School recently dropped its gpa curve from a 3.25 to a 3.0. Did they all of a suddenly start accepting a weaker class profile so had to drop it? No, I believe that those with good GPAs were likely transferring out at a higher rate than the school admins could replace so they in turned cut the GPA to keep their hostages, hostage.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:47 pm

hernanday wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Don't go to any of those schools, and you won't have to worry about this.

Thank you for your input.
If I had a gpa/lsat range that was competitive for a t-14 I would go there. There might be 1-2 that I might apply to, but I understand I have very low chance of attending them. I've written the LSAT multiple times and already graduated so the gpa/lsat profile isn't getting better.

If someone has the grades to get into a t-14, all the power to them, but I don't and it is not going to happen. I believe there are still relatively successful lawyers without necessarily going to the best law school. I accept there are obvious benefits/advantages to going to tier 1 schools. But at this point I've chose to accept the reality if I want to practice law, I'm going to a tier 2 or 3/4 school.

I know there are many hypothetical counters like "o you won't get to practice law because only half your class does". I'm fine with that, as a mature student with a previous successful business I have the resources to start my own and I have successfully sued people in court, so if worse comes to worse I can do that.

The only thing I care about, is which school tier 2 or less school I can attend that has the highest GPA curve. It gives better chance for transfer, and better chance for getting jobs that have a gpa cut off and towards grad school. I don't want to end up in one of those tier 2/3/4 schools who try to trap you in with low grades.


I'm not sure you've done enough research into this process. There is no such thing as a GPA that's too bad for a decent regional school.

And here's my non-hypothetical counter: T3 and T4 schools put their students in an immense amount of debt with very little chance of practicing law. You aren't "trapped" by a bad curve. If these schools had easier curves, then it would simply take higher grades to transfer out. It's not like better-ranked schools are chomping at the bit to take as many T3/4 transfers as they can get their hands on.

Same thing goes for jobs with GPA cutoffs. The GPA cutoff is generally based on school. And the jobs that have GPA cutoffs simply aren't going to hire you if you're not in the very top of your class at a T3 or T4 school, regardless of how kind the curve is.

But what are your career goals? No one has said it's impossible to be a successful lawyer from, say, Villanova. But we don't know what your definition of "successful lawyer" is.

Note: Moving this to the right forum; I hadn't realized it was in the one for law students.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:52 pm

hernanday wrote:I know there are many hypothetical counters like "o you won't get to practice law because only half your class does". I'm fine with that, as a mature student with a previous successful business I have the resources to start my own and I have successfully sued people in court, so if worse comes to worse I can do that.


Why do you care about the grading curve, then? Just get the cheapest JD possible. Trying to amass B+s at a so-bad-it-shouldn't-exist law school seems like a huge waste of time when you could be optimizing for things like location and cost that would have a material effect on your life.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:05 am

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
hernanday wrote:I know there are many hypothetical counters like "o you won't get to practice law because only half your class does". I'm fine with that, as a mature student with a previous successful business I have the resources to start my own and I have successfully sued people in court, so if worse comes to worse I can do that.


Why do you care about the grading curve, then? Just get the cheapest JD possible. Trying to amass B+s at a so-bad-it-shouldn't-exist law school seems like a huge waste of time when you could be optimizing for things like location and cost that would have a material effect on your life.

Because it is easier to learn some elements of how to run the business on someone else's dime hence it doesn't hurt to work for another attorney if the opportunity arises. The cost is not a big factor to me honestly.

How important is the location. Like if my choice is Utah vs Brooklyn law schools, am I better off choosing Brooklyn just for the location or Utah for the rank?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:21 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
hernanday wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Don't go to any of those schools, and you won't have to worry about this.

Thank you for your input.
If I had a gpa/lsat range that was competitive for a t-14 I would go there. There might be 1-2 that I might apply to, but I understand I have very low chance of attending them. I've written the LSAT multiple times and already graduated so the gpa/lsat profile isn't getting better.

If someone has the grades to get into a t-14, all the power to them, but I don't and it is not going to happen. I believe there are still relatively successful lawyers without necessarily going to the best law school. I accept there are obvious benefits/advantages to going to tier 1 schools. But at this point I've chose to accept the reality if I want to practice law, I'm going to a tier 2 or 3/4 school.

I know there are many hypothetical counters like "o you won't get to practice law because only half your class does". I'm fine with that, as a mature student with a previous successful business I have the resources to start my own and I have successfully sued people in court, so if worse comes to worse I can do that.

The only thing I care about, is which school tier 2 or less school I can attend that has the highest GPA curve. It gives better chance for transfer, and better chance for getting jobs that have a gpa cut off and towards grad school. I don't want to end up in one of those tier 2/3/4 schools who try to trap you in with low grades.


I'm not sure you've done enough research into this process. There is no such thing as a GPA that's too bad for a decent regional school.

And here's my non-hypothetical counter: T3 and T4 schools put their students in an immense amount of debt with very little chance of practicing law. You aren't "trapped" by a bad curve. If these schools had easier curves, then it would simply take higher grades to transfer out. It's not like better-ranked schools are chomping at the bit to take as many T3/4 transfers as they can get their hands on.

Same thing goes for jobs with GPA cutoffs. The GPA cutoff is generally based on school. And the jobs that have GPA cutoffs simply aren't going to hire you if you're not in the very top of your class at a T3 or T4 school, regardless of how kind the curve is.

But what are your career goals? No one has said it's impossible to be a successful lawyer from, say, Villanova. But we don't know what your definition of "successful lawyer" is.

Note: Moving this to the right forum; I hadn't realized it was in the one for law students.


I think you misread my comment on GPA.

The students are trapped by a bad curve, because they cannot score high enough to get a B+ in these schools to get out due to brutal curves like 2.7. I don't think top schools are chomping at the bit to get t4 students, but I think many low tier 1 and below schools (tier 2s) are willing to add enough of them if their grades appear reasonable like B or better. Low tier 2 schools have to be bringing their new students from somewhere! I can't imagine a dean wanting to take a bunch of C students even if those C students were the top of their class. They are also trapped and have no chance of practicing law due to horrible curves that put them below the cut offs for many jobs in both the private and public sector. Sure some employers will sit there and try to figure out if your C means top of the class, but many are just going to think unnamed school + bad grade = next and that includes me. I don't think I ever hired a person with a C average. If your school is curving to a C, they are not doing you any favours but putting you in a spot to be below the cutoff of many employers. Further as I said, its not like these low curves extend beyond their law schools into other grad programs even where they rank poorly, so the argument isn't even a particularly good one in my view.

My career goals, I'd like a shot at big law, I know not going to a t-14 means its much less likely and I accept it may not occur and may likely have to settle for something less but it will be in the business law field. To me it would be to work as a business lawyer for 3-5 years then branch off and start my own.

What of low tier 1 schools vs tier 2, would I be better off going to a low tier 1 like Utah, Florida or Arizona, or a tier 2 like Miami, Houston, or Brooklyn?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:36 am

hernanday wrote:I think you misread my comment on GPA.

The students are trapped by a bad curve, because they cannot score high enough to get a B+ in these schools to get out due to brutal curves like 2.7. I don't think top schools are chomping at the bit to get t4 students, but I think many low tier 1 and below schools (tier 2s) are willing to add enough of them if their grades appear reasonable like B or better. Low tier 2 schools have to be bringing their new students from somewhere! I can't imagine a dean wanting to take a bunch of C students even if those C students were the top of their class. They are also trapped and have no chance of practicing law due to horrible curves that put them below the cut offs for many jobs in both the private and public sector. Sure some employers will sit there and try to figure out if your C means top of the class, but many are just going to think unnamed school + bad grade = next and that includes me. I don't think I ever hired a person with a C average. If your school is curving to a C, they are not doing you any favours but putting you in a spot to be below the cutoff of many employers. Further as I said, its not like these low curves extend beyond their law schools into other grad programs even where they rank poorly, so the argument isn't even a particularly good one in my view.


I didn't misread your comment; I just think it's wrong. As I mentioned, not everyone is going to be able to transfer out of these dumpster fires. So if a school raises its curve, the school accepting transfer students will simply opt for the transfer applicants with a higher GPA. Raising the median will not make transferring more realistic. And again, as I mentioned, jobs that actually have grade cutoffs are not recruiting from the class median (or really outside the top 5-10%) at T3 or T4 schools. So it won't matter if the median grades are Bs or Cs; median students are still not getting one of those jobs.

hernanday wrote:My career goals, I'd like a shot at big law, I know not going to a t-14 means its much less likely and I accept it may not occur and may likely have to settle for something less but it will be in the business law field. To me it would be to work as a business lawyer for 3-5 years then branch off and start my own.

What of low tier 1 schools vs tier 2, would I be better off going to a low tier 1 like Utah, Florida or Arizona, or a tier 2 like Miami, Houston, or Brooklyn?


First, biglaw is not a stepping stone to solo practice, and solo practice isn't really a great idea if you're interested in practicing corporate law (assuming that's what you meant by "business law"). So you might want to do a little more research into what practice paths look like.

But let's assume you're shooting for biglaw. You're not getting it from a T2, and it's unlikely from a T1. And within those tiers, your decision should primarily be based on where you want to work after school, not on whether UF is ranked higher than Utah. Now that you've indicated biglaw is of interest, it would be really helpful to know your current numbers. What was your undergrad GPA, and what's your LSAT (if you've taken it)?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby nixy » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:27 am

Re location - go to school where you want to work. If you want to be in NYC, Brooklyn is better than Utah or Arizona or Florida (if those are your only choices). Once you’re outside the top schools, differences in rank don’t matter much bc schools place regionally.

Re grades/curves, biglaw has clear grade cutoffs (high from those schools) and federal government jobs usually care (though they don’t tend to distinguish by school as much). But for something like public defender/local prosecutor, legal aid, small local firms, and much local government work, hiring is much more about relevant experience, who you know, and demonstrated commitment than about grades. (I know people who never had to tell their employers their grades.) So focusing on the curve isn’t really that pertinent - it’s more like either you have the grades for the grade conscious employers, or you don’t. If you don’t, you rely on other factors to get you jobs and it’s not that pertinent what your gpa is. Plus, most T2,3,4 schools publish student rankings and you can put them on your resume, so an employer will see whether you’re a top third/median/bottom/whatever student - they don’t have to figure out what your C means (but also, if you go to a regional school and apply for jobs in that region, employers will be familiar with the school’s curve as well. Which is another reason not to go to Utah if you want to practice in NY).

If you look at school data, people do transfer out of T4s and T3s every year. A limited number, to be sure, but that’s how it works. The curve isn’t insurmountable.

Also, to the extent it does matter, most schools of similar rankings have very similar curves. I guess Brooklyn recently lowered their curve, which is obviously goofy, but generally speaking there’s not much difference among comparable schools.

Finally, while outside the top schools regional recognition is more important than rank, there are still some differences. There are a lot of respectable enough regional schools in the T2 (like Houston and Miami), which I would consider very different propositions than a lot of the really bad T4 schools (Ave Maria, Cooley, Golden Gate, Cal Western, etc). In practice the latter are going to have tougher curves than the former (the easier it is to get in, the tougher the curve), so they wouldn’t fit your criterion anyway, but I would also never take one of those over a better school if the T4 happened to have a better curve. It’s not really a relevant consideration when compared to employment placement and cost, so there isn’t much point in making such a sweeping comparison. (And if you do want to transfer, schools care not just about your gpa but where it’s from - if you look at transfer stats you’ll see that schools tend to reach only so far down the rankings from their own position.)

If all else is equal between 2 schools, sure, consider their curves, but not till then.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:14 am

hernanday wrote:How important is the location. Like if my choice is Utah vs Brooklyn law schools, am I better off choosing Brooklyn just for the location or Utah for the rank?


Location, especially at this level of law school, pretty much determines where your career is going to be -- don't plan on practicing outside of Utah if you go to Utah. How important that is varies widely from person to person.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:11 pm

Don't choose Utah if you don't have a close connection to the state. These schools only make sense if you are from the area and looking to remain there for the bulk of your career.

To play devil's advocate on the original question, if a school isn't consciously trying to prevent students from transferring or to artificially inflate its bar passage rate by failing students out, then they are more likely to be at least somewhat interested in their students' futures. There is no incentive to not have a 2.0 curve for these schools beyond not wanting to harm their students. Schools that don't proactively harm their students should be applauded. The standard of moral conduct isn't what's moral for the average business, but for similarly situated businesses so having a curve that doesn't preclude their students' ability to get jobs is something that should be applauded.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:21 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
hernanday wrote:I think you misread my comment on GPA.

The students are trapped by a bad curve, because they cannot score high enough to get a B+ in these schools to get out due to brutal curves like 2.7. I don't think top schools are chomping at the bit to get t4 students, but I think many low tier 1 and below schools (tier 2s) are willing to add enough of them if their grades appear reasonable like B or better. Low tier 2 schools have to be bringing their new students from somewhere! I can't imagine a dean wanting to take a bunch of C students even if those C students were the top of their class. They are also trapped and have no chance of practicing law due to horrible curves that put them below the cut offs for many jobs in both the private and public sector. Sure some employers will sit there and try to figure out if your C means top of the class, but many are just going to think unnamed school + bad grade = next and that includes me. I don't think I ever hired a person with a C average. If your school is curving to a C, they are not doing you any favours but putting you in a spot to be below the cutoff of many employers. Further as I said, its not like these low curves extend beyond their law schools into other grad programs even where they rank poorly, so the argument isn't even a particularly good one in my view.


I didn't misread your comment; I just think it's wrong. As I mentioned, not everyone is going to be able to transfer out of these dumpster fires. So if a school raises its curve, the school accepting transfer students will simply opt for the transfer applicants with a higher GPA. Raising the median will not make transferring more realistic. And again, as I mentioned, jobs that actually have grade cutoffs are not recruiting from the class median (or really outside the top 5-10%) at T3 or T4 schools. So it won't matter if the median grades are Bs or Cs; median students are still not getting one of those jobs.

hernanday wrote:My career goals, I'd like a shot at big law, I know not going to a t-14 means its much less likely and I accept it may not occur and may likely have to settle for something less but it will be in the business law field. To me it would be to work as a business lawyer for 3-5 years then branch off and start my own.

What of low tier 1 schools vs tier 2, would I be better off going to a low tier 1 like Utah, Florida or Arizona, or a tier 2 like Miami, Houston, or Brooklyn?


First, biglaw is not a stepping stone to solo practice, and solo practice isn't really a great idea if you're interested in practicing corporate law (assuming that's what you meant by "business law"). So you might want to do a little more research into what practice paths look like.

But let's assume you're shooting for biglaw. You're not getting it from a T2, and it's unlikely from a T1. And within those tiers, your decision should primarily be based on where you want to work after school, not on whether UF is ranked higher than Utah. Now that you've indicated biglaw is of interest, it would be really helpful to know your current numbers. What was your undergrad GPA, and what's your LSAT (if you've taken it)?

Thank you for clarifying those issues.

My stats are a 3.2 and 158 ugpa. I want to work in a large major city, with preference for NYC. Even if it is not precisely a big law firm, like lets say one that pay 100k or 80k starting, that would be fine too, because I know it will go up over time and I can lateral to better firms.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:27 pm

nixy wrote:Re location - go to school where you want to work. If you want to be in NYC, Brooklyn is better than Utah or Arizona or Florida (if those are your only choices). Once you’re outside the top schools, differences in rank don’t matter much bc schools place regionally.

Re grades/curves, biglaw has clear grade cutoffs (high from those schools) and federal government jobs usually care (though they don’t tend to distinguish by school as much). But for something like public defender/local prosecutor, legal aid, small local firms, and much local government work, hiring is much more about relevant experience, who you know, and demonstrated commitment than about grades. (I know people who never had to tell their employers their grades.) So focusing on the curve isn’t really that pertinent - it’s more like either you have the grades for the grade conscious employers, or you don’t. If you don’t, you rely on other factors to get you jobs and it’s not that pertinent what your gpa is. Plus, most T2,3,4 schools publish student rankings and you can put them on your resume, so an employer will see whether you’re a top third/median/bottom/whatever student - they don’t have to figure out what your C means (but also, if you go to a regional school and apply for jobs in that region, employers will be familiar with the school’s curve as well. Which is another reason not to go to Utah if you want to practice in NY).

If you look at school data, people do transfer out of T4s and T3s every year. A limited number, to be sure, but that’s how it works. The curve isn’t insurmountable.

Also, to the extent it does matter, most schools of similar rankings have very similar curves. I guess Brooklyn recently lowered their curve, which is obviously goofy, but generally speaking there’s not much difference among comparable schools.

Finally, while outside the top schools regional recognition is more important than rank, there are still some differences. There are a lot of respectable enough regional schools in the T2 (like Houston and Miami), which I would consider very different propositions than a lot of the really bad T4 schools (Ave Maria, Cooley, Golden Gate, Cal Western, etc). In practice the latter are going to have tougher curves than the former (the easier it is to get in, the tougher the curve), so they wouldn’t fit your criterion anyway, but I would also never take one of those over a better school if the T4 happened to have a better curve. It’s not really a relevant consideration when compared to employment placement and cost, so there isn’t much point in making such a sweeping comparison. (And if you do want to transfer, schools care not just about your gpa but where it’s from - if you look at transfer stats you’ll see that schools tend to reach only so far down the rankings from their own position.)

If all else is equal between 2 schools, sure, consider their curves, but not till then.


TY for your input, so would I be better off attending Brookyln than Illinois or Bloomington or NC if my goal was big law? As Brooklyn is lower ranked but in NYC but the other schools seem to place better in big law?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby Anon-non-anon » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:38 pm

hernanday wrote:
nixy wrote:Re location - go to school where you want to work. If you want to be in NYC, Brooklyn is better than Utah or Arizona or Florida (if those are your only choices). Once you’re outside the top schools, differences in rank don’t matter much bc schools place regionally.

Re grades/curves, biglaw has clear grade cutoffs (high from those schools) and federal government jobs usually care (though they don’t tend to distinguish by school as much). But for something like public defender/local prosecutor, legal aid, small local firms, and much local government work, hiring is much more about relevant experience, who you know, and demonstrated commitment than about grades. (I know people who never had to tell their employers their grades.) So focusing on the curve isn’t really that pertinent - it’s more like either you have the grades for the grade conscious employers, or you don’t. If you don’t, you rely on other factors to get you jobs and it’s not that pertinent what your gpa is. Plus, most T2,3,4 schools publish student rankings and you can put them on your resume, so an employer will see whether you’re a top third/median/bottom/whatever student - they don’t have to figure out what your C means (but also, if you go to a regional school and apply for jobs in that region, employers will be familiar with the school’s curve as well. Which is another reason not to go to Utah if you want to practice in NY).

If you look at school data, people do transfer out of T4s and T3s every year. A limited number, to be sure, but that’s how it works. The curve isn’t insurmountable.

Also, to the extent it does matter, most schools of similar rankings have very similar curves. I guess Brooklyn recently lowered their curve, which is obviously goofy, but generally speaking there’s not much difference among comparable schools.

Finally, while outside the top schools regional recognition is more important than rank, there are still some differences. There are a lot of respectable enough regional schools in the T2 (like Houston and Miami), which I would consider very different propositions than a lot of the really bad T4 schools (Ave Maria, Cooley, Golden Gate, Cal Western, etc). In practice the latter are going to have tougher curves than the former (the easier it is to get in, the tougher the curve), so they wouldn’t fit your criterion anyway, but I would also never take one of those over a better school if the T4 happened to have a better curve. It’s not really a relevant consideration when compared to employment placement and cost, so there isn’t much point in making such a sweeping comparison. (And if you do want to transfer, schools care not just about your gpa but where it’s from - if you look at transfer stats you’ll see that schools tend to reach only so far down the rankings from their own position.)

If all else is equal between 2 schools, sure, consider their curves, but not till then.


TY for your input, so would I be better off attending Brookyln than Illinois or Bloomington or NC if my goal was big law? As Brooklyn is lower ranked but in NYC but the other schools seem to place better in big law?


Short answer, yes. Better answer, don't go to any of those schools if you want to go into big law. It may work out, but that's a huge risk. Finding 100k positions that give a chance to lateral up isn't as easy as it sounds either. Finding any 100k positions from T2 and lower isn't easy.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:13 pm

A 3.2 does not keep you out of the T13, and it certainly doesn't prevent you from landing a decent scholarship offer lower down in the rankings.

Retake the LSAT. If your goal is biglaw (which it is, because your salary goals and understanding of how lateraling works are unrealistic), you can't get it from any schools that will accept you with your current numbers. But the LSAT is a learnable test. Raise your score, and you'll have better options.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:15 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:A 3.2 does not keep you out of the T13, and it certainly doesn't prevent you from landing a decent scholarship offer lower down in the rankings.

Retake the LSAT. If your goal is biglaw (which it is, because your salary goals and understanding of how lateraling works are unrealistic), you can't get it from any schools that will accept you with your current numbers. But the LSAT is a learnable test. Raise your score, and you'll have better options.


I have, multiple times, I bought so many books, took many different classes, tutors, the LSAT just ties to my weaknesses and I have trouble getting many of the underlying assumptions, my LSAT score is not realistically going to increase anymore. I was putting in 12-15 hours a day, doing nothing but LSAT, weeks on end but was not getting better scores. I'm really bad at it to be honest started out at a 131, so a 158 is a big improvement. I probably spent like a year + just studying LSAT. At a certain point, I just got to move forward to law school.

At this point I figure what is the best path forward accepting I won't get into a t-14, at best maybe a mid-tier 1 like Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana but as has been explained I'd be better off at Brooklyn/Cardozo, type schools, etc. So what would be my best path forward given the reality of the schools infront of me. We know what 10-15% of the class from there lands in big law. Even if I don't get into big law and just do tax or real estate/construction I'm sure I can make good money doing law no? Is that an unrealistic view?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby nixy » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:34 pm

What do you consider good money?

One thing to be aware of is that legal salaries tend to follow a bimodal distribution - they cluster around $190k (for biglaw) and $45-60k (for lots of other jobs).

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby LSATWiz.com » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:52 pm

hernanday wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:A 3.2 does not keep you out of the T13, and it certainly doesn't prevent you from landing a decent scholarship offer lower down in the rankings.

Retake the LSAT. If your goal is biglaw (which it is, because your salary goals and understanding of how lateraling works are unrealistic), you can't get it from any schools that will accept you with your current numbers. But the LSAT is a learnable test. Raise your score, and you'll have better options.


I have, multiple times, I bought so many books, took many different classes, tutors, the LSAT just ties to my weaknesses and I have trouble getting many of the underlying assumptions, my LSAT score is not realistically going to increase anymore. I was putting in 12-15 hours a day, doing nothing but LSAT, weeks on end but was not getting better scores. I'm really bad at it to be honest started out at a 131, so a 158 is a big improvement. I probably spent like a year + just studying LSAT. At a certain point, I just got to move forward to law school.

At this point I figure what is the best path forward accepting I won't get into a t-14, at best maybe a mid-tier 1 like Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana but as has been explained I'd be better off at Brooklyn/Cardozo, type schools, etc. So what would be my best path forward given the reality of the schools infront of me. We know what 10-15% of the class from there lands in big law. Even if I don't get into big law and just do tax or real estate/construction I'm sure I can make good money doing law no? Is that an unrealistic view?

Consider looking at the assumption material I posted on here a year back. You don't need to be able to "spot" or predict the assumption. The assumption is always that the facts lead to the conclusion. An alternative approach is to simply identify the conclusion, think about from the writer's point of view, identify what their best fact is, and just reduce the argument to "if fact, then conclusion". The assumption is the "then". Try using an alternative approach. 12-15 hours is too much. You should be learning an approach for one question type, and seeing if it leads you to get 90% right on that q type. If your score isn't improving on that q type after a few days, go for a new approach. Don't just buy into a methodology for 4 months from the get go. That's ridiculous.

If there is truly no way your score can improve and if the LSAT plays to your weaknesses in a way other standardized tests do not, the reality is that it may be really difficult for you to do really well in law school. It's one thing to have a 158 because you get a 4/22 games because those don't really have much relation to law school and are 90% prep based, but LR is very indicative of the way you need to think in law school. The ability to write an A exam will at least marginally require comfort with every question type being tested on the section - you need to identify your assumptions, good arguments/bad arguments, what the sides are disputing about, the relevance of a fact to a case, apply rules to facts, consider which position the principle of the law supports, etc. While law school exams are very different from the LSAT, you are being tested on your ability to use that skillset in conjunction with the laws you've learned for a semester on a random fact pattern in a short time frame.

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:09 am

LSATWiz.com wrote:Consider looking at the assumption material I posted on here a year back. You don't need to be able to "spot" or predict the assumption. The assumption is always that the facts lead to the conclusion. An alternative approach is to simply identify the conclusion, think about from the writer's point of view, identify what their best fact is, and just reduce the argument to "if fact, then conclusion". The assumption is the "then". Try using an alternative approach. 12-15 hours is too much. You should be learning an approach for one question type, and seeing if it leads you to get 90% right on that q type. If your score isn't improving on that q type after a few days, go for a new approach. Don't just buy into a methodology for 4 months from the get go. That's ridiculous.

If there is truly no way your score can improve and if the LSAT plays to your weaknesses in a way other standardized tests do not, the reality is that it may be really difficult for you to do really well in law school. It's one thing to have a 158 because you get a 4/22 games because those don't really have much relation to law school and are 90% prep based, but LR is very indicative of the way you need to think in law school. The ability to write an A exam will at least marginally require comfort with every question type being tested on the section - you need to identify your assumptions, good arguments/bad arguments, what the sides are disputing about, the relevance of a fact to a case, apply rules to facts, consider which position the principle of the law supports, etc. While law school exams are very different from the LSAT, you are being tested on your ability to use that skillset in conjunction with the laws you've learned for a semester on a random fact pattern in a short time frame.


I don't think its going to increase further. It has to do with tricky wording of the questions/ right answers in the short questions, not being able to do more than 3 games in time, and the challenge of getting through more than 3 passages with a high degree of accuracy (slowish reader). 158 = around a 75% when I did the LSAT, which usually means I don't get to give proper time to the last 2-3 questions in a timed test. I bought different books to try to get different approaches and methods to fixing this issue in the short questions, it didn't improve, it seems that there is just a good 20% of questions where I am going to select the wrong answer, no matter what which is the "trick answer". Even after going over it, and being explained how it is the correct answer, it makes pretty much no sense from my perspective, even if I try to view it from their view. This is why I determined it won't improve more. The timing element also hurts me big time on reading comp and games.

On an untimed LSAT, I'd probably score much higher on the games because I'd get the 4th one and reading comp 4th one, but just get an additional 2-3 questions on the LR, so probably be working out to like a 165 or so if time wasn't so tight.

Are law school exams on a very tight timeline like the LSAT?

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Re: What tier 2,3,4 law schools have the most generous grading curves?

Postby hernanday » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:11 am

nixy wrote:What do you consider good money?

One thing to be aware of is that legal salaries tend to follow a bimodal distribution - they cluster around $190k (for biglaw) and $45-60k (for lots of other jobs).

Ty. I'm aware of this, I figure if biglaw doesn't work out, I can build a book of business by finding clients in tax or real estate or possibly some other in demand business area. So I might be in that 45-60k range, but don't those salaries rise by like 10k a year for many years?

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