UVA Law Students Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
firstimer
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby firstimer » Mon May 27, 2013 10:53 pm

Twiqbal wrote:I don't think so.


I'm a 0L, but this seems like a pretty boneheaded move on the administration's part. Any way students can get that changed? Does the administration even really care about student opinions?

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Mon May 27, 2013 10:58 pm

firstimer wrote:
Twiqbal wrote:I don't think so.


I'm a 0L, but this seems like a pretty boneheaded move on the administration's part. Any way students can get that changed? Does the administration even really care about student opinions?


To be honest, the information is really not all that important. It is kind of nice to see, but aside from a few cases at the margins, curves between professors are not different enough to worry about.

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby BruceWayne » Tue May 28, 2013 11:15 am

5ky wrote:
firstimer wrote:
Twiqbal wrote:I don't think so.


I'm a 0L, but this seems like a pretty boneheaded move on the administration's part. Any way students can get that changed? Does the administration even really care about student opinions?


To be honest, the information is really not all that important. It is kind of nice to see, but aside from a few cases at the margins, curves between professors are not different enough to worry about.



I don't know about all that. There are a decent bit of professors that give out a large amount of B- and below grades while there are others who are at least hesistant to give out C's. Not knowing which professors fall into that former category could really devastate someone's employment prospects--especially when they're choosing an elective during their first spring. To be honest, this change really puts UVA even further down the list in terms of looking out for students compared to the rest of the top 14. It's already bad enough that they don't mandate grade distributions to prevent professors from giving out too many exceptionally high or exceptionally low grades. Now you can't even determine which professors have the least student friendly curves? That's ridiculous.

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dailygrind
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby dailygrind » Tue May 28, 2013 1:11 pm

Grade distribution information doesn't make a huge difference 1L year when you can only choose 2 of your classes. The only thing it would be good for is allotting different amounts of study time to different exams based on past grade distributions, which is of very limited utility - it really only works for cases where the grade distribution is incredibly wide or narrow. As a 1L, I had an excel spreadsheet with the historical information represented in graphs and std. dev., and I junked it pretty quickly.

Grade distribution might make a difference 2L/3L year when you figure out which classes to take (Sayler's Rhetoric for the B+, Cohen's PR if you hate fun), and which to avoid. But by 2L/3L year, your grades matter a lot less than they did as 1Ls, so the fact that you can't access the grade distributions doesn't really matter.

firstimer
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby firstimer » Tue May 28, 2013 1:24 pm

dailygrind wrote:Grade distribution information doesn't make a huge difference 1L year when you can only choose 2 of your classes. The only thing it would be good for is allotting different amounts of study time to different exams based on past grade distributions, which is of very limited utility - it really only works for cases where the grade distribution is incredibly wide or narrow. As a 1L, I had an excel spreadsheet with the historical information represented in graphs and std. dev., and I junked it pretty quickly.

Grade distribution might make a difference 2L/3L year when you figure out which classes to take (Sayler's Rhetoric for the B+, Cohen's PR if you hate fun), and which to avoid. But by 2L/3L year, your grades matter a lot less than they did as 1Ls, so the fact that you can't access the grade distributions doesn't really matter.


I'm hoping 2Ls and 3Ls are willing to share the grade distribution information that they do have with 1Ls. I have no idea how useful it is, but I see no reason to take away information from students.

Have they already removed this stuff from the library?

Is the faculty / administration responsive at all to student concerns?

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North
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby North » Tue May 28, 2013 1:28 pm

firstimer wrote:I'm hoping 2Ls and 3Ls are willing to share the grade distribution information that they do have with 1Ls. I have no idea how useful it is, but I see no reason to take away information from students.

Have they already removed this stuff from the library?

Is the faculty / administration responsive at all to student concerns?

Interested in this as well.

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anon sequitur
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby anon sequitur » Tue May 28, 2013 2:07 pm

Not sure I buy this "It's not that useful, so we're taking it away" line of reasoning. Whether or not a professor gives a significant amount of extreme grades matters a lot to the top and bottom 10% of the class. If you're typically fighting it out for some flavor of A, it's perfectly reasonable to want to know before you take a class whether you have a chance at an A+. If you're typically at risk for a B- or C+, of course you want to know if that happens to 1%, 5% or 0% of the class.

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Br3v
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Br3v » Tue May 28, 2013 2:17 pm

dailygrind wrote:The only thing it would be good for is allotting different amounts of study time to different exams based on past grade distributions


My first thought is that avoiding "wildly fluctuating" curves to begin with would be the biggest use of having the info. Or at least trying to avoid them when picking your 2 spring classes.

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dailygrind
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby dailygrind » Tue May 28, 2013 2:35 pm

firstimer wrote:I'm hoping 2Ls and 3Ls are willing to share the grade distribution information that they do have with 1Ls. I have no idea how useful it is, but I see no reason to take away information from students.

Have they already removed this stuff from the library?

Is the faculty / administration responsive at all to student concerns?


I don't have any data saved. Best I've got for you comes from memory and hearsay. Cohen's PR - very wide (hearsay); Abraham's classes - wide (hearsay); Sayler's Rhetoric - incredibly narrow (my own research); most clinics - incredibly narrow (hearsay).

No idea if it's out of the library yet, but what were you gonna do, drive over and photocopy all of it? It's seriously of limited utility.

I still don't have a pullup bar in North Grounds Rec Center, so I'd have to say no.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Tue May 28, 2013 2:48 pm

anon sequitur wrote:Not sure I buy this "It's not that useful, so we're taking it away" line of reasoning. Whether or not a professor gives a significant amount of extreme grades matters a lot to the top and bottom 10% of the class. If you're typically fighting it out for some flavor of A, it's perfectly reasonable to want to know before you take a class whether you have a chance at an A+. If you're typically at risk for a B- or C+, of course you want to know if that happens to 1%, 5% or 0% of the class.


I doubt that was their reason for taking it away, I just don't see the big deal. I assume it had something to do with the switch to having the mean GPA of a particular class being able to rise to the mean GPA of the students in the class

And DG's list looks good, except Abraham is narrow, not wide (relatively more B+s compared to other classes).

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Tue May 28, 2013 3:02 pm

It's only useful for people trying to game the system, it makes total sense the admin wanted to do away with it. Everyone knows what the curve is, and everyone should be trying to do well in the classes they sign up to take. Publishing that info enabled students to self-select based on their slacker and/or gunner mentality, which the profs probably hated.

It's fairly hard to defend publishing that info without resorting to "but I don't want to have to work for my B+" or "but if I don't have a prof who gives lots of As I might not get to clerk for Scalia"

albanach
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby albanach » Tue May 28, 2013 3:06 pm

5ky wrote:And DG's list looks good, except Abraham is narrow, not wide (relatively more B+s compared to other classes).


For some students the list will be useful. Some professors really don't give below a B. There's a big difference between choosing a class where if you bottom out you get a B compared to getting a C. Likewise if you're chasing law review, that's a professor you'll probably want to avoid.

If professors are allowed to grade all over the place in order to fit the median, it only seems reasonable that this information should be available to students. I could see the argument if professors were required to fit the class to a predetermined curve, then the individual grading policy wouldn't matter.

Furthermore, isn't the ability to raise or lower the median optional for the professor. It seems that we should also know the incoming class GPA and whether the median was adjusted.

Hopefully Law Weekly will submit a suitable FOIA request.

albanach
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby albanach » Tue May 28, 2013 3:08 pm

thesealocust wrote:It's fairly hard to defend publishing that info without resorting to "but I don't want to have to work for my B+" or "but if I don't have a prof who gives lots of As I might not get to clerk for Scalia"


If the school wants to fix that they should enforce a grading curve rather than a median. This is a lazy administrative solution, hiding data that should be public, rather than fixing what is broken.

firstimer
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby firstimer » Tue May 28, 2013 3:32 pm

thesealocust wrote:It's only useful for people trying to game the system, it makes total sense the admin wanted to do away with it. Everyone knows what the curve is, and everyone should be trying to do well in the classes they sign up to take. Publishing that info enabled students to self-select based on their slacker and/or gunner mentality, which the profs probably hated.

It's fairly hard to defend publishing that info without resorting to "but I don't want to have to work for my B+" or "but if I don't have a prof who gives lots of As I might not get to clerk for Scalia"


Sorry, but this argument is ridiculous.

Students, like all other rational creatures, respond to incentives. And when you design a system where grades are extremely important in determining outcomes, and where professors have a lot of freedom in grade distribution, it's only natural that students respond to this structure by seeking out classes that have good short-term and long-term effects on their careers.

Again, there doesn't seem to be any reason to take away this information. Given that I'm a 0L, I have no idea about its utility though.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Tue May 28, 2013 3:43 pm

firstimer wrote:
thesealocust wrote:It's only useful for people trying to game the system, it makes total sense the admin wanted to do away with it. Everyone knows what the curve is, and everyone should be trying to do well in the classes they sign up to take. Publishing that info enabled students to self-select based on their slacker and/or gunner mentality, which the profs probably hated.

It's fairly hard to defend publishing that info without resorting to "but I don't want to have to work for my B+" or "but if I don't have a prof who gives lots of As I might not get to clerk for Scalia"


Sorry, but this argument is ridiculous.

Students, like all other rational creatures, respond to incentives. And when you design a system where grades are extremely important in determining outcomes, and where professors have a lot of freedom in grade distribution, it's only natural that students respond to this structure by seeking out classes that have good short-term and long-term effects on their careers.

Again, there doesn't seem to be any reason to take away this information. Given that I'm a 0L, I have no idea about its utility though.


Couple issues - first is the SEC boilerplate (past performance doesn't guarantee future results bla bla bla) - just telling you what profs did isn't all that meaningful, because given a new set of students and a new set of exams they always have the flexibility to modify their grading structure.

Beyond that, the school has no obligation to let you choose courses based on grading policies. Obviously they want us to choose based on schedule, professor, and subject matter - but I find it odd they published distributions in the first place, because it just incentives focusing on the mechanics of grading rather than on getting a useful or diverse education.

As a 4L, I won't argue for a second that the information wasn't useful (I used it a lot!) - but lots of information that would be useful (like grade break downs for OGI, detailed scholarship/cost of attendance information, Dean Donovan's personal number) isn't made available to us :lol:
Last edited by thesealocust on Tue May 28, 2013 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dailygrind
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby dailygrind » Tue May 28, 2013 3:53 pm

5ky wrote:And DG's list looks good, except Abraham is narrow, not wide (relatively more B+s compared to other classes).


Crap. Good thing I'm not going into a profession where they emphasize precision.

firstimer
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby firstimer » Tue May 28, 2013 4:15 pm

thesealocust wrote:
firstimer wrote:
thesealocust wrote:It's only useful for people trying to game the system, it makes total sense the admin wanted to do away with it. Everyone knows what the curve is, and everyone should be trying to do well in the classes they sign up to take. Publishing that info enabled students to self-select based on their slacker and/or gunner mentality, which the profs probably hated.

It's fairly hard to defend publishing that info without resorting to "but I don't want to have to work for my B+" or "but if I don't have a prof who gives lots of As I might not get to clerk for Scalia"


Sorry, but this argument is ridiculous.

Students, like all other rational creatures, respond to incentives. And when you design a system where grades are extremely important in determining outcomes, and where professors have a lot of freedom in grade distribution, it's only natural that students respond to this structure by seeking out classes that have good short-term and long-term effects on their careers.

Again, there doesn't seem to be any reason to take away this information. Given that I'm a 0L, I have no idea about its utility though.


Couple issues - first is the SEC boilerplate (past performance doesn't guarantee future results bla bla bla) - just telling you what profs did isn't all that meaningful, because given a new set of students and a new set of exams they always have the flexibility to modify their grading structure...

As a 4L, I won't argue for a second that the information was useful - but lots of information that would be useful (like grade break downs for OGI, detailed scholarship/cost of attendance information, Dean Donovan's personal number) isn't made available to us :lol:


All fair points, and because I'm a 0L, I really have no basis to spout opinions on these matters.

Beyond that, the school has no obligation to let you choose courses based on grading policies. Obviously they want us to choose based on schedule, professor, and subject matter - but I find it odd they published distributions in the first place, because it just incentives focusing on the mechanics of grading rather than on getting a useful or diverse education.


While a school certainly has no obligation, it's incredibly hypocritical to place students in a situation where grades are extremely important, and then ask them to behave in a way that suggests otherwise.

If faculty at any particular law school want their students to focus on getting a "useful or diverse education", they should 1) lower the cost of tuition, so students don't have to take on as much debt and consequently don't worry as much about jobs and grades, or 2) improve job outcomes for their graduates, so students don't have to worry as much about jobs and grades.

Is it bad that I'm coming into law school so cynical about law schools? :?

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North
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby North » Tue May 28, 2013 4:31 pm

firstimer wrote:Is it bad that I'm coming into law school so cynical about law schools? :?

You have company.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Tue May 28, 2013 4:39 pm

albanach wrote:
5ky wrote:And DG's list looks good, except Abraham is narrow, not wide (relatively more B+s compared to other classes).


Furthermore, isn't the ability to raise or lower the median optional for the professor. It seems that we should also know the incoming class GPA and whether the median was adjusted.


It is optional, which is probably exactly why they had to take it away. It's optional to the degree that it allows professors to raise the mean GPA if the exams actually warrant it. I get the sense professors would be sort of pressured/bullied into going the max possible GPA if they knew it was public, since there's going to be incredibly high demand for classes where a professor ALWAYS maxes out on GPA mean. UVA doesn't want to punish good students who take a class like Fed Courts with 2/3 of the LR kids, but it also doesn't want a severe race to the bottom in terms of GPA inflation.

If you want to know ahead of time, just ask the professor.

Legen..waitforit
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Legen..waitforit » Tue May 28, 2013 5:36 pm

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Last edited by Legen..waitforit on Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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anon sequitur
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby anon sequitur » Tue May 28, 2013 9:05 pm

What is this DG's list you all are referring to?

Wahoos
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Wahoos » Tue May 28, 2013 11:06 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I don't know about all that. There are a decent bit of professors that give out a large amount of B- and below grades while there are others who are at least hesistant to give out C's. Not knowing which professors fall into that former category could really devastate someone's employment prospects--especially when they're choosing an elective during their first spring. To be honest, this change really puts UVA even further down the list in terms of looking out for students compared to the rest of the top 14. It's already bad enough that they don't mandate grade distributions to prevent professors from giving out too many exceptionally high or exceptionally low grades. Now you can't even determine which professors have the least student friendly curves? That's ridiculous.


So in one post you explain that UVA has helped by providing you with 31K for a year as you seek full time employment, and in the next you explain how something puts UVA 'even further down the list in terms of looking out for students compared to the rest of the top 14'


Ok :roll:

Wahoos
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Wahoos » Tue May 28, 2013 11:08 pm

North wrote:
firstimer wrote:Is it bad that I'm coming into law school so cynical about law schools? :?

You have company.


I would honestly suggest you stop reading this message board unless you are searching for specific advice. Otherwise, it can give you a skewed perspective that will get in the way of enjoying law school

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North
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby North » Tue May 28, 2013 11:11 pm

Wahoos wrote:
North wrote:
firstimer wrote:Is it bad that I'm coming into law school so cynical about law schools? :?

You have company.


I would honestly suggest you stop reading this message board unless you are searching for specific advice. Otherwise, it can give you a skewed perspective that will get in the way of enjoying law school

The whole blissful ignorance thing?

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Hspeaksfriend
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Hspeaksfriend » Wed May 29, 2013 12:35 am

Legen..waitforit wrote:Can we change our UVA SIS or password once their given?


Also, do you guys log into your uva email accounts by going directly to gmail.com or is there some other url?



Apparently we can't change our passwords until we get a university photo ID, which we have to do ourselves once we get to C-ville.

I use this URL, but I'm not sure if it's the best/only way to login.

https://netbadge.virginia.edu/

EDIT: Also, I already hooked up my uva email to my iphone... you can do that even if you don't have a permanent password yet.
Last edited by Hspeaksfriend on Wed May 29, 2013 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.




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