Split grading systems

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Split grading systems

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:40 pm

How are firms going to address grades at schools where they have different curves for 1L compared to 2L/3L? For example, at Columbia, the number of "A"s given out nearly doubles from 1L to 2L. Will firms be aware of this and discount 2L grades at OCI? Or will they just slightly increase their normal grade cutoffs?

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Re: Split grading systems

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:45 pm

I don’t think firms are going to have specific policies. HR departments have been trying to rationalize hiring for forever, with absolutely no success. The partners / committees really just don’t listen to them.
Some partners will probably care a lot. Most won’t know the difference. Some might disregard them entirely, treat them as equal, put more weight on the second semester, etc. It’s really gonna be a matter of (minimally thought out) personal preference for the hiring committee members.
My $.02 is that Chicago’s fucked-up grading scheme is helpful here. At my NYC firm people look at Chicago’s grading and are mostly just very confused, we look to other signals (e.g. Law Review) to determine the strength of the candidate. I imagine that might be the response from a lot of hiring committees this cycle.
Source: NYC V20 midlevel who is involved in recruiting at my firm.

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Re: Split grading systems

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:11 pm

I don't think firms are going to change how they approach hiring. It would take too much time and effort for attorneys to carefully parse through each person's transcript and school policies to account for changed grading curves, whether someone took all fluff classes, or trends in grades. So they'll probably just revert back to their usual means of establishing cutoffs.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Split grading systems

Post by Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:21 pm

Are there going to be a significant number of schools which won't have 2L fall grades in time for OCI?

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Re: Split grading systems

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:48 am

It will be a weird year for grades, since students will have had a P/F 1L spring followed by more lenient (and less consistent) curves 2L fall.

My prediction is that grades will still matter (and GPA standards will tick up, if anything) because summer class sizes will be small.

To the extent that firms go past the GPA actually look at the transcript, I think 1L fall grades will matter slightly more than 2L grades. But some firms will just use the GPA and not pay attention to the transcript, so it makes sense to “game” the GPA system this semester as much as possible: don’t use optional P/F if you’re trying to raise your GPA, take classes that are known for having generous curves, etc.

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