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Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 31, 2024 11:44 am

Creating an anon thread for berkeley people to discuss grades and clerkships

Starting the thread with a post from the law school forum where anon comments aren't allowed:

As a public service, I'd like to spread some information re. coif at berkeley

* Boalt has changed the gpa formula from before. It used to be: HH = 5 grade points; H = 3; P = 2. (As one professor has said, that was back "when we valued excellence.") Now, it is HH = 4 grade points, H = 3, P = 2.

Now, for the numbers:

* Registrar herself told someone in class of 2023 that 3.33 would "likely" make coif.
* In the class of 2023, a GPA of 3.30 did indeed make coif, according to another administrator.
* In the class of 2020—a year when the minimum 64-graded unit requirement was suspended—a 3.31 made coif. This means that you needed a higher GPA than normal in 2020 to make coif-- and yet, a 3.31 still made it.

Hope this helps. What would add to this information?
* someone who made coif who got below a 3.30. (Please include graduating year!)
* someone who got between 3.0 and 3.3, who did not make coif.

These would help establish the minimum GPA necessary for coif.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2024 1:06 pm

I don't have a useful data point, but I find the 2-3-4 change so funny. I always complained about how 2-3-5 didn't make any sense because Berkeley said that an H is like an A and then made it a closer to a P than an HH. (Like, do what you want, Berk, but why does someone who got a P in WOA and an HH in Contracts have a higher GPA than someone who got an HH in WOA and an H in Contracts--it's significantly harder to avoid getting any Ps than it is to get one HH.) But I wanted them to increase the value for an H (like, make it a 4), not decrease the HH.

I think that if I were looking at Berkeley grades without having actually gone to Berkeley, I would assume that someone who got pretty much all H/HH grades (and was therefore in the top 40% of every class they took) is ranked higher than someone who got a bunch of Ps. That's not actually true--if John gets a P/H/HH and Sally gets an H/H/HH, John is ranked higher as long as his P and Sally's HH are both in their lowest unit classes. To take an example: someone who gets a P in WOA, H in Contracts, and HH in Civil Procedure is ranked above someone who gets an HH in WOA, H in Contracts, and H in Civil Procedure.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I just find it all so strange. If I'm hiring for a clerkship--which is the only time anyone can see a Berkeley ranking--I would generally prefer the HH/H/H student to the P/H/HH student, and in the abstract, I'd take the HH/H/H student (especially if the P is in WOA or another writing skills class, which are, ironically, always low-unit classes). But I nevertheless reject the HH/H/H student when I see a top 15% rank, even though I'd happily hire the same person at top 10%. That's because if I'm not familiar with Berkeley grades, I take top 15% with no Ps to mean that Hs are sort of easy to get (because I'm assuming the 15% of students above this one have grades I would actually think of as "better"), not that Berkeley's (undisclosed and nonpublic) grading scale puts this student below a bunch of students I personally would not think of as having better grades.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2024 1:17 pm

At the end of the day I always just looked at and viewed Berkely transcripts as subsuming Bs and B+s together into a P. And then an A- was an H and then an A was an HH. I honestly didn't even know HH was worth that extra bit. From an outsider, this change feels more appropriat.e

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2024 2:11 pm

Don't have too many coif data points other than the obvious that a 3.82 is good for coif, but for those curious about BLS, you can get 1-2 Hs and still win it. Taking a 14-18 person gunner class (iykyk) and being one of the top 2 students is ridiculously hard and you're bound to get a few casualties (H/P).

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2024 2:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2024 2:11 pm
Don't have too many coif data points other than the obvious that a 3.82 is good for coif, but for those curious about BLS, you can get 1-2 Hs and still win it. Taking a 14-18 person gunner class (iykyk) and being one of the top 2 students is ridiculously hard and you're bound to get a few casualties (H/P).
Yeah, FWIW, I know someone who got BLS with a P (4 unit) and an H. I also know someone that didn't get it with two Hs and the rest HHs. Obviously depends on how your units shake out and how everyone else does.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2024 2:46 pm

.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 05, 2024 7:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2024 1:06 pm
I don't have a useful data point, but I find the 2-3-4 change so funny. I always complained about how 2-3-5 didn't make any sense because Berkeley said that an H is like an A and then made it a closer to a P than an HH. (Like, do what you want, Berk, but why does someone who got a P in WOA and an HH in Contracts have a higher GPA than someone who got an HH in WOA and an H in Contracts--it's significantly harder to avoid getting any Ps than it is to get one HH.) But I wanted them to increase the value for an H (like, make it a 4), not decrease the HH.

I think that if I were looking at Berkeley grades without having actually gone to Berkeley, I would assume that someone who got pretty much all H/HH grades (and was therefore in the top 40% of every class they took) is ranked higher than someone who got a bunch of Ps. That's not actually true--if John gets a P/H/HH and Sally gets an H/H/HH, John is ranked higher as long as his P and Sally's HH are both in their lowest unit classes. To take an example: someone who gets a P in WOA, H in Contracts, and HH in Civil Procedure is ranked above someone who gets an HH in WOA, H in Contracts, and H in Civil Procedure.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I just find it all so strange. If I'm hiring for a clerkship--which is the only time anyone can see a Berkeley ranking--I would generally prefer the HH/H/H student to the P/H/HH student, and in the abstract, I'd take the HH/H/H student (especially if the P is in WOA or another writing skills class, which are, ironically, always low-unit classes). But I nevertheless reject the HH/H/H student when I see a top 15% rank, even though I'd happily hire the same person at top 10%. That's because if I'm not familiar with Berkeley grades, I take top 15% with no Ps to mean that Hs are sort of easy to get (because I'm assuming the 15% of students above this one have grades I would actually think of as "better"), not that Berkeley's (undisclosed and nonpublic) grading scale puts this student below a bunch of students I personally would not think of as having better grades.
I think I would disagree with this.

Especially in 2L/3L, I think the average student can achieve an H in a class with a modest effort, but an HH generally requires much more time, effort, and mastery of the subject. A large percentage of students "give up" (for lack of a better phrase) after 1L—maybe because they've already secured their jobs—and students "give up" even more in 3L. Let's say 40% of a 100-person class has given up. To achieve an H, you need to be in the top 45, which means you need to beat 15 kids in a class of 100 who are "trying." But to get an HH, you need to beat 30 kids who are "trying."

True, there probably isn't much difference between the 90th percentile performer and 80th percentile performer—or the AmJur and 90th percentile—but there's probably a significant difference between the highest H and the lowest H.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2024 12:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 7:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2024 1:06 pm
I don't have a useful data point, but I find the 2-3-4 change so funny. I always complained about how 2-3-5 didn't make any sense because Berkeley said that an H is like an A and then made it a closer to a P than an HH. (Like, do what you want, Berk, but why does someone who got a P in WOA and an HH in Contracts have a higher GPA than someone who got an HH in WOA and an H in Contracts--it's significantly harder to avoid getting any Ps than it is to get one HH.) But I wanted them to increase the value for an H (like, make it a 4), not decrease the HH.

I think that if I were looking at Berkeley grades without having actually gone to Berkeley, I would assume that someone who got pretty much all H/HH grades (and was therefore in the top 40% of every class they took) is ranked higher than someone who got a bunch of Ps. That's not actually true--if John gets a P/H/HH and Sally gets an H/H/HH, John is ranked higher as long as his P and Sally's HH are both in their lowest unit classes. To take an example: someone who gets a P in WOA, H in Contracts, and HH in Civil Procedure is ranked above someone who gets an HH in WOA, H in Contracts, and H in Civil Procedure.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I just find it all so strange. If I'm hiring for a clerkship--which is the only time anyone can see a Berkeley ranking--I would generally prefer the HH/H/H student to the P/H/HH student, and in the abstract, I'd take the HH/H/H student (especially if the P is in WOA or another writing skills class, which are, ironically, always low-unit classes). But I nevertheless reject the HH/H/H student when I see a top 15% rank, even though I'd happily hire the same person at top 10%. That's because if I'm not familiar with Berkeley grades, I take top 15% with no Ps to mean that Hs are sort of easy to get (because I'm assuming the 15% of students above this one have grades I would actually think of as "better"), not that Berkeley's (undisclosed and nonpublic) grading scale puts this student below a bunch of students I personally would not think of as having better grades.
I think I would disagree with this.

Especially in 2L/3L, I think the average student can achieve an H in a class with a modest effort, but an HH generally requires much more time, effort, and mastery of the subject. A large percentage of students "give up" (for lack of a better phrase) after 1L—maybe because they've already secured their jobs—and students "give up" even more in 3L. Let's say 40% of a 100-person class has given up. To achieve an H, you need to be in the top 45, which means you need to beat 15 kids in a class of 100 who are "trying." But to get an HH, you need to beat 30 kids who are "trying."

True, there probably isn't much difference between the 90th percentile performer and 80th percentile performer—or the AmJur and 90th percentile—but there's probably a significant difference between the highest H and the lowest H.

That's an argument for more granularity, though. Obviously someone who got the bottom cutoff H and was the 45th best exam in the class is in a different position than someone who got the top cutoff H and was the 11th best exam in the class. But if you're getting straight Hs, you're at least putting moderate effort into every class, which IMO is harder than putting a ton of effort in one to get an HH, especially if someone is taking clerkship (gunner) classes like admin or fed courts. I knew people in law school who tried to game the rankings by not studying at all for some classes and then going really hard in others. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but I wouldn't say they're better students than the people who tried for HHs in every class and then got Hs in half of them. I just don't think assigning numbers really makes sense given how much the H and P grades cover--maybe it should be like P-2, H-4, HH-7 or something (don't come at me if that doesn't make sense, I don't do math).

FWIW, the no-P transcript goes a long way as long as it isn't just straight Hs. If you're looking at someone who split H/HH, you assume they're towards the top of the curve in their H classes and generally a great student, even if they didn't make the top 10ish exams in every single doctrinal or the top 1-2 papers in their writing classes. If you're looking at someone with a bunch of P/H/HH, you don't really know how to interpret their Ps or Hs. So when I do hiring, I'm not necessarily taking the P/H/HH student even if their percentile is higher. Sometimes it's strange to compare the transcripts knowing the percentiles, though.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 09, 2024 4:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2024 12:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2024 7:03 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2024 1:06 pm
I don't have a useful data point, but I find the 2-3-4 change so funny. I always complained about how 2-3-5 didn't make any sense because Berkeley said that an H is like an A and then made it a closer to a P than an HH. (Like, do what you want, Berk, but why does someone who got a P in WOA and an HH in Contracts have a higher GPA than someone who got an HH in WOA and an H in Contracts--it's significantly harder to avoid getting any Ps than it is to get one HH.) But I wanted them to increase the value for an H (like, make it a 4), not decrease the HH.

I think that if I were looking at Berkeley grades without having actually gone to Berkeley, I would assume that someone who got pretty much all H/HH grades (and was therefore in the top 40% of every class they took) is ranked higher than someone who got a bunch of Ps. That's not actually true--if John gets a P/H/HH and Sally gets an H/H/HH, John is ranked higher as long as his P and Sally's HH are both in their lowest unit classes. To take an example: someone who gets a P in WOA, H in Contracts, and HH in Civil Procedure is ranked above someone who gets an HH in WOA, H in Contracts, and H in Civil Procedure.

Maybe I'm the only one, but I just find it all so strange. If I'm hiring for a clerkship--which is the only time anyone can see a Berkeley ranking--I would generally prefer the HH/H/H student to the P/H/HH student, and in the abstract, I'd take the HH/H/H student (especially if the P is in WOA or another writing skills class, which are, ironically, always low-unit classes). But I nevertheless reject the HH/H/H student when I see a top 15% rank, even though I'd happily hire the same person at top 10%. That's because if I'm not familiar with Berkeley grades, I take top 15% with no Ps to mean that Hs are sort of easy to get (because I'm assuming the 15% of students above this one have grades I would actually think of as "better"), not that Berkeley's (undisclosed and nonpublic) grading scale puts this student below a bunch of students I personally would not think of as having better grades.
I think I would disagree with this.

Especially in 2L/3L, I think the average student can achieve an H in a class with a modest effort, but an HH generally requires much more time, effort, and mastery of the subject. A large percentage of students "give up" (for lack of a better phrase) after 1L—maybe because they've already secured their jobs—and students "give up" even more in 3L. Let's say 40% of a 100-person class has given up. To achieve an H, you need to be in the top 45, which means you need to beat 15 kids in a class of 100 who are "trying." But to get an HH, you need to beat 30 kids who are "trying."

True, there probably isn't much difference between the 90th percentile performer and 80th percentile performer—or the AmJur and 90th percentile—but there's probably a significant difference between the highest H and the lowest H.

That's an argument for more granularity, though. Obviously someone who got the bottom cutoff H and was the 45th best exam in the class is in a different position than someone who got the top cutoff H and was the 11th best exam in the class. But if you're getting straight Hs, you're at least putting moderate effort into every class, which IMO is harder than putting a ton of effort in one to get an HH, especially if someone is taking clerkship (gunner) classes like admin or fed courts. I knew people in law school who tried to game the rankings by not studying at all for some classes and then going really hard in others. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but I wouldn't say they're better students than the people who tried for HHs in every class and then got Hs in half of them. I just don't think assigning numbers really makes sense given how much the H and P grades cover--maybe it should be like P-2, H-4, HH-7 or something (don't come at me if that doesn't make sense, I don't do math).

FWIW, the no-P transcript goes a long way as long as it isn't just straight Hs. If you're looking at someone who split H/HH, you assume they're towards the top of the curve in their H classes and generally a great student, even if they didn't make the top 10ish exams in every single doctrinal or the top 1-2 papers in their writing classes. If you're looking at someone with a bunch of P/H/HH, you don't really know how to interpret their Ps or Hs. So when I do hiring, I'm not necessarily taking the P/H/HH student even if their percentile is higher. Sometimes it's strange to compare the transcripts knowing the percentiles, though.
New poster here. Don't have much to add in regards to the HH v P debate - I think there's merit to what you're both saying. But I strongly disagree with this notion that a large percentage or 40% of students 'give up' after 1L. It's only a loud vocal minority of trust fund loser kids or people insecure about their 1L grades. They're just trying to cope by shaming the other silent majority of students who care about their craft and personal dignity. It's deeply cynical and gross.

And even if we do factor in these students (imo maybe 10% of each class), they're certainly not the type of students who would take gunner classes like fed courts or supreme court seminar. Most of them don't even take half the doctrinal classes. They're taking something like wine law or sports law. Trust me - I've tried to target taking classes with people like this and it just never works out lol.

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Re: Berkeley Clerkship/Coif Discussion

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2024 1:05 pm

Agree with the sentiment that getting an HH is much harder that you'd expect during 2L/3L. The students who care about grades and clerkships self-select into the same classes—Advanced Legal Writing (specifically with Saffouri), Appellate Advocacy, Fed Courts, Supreme Court Seminar, etc. The type of people who take those classes just aren't going to be taking Wine Law or Law & Film.

Any Berkeley student knows the difference between a seminar taught by Tyler vs one-off practitioners. When there's at most only 1-2 HHs to give out in a class where virtually everyone is gunning for a LOR (or least trying to make a very good impression), the curve is inherently very unforgiving.

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