Who decided that the random/arbitrary 35 min was the threshold needed to separate students along the scale?
The Law School Admissions Council, apparently.
Though you make a fair point. Why not expand it and say that we should have different programs for litigators, transactions lawyers?
Agreed, but do you think it would be a good idea for schools to steer students into specific careers? It might not be such a bad thing. What if admissions went like this:LawDog3, you are admitted to Columbia as a Litigation student but denied as a Transactional Law student. Our Litigation track consists of xyz courses during your first year. You may transfer to the Free-Choice Track, where you are allowed to choose your own courses, after successfully completing your first year with a 3.5+ GPA in litigation.
LawDog3, congratulations! You have been admitted to Northwestern's Free Choice Track. You will take a generalized first-year curriculum and are free to choose your courses beginning your second year.
Congratulations, LawDog3! You have been admitted to Virginia's Transactional Law Track, but denied as a Litigation candidate. Students may not transfer tracks once they accept their offers of admission, but are given preferred admission to our LL.M. Program upon completion of their JD's with a GPA of 3.5 or better.
Can you imagine law degrees being awarded by specific tracks, i.e., "JD in Transactional Law"?
But all of that would turn legal education upside down.
What makes no sense to me is the chronology of law school. I get the idea that those courses are the most generalized/foundational,and that firms believe performance in them to indicate potential performance. But 1L performance does nothing of the sort.
Why not have advanced versions of the same first-year courses during the third year, just for one semester. Make the first 1L semester pure hell, but allow electives beginning spring 1L through spring2L (three semesters of electives).
Then give the advanced first-year courses in the fall of 3L, with more electives coming in the final semester. Employers could, then, begin basing their hiring decisions on 3L performance instead of 1L, and the truly deserving students would get the jobs.
Or, better yet, just spread out the first year courses along the entire curriculum. If they want law school to remain tough, grade tougher or require more courses.