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Author Topic: Grades?  (Read 3127 times)

confusedatquinnipiac

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Grades?
« on: January 10, 2008, 11:00:11 PM »
Hi
I am a 1L at Quinnipiac and recently obtained most of my grades. While I am not failing out (knock on wood), I have hardly done well which leads me to ask a few questions.

First, my grades are as follows. Quinnipiac reccomends that professors grade 1Ls with a B-/C+ curve for middle grades.

In Legal Skills (Research and Writing) I earned a B-

In Crim, I only earned a C+ (but this professor does not follow the grading curve recommendation and is such a tough grader that he gave D's and F's to a third of the class last year, and rumor has it gave no A's this year (he usually gives only one))

In Contracts I earned the only grade I am proud of; an A. However, Contracts is a two semester course and this A represents only 25% of my final grade

In Civ Pro I earned a B- (even though the professor later came up to me and decided to confuse me further by saying that despite the grade mine was one of the best exams he has ever read)

and I am still waiting on Torts but I took a previous practice exam in that course and earned a B-. I feel as though I did much much better than on the practice exam. On the practice exam, I only answered half of the question due to time constraints but on the real one I was able to, as far as I know, answer the entire question.

So this leads me to a few questions.

1. I worked my a$$ off and studied for hours on end, resulting in little success. I thought I understood everything and thought I was doing well. What happened? How can I improve? I just ordered LEEWS and getting to maybe. Are they useful?

2. I am on a merit scholarship renewable at 100% if after my first year I remain in the top 1/3, and at 80% if I remain in the top half. What would you say, given that C+/B- is the average grade, are my chances of keeping my money?

3. How important are first year grades overall? Do students tend to do better as time goes on?  The average grade for 2Ls and 3Ls is a B. A 3.0 is cum laude at my school. What are my chances of obtaining that goal?

4. Am I screwed as far as future jobs since I am at a lower ranked law school and getting crappy grades? How much will they look at the crim grade? do employers recognize that some professors are harsher graders than others and don't take curves into consideration? Given that there were (according to rumor) no As on the crim exam and given that 1/3 failed last year, my grade is not too awful. But how can I get that across to employers down the line? Would legal employers consider at all pre-law school stuff like the fact I was summa cum laude and phi beta kappa in undergrad?

5. How do they consider law school grades as far as further education? I imagine I am probably barred from ever obtaining an LLM but I hope to someday get a PhD in my undergrad field (History/Poli Sci). Would they at all consider my law school grades?

Thank you for your attention on this matter 

confusedatquinnipiac

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2008, 11:04:53 PM »
btw, Civ Pro is like contracts, the B- is only 25% of my grade, with the other 75% coming from the spring exam

what should I make of my Civ Pro professor's remarks in light of my grade?

Suzieq830

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2008, 11:14:19 PM »
hi there,

I am no expert but I'll take a stab at your questions:

1.  everyone probably works their ass off, and it's hard to tell how your doing b/c how you do depends on how everyone else does.  I would figure out how you may be able to study next semester differently to boost your chances of success. Talk to your professors (esp K and civ pro b/c they are year long) about what you did wrong on the exams and how you can improve.  i didnt use LEEWS or getting to maybe, so I dont know if they are helpful.


2. you only have one grade so far, really, a C +.   civ pro and contracts are year long.  I'd say keeping your scholarship depends heavily on how you do on torts.  id say you should keep the 80%, but no idea about 100%.


3. First year grades are extremely important. when employers are looking for 2Ls for SA positions (which is how they do the majority of their hiring for first year associates), THE thing they look at is grades.  however, they do tend to improve as times go on.  again, you cant estimate your chances with ONE real grade.   


4. i  wouldn't say you are "screwed" but i do think you have uphill battle.  the fact you go to a T4 will prob hurt you the most, so unless you are top 5-15%, its an uphill battle no matter what. and no, they dont look at professors being harder graders then others.  i mean i guess you could explain it if you were given an interview, but you have to get the interview first.  to get the interview all they will see is the straight grade.  and  yes, they will see you graduated summa cum laude/PBK but this is of minimal importance compared to law school grades.


5. i have no idea

McLovin

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2008, 11:44:00 PM »
You could have gotten into a pretty decent school, maybe a decent T2 if you got a full ride at Quinnipiac.  You're going to have to have extremely good connections or graduate in the top 10% of your class if you want a decent job.  Unfortunately, that's the reality :(  Anyway, I'll try and answer your questions.   

1.  LEEWS is extemely valuable, and it will surely benefit you.  My first semester in law school was a disaster but LEEWS helped me and I haven't received a grade lower than a B since.

2.  You still have a long way to go.  Don't panic.  Work hard and take LEEWS and you'll keep your full ride.

3.  What the previous poster said.  They'll be the only grades you have for your 2L job search and OCI, so naturally, that are important.

4.  Employers don't really look at pre-law stuff unless you graduated from an excellent school or have some interesting WE.  As stated above, your school will hurt you.  I would suggest networking.

5.  No idea either. 

confusedatquinnipiac

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2008, 09:56:03 AM »
Does crappy grades just keep you from the best jobs or all jobs? In other words, does this ensure I will never be employed after graduation?

jacy85

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2008, 10:17:16 AM »
Unfortunately, this is research you should have done and questions you should have asked before sinking time, energy and at least some money into law school (even w/ a full scholarship, you've had to buy books, supplies, etc. and are giving up the money you'd make working FT now).  While it's ultimately the responsibility of the applicant to ask these kinds of questions before making a decision on whether to go to law school and which school to go to, I think schools hide the ball regarding employment stats and opportunities, and do whatever they can to distract applicants from asking the right questions.  I also doubt that Quinnipiac would have answered honestly or directly even if you did ask these questions.

Crappy grades will almost absolutely preclude you from the best jobs right out of school.  A few years out, with a good record in practice, jobs open back up for many people (although the economic downturn (or whatever we're hanging on the edge of right now) in many areas is going to likely make things more difficult for everyone for a while).  This isn't absolute, however, as connections, networking, and likeability have gotten many people with mediocre grades jobs that others only dream about.

Crappy grades don't "ensure that [you] will never be employed" however.  I'd say, honestly, that there is a risk of that - there are many, many stories of law school grads either not finding any work at all or finding work, but as a contract atty w/ an agency, hired out for doc review (and the rumors/stories are that working conditions are heinous and the pay minimal).  You now have to be extremely proactive, good at networking and interviewing, and perhaps willing to be creative in the places you apply to.

I highly recommend picking up the book "Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of your Dreams" by Kimm Walton.  She has a lot of great advice on everything you'd need to know about the job search, and lots of fantastic networking tips (which everyone could benefit from, but are of especial importance to people lower ranked in their class and/or those in lower tiered schools).

I also recommend LEEWS.  I found the program extremely helpful, and I think it had a lot to do with learning how to write a good exam and getting the grades I wanted.  I'm not sure about Getting to Maybe, but a lot of people here say they liked it.  It seems most people do one or the other, so I'm not sure how they compare.

As for all the other questions, I pretty much agree with what the other two posters have said.

xferlawstudent

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2008, 10:22:28 AM »
...(although the economic downturn (or whatever we're hanging on the edge of right now) in many areas is going to likely make things more difficult for everyone for a while)... 


That's not true, most legal jobs are countercyclical, meaning the job market improves when the economy is in the toilet.  The job market should be getting better for us soon.

jacy85

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 11:30:34 AM »
I certainly hope so.   Then again, I'm in Georgia, and there's been quite a lot of scary talk about what happens when (not if) the Atlanta area runs dry.  The issue doesn't seem to be on very many people's radar yet, but unless someone deals with it sooner rather than later, the largest business and legal hub of the south is possibly facing martial law and evacuation.  I try to not think about it too much and conserve water whenever possible.

Anyway...entirely beside the point.  More on task, while the legal market may be counter-cyclical, even if things pick up a bit, not-so-great grades at a T-4 still results in an uphill battle for most people due to solely to the huge numbers of law graduates schools produce every year.

DuckFan06

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 12:32:30 PM »
I am in a similar situation.  I worked very hard on finals, and did not do very well at all.  I am not failing or in the danger zone of being dismissed, but I did poorly enough that I am questioning whether this is for me.  I can still salvage a good GPA this year and good class rank with a strong showing in my finals this semester, so I am going to work hard to make that happen.  However, as I go to a T3, if, after a good-faith effort to perform better and get in the top half, I fail to do so, I will not come back next year even though I will not flunk out.  Law School is too expensive (90K for the final two years) to be in the bottom half at a T3 school.  I would rather cut my loses than incur much more debt in something I may not be good at.  I worked hard to get into law school and worked hard last semester, but something went wrong during finals for me.  Not sure what.

That is just my opinion, but I have been in a funk this week so maybe my perspective is skewed.  Hard work and persistence in the face of real adversity does pay off for some people.

My advice would be to just work as hard as you reasonably can, talk with your professors and try to figure out why you did not do as well as you wanted.  Speak with 2 and 3Ls you trust also.  From what I have heard, grades often change dramatically between 1st and 2nd semester of the first year.

Good luck!

xferlawstudent

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Re: Grades?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 01:05:43 PM »
I certainly hope so.   Then again, I'm in Georgia, and there's been quite a lot of scary talk about what happens when (not if) the Atlanta area runs dry.  The issue doesn't seem to be on very many people's radar yet, but unless someone deals with it sooner rather than later, the largest business and legal hub of the south is possibly facing martial law and evacuation.  I try to not think about it too much and conserve water whenever possible.

Anyway...entirely beside the point.  More on task, while the legal market may be counter-cyclical, even if things pick up a bit, not-so-great grades at a T-4 still results in an uphill battle for most people due to solely to the huge numbers of law graduates schools produce every year.

Is the drought really that dire?  I'm from Atlanta, but I'm in Fla right now for LS, and I didn't realize it was so bad.  Maybe I should rethink heading back that way after school.