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smartandunique

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law school grades
« on: September 29, 2010, 04:00:36 PM »
GPA determines your career success, study finds


Submitted by Jack on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 11:04am
 
Law students have long known that grades are important in the job search. But a new study underscores just how important they are for long-term success as well. In fact, law school grades are far more important than the prestige of the school one attends, the study’s author’s state.

“The eliteness of one’s school, by itself, means little in the absence of high performance at school,” the report states. “The quantitative evidence also suggests that the importance of law school eliteness is exaggerated in most discussions about legal markets. Law firms, which once hired exclusively from a narrow set of elite firms, now hire associates from dozens of different law schools.”

The study found that grades are predictive of attorneys making partner at large law firms.

Jane Yakowitz, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School and one of the two authors of the study, said that student’s law school GPA today is far more predictive of success than the school’s ranking — which is different from the past.

Yakowitz wrote the article with Rick Sander, a law professor at University of California Los Angeles and a labor economist. It is based on several employment-tracking studies over the past few years. Sander undertook the study to determine whether admissions preferences help African Americans or hurt them in the long run.

“Law school should be viewed as the beginning of your legal career,” Sander said. “There is this remarkably pervasive conventional wisdom which dismisses law school as too theoretical.”

Sander advises students to take law school seriously and to avoid distractions.

Yakowitz said the study shows that night students are more distracted and don’t perform as well, as a result leading to less success in their legal career.

Sander said the study also shows that grades determine success on the bar exam.

“There is a widespread perception that bar review courses are really important,” he said. “That students can blow off three years of law school and take a bar prep course. And that is totally false. If you look at bar performance, law school grades predict 70 percent of bar performance.”

The study does not focus on why GPA is more predictive. But Sander said he feels that what law students are learning is directly relevant to skills as a lawyer.

“You get intellectual self-confidence from doing well in law school that helps you do better in your career,” he said.

Yakowitz said that it is a virtuous cycle. Once you start doing well, it motivates you through law school and your career.

But others see a different reason for the study’s findings.

William Henderson, a law professor at Indiana University-Bloomington, said the study’s data is solid. But he feels the reason behind it is more related to student’s motivation.

“There are two ways to get high grades,” he said. “You are really smart or you are somewhat smart and highly motivated. The purest form of motivation is found with people at the top of their class at regional law schools.”

He said students at regional schools are very aggressive and work hard, as they know they will not have the school pedigree to get by on.

Sander said the study shows that students who choose to attend a more elite school take a hit to their GPA. The study uses the following hypothetical to explain:

“Imagine an average student (GPA 3.25-3.5) at 47th ranked University of Florida,” the report states. “If she had attended 20th ranked George Washington University, her grades likely would have slipped to the 2.75-3.0 range, and her salary would drop considerably (by 22 percent.) If she had attended 80th ranked Rutgers, she probably could have improved her grades to land in the 3.5-3.75 range, and earned a 13 percent higher salary. Access to a top 10 school simply would not have been an option — even the weakest students at the top 10 law schools have higher entering credentials than the median student at a school in the middle of the rankings, so our comparisons are most meaningful within a range of 20-30 places in the rankings in either direction.”   


nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 04:12:58 PM »
Quote

“Imagine an average student (GPA 3.25-3.5) at 47th ranked University of Florida,” the report states. “If she had attended 20th ranked George Washington University, her grades likely would have slipped to the 2.75-3.0 range, and her salary would drop considerably (by 22 percent.) If she had attended 80th ranked Rutgers, she probably could have improved her grades to land in the 3.5-3.75 range, and earned a 13 percent higher salary

This is complete nonsense. Higher ranked schools have a higher curve- making it easier to have a higher GPA.
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bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2010, 07:06:08 PM »
I can agree with a lot of that. A huge reason that I choose GGU is that an attorney family friend whose daughters went to Hastings and performed poorly warned me about the rankings etc. He said his daughters had a lot offers from other schools with huge scholarship money when they were applying, but he told them go to the best school they could get into. He regrets this advice, because both girls performed poorly finishing in the bottom 25% of the class. Neither has passed the bar after three tries. I imagine getting terrible grades your first semester and first year would hurt your confidence greatly. That probably effected them the rest of the way through school and on to the bar exam. They both went to an outstanding undergrad where they did well and had pretty solid LSAT scores so they are not dumb, but their confidence is rattled. Had they  gone to GGU or McGeorge they probably would have finished in the top 25%. That is pure speculation, but I imagine they would have performed better on the bar.

Bottom line I really think that if you get good grades no matter what school you go to your confidence will be through the roof. If you have confidence in what you are doing you generally perform well. So I think that getting good law school grades no matter school you went to would be a significant factor in the students future career success.





marcus-aurelius

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2010, 10:18:46 AM »
I asked the attorneys I interned with and between a 3.0 at Georgetown and a 3.8 at Fordham, they chose Georgetown

bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2010, 01:59:18 PM »
That would make sense a 3.0 at Georgetown is pretty damn good. WIth a 3.0 you would probably be at least in the top 30% with a 3.0. A 3.0 in law school is nothing like a 3.0 in undergrad. I think if someone was in the bottom 25% at Georgetown compared to a 3.8 in Fordham it would come out differently, but who knows.

marcus-aurelius

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2010, 02:46:43 PM »
From my understanding, most law schools 50 percentile is a 3.0 or higher.  Am I incorrect in my thinking?

bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2010, 03:47:46 PM »
In regards to my school at least it is. not 50%, You are on the Dean's list if you get a 3.0 or higher. All school's have different curves, but generally speaking I think  students with a 3.0 are in the top 25-30% of the class (that is a guess).  You can look at each school's student handbook and see the curve at each individual school.

Another way you see this 3.0 come into effect is that many scholarship offers are renewable if you maintain a 3.0. To someone intelligent enough to get into law school getting a 3.0 in undergrad was probably pretty easy. They assume by default if they put in a decent effort they are guaranteed a 3.0. That is far from the case and I know many students that lost their scholarships at my school and I have heard of it happening to others.

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2010, 05:18:41 PM »
Quote
That would make sense a 3.0 at Georgetown is pretty damn good. WIth a 3.0 you would probably be at least in the top 30% with a 3.0.


Not at all.

A 3.0 at Georgetown is hovering around bottom 25%. Median is 3.3. Top 1/3 cutoff is around 3.5 for graduating 3Ls.
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bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2010, 06:26:43 PM »
Well that is a pretty lenient curve then and maybe they are entitled to one. As I said each school is different. Maybe the ELITE schools are more lenient about their grades.

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2010, 12:05:30 PM »
Quote
Maybe the ELITE schools are more lenient about their grades.

They are. That's why the study referenced above is misleading. They were comparing success based on absolute GPA's, not class rank. Higher absolute GPA's are much easier to obtain from topped ranked schools.

Even if they weren't, I'm not convinced at all that someone will do much better at a lower ranked school (within reason). While I think it's probably safe to say that the average Yale student will do quite well at Cooley, I don't think it's at all safe to say that your average UCLA student would do much better at Hastings. The differences between the student bodies are just too fine- 2-3 points on the LSAT does not indicate a significant difference in capabilities.
Georgetown Law Graduate

Chief justice Earl Warren wasn't a stripper!
Now who's being naive?