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Author Topic: law school grades  (Read 15069 times)

bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 01:30:34 PM »
It makes sense that class rank opposed to GPA would matter. I had no idea that the higher schools were more lenient with their grades. I also completely agree that someone at UCLA might not do that much better at Hastings. A few points on the LSAT does not mean much in regards to how well you will do in law school. A 170 compared to a 151 maybe, but 159 to 164 or 155 to 159 does not guarantee success or failure at any given school.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 04:27:22 PM »
I asked the attorneys I interned with and between a 3.0 at Georgetown and a 3.8 at Fordham, they chose Georgetown

That's hearsay, anecdotal evidence, and an appeal to authority all in the same argument!

The skill set that it takes to get a 3.8 makes it very impressive at any school. I don't know how to compare a 3.8 from Fordham to a 3.0 at Georgetown or a 3.0 at Standford, or wherever, but I wouldn't frown upon anyone who can pull a 3.8 from any ABA law school, even Cooley. When you're entire grade is made up of one test, it's really easy to be off on one of those tests. A 3.8 basically means you have never gotten anything less than a B, and if you got a B, it happened once. That requires intense dedication.

I'm less impressed with big-name law schools than most people, so I am somewhat biased. The higher curve is one thing. Also, whether you get a 2.5 or a 3.5 from Stanford, you're probably still going to get a decent job. If you get a 2.5 from a tier 2, you might have some trouble finding your first job. So, motivation also plays a part. Someone who gets a 3.8 at Boyd is a rockstar because everyone is competing for a limited number of Big Law jobs in Las Vegas or in the Southwest region. Plus, the differene between an A in many classes and a B is a matter of just a few points on your raw score. So, you really have to be sharp to consistently get all As. That speaks volumes in both knowledge of the law and dedication to one's studies.

In short, I would hire a law student with a 3.8 out of Boyd or any ABA school over the guy with the 3.0 from Harvard, all other things being equal.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 04:32:13 PM »
It makes sense that class rank opposed to GPA would matter. I had no idea that the higher schools were more lenient with their grades. I also completely agree that someone at UCLA might not do that much better at Hastings. A few points on the LSAT does not mean much in regards to how well you will do in law school. A 170 compared to a 151 maybe, but 159 to 164 or 155 to 159 does not guarantee success or failure at any given school.

Even LSAT scores can be misleading. I got a 157 on the LSAT. I got straight As my first semester. Many students in my section had scores of 165 or better and pulled Bs and Cs. I think law school tests your ability to write a good exam. The LSAT may or may not be a good measure of that. Many times it is, but it often is not.

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2010, 06:16:49 PM »
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  Also, whether you get a 2.5 or a 3.5 from Stanford, you're probably still going to get a decent job.

It's actually impossible to get either from Stanford. They no longer give letter grades. It's Honors/Pass/Fail.

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In short, I would hire a law student with a 3.8 out of Boyd or any ABA school over the guy with the 3.0 from Harvard, all other things being equal.

No you wouldn't. There are no letter grades at Harvard either. You wouldn't be able to compare them.
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kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2010, 06:48:58 PM »
Then, I amend my statement to say that I would hire any T2 grad with a 3.8 GPA over any T14 grad with a 3.0 GPA. I am not an expert on the grading policies of any law school other than my own.

jack24

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2010, 07:26:50 PM »
Then, I amend my statement to say that I would hire any T2 grad with a 3.8 GPA over any T14 grad with a 3.0 GPA. I am not an expert on the grading policies of any law school other than my own.

You can say you would do that all you want, but that doesn't matter unless you are hiring graduates.  The truth is, the top 14 destroys schools like Boyd in career placement.    So even though you would prefer the T2 graduate, most employers would not.   I go to a strong T2 school with a recognizable name, and I've talked to nearly 100 hiring partners at a variety of firms.  A huge percentage of those hiring partners have said stuff like,  "5 or 6 years ago your resume would have landed you a job here, but now we're getting flooded with resume's from places like columbia and NYU and it's a big factor"

Sure, in my market area, I'd rather be in the top 10 people in my class here than somewhere in the middle of a T14, but that's just because firms seem to love to brag about their new associates being elected to the order of the coif just as much as bragging about ivy league status.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2010, 09:19:20 PM »
I suppose that reflects the biases of hiring partners at big firms. In terms of career placement, those T14 schools "destroy" Boyd today. However, Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then. I'll put my education against any T14 grad. I bet I win in a direct challenge of writing ability and substantive knowledge of the law on many occasions. Boyd puts out good students, and I bet I work a hell of lot harder than most T14 grads. Do I think that I can overcome partner bias? Probably not... at least not outside of NV. Boyd is 11 years old and doesn't have much of a reputation outside of Nevada. It will be 50 years until that reputation spreads. I'll be retired by then, or well on my way to retirement. So, my comments only reflect my opinion. Inside of NV, I'm not convinced that partners prefer Ivy League or T-14 grads over Boyd grads. I didn't get that impression from OCI. In NV, I think Boyd grads rule, even over T14 grads. There are not many "big firms" in NV, though. I think our largest firm has 80 attorneys. That's nothing compared to NYC, DC, LA, or Chicago. Can I compete in those markets? Not by virtue of just having a Boyd degree with a high GPA. However, big law partners are not rational in many of their choices, so I really don't care. They want to brag about the pedigree of their grads. I guess that impresses Chevron executives who employ such firms. If those firms want to believe that their associates are so great, good for them. When I smash them in court, then I'll buy them a consolation beer afterwards. They can wipe their tears away with their Ivy League degrees.

Are T14 grads "better" on any objective or measurable level than other grads with comparable or higher GPAs? Probably not. Do most hiring partners think so? Probably so. Are they wrong? Mostly. It won't matter to me because I won't work for Big Law. I would rather start my own firm in five years or so after some experience at either a small firm or a government agency. I have the grades to work for the government. If I maintain my GPA, I'll be fine.

nealric

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2010, 12:41:14 PM »
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I guess that impresses Chevron executives who employ such firms. If those firms want to believe that their associates are so great, good for them.   

I think the T14 preference at biglaw is as much about recruiting efficiency as anything else. It's much easier go to 10 top schools to hire 20 summer associates than to go to 50 schools to hire the same number. This is a byproduct of firms strong preference for getting candidates from OCI.

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I think Boyd grads rule, even over T14 grads. There are not many "big firms" in NV, though. I think our largest firm has 80 attorneys. 

If the largest firm is 80 attorneys, most would say that there are no big firms. 80 is generally considered midlaw.
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bigs5068

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2010, 12:46:39 PM »
Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then.

Honestly, Harvard is better than Boyd or GGU. Even if your in the top 10% at Boyd I think the prestige of Harvard will win out. Getting into Harvard is just an accomplishment in and of itself. I almost feel like it is harder to get into some of those schools than it is to rank in the top 10% of a tier 2,3, or 4 school. With that said I have to go on another tangent about these rankings. Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing, Vermont is ranked highly in environmental law, Pepperdine is great at negotiations, but again WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM. I mean these subrankings do not even have any measurable statistics whatsoever. At least as awfully measure as the rankings are at least there is approximately 10% objective facts. These subrankings just seem like they are selected at random. I feel like U.S. News rankings has gotten Wizard of Oz type status.  The Wizard was "allegedly"  this great all knowing,  all powerful entity, yet he was nothing. Nobody questioned his power or how he got there they just accepted well he is the wizard you can't interrupt him, you can't see him, you can't interact with him, but he does know everything. We all know how that turns out.  U.S. News is the same thing I have no idea when they started ranking or why, or who determines these rankings, it is just THE GREAT ALL KNOWING U.S. NEWS. Who is on this committee how did they rank my school as a top 25 public interest school , how did they determine Boyd is a top writing school, how did they determine Pepperdine is great at negotiations. I would love answer to any of these questions, but none exists other than U.S. News said so. Based on what how these anonymous random people felt. It is so ridiculous.

The really sad part is that people take these rankings so seriously. I know a girl from my school that transferred to Santa Clara she was in the top 2% at my school and they gave her a full scholarship. However, she transferred because she wanted to do IP law.  She has no engineering background whatsoever, but Santa Clara is ranked 8th or something in IP according to U.S. News. So she is going to go 80,000 more in debt than she would have and even though U.S. News says they are the 8th best IP school she will probably lose out to anyone in the Bay Area with a J.D. from and an engineering background. Realistically, if she really wanted to do IP law it would have been better for her to save a ton of money staying at GGU and used the 80,000 in savings to get some type of engineering degree. IP is one of those industries where they don't really care what school you went to if you know how technical things work then you are set. Which is why the patent bar exists. However, U.S. News all knowing as they are and with no facts to support it said Santa Clara is the 8th best IP school. So she up and left leaving 80,000 on the table.  I hope it works for her she was a cool person, but odds are she is going to go 80,000 more in debt and not have anymore prospects from Santa Clara than she would from GGU. Maybe I am wrong, but I really think U.S. News is just an awful thing that people use to make life changing decisions.  U.S. News has no facts to support anything and yet people follow down the yellow brick road just as Dorothy did. To follow some unnamed, anonymous, thing, that is not there. It made for a great movie, but in real life people need to question these rankings and how they come about.

kenpostudent

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Re: law school grades
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2010, 12:58:24 PM »
There are some big law firms here in Las Vegas with relatively small offices, while those same firms have large offices elsewhere. However, the most interesting law in Las Vegas is done by small boutique firms of 20 or less attorneys. The "big firms" out here service mostly casinos and banks.

I do agree that efficiency is part of the big law recruiting model. It's also about reputation. Notice that all the T14 schools are also the oldest law schools. Those schools have had the longest amount of time to churn out graduates who have become partners in the big firms. Also, big firm partners also have had exposure to graduates of all those schools, even if that is not their alma mater. There is a hint of an "old boys club" model going on.

Are the big school associates "better"? Maybe, especially for some types of cases. Big law handles primarily corporate interests and complex litigation. So, I can see a legitmate interest in hiring the best and the brightest. The cases they work on are so complex that no one attorney (and in many cases no 10 attorneys) can handle them. You want VERY bright people working on that stuff. By contrast, how many individual clients who walk into a local lawyer's office have issues with a CDO or a credit default swap? Your T2-T4 grad with a high GPA can probably handle a basic PI case involving a car accident. A T2-T4 grad with a 3.8 GPA may not have a background to walk into a complex, multi-national, creditor-debtor litigation case or some international IP case. So, I understand the bias, but I don't think it is always warranted. Many T2-T4 grads are just as bright and trainable, but many are not given a chance. Either way, I don't care because I won't work for those big firms. I understand the complex litigation that they handle, but have no desire to be a desk jockey that NEVER ends up in a courtroom or a puppet to the interests of the world's richest people (who consequently are often responsible for much of the harm in the world).