Rev - gotcha. (I'm reading this board about as well as I'm reading for classes anymore. I figure my summer w/bar-prep will not be fun; this semester is my last bit of 'time off' for a bit.
Curves. The law school curve is a mandatory grading scale. I copied one from the Loyola Chicago web site (not my school, but I found it on a quick search):
The official grade curve (revised as of September 21, 2004) is:
This means that for a class that falls into the curve (25 or more students, with some exceptions, I didn't copy all those bits), from 5-10% of the students can get an A. From 5-15% of the class can get an A-. Etc. On the lower end, it's at the instructor's discretion whether or not a C- or lower is awarded.
Some schools don't have a minimum percentage for a grading curve, so the A range might be 0-10%, for example. Also, the number of students in a class for it to fall into the curve can vary. Some schools it could be a higher number such as 40 or 50. For the Loyola curve, it looks like most of the students would fall into the B range, but schools can also change the percentages for what the "average" student gets.
This forced 'only so many people for the best grades' approach tends to make grading very tight. You'll be at school in a section full of people who are used to getting good grades, but only a certain, and fixed, percentage, will be able to get those A's.
Another note about curves, for those who end up on the lower end of things. In law school, people don't usually flunk out, but they can grade out. Again, going on the Loyola information, students need a 1.75 gpa or better their first semester, first year to continue. Post that semester, they need a cumulate 2.0 gpa. That is, if you can't maintain a 2.0 GPA at that school, you'll merit an academic dismissal (ie, grade out).
So, aside from the considerations of who you can interview with, whether you get onto law review, and all that for those with the higher grades, those with the lower grades need to consider if they want to or will be able to continue.