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Author Topic: Legal writing midterm drama at my school  (Read 3054 times)

Special Agent Dana Scully

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2007, 04:48:04 PM »
not only is the class graded, it is subject to the same curve as torts, k's, con law, etc   >:(

that sucks

It does.  In our legal writing sections of 16-17, professors can award a maximum of two As, and then only if they offset the "second" one with a grade of C- or lower for another person in the class.  I don't think this helps people's employment prospects.  Grading legal writing on a curve is ridiculous.  If you're good you should get an A, decent but could use improvement, a B, etc.

that really sucks...i'm sure you did well last year tho.

and now, i'm off to my memo :-\
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Miss P

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2007, 04:49:22 PM »
that really sucks...i'm sure you did well last year tho.

and now, i'm off to my memo :-\

Well, there's a long story about that, but not one fit for public and sober telling. :)

Good luck on your memo, MCB!
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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Tetris

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2007, 03:23:03 PM »
Why isn't this posted on the students and graduates section?  No need to scare the prelaws!

because that board is slow and dreary

They really ought to condense a lot of these boards.  The "Child Boards" have a few posts a day usually.
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studymaster

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2007, 12:55:47 AM »
not only is the class graded, it is subject to the same curve as torts, k's, con law, etc   >:(

that sucks

It does.  In our legal writing sections of 16-17, professors can award a maximum of two As, and then only if they offset the "second" one with a grade of C- or lower for another person in the class.  I don't think this helps people's employment prospects.  Grading legal writing on a curve is ridiculous.  If you're good you should get an A, decent but could use improvement, a B, etc.

Out of curiousity, I dont see how this applies to legal writign exclusivley, why woudl you condone one for other classes but not this one. (assuming you do..)
It is whispered that soon, if we all heed the call, the piper will lead us to reason.

Miss P

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2007, 01:19:10 AM »
not only is the class graded, it is subject to the same curve as torts, k's, con law, etc   >:(

that sucks

It does.  In our legal writing sections of 16-17, professors can award a maximum of two As, and then only if they offset the "second" one with a grade of C- or lower for another person in the class.  I don't think this helps people's employment prospects.  Grading legal writing on a curve is ridiculous.  If you're good you should get an A, decent but could use improvement, a B, etc.

Out of curiousity, I dont see how this applies to legal writign exclusivley, why woudl you condone one for other classes but not this one. (assuming you do..)

I don't support the curve in general.  I think people should be graded according to their achievements and skills, not the achievements and skills of their peers.  It makes sense to adjust the scale to account for factors that affected the whole class (e.g., if no one understands, say, the rule against perpetuities, then perhaps it wasn't taught well and the professor should discount the effect of those wrong answers on the final score) but not to grade students along a rigid curve when the distribution of their knowledge and abilities may be completely different.  The curve is so artificial.  It's weird that you have to remind people of that sometimes.

Nonetheless, I think it's different in legal writing classes for four reasons: (1) it is skill-based, unlike most of the first-year curriculum; (2) legal writing sections are small and therefore more sensitive to biases of class distribution; (3) many employers consider it the most important class of the first year; and, most important, (4) at most higher-ranked schools, legal writing is either ungraded or graded off-curve, and thus, students coming from a school with curved legal writing are at a distinct disadvantage unless the people who look at their transcripts are aware of the school's peculiar grading system.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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studymaster

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2007, 07:25:18 AM »
Thanks, that post is probably the best i've read in a while...

 The way I see it curves arent in and of themselves splendid, but the alternative of pass fail or letter grading are problematic as well. For pass fail the bar set is kind of arbitrary, and it's hard for a prospective employer to know how a particuylar professor grades. This applies a fortiori to letter grading, which is the current problem plaguing graduate programs evaluating undergraduate GPAs, there is little to no consistency. However, the student body is pretty similar from year to year, and the curve of the schools a firm hires from it almost certainly knows..
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ilsox7

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2007, 01:20:54 PM »
Granted, class ranking helps alleviate this somewhat. But at many schools, like mine, class ranking does not come out until a week before 2L year starts. Your using your GPA to try and land a 1L position.

Class ranking should alleviate the problem 100%.  That is completely unacceptable that your school holds back on ranking so long.  In fact, it's an absolutely joke.  I am shocked the student body allows them to do so.

studymaster

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2007, 01:55:12 PM »
Thanks, that post is probably the best i've read in a while...

 The way I see it curves arent in and of themselves splendid, but the alternative of pass fail or letter grading are problematic as well. For pass fail the bar set is kind of arbitrary, and it's hard for a prospective employer to know how a particuylar professor grades. This applies a fortiori to letter grading, which is the current problem plaguing graduate programs evaluating undergraduate GPAs, there is little to no consistency. However, the student body is pretty similar from year to year, and the curve of the schools a firm hires from it almost certainly knows..

This is true if a firm hires directly through the school, say in OCI, or has a large number of graduates from schools X. That is not however how most law students at schools who have hasher curves, get jobs. Mass mailing is another favorite tactic of law students, and this is where the curve plays a role. Your mailing to a lot of firms who may not be familiar with your schools curve, a 3.35 maybe be a very good GPA at your school with a B- curve, but its completely average at a school with a B+ curve.

Employers, faced with hundreds of otherwise identical resumes don’t have the time to shift through grading polices at all 200 law schools to figure out where you stand. The GPA that on its face looks better is going to seem better, even if in reality the lower GPA is “harder” to achieve.  Granted, class ranking helps alleviate this somewhat. But at many schools, like mine, class ranking does not come out until a week before 2L year starts. Your using your GPA to try and land a 1L position.

Haha, 200 law schools eh? as usual you misttate the issue.
There are essentially two kinds of schools, regional, and national. And if a school has a strong national reputation the curve is probably not that harsh (lower schools ten dot have harsher curves) or else the curve might nto matter bc the school is getting students jobs on its name alone. For regional schools, there might be 1-5 maybe more in a given small region, and in a larger region the better schools will get more scruitny anyways and the hiring employee (whose JOB it may be to evaluate applications, making it fairly liekly he knows his stuff) can make the effort to consider the curve. So where this problem is worst is cases of really lower end shcools thta the firm is unlikely to know, specifically when they are outside of thei region of dominance. You also mention a high volume of resumes, as another factor hurting those who are curved against. Well guess what, those who are competing against 199 guys for 1-2 jobs, those hwo are from lower schools who moved halfway across the ocuntry to practice, the cases where the person hiring doesnt even have a vague idea how tough the grading is, those select people, are pretty much done before they begin anyways.
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Butters Stotch

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2007, 12:44:50 AM »
not only is the class graded, it is subject to the same curve as torts, k's, con law, etc   >:(

that sucks

It does.  In our legal writing sections of 16-17, professors can award a maximum of two As, and then only if they offset the "second" one with a grade of C- or lower for another person in the class.  I don't think this helps people's employment prospects.  Grading legal writing on a curve is ridiculous.  If you're good you should get an A, decent but could use improvement, a B, etc.

Out of curiousity, I dont see how this applies to legal writign exclusivley, why woudl you condone one for other classes but not this one. (assuming you do..)

I don't support the curve in general.  I think people should be graded according to their achievements and skills, not the achievements and skills of their peers.  It makes sense to adjust the scale to account for factors that affected the whole class (e.g., if no one understands, say, the rule against perpetuities, then perhaps it wasn't taught well and the professor should discount the effect of those wrong answers on the final score) but not to grade students along a rigid curve when the distribution of their knowledge and abilities may be completely different.  The curve is so artificial.  It's weird that you have to remind people of that sometimes.

Nonetheless, I think it's different in legal writing classes for four reasons: (1) it is skill-based, unlike most of the first-year curriculum; (2) legal writing sections are small and therefore more sensitive to biases of class distribution; (3) many employers consider it the most important class of the first year; and, most important, (4) at most higher-ranked schools, legal writing is either ungraded or graded off-curve, and thus, students coming from a school with curved legal writing are at a distinct disadvantage unless the people who look at their transcripts are aware of the school's peculiar grading system.


This is dead on balls accurate. 
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juliemccoy

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Re: Legal writing midterm drama at my school
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2007, 01:33:20 AM »
My legal writing prof is of the mindset that his course is not a skills-based course; rather it is intended to teach legal analysis. Thank goodness it is a Pass-Fail class, because he has taught neither of these things.

If you want to know why incoming associates don't know how to write, look no further than the incompetent legal writing faculty  of some law schools who neither communicate the material to be learned nor provide constructive feedback to grow on. I fail to see how I can learn legal writing if my own instructor did not teach it. Does anyone know of a good instructional manual or private course? I am so disappointed in this class.

Hands-down, the worst course I have ever taken. I want my money back. I want my time back. Both have been wasted and I am no further along in my understanding of this subject than before I started. If possible, it has gotten worse.
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