Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Obligatory Grades Post

We finally got our final grade in, so I guess I have to post about grades. As far as I can tell, there are two schools of thought about law school grades:
1) Law school grades are just as important as grades were in undergrad, and you HAVE to get good grades to be successful. This school is generally subscribed to by the people who got straight A's or near straight A's this semester, law professors (because most of them got really good grades in law school), and people who want to be law professors (or at least wanted to be until this semester's grades came out).
2) Law school grades are not that important, all that is important is to learn the skills necessary to be a successful lawyer/executive/whatever. This school is generally subscribed to by people who didn't get great grades this semester, who have ever worked out in the "real world", or have gotten some advice from friends or relatives who are in the legal profession.1

So, you may ask, what school are you in, Mr. Unreasonable? Well, I'm sort of in the gray area in between2. I definitely do not think grades don't matter at all. If anything, they are sort of an indication of how well you learn and how hard you work3. But, at the same time, I don't think grades are as big of an indicator of how good of a lawyer you will be as your actual performance in the Real World4.

To make this long story short (too late), I will say that I have mixed feelings about my grades. In general, I am happy... and I am not. I did well, but I know I could have done better. So, I am going to work harder this semester5 and hopefully improve a little. We'll see. The good news is that one semester is officially over, with only 4 2/3 left to go.

1By the way, I believe that your predisposition towards one school or the other depends greatly on how highly regarded your law school is. For example, people at Harvard are probably squarely in the second school, unless they want to be a law professor at Harvard or a Clerk at the Supreme Court, because they just don't need great grades to get a great job. Conversely, people at a fourth tier school need to get phenomenal grades just to get the chance of getting a job at a big firm, so they are staunchly in the first school.
2Which probably tells you about where my grades fell.
3I say sort of because I feel like law school grades are a much poorer measure of hard work and intelligence than undergrad, but that could be because they seem more random, and all your eggs are in one final basket.
4Of course, I could feel that way because I've worked in the Real World and was moderately successful.
5I can hear all my classmates typing *HA* in our in-class AIM chatrooms, where we participate more in making fun of each other than we do in class.

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