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What is a good GPA IN Queen's Law? (For 3Ls, not applicants)

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True to your name, you are worrying about this too much for someone who hasn't even started law school. There's no science to law grades - you are wrong to assume that the same people get all the As. The difference between a B+ exam and an A- exam can come down to where your exam falls in the pile.

 

 

So where in the pile should I place my exam?

 

(Totally joking, unless there actually is an answer to this).

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I realize this is old but this is fascinating to read now, actually being in law school. I was trying to figure out where my December grades put me in the 1L pile, and felt fantastic after reading camacjo's post, because apparently I'm gonna clerk at the SCC. But I felt much more realistic about everyone else's posts. 

 

The reason I was searching is to figure out if anyone knows about the GPA you need to be on the Dean's List? Has anyone ever figured out what this is, I can't find any published data. 

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I realize this is old but this is fascinating to read now, actually being in law school. I was trying to figure out where my December grades put me in the 1L pile, and felt fantastic after reading camacjo's post, because apparently I'm gonna clerk at the SCC. But I felt much more realistic about everyone else's posts. 

 

The reason I was searching is to figure out if anyone knows about the GPA you need to be on the Dean's List? Has anyone ever figured out what this is, I can't find any published data.

Top 10%.

 

http://www.queensu.ca/calendars/law/Dean_s_Honour_List_and_Medal_Policy.html

 

ETA: Obviously that page is out of date, but to my knowledge, the policy is still the same.

Edited by barelylegal

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Do you know what number would that be though? As in, would a 3.68 be sufficient to put you in that category?

It would vary based on the GPAs of the rest of the class... but for at least a bit of context, when I was in 3L a few years ago, I was on the Dean's Honour List for a term when I had a 3.84, but wasn't for a term when I had a 3.53.

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3L currently at Queen's.

 

The truth is plenty of profs give out as many A-range grades and B+s as they can. Seeing ~40%+ of the class getting B+ or better is not overly rare, though I would not say it is the norm.

 

On the other side of the coin, the B curve is obviously pretty tight. And for whatever my own anecdotal account is worth, nearly everyone I know well enough to discuss grades with has a B- or two on their transcript dragging own the GPA. Lots of people also have a C-range mark or two that sees the GPA plummet. Including students at the biggest Bay Street firms. It doesn't take much to see your grade tumble when you're dealing with such a tight curve. Just happen to miss one key issue on an exam worth 100% of your mark? Write a paper your prof dislikes due to the subject matter and their own subjective views? Either can be deadly and you can end up with a poor grade despite knowing the material. 

 

I'd say any GPA of 3.1 or above is quite respectable. Again, due to how many B+s are often given out, 3.1 is roughly where I would place the median GPA (but obviously this is strictly guess work). 3.0 would actually be a bit below average in my opinion, although it would hardly be a GPA to be shy about. Having a GPA equivalent to getting a "B" in every class is nothing to cry over. Unremarkable does *not* mean bad.  With one term left I am at 3.27. I consider this above average but very far from great (much less being close to elite). Hoping to hit 3.3+ by the time I graduate as a goal. I have one C+ and two B-s that bring it down, but also 5 As that balance it out. Such is life in law school.

 

Some of my friends have GPAs of 3.6+. They're either great at exams/papers, simply brilliant, or both. Hats off.

 

At the end of the day I am not sure it matters too much. Try your best and let the chips fall. No use stressing any more than that. I know students with average-to-below-average GPAs that secured 2L summers and/or articles at solid firms, and students with strong GPAs that did not secure a 2L summer and are still looking for articles. Grades are hardly everything. But obviously if you are a medalist of pulling mostly Cs, you are in a different league and the job search follows accordingly, for better or worse.

 

EDIT - GPAs are also often boosted by moots pretty significantly e.g. if a student moots in both 2L and 3L, both times for lots of credits. I did not do one, but can confirm from others that doing a moot is basically a guaranteed A. Same with being a moot coach or researcher. Or doing an ISP with certain profs. I would end this practice. I've got no problem disregarding the curve in such courses. It only makes sense given the numbers. But if a student is lazy all year in a moot and then also goes on to perform below par as an oralist... or simply makes no contribution at all in a research position... they should get a C or C+. As it is right now I'd be shocked if they got less than "B+". I have heard of a few students mailing it in as moot researchers only to collect their free A. Total joke. Even more indefensible since I do not know how those positions are handed out - there is no formal researcher interview or application form, as far as I am aware.

Edited by happydude

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EDIT - GPAs are also often boosted by moots pretty significantly e.g. if a student moots in both 2L and 3L, both times for lots of credits. I did not do one, but can confirm from others that doing a moot is basically a guaranteed A. Same with being a moot coach or researcher. Or doing an ISP with certain profs. I would end this practice. I've got no problem disregarding the curve in such courses. It only makes sense given the numbers. But if a student is lazy all year in a moot and then also goes on to perform below par as an oralist... or simply makes no contribution at all in a research position... they should get a C or C+. As it is right now I'd be shocked if they got less than "B+". I have heard of a few students mailing it in as moot researchers only to collect their free A. Total joke. Even more indefensible since I do not know how those positions are handed out - there is no formal researcher interview or application form, as far as I am aware.

Just wanted to provide a take to counter this. My experience with mooting at Queen's was that it's very rare for people to be able to be "lazy all year in a moot" - the supervisors and the rest of the team usually put on enough pressure to combat it. I found that mooting involved at least twice the amount of work as a normal course (whether as a mooter or a researcher/student coach, both of which I've done), such that even someone putting in 50-60% was still working as much as any other course. And, grades below A are given when deserved - I personally know of at least two instances of this happening during my time there. As for the researcher positions, selection varies - individual teams can take applications (involving an application plus transcripts), or could just have someone in mind who has the relevant knowledge/experience, but regardless there's always some rationale for it (especially considering the faculty coach generally is involved).

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3L currently at Queen's.

 

The truth is plenty of profs give out as many A-range grades and B+s as they can. Seeing ~40%+ of the class getting B+ or better is not overly rare, though I would not say it is the norm.

 

On the other side of the coin, the B curve is obviously pretty tight. And for whatever my own anecdotal account is worth, nearly everyone I know well enough to discuss grades with has a B- or two on their transcript dragging own the GPA. Lots of people also have a C-range mark or two that sees the GPA plummet. Including students at the biggest Bay Street firms. It doesn't take much to see your grade tumble when you're dealing with such a tight curve. Just happen to miss one key issue on an exam worth 100% of your mark? Write a paper your prof dislikes due to the subject matter and their own subjective views? Either can be deadly and you can end up with a poor grade despite knowing the material. 

 

I'd say any GPA of 3.1 or above is quite respectable. Again, due to how many B+s are often given out, 3.1 is roughly where I would place the median GPA (but obviously this is strictly guess work). 3.0 would actually be a bit below average in my opinion, although it would hardly be a GPA to be shy about. Having a GPA equivalent to getting a "B" in every class is nothing to cry over. Unremarkable does *not* mean bad.  With one term left I am at 3.27. I consider this above average but very far from great (much less being close to elite). Hoping to hit 3.3+ by the time I graduate as a goal. I have one C+ and two B-s that bring it down, but also 5 As that balance it out. Such is life in law school.

 

Some of my friends have GPAs of 3.6+. They're either great at exams/papers, simply brilliant, or both. Hats off.

 

At the end of the day I am not sure it matters too much. Try your best and let the chips fall. No use stressing any more than that. I know students with average-to-below-average GPAs that secured 2L summers and/or articles at solid firms, and students with strong GPAs that did not secure a 2L summer and are still looking for articles. Grades are hardly everything. But obviously if you are a medalist of pulling mostly Cs, you are in a different league and the job search follows accordingly, for better or worse.

 

EDIT - GPAs are also often boosted by moots pretty significantly e.g. if a student moots in both 2L and 3L, both times for lots of credits. I did not do one, but can confirm from others that doing a moot is basically a guaranteed A. Same with being a moot coach or researcher. Or doing an ISP with certain profs. I would end this practice. I've got no problem disregarding the curve in such courses. It only makes sense given the numbers. But if a student is lazy all year in a moot and then also goes on to perform below par as an oralist... or simply makes no contribution at all in a research position... they should get a C or C+. As it is right now I'd be shocked if they got less than "B+". I have heard of a few students mailing it in as moot researchers only to collect their free A. Total joke. Even more indefensible since I do not know how those positions are handed out - there is no formal researcher interview or application form, as far as I am aware.

2L here.

 

I agree with Happydude, but I would just add that the courses you take factor into the respectability of your GPA. Getting a 3.2 GPA when the majority of your courses are seminars (B+ curve) isn't so great compared to getting that same GPA having taken mostly lecture courses (particularly the tougher courses like conflicts, evidence, crim pro, admin, labour) that curve to a B. 

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2L here.

 

I agree with Happydude, but I would just add that the courses you take factor into the respectability of your GPA. Getting a 3.2 GPA when the majority of your courses are seminars (B+ curve) isn't so great compared to getting that same GPA having taken mostly lecture courses (particularly the tougher courses like conflicts, evidence, crim pro, admin, labour) that curve to a B. 

 

Very true, and something for any 0Ls to consider as well.  I don't know any students taking only courses with "easy" curves... although I am absolutely sure they exist. So not all GPAs are created equal.

 

But I would say *most* students take many (or even almost all....) of the following courses that can be tough on the GPA: Admin, Evidence, Tax, Family, Labour, Employment, Securities, Crim Pro. Then you have more niche courses like conflicts, as you mentioned. Civ Pro and Business Associations are mandatory and also have harder curves.

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