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harveyspecter993

1st Semester Grade Anxiety

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16 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:
  • Course and Subject Area Prizes for students who achieve the highest grade in specific courses or papers.

A+ is the highest grade.

I guess the prize will be split if more than one A+ was awarded..

 

No. You don't understand how course prizes work. They go to the highest grade. If there are multiple A+s, they go to the highest A+. 

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23 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

 

 you're not competitive for the 1L recruit

Is it possible to get the state midterm mark on the transcript somehow because I also had an A+ on that

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1 minute ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Is it possible to get the state midterm mark on the transcript somehow because I also had an A+ on that

No.

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54 minutes ago, easttowest said:

You must be aware that A+ is the alpha grade awarded to a range of percentages. 

Grade is grade

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1 hour ago, Luckycharm said:
  • Course and Subject Area Prizes for students who achieve the highest grade in specific courses or papers.

A+ is the highest grade.

I guess the prize will be split if more than one A+ was awarded..

 

That's not the way at least two of the schools that I've worked at do it.  They only award one.  One of them just gave it to the highest numeric A or A+ across sections.  The other had someone review the As or A+s and determine which was the strongest exam (to account for the fact that an exam with a lower numeric A+ might actually be stronger than one with a higher A+ from a different section, given differences in grading).

Edited by ProfReader

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1 hour ago, Luckycharm said:
  • Course and Subject Area Prizes for students who achieve the highest grade in specific courses or papers.

A+ is the highest grade.

I guess the prize will be split if more than one A+ was awarded..

 

No that’s not how they work. As Block mentioned, profs can give out a few A+ but the course prize is awarded for the single highest grade for a course or section of a course.  Obviously the prof will use the raw scores to determine which of the A+’s earned the course prize. 

OP you did well. Keep it up and you’ll be in good shape for the 2L recruit which is the one that really matters. Also, your grades don’t matter for clinics so don’t fret about that 

Edited by healthlaw

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15 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

Grade is grade

As many others have said, this is not true.

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I'm tempted to write at some length, but the gist of it is this. Your overall grades are fine - on the above-average end. It's perfectly good and motivating to aim for better-than-fine. But you also shouldn't allow yourself to be affected by doing less well than that. You are entering a stage in your professional and academic life that's going to be new to you. You've succeeded to the point that you are now surrounded exclusively by other highly competent, motivated people. Up until this point, you've been used to routinely outperforming the large majority of the people around you. That's not going to happen anymore. But the good news is, even "average" students, at this point, do perfectly well in their careers.

Aim for strong grades, certainly. But falling short of that is not a disaster by any stretch at all.

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Be happy you have the extra mental gear required to get an A+ in law school.

 

Now I'm saying that coming from a grading regime where giving a grade in excess of 90% required permission from a committee and usually a remark of the exam by a different faculty member and it sounds like Osgoode is a little bit more flexible. But still.  A+, pretty shiny.

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Do firms care about grades in "soft" courses like ethical lawyering and the perspective or are they only focused on your grades in the black letter law courses?

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23 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Do firms care about grades in "soft" courses like ethical lawyering and the perspective or are they only focused on your grades in the black letter law courses?

They care about all your grades. 

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OP, you probably don't care about this, but I know students with higher grades than you that didn't land OCI jobs, and students with lower grades that did. It's more common than you think. Hopefully you have other positive factors on your resume and "personality" besides grades alone. Believe it or not, there are a lot of students with high grades from various schools that do OCIs and don't make the cut. It can definitely help you get interviews, but after that, they don't matter as much. 

As for clinics, I wasn't aware that grades mattered much for them. Plenty of students with B's and C+ grades did intensives when I was at Osgoode. The clinics look more at demonstrated interest in the particular work that they do.  

Your grades are likely good enough to get you a decent amount of interviews. That is where it ends. How you sell yourself during the interviews and in-firms, is another story altogether. 

As for course prizes, very few students in my graduating class seemed to have received them. They tended to go to the same students who were gold, silver, and bronze medalists, and in the top 5% of the class (and most of them are now clerking and not on Bay Street). This may be anecdotal, but many students in my class who landed seven sisters and OCI jobs did not receive a single course prize during their time at Osgoode. They announce these awards when they call students' names at graduation, which is how I know. 

Edit: This has been mentioned time and time again on this forum, but the students with the best grades in my class are going to work at the MAG Crown and Constitutional, federal government, litigation boutiques like Paliare Roland and Lenczner Slaught, firms like Henein Hutchsion and Goldblatt Partners, and select aboriginal and criminal boutiques. The students with straight A and A+ grades don't tend to go into Biglaw, and Biglaw is about far more than simply attracting the most academics. They want business professionals, not legal scholars. 

Edited by Deadpool
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5 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Do firms care about grades in "soft" courses like ethical lawyering and the perspective or are they only focused on your grades in the black letter law courses?

 

5 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

They care about all your grades. 

I think that depends. Some firms will definitely care more about grades in black letter law courses, particularly those courses that relate to their area of practice. Others want to see overall high grades.

I don't think you should put pressure on yourself by worrying about course prizes. An A+ by no means guarantees a course prize - look at it as a nice and unexpected bonus if it does come.

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24 minutes ago, providence said:

 

I think that depends. Some firms will definitely care more about grades in black letter law courses, particularly those courses that relate to their area of practice. Others want to see overall high grades.

Which of the bay street firms care more about black letter courses?

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Some advice, probably misguided, totally uninvited, and likely to go unheeded, but here nonetheless (from the perspective of a current Oz 2L):

1)

1 hour ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Which of the bay street firms care more about black letter courses?

It really doesn't matter as far as I know, and if it does, you won't know (recruiters from each firm won't be posting that kind of info here, and doubtful that you'll get that kind of specific info from the relatively small people who post here who would be privy to that information at each and every firm); even more uncertain is how that information could possibly help you even if you had it. Suffice to say if you have crappy grades overall, you won't get a lot of interviews barring some truly exceptional circumstances (at Osgoode, that would be below a B average). Don't write yourself off if you have a B average, and don't rest on your laurels if you have an A average. I had two friends with the former who are now at major Bay Street firms for the summer, and another three with As who had great interviews and didn't end up landing anywhere in Toronto. As has been written elsewhere here, your grades are going to be part of what gets you in the door and after that it's a whole different game. Even at the OCI-offer stage firms will be looking at your resume to see if you have what they're interested in (which can vary year to year because big law is a business, although they might be more likely to make room for you if you're a high achiever in something they aren't focusing on just to make sure no one else has you). Generally better grades mean more options, rather than providing a surefire means at getting at a particular firm.

Which brings me to my second point:

2)

On 1/18/2019 at 6:06 PM, Luckycharm said:

Why do I care how statistic works?

2a) Honestly, this might be the healthiest possible thing to learn about in law school for law students (not pointed directly at OP since it's not his post). You got in the top 5% of a class of 75 or so. That is brilliant, no matter what your average ends up being (an aside to that point, but not to freak other people out, I had a prof in the know about these kinds of things say that for clerkships it might even be better to have a C and an A than two B+, because it signals that you can compete with the best of them even if you have an off day; please do not read into this idea and turn it into a maxim, as law students are wont to do). Once you order your transcripts, particularly for Oz, take a look at the curve profiles and understand that more than half of your 1L class will have a B average or lower. Keep in mind that a B at Oz basically spans from the 'just barely scraped above a C' to 'just barely missed the mark for a B+ on a technicality'; it's also a massive range and, since there are no class rankings, no one knows how well you did and no one cares to know except you. If the differences between averages are only valuable to a degree, then the difference within one is statistically meaningless.

2b) Going back to the big law is a business point, law students also unfortunately (if understandably) take not being hired (or indeed being hired in some cases) waaaay too personally. Sometimes a firm will really like you but end up not having room to take someone in your area of interest; other times, they might be a bit on the fence but think your amazing resume means that it will be worth rolling the dice. Either way, statistics start to kick in again for hirebacks (even for so called 'guaranteed' hirebacks --> in no case is anyone saying you are guaranteed a spot 5 years in, so at best the statistical dropoff is extended some months forward). I would be surprised if there are more than 10 people in any class of 290 at Osgoode that get everything they want and never experience any kind of sense of defeat or remorse; for the rest of us, it's probably a much more valuable skill to learn to not take a setback personally, to be willing and open to hear criticism and try to learn how to improve, and most importantly to learn to accept that sometimes there is nothing you could have done differently. Law school, firm hiring, etc is not math: a grading profile from one prof might look completely different if a different prof marked the exact same exams and, likewise, there is a reason why firm recruitment teams will have ardent and visceral disagreements about who to hire, despite all the finalists being intelligent, capable, and impressive people. (All before we even get to the whole "only about 30% of the class gets a job through Toronto OCIs at Oz, even in a good year")

Side Points:

3) Having an A+ at Osgoode does not mean you get a course award. I had an A+, my friends had them, and we did not get course awards. Though honestly if that is going to keep you awake at night, good luck surviving in practice; what separates you at rank 10/75 and rank 1/75 might be a slightly poorly worded paragraph on an otherwise brilliant exam, let alone what would separate 1/75 and 2/75. Law students seem to put too much stock in things that don't matter and not enough in things that do (see above about statistics).

4) Don't worry about the 1L recruit. If you want to do it, go ahead! It might be rough, but it is also a great excuse to have your application materials evaluated (and even prepped so that you only have to tweak them for the 2L recruit). I had 3 Bs out of 3 my first term at Osgoode and got a 1L interview (didn't land, though the CDO was flabbergasted that I even got an interview as they would have recommended I not apply). Ended up working at a smaller litigation firm in the suburbs that gave me an amazing level of experience by comparison, even with what bigger firms were selling me in the 2L recruit. Further to points 2) and 3), make sure you are willing to go into the processes knowing what is important to you instead of taking the hand of the first Bay Street firm that says they'll have you. I had several firms in the 2L recruit signal to me what they wanted me to say and I was not comfortable going along with it, so I didn't land at any of them and will be happy exploring some other options. Obviously that level of stubbornness might not be desirable or an option for you, but never underestimate the worth of just stopping to think about what you want and what you will be getting, beyond the din of what you hear hammered into you at law school. 

Overall points being:

a) be realistic but don't count yourself out of anything just because you hear it through the law school whisper torrent;

b) recruitment is a two-way street, and, especially if you have time during the summer after 1L, take the time to plot out your values and reach out to people a couple of years in practice (including people not on Bay) - don't base your life decisions on what a firm website or, god forbid, other law students tell you is important; and

d) TL;DR don't take your successes or shortcomings at face value, but try to be critical and honest with yourself instead of hysterically thinking you're sh*t or puffing up your chest because you are the king of law school exams. Figuring out how can you improve is, in the long term, so much more useful than worrying about one bad grade says about you (or being conceited about what one awesome grade means). And you also might have to make peace with the fact that things don't always happen for a good reason. Never be afraid to swallow your pride and ask why something didn't work out; I've done it in both classes and recruits, and you'd be amazed how helpful people can be when you show a genuine desire to learn from them.

Thanks for reading my (cathartic? and meandering but hopefully useful) rant-post. Hope it helps OP & others.

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18 hours ago, Deadpool said:

Edit: This has been mentioned time and time again on this forum, but the students with the best grades in my class are going to work at the MAG Crown and Constitutional, federal government, litigation boutiques like Paliare Roland and Lenczner Slaught, firms like Henein Hutchsion and Goldblatt Partners, and select aboriginal and criminal boutiques. The students with straight A and A+ grades don't tend to go into Biglaw, and Biglaw is about far more than simply attracting the most academics. They want business professionals, not legal scholars. 

I think you're really underestimating the number of strong students on Bay Street. You're right that many students in the top 5-10% of the class pursue careers off Bay Street.  But if you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Top students are, essentially, a random sampling of law students. There's no reason to expect that the top students in law school would have less diverse interests than the student body as a whole. And further, students in the top percentiles are able to pursue those careers easily and with less risk because they're able to land higher-paying jobs in those fields early (to say nothing of options such as clerkships, which frankly aren't available to most students).    

Anyways, I know, roughly, who the top 5-10% of the students in my class are. Of them, I'd say >50% are pursuing big law in a major metropolitan city. That number will drop as clerkships go out, but I would wager it will still stay around the 50% mark come graduation. 

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14 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

 

Anyways, I know, roughly, who the top 5-10% of the students in my class are. Of them, I'd say >50% are pursuing big law in a major metropolitan city. That number will drop as clerkships go out, but I would wager it will still stay around the 50% mark come graduation. 

How?

Also, I agree with your post. I wouldn't assume someone had average grades based on course prizes. Someone can have a killer average with multiple A+'s and not win a single course prize. One can't infer how well someone did based on the number of course prizes they received (or failed to receive)

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9 hours ago, healthlaw said:

How?

Also, I agree with your post. I wouldn't assume someone had average grades based on course prizes. Someone can have a killer average with multiple A+'s and not win a single course prize. One can't infer how well someone did based on the number of course prizes they received (or failed to receive)

You honestly just kind of figure it out. There are a bunch of opportunities that really only open up to people near the top of the class, generally. You'll see them during the 1L recruit, at NY OCIs, in NY, at meetings about clerkships (and importantly, they'll have received the Administration's email encouraging them to apply to clerkships). They'll be Dean's Fellows for a professor. They'll get jobs at impressive off-Bay firms early on. They'll be in competitive, grades based clinics. You'll see their work product and be able to infer their grades. To a certain extent, you'll discuss grades with them. None of those factors alone (except, perhaps, NY) would prove someone is in the top of their class, but when you take them all into consideration you can start to piece together a decent picture. 

By no means would I say I could accurately list the top 30 students at Osgoode in my year. But I think I could rattle off 20 names and be 95% confident that they're currently in the top 10% of students. 

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