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harveyspecter993

How do people get A+ averages in law school?

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7 hours ago, Jaggers said:

I can assure you, no one who gets a medal is taking any strategy designed to maximize their grades other than picking courses that interest them with grading styles that suit them (mainly, paper vs exam courses). 

Anecdotally, I know of a gold medalist who did form a strategy to maximize their GPA besides what you've mentioned, so this statement falls apart.

I'm not saying that every gold medalist has a strategy to maximize grades aside from diligently studying, but there are certainly a good chunk that did. From my anecdotal experience, most of the students whom I've spoken with on dean's list (top 10% of the class) in my school do use at least some of the strategies I outlined earlier.

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Since we're talking anecdotes, my experience aligns with the comment made by @Jaggers.  I know, clerked with, have interviewed, have worked with for 7+ years,  dozens and dozens of top students from several different law schools and don't know even one who felt the need or desire to strategize like this. It clearly might happen, and apparently did with the student that @georgecostanzajr knows, but I wouldn't want current or prospective students to think that this is the way that top students get to be top students. It just isn't.  If strategy was all it took, more students would be attempting it. 

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3 hours ago, erinl2 said:

Since we're talking anecdotes, my experience aligns with the comment made by @Jaggers.  I know, clerked with, have interviewed, have worked with for 7+ years,  dozens and dozens of top students from several different law schools and don't know even one who felt the need or desire to strategize like this. It clearly might happen, and apparently did with the student that @georgecostanzajr knows, but I wouldn't want current or prospective students to think that this is the way that top students get to be top students. It just isn't.  If strategy was all it took, more students would be attempting it. 

Strategy isn't all it takes. And I'm not claiming that it will make a substantial or any difference to any particular student. I'm sure many students did very well without any strategy. But it certainly can make the difference where every shade of a grade is so important (if you're aiming for a gold medal, first instance).

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4 hours ago, erinl2 said:

but I wouldn't want current or prospective students to think that this is the way that top students get to be top students. It just isn't.  If strategy was all it took, more students would be attempting it. 

Agreed. You certainly can't game your way into a medal, or even Dean's list. Your base level of competency has to be there, and 1L largely tells you where you're at.

But if you're on the edge of either accomplishment, then it can certainly pay dividends. And if you care enough about either, why wouldn't you do it? If you can take a class curved to a B+ instead of a B, or write a term paper with a professor who's never given under an A- to a paper, why would you take the class in 3L which is notoriously curved to a B-? 

People with inside information, who are at the margins of some academic goal, and who care about that academic goal, do this all the time. It's certainly not rare, and is often openly discussed by many students.

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17 hours ago, chaboywb said:

Good lord the debate here is ridiculous. Why is everybody arguing as if there's one possibility? I'm sure there's been at least one every gold medalist who was a genius...

I think it ends there. This board's had some really great threads on the meaning of LS grades. And we can generate lots of great anecdotes. Some people just have the acuity immediately to spot the issues and order their thoughts perfectly. Remember that an LS exam is testing your ability to solve a math problem as efficiently as possible. I mastered Evidence and read hundreds of trial-level decisions just to make sure I understood how to apply the principles. I used and cited these cases on the exam. I got an A+. I didn't win the course prize. Someone else won it whose exam was 1/2 the length of mine. That person won the Gold Medal. That person is just a genius. 

I've met lots of medalists now that I'm in practice. I like very few of them as people, but I acknowledge that they're better at whatever it is that LS grading rewards. Basically, it's this simple: you can't be perfect all of the time unless you're profoundly intelligent. 

 

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I don't mean to derail this thread at all, but now I'm curious. For the majority of people who won't be gold medalists, will there be opportunities to develop a niche in law school through extracurriculars? And will these extracirriculars be helpful if I apply for jobs in this niche area? 

I'd like to study constitutional law with the hopes of establishing a career in the public sector doing policy or working for the legislative branch doing research. I'm going to law school in lieu of doing a PhD in Political Theory because the job prospects are dismal. Will I conceivably be able establish a career in this niche area without A or A+ grades? 

A mod can move this to another thread if necessary.

Edited by capitalttruth

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1 minute ago, capitalttruth said:

I don't mean to derail this thread at all, but now I'm curious. For the majority of people who won't be gold medalists, will there be opportunities to develop a niche in law school through extracurriculars? And will these extracirriculars be helpful if I apply for jobs in this niche area? 

I'd like to study constitutional law with the hopes of establishing a career in the public sector doing policy or working for the legislative branch doing research. Will I conceivably be able to do this without A or A+ grades? 

A mod can move this to another thread if necessary.

Seems like an odd question. You said it yourself: Not everyone will have A+ grades, and all but three students will not be medallists. Yet more than 90% of students graduate with articles. Do your best, set your sights high, and get experiences you find interesting. If your trajectory is off, you can try for something more reasonable in second year.

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1 minute ago, capitalttruth said:

I don't mean to derail this thread at all, but now I'm curious. For the majority of people who won't be gold medalists, will there be opportunities to develop a niche in law school through extracurriculars? And will these extracirriculars be helpful if I apply for jobs in this niche area? 

I'd like to study constitutional law with the hopes of establishing a career in the public sector doing policy or working for the legislative branch doing research. Will I conceivably be able to do this without A or A+ grades? 

A mod can move this to another thread if necessary.

There's between 1-3 medalists in every graduating class. Those aren't the only folks who find niche work in areas that they are interested in.

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2 minutes ago, chaboywb said:

Seems like an odd question. You said it yourself: Not everyone will have A+ grades, and all but three students will not be medallists. Yet more than 90% of students graduate with articles. Do your best, set your sights high, and get experiences you find interesting. If your trajectory is off, you can try for something more reasonable in second year.

It does sound odd. I should qualify that I have heard that jobs in this area are competitive and that high grades are important. 

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2 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

It does sound odd. I should qualify that I have heard that jobs in this area are competitive and that high grades are important. 

Sure. That's true of most areas of law. All things being equal, the candidate with higher grades will win out. That's especially true if you're looking at going into an area where your personality and things like the ability to source work matter even less.

But gaining experience through extracurriculars and clinics, etc. will be a big help in getting some of these jobs, and I can say that some people working in niche areas like constitutional or human rights law were not necessarily honours graduates in my class.

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On 11/17/2019 at 4:26 PM, ForensicAnthropology said:

when i get home i study. its sad. i dont have a social life.

i have an A- average and property law is disgusting 

@AutumnBleed

lol property isn't all that bad, constitutional worst hands down

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38 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Is IRAC a good template to follow? If not, what are the alternatives?

Following IRAC is all you need to be successful. In theory it's great, but it's a lot more difficult to apply correctly. That's where most people fail (specifically as most of my professors have pointed out, the analysis portion). It requires a nuanced understanding of the law.

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4 minutes ago, georgecostanzajr said:

Following IRAC is all you need to be successful. In theory it's great, but it's a lot more difficult to apply correctly. That's where most people fail (specifically as most of my professors have pointed out, the analysis portion). It requires a nuanced understanding of the law.

Besides comparing the facts in the fact pattern to the facts in the cases  in your summary and arguing both sides, what else is needed for an A+ analysis?

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33 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Besides comparing the facts in the fact pattern to the facts in the cases  in your summary and arguing both sides, what else is needed for an A+ analysis?

I can't speak for an A+ because those are nearly nonexistent at my school, but in terms of an A-, that should be sufficient. As long as you articulate the law correctly and apply it to the fact scenario with reference to any similar facts in any cases you studied, you should be in that A-range. Most people aren't able to effectively conduct that analysis and communicate all of that due to a lack of time. The way to combat this is to create a really great framework, so you don't spend any time thinking about the manner in which you should structure your response during the exam. You should just flip to the relevant part of your framework and state the relevant law, then analyze, and keep doing this.

Edited by georgecostanzajr
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