Is Law School Grading Fair?

Is law school grading fair? The answer depends on the school you attend and the students who take the classes. Despite the fact that students often say that law schools grade on a curve, it is not a fair system. There is a predetermined median grade in law school, usually a B+. The amount of students who get above the median is not determined, but the vast majority of exam scores fall somewhere between A and B. Professors decide how far their students stray from the median and have to give a grade corresponding to below it.

In general, law professors should spend one hour in class and two hours of out-of-class work per week over fifteen weeks. This is reasonable and will help students feel better about their performance. On average, students read ten to thirty pages per hour, so two hours of out-of-class time should be sufficient to satisfy the hour of required instruction. In addition, professors should not use teaching assistants in grading unless they are required to do so.

One issue that students have with the pass/fail system is that a pass/fail grade will reflect badly on their profiles when they enter the candidate pool for on-campus recruiting. Some students worry that a mandatory pass/fail grading system will penalize students who struggled in their first semester. Gavin White, a global hiring partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, shared these concerns with ALM last week.

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