Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, many readers of this column are currently in the full swing of the holiday season. For many associates, the holiday season likely means billing those last hours of the year that might make the difference between receiving a bonus and not making any additional cash . For many partners, the holiday season likely means hounding clients so that outstanding legal fees can be paid before the end of the year. For many law students , the holiday season likely means worrying about exams and the grades that might be received after the semester is over. Exams and grades can really transform the lives of many law students around the holidays from the “most wonderful time of the year” to a living hell.

Although there are certain ways to boost your odds of receiving good grades, law school grades are still extremely arbitrary. Indeed, marks in law school are based on a number of random factors that likely have no bearing on an individual’s success in the legal profession. Although most law students might not take comfort in hearing how law school grades are somewhat arbitrary, it is still important to note that there are certain factors that make law school grades extremely random.

As many of us already know, law school grades are usually based on one three- or four-hour examination administered at the end of the academic semester. I’m not really sure why law school courses are graded this way, but since law school professors can‘t even be trusted to write new final exams each year , it make sense that they would want to keep their workload to a minimum.

In any case, basing grades on one single test introduces an element of randomness to the law school examination process. Individuals can be sick on the day of the exam, or might have had little sleep the night before the test. In addition, people could be undergoing any manner of life crises around the time of the exam that can impact their performance. Of course, the effect of these random factors would be minimized […]

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