Law School Graduates Face A Pass Or Fail

Law school graduates have mixed perspectives on the swift move to pass or fail grades at most law campuses since the pandemic began.

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200 law students were polled by Kaplan Test Prep: 11% were unsure of what to think about the transition. 48% said they support pass or fail grading across the country, and 41% said they oppose it. 

The new grading policy emerged as the most quickly adopted grading system among law schools in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Online classes are the new normal.

Almost 80 law schools have adopted mandatory pass and fail grading systems for this semester, including all but two of the T-14 schools; Georgetown University and The University of Michigan Law Center.

Legal experts were also split on the decision, with some contesting that the grading policy is the most reliable approach during this anxious time, while others believe that students must learn to be resilient amid difficult times. Law school administrators have argued that the grading scheme would reduce the pressure law students are experiencing at a time of uncertainty.

Law students opposing the change from traditional grading systems think that it takes away their competitive edge when applying for internships or jobs at firms. Law firms have also complained, saying it makes it harder for them to decide who to hire.

“These are unparalleled times for everyone, and legal education certainly isn’t immune from changes that were once unthinkable just six months ago. It’s quite understandable that law schools have moved to pass or fail grading on a temporary basis since students are already stressed out enough thinking about how to stay healthy, secure a job, and prepare for the bar exam, said Tammi Rice, vice president of Kaplan’s bar prep programs.

When recently asked about the future support of the pass or fail system, 63% of respondents were against maintaining the grading policy, while only 25% said they want it. The remaining 12% were not sure.

“It’s important to note that the pandemic is still a long way from being over and more significant changes to legal education, which already includes online learning, are likely on the way. Students should continue to make their voices heard and also adapt,” said Rice.

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