Sunday, June 17, 2012

1L Year Complete

So I survived my first year and, well, it wasn't all pretty.  I didn't even enroll in summer school because I wanted to see my spring grades to decide if I was going back next year first!  I knew I would pass my classes, but I wasn't sure I would be able to retain my scholarship...and that is a bit of a deal breaker.

To keep my scholarship, I needed a 2.6 cumulative GPA.  Now, again, law school GPA is different than other schools.  You are given a specific score, 2.3, for example, rather than any grade.  And, since the school would like you to pass (2.0), but would like to NOT continue to award you a scholarship, most students get between a 2.0-2.6.

So, here was the final outcome...

Legal Writing was a bit if a disappointing 2.6.  In the fall, I got a 2.9 in the first half of the class, so I was hopeful that this would be the grade that would float my GPA higher.  However, it was a different professor who gave very little feedback.  His tone and presentation were BORING!! 

Family Law only had 8 students and was a Saturday class.  Most of the students were 3Ls and I only took it because Contracts, which was supposed to be in my schedule, didn't fit with my teaching schedule.  Again, it was a bit of a mystery what we were being graded on.  The final was 60% of our grade and covered far too much material to memorize.  The other 40% was for assignments, but we only had two and he said that we all did about the same.  Anyway, I ended with a 2.5...and didn't much care by that point.

The real mystery was Torts.  I had to change professors at semester and this guy may as well have been speaking French.  He made everything unnecessarily complex.  I stopped trying to follow his lectures and spent most of classtime on the internet.  I did not read his text.  At the end of the semester, I taught myself the material out of supplementary study aids.  To my surprise, it was straightforward and, by the final, I felt that I had a command of the material.  Unfortunately, the exam was written by the professor, so the multiple choice was a jumble of words that didn't make sense.  I had no idea!  I was so thrown by the multiple choice that I also didn't really allow enough time to do as well as I should have on the essays.  I left there thinking I had failed.  And THAT is why I didn't sign up for summer school.  Final grade....2.8!  Whatever!  This just reaffirms that there is very little correlation between what we think we know, what we actually know and the grade ultimately assigned.

At the end of it all, I had a 2.58.  But I still got a letter that included the award of a scholarship.  So I shall return.

So far, my first year experience has been a mix of interesting, frustrating, sometimes engaging, and isolating.  I still only have a few casual friends and opted to do most of my studying by myself.  The class content is mostly interesting, and I do like learning about the field of law.  However, the outcome measures, as well as the ugliness of the competitive environment, are not great.  It is too bad that lawyers cannot be developed in an atmosphere that fosters cooperativeness and support...perhaps then, lawyers would be more respected and trusted.

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