I’ve talked before about my dismay regarding the decline in actual merit-based grading in the American education system. But the latest news at the law school level pretty much takes the cake.
The most infamous case right now is Loyola in California. The school is going back and bumping up every single grade it’s given in the last few years. The idea is that this will supposedly make their graduates more competitive in a market where other California law school graduates have a higher average GPA. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the school’s ranking in the U.S. News and World Report annual top law schools issue. This “we’re all WINNERS because we paid SO MUCH MONEY for our education so we DESERVE IT” approach is beyond ridiculous.
Even worse, schools are paying graduates to take unpaid public service jobs and even paying private firms to give students “test runs” before committing to hiring them. And then those schools are able to count those students as employed graduates. While those programs certainly have advantages, like bringing some top students into public service and giving other students an opportunity to get their foot in the door at top law firms, there is certainly a flaw if those numbers are allowed to be included in schools’ employment statistics.
These news topics point to nothing more than fault lines in the broken system that is law school rankings. It’s absurd to me that a “top tier” school has a terrible reputation for many in this state for churning out under-educated and under-prepared fledgling lawyers, while a “third tier” institution enjoys a stellar reputation for sending attorneys into the legal world who are well-prepared after a solid practical education with a foundation in research and writing.
Don’t get me wrong, not all grads of the “top tier” school are terrible. And my school certainly isn’t perfect. But I do believe you get from something what you put into it. I’ve put my blood, sweat, and tears into my legal education, and I expect the person next to me to have also done so if they’re going to get the same grades as me. For that matter, I expect the person at the school down I-80 to have done the same if they’re going to get the same grades as me.