It is possible that it will be sooner based on professor response time, but if all goes as planned, the 1L class will receive their fall semester grades at the end of this week.
The 1Ls are getting into their new classes–Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Ethics, and Property–and settling back into a familiar class in Legal Research & Writing. But as is the case each year, they have not yet received feedback on how they performed on their first semester exams.
This makes for an interesting week ahead.
It is rare that first-semester grades are fatal to a law student’s future in the profession, although it is inevitable that some will discover that they are in a difficult position. On the other end of the spectrum, some will learn that they are at the top of the class and realize that there are a few select doors open to them that they might not have previously considered. For most, by design, they will learn that they are in a solid position, which means that they are well on their way to becoming lawyers.
From my position in the law school, I encourage students to be the sort of human beings who receive evaluations simply as feedback as opposed to receiving evaluations as personal. For example, the former group will see a grade as an update on what worked and what didn’t work, while the latter will see a grade as a statement on whether they are good or bad at law school.
Research has shown that the former are not only more successful in life, but also more happy.
But it is hard not to be the latter.
The 1L class is in my deepest thoughts and prayers at this time each year. The grades they will receive this week do not define the talented individuals that comprise the class, but as I often tell them, the way they choose to respond to their grades can (and often, will).