BY IVANA PLUS
In a surprising move, the Board of Student Advisors, together with the Registrar’s Office, announced that this year’s spring semester of First Year Legal Research and Writing will not be pass-fail. Instead, the 1L class will be receiving a letter grade that will count towards their GPA.
The exact impact that this will have on grades is uncertain. The unofficial word from the Registrar’s office is that LRW will be counted as a 3 credit course, and grades will be distributed along the normal curve. The written First Year Ames moot court brief will count for 50 percent of the grade, with class attendance and participation making up 25 percent, and the oral argument the remaining 25 percent.
The LRW program was overhauled this year in order to try and make the program more relevant. In the past students had complained that the FYL program was not effective at teaching the skills they needed when entering the workforce. Part of the problem, according to some, was related to the lack of effort that students put into their LRW work.
Students seem to agree that making LRW graded would help motivate them to put more effort into the class. However, this change is quite puzzling as it comes after most of the work for this semester’s LRW has already been done. Neither the Registrar’s Office nor the Board of Student Advisors was willing to comment on possible motivations for this change. Speculation centered on the role of the BSA in this change. Students have been wondering what this venerable institution would do in the wake of the Law School’s decision to remove them from active involvement in teaching LRW, a decision widely applauded by the student body.
“This makes me happy that I spent more time writing my brief instead of writing more opinion pieces for The Record,” said 1L Trevor Austin. Other students were not so pleased with this change. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one 1L commented that he may not have written his entire brief in one drunken evening if he had known that it would not be pass-fail. “At least I would have cleaned off the specks of vomit from the red cover sheet,” he said.
Most students did not find out about the change until they returned from spring break, leaving them free to enjoy their week off without the added stress. The few students who heard about the change prior to the break reported drastic changes in their plans. “I was planning on spending my spring break picketing outside Ropes-Gray’s Boston office,” said 1L Brad Rosen. “Now I have to stay on campus and work on my oral arguments.”
A request for comments from the Registrar’s Office was not answered as of the publication of this article. The only response The Record received was the autoreply from Joe Cook, which included an invitation to his step class at Hemenway Gym, Tuesday mornings at 7:15 a.m. and/or at the MAC, 12:15 p.m. Fridays.