A piece in the New York Times (“Law schools visit Lake Wobegon”) discusses a growing national trend among law schools – grade inflation. In the hyper-competitive job market, average grades at anything other than an elite law school likely mean a law grad will spend about as long in the job market as a house with a top-dollar price would in this real estate market. The answer some law schools have come up with? Buff up the grades.
Appropriate to Minnesota, the NY Times identifies this as the Lake Wobegon effect, where everybody is catapulted to being “above average.” The problem? Students who are standouts have fewer ways to show that they are. Thus, a student who finishes high up in their class at a low-ranked law school may be disadvantaged because it gets harder and harder to tell that the student did better than his or her peers.
I have not heard of any Minnesota law schools doing this — nor do I think it would be a good idea. It’s hard to think it would help the situation to make the 800-plus new law grads the state has every year virtually indistinguishable.