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The story is told about a graduate of an Ivy League institution who, when asked by a law school admissions officer whether he was in the top half of his class responded quickly, "No sir, I'm one of those who make the top half possible." For better or worse, most students, once in law school, do not take low grade averages with such equanimity. Among the objects of their displeasure are they themselves, their instructors, course content, and the grading system which makes a top and bottom half possible. It is conceivable that high average students direct displeasure at the same objects. For purposes of this article it is sufficient to point out that being in the top half or top decile of one's class does not mean one is satisfied with law school grading procedures. High average students join with low average students in expressing their desire for changes in the grading system.


This article was originally published as Lempert, Richard O. "Law School Grading: An Experiment with Pass-Fail." Journal of Legal Education 24 (1972): 251-308, and is reproduced here with permission. AALS is the copyright holder of the edition of the Journal in which the article first appeared.