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#DearFindLaw: Fall Grades Are In. Now What?

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By William Peacock, Esq. on January 07, 2015 12:01 PM

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

It's the moment law students have been waiting for (and dreading): grades.

All that work, all that studying, all those tests are long-since past and your all-important grades lie before you on the screen -- teasing, taunting, rewarding, and punishing you for the past few months.

Your grades are here. Now what?

Expect Surprises

Sometimes, the result is predictable. My Mass Media final felt like a bad night in prison and, sure enough, it was my worst grade in law school.

Sometimes, the result is not so predictable. My Sales final felt like frolicking through a field of daisies, yet the final grade was my second-worst.

Botton line: Everybody has a few surprise grades over their three (or more) years in school. Blame it on the curve, on your own ignorance, on that terrible professor -- whatever. Just know that it happens.

If You're Sorely Disappointed...

It's time to reflect and assess. How bad were your grades really?

Everybody wants to be at the top of their class, on law review, cruising their way toward clerkships, BigLaw, and the Supreme Court. It won't happen for 99 percent of you. But you can still have a successful, rewarding career.

Unless, of course, you failed. Or came dangerously close to doing so. If so, you might take this opportunity to ask yourself if you really want to be a lawyer, because the next two-and-a-half years are going to be hell.

If you're staying in law school, obviously, something you did didn't work out. Now is the time to self-evaluate: Did you study enough? Do you need to try different study methods or supplements? Are there tutoring services available at your law school? Can you set up times to talk to your professors about your exams?

If You're Exuberantly Joyful...

Congratulations. Have a drink and get back to work. No, seriously, because I've seen a handful of folks start strong, get lazy or cocky, and slide into mediocrity or worse.

You might also look at transferring to a better law school if doing so will enhance your employment prospects. Just be sure to weigh your current financial aid versus the cost of attending a "better" school before making the jump. And give your current school the opportunity to win your affection with more scholarship funds -- they want to keep you (the employable one in your class) around for graduation.

Law students and recent grads, send us your questions! Write to us via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals) using the hashtag #DearFindLaw.

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