Some law school classes base grades solely on one exam. However, as law schools change up the model (and even have more practical classes such as legal research and writing) more and more law school classes are requiring you to turn in work. This work may be part of your grade or go toward a “participation” percentage of your grade (and may even require you to post comments on a class discussion board).
It may seem simple, but you absolutely never, ever want to miss one of these assignments or neglect to turn in work.
But what if the work is annoying or seems irrelevant?
It doesn’t matter! You still need to turn it in.
No matter what you think of the work or the participation requirement, your professor cares about it. Or she wouldn’t have assigned the work. And, if you haven’t figured it out already, law school competition is tight. The difference between an A- and a B+ can just be a matter of a couple of points depending on how tight the curve is. You never want to give up easy points for something like not turning in an assignment or forgetting to post to your class discussion page. Those could be the points that make the difference between the grade you wanted and the grade you got! (Don’t believe me? In my legal writing class second semester of my first year the difference between an A+ and an A was one point. Yup, one point out of hundreds.)
And you are right—not every assignment will be meaningful to you, but you will never know if you don’t do the work. And turn it in on time. My greatest annoyance working as an adjunct law professor is when a student turns in stuff late. It really hurts my professional perspective of him or her as a future lawyer. If such students don’t respect me (the person giving them a grade) and themselves enough to turn in a simple assignment at the time due, how are they going to function in the real world and represent clients?
And you know what? The practice of law includes all sorts of tasks and deadlines that might be annoying and inconvenient.
I hate to break it to you, but judges and bosses will require you to do all sorts of tasks that you might not like or consider relevant. But it doesn’t matter; you still need to do them. A missed deadline (or turning in something late) can actually have catastrophic consequences for a client. So if you are someone who is bad about keeping up a to-do list or turning things in on time, use law school as an opportunity to get better. It will pay off when you are practicing law in the future.
Law school is hard enough! Don’t give up easy points that will prevent you from getting the grades that you want.
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