The importance of 1L grades

By Eleanor Clerc

Why 1L grades matter so much.

Your 1L grades are extremely important. They are the most important grades you will receive in law school as they determine your class rank and eligibility for scholarships, honorary societies, legal journals, and most importantly, coveted employment, such as clerkships and “big law” associate positions.

Also, students who don’t do well as 1Ls can have their scholarships reduced or revoked, whereas students that excel can negotiate for a new or larger scholarship at their current schools, or transfer to a different school.

If you are a student who hopes to get on law review or to land a prestigious on campus interview or judicial clerkship, you must be aware of the impact your 1L grades will have on those opportunities. The lower your grades, the more your opportunities will be limited, at least at first.

To understand the importance of your 1L grades, all you need to know is the typical timeline of legal hiring:

Winter/Spring of 1L

  • You’ll be applying for internships and jobs for the summer after your 1L year. The only grades employers will have when evaluating your application are your Fall 1L grades.