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Stanford Law Drops Letter-Grade System

Publication Date: 
June 16, 2008
The National Law Journal
Pamela A. MacLean

Dean Larry Kramer is quoted in a National Law Journal story about Stanford Law School's plans to discontinue the practice of giving letter grades starting in the fall. The Stanford Law Review is also mentioned in the article:

The goals are to shift students away from the focus on grades and prevent course selections that have started to include calculation of instructors' grading habits, according to Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer.

"It didn't come out of the blue. We consulted with employers and students and it has been well received," he said.


Kramer said Stanford plans to use a quota system of "a kind of enforced norm for ranges," but "a set of details has to be worked out." Once that is done it will eliminate the class-shopping problem, he said.

Kramer also pointed out that elimination of letter grades is common in business and medical schools, but law schools are the most conservative and slow to change.


Kramer said the students have been told the new system may be in place as early as this fall but it could take a full year to implement. "There are a whole bunch of details to be worked out," he said.

The Stanford Law Review did not take an official position on the grading policy change but issued this statement: "The Review has, for many years, selected members irrespective of grades. The Stanford Law Review seeks members who are committed to producing excellent and innovative legal scholarship. Our selection process consists of a blindly evaluated editing and writing exercise, to ensure that our members are meticulous editors and high-caliber legal writers."