How Law Students Feel About Pass/Fail Grading Systems

Harvard Law School

Harvard Law Students Speak Out On Online Fall Semester

Harvard Law Students are criticizing plans for an online fall semester.

Earlier this month, Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning announced that the law school would hold its fall semester online in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not the announcement we’d hoped to make,” Dean John Manning writes in a letter to students. “But our first priority is, and must continue to be, the health and safety of our community, and we cannot reliably conclude at this time that we can safely provide an effective on-campus program this fall.” 


Following Manning’s announcement, law students drafted a petition that called for an alternative model and changes to the law school’s proposed policies, The Harvard Crimson reports.

In response, the law school held webinars and posted FAQs on topics such as tuition, grading, and leave of absence options. Yet, many students have found the response and information provided by Harvard Law to be “vague” or “insensitive.”

“I think finally people are getting fed up with how HLS has been less than transparent in this whole process,” Harvard Law School student Paul A. Caintic tells The Crimson. “It’s just all been handled really terribly, and it hasn’t quelled students’ worries at all.”

In a webinar, Assistant Dean for Career Services Mark Weber suggested that students should be grateful to experience an online education as the legal profession continues to lean toward remote work, according to The Crimson.

“We just saw a seismic shift in what is going on in the legal environment in the last 10 to 12 weeks,” Weber tells The Crimson. “The remote environment is going to be much more prevalent because we are already seeing that people can do it. The people who are here are going to be a little bit more seasoned in that environment because that is what it’s going to look like.”

Sources: The Harvard Crimson, Tipping the Scales

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