List of law school GPA curves
||This article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject. (October 2009)|
Many, or perhaps most, law schools in the United States grade on a curve. The process generally works within each class, where the instructor grades the work, and then ranks the initial grades, adding to and subtracting from the initial grades so that the overall pattern of grades matches the school's specified curve (usually a bell curve).
Grading on a curve contributes to the notoriously competitive atmosphere within law schools. "The main source of this competition is the mandatory curve you will likely encounter once you enter law school. The curve affects the class rank, affects the chances of making law review, affects the chances of scoring that big job/externship." Some law schools set their curve lower to retain scholarship funding.
The following list shows where law schools set the 50% mark.
The List 
Class rank and GPA not reported 
- Columbia Law School – no reported GPA, but 30–33% of class qualifies for a distinction awarded to those with "an academic average significantly better than B+"
- Harvard Law School – The current grading system of dean's scholar, honors, pass, low pass, and fail had at one time a recommended curve of 37% High Pass and, 55% pass, and 8% low pass in classes with over 30 JD and LLM students, but the curve is no longer enforced. Between 1970 and 2008 Harvard established a GPA cut-off required in order to obtain the summa cum laude distinction. During that time, only 6 students achieved the GPA required for the distinction of summa cum laude (32 out of the 38 years, the top student only managed to obtain the magna cum laude distinction, for example, there was a 15 year hiatus until Lisa Ann Grow managed to obtain summa cum laude). Those who have managed to obtain the summa cum laude distinction include Lewis Sargentich('70), Isaac Pachulski('74), Peter Huber('82), Kristen Chiger ('86), Lisa Ann Grow/Sun ('97), Julian Poon ('99). Since 2008, to address the difficulty of obtaining the summa cum laude distinction, in a year where no student manages to meet the GPA cut-off, Harvard will now award summa cum laude to the top student of the year (a rank that did not guarantee summa cum laude in the past).
- New York University School of Law – not reported but appears to be 3.2
- Rutgers School of Law–Camden – class rank was eliminated in 1972; each semester, the law school identifies Dean's Scholars as the top 5% and Dean's List as the next 20%; at graduation, highest honors and high honors are determined by the faculty and honors is given to the top 15%
- Rutgers School of Law–Newark – class rank is not published; however, upon graduation, rank is used to determine graduation honors with top 10% awarded Order of the Coif and cum laude; top 5% awarded magna cum laude; and top 1% awarded summa cum laude.
- University of Michigan Law School – class rank is not established until after graduation
- University of Notre Dame Law School – 1L class mean must be between 3.25 to 3.30. Large upper-level courses for 2L and 3L (>25 students) must have a mean between 3.25 and 3.35 with a mandatory distribution. Small upper-level courses (10 to 24 students) must have a mean between 3.15 and 3.45 with no mandatory distribution. Small courses (9 or fewer students) do not have a required curve.
- University at Buffalo Law School – no curve, but benchmarks for top 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% for each class are released each June
- University of Pennsylvania Law School – not reported.
Irregular grading systems 
The following law schools have adopted a grading system which does not allow for the calculation of a comparable median GPA on a 4.0 scale, if any GPA is recorded at all:
- Campbell Law School – mandatory median (82, or a C)
- Stanford Law School – pass/no pass system with honors and distinctions, with a limit of 30% honors in lecture classes and 40% in seminars
- Berkeley Law (aka Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, Law School – pass/no pass system with 10% of first-years receiving pass with high honors and 30% of first-year students receiving pass with honors in each class; for upper division classes (2L and 3L years) up to 15% of in a class may receive high honors and up to 45% may receive either honors or high honors
- University of Chicago Law School – uses unusual numeric grade with median of 177
- Wake Forest University School of Law – curved at 85
- Yale Law School – honors/pass/low pass/fail system with no fixed curve
- Northeastern University School of Law – written evaluations given for each course with "buzz words" used
- Washington University in St. Louis School of Law – uses a scale of 70–100; the mandatory mean range for first-year courses is 86.5–87.5
- "Competition and the Mandatory Curve in Law School," Apr. 18, 2006, CALI's Pre-Law Blog ("The main source of this competition is the mandatory curve you will likely encounter once you enter law school. The curve affects the class rank, affects the chances of making law review, affects the chances of scoring that big job/externship.") See also, Barbara Glesner Fines, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, "Competition and the Curve
- WCL Office of Registrar
- BYU Policies and Procedures
- Cornell OCS
- DU Law Student Handbook
- Duke OCS
- Duquesne University School of Law Academic Bulletin
- FCSL Student Handbook
- George Mason Academic Regulations
- UHLC Policy Handbook
- No Grade Inflation at Idaho
- Illinois Academic Policy Handbook
- "University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth Student Handbook". Retrieved March 30, 2012.
- Northwestern Academics
- Moritz Law 2006 rankings Moritz Law Registrar
- Penn State Dickinson School of Law – www.dsl.psu.edu
- St. John's Student Handbook
- SLU First Year Rankings
- SLU Second Year Rankings
- SLU Third Year Rankings
- USC Handbook
- Southern Illinois University School of Law Rules
- SMU OCS
- NALP SULS GPA
- Syracuse University College of Law Academic Rules
- Temple University Class Rank Report
- "UT Law – Student Affairs Office – Grading Policy". Retrieved February 29, 2012.
- Texas Wesleyan University – Home
- Wise, Carolyn C (2007-02-15). The Law School Buzz Book. ISBN 9781581314243.
- The University of Tulsa College of Law
- Virginia website
- W&L Admissions
-  §8.06
- Wisconsin Students
- Columbia Law School: Grading, accessed March 22, 2007
- Harvard Law School Handbook of Academic Policies 2009–2010
- New York University School of Law | Grades & Academic Standards (J.D. & LL.M.), accessed August 19, 2007
- Rutgers University School of Law – Camden Grading System, accessed June 12, 2009
- http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=23102&yr=2011 NALP Directory of Law Schools – Rutgers School of Law-Newark
- , accessed March 16, 2009
- Notre Dame Law School Grading Policy, accessed November 26, 2012
- Penn Law Information on Law School Grades
- Stanford Law School Grading System, accessed December 7, 2010
- Grading Policy, law.berkeley.edu, accessed June 9, 2011
- Yale Law School | Grades, accessed March 22, 2007
- Washington University School of Law | Grades, accessed Nov. 14, 2010