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Federal Clerkship Information

GPA/Grading System Description for OSCAR

When you are putting your law grades into OSCAR, you will be asked for a GPA and the Grading System Description.  For the GPA field either put “n/a” or “Penn Law does not provide a GPA.” Please note that Penn Law’s Policy on Resume and Transcript Accuracy states in part:

Penn Law does not have a class ranking system or a GPA calculation. Students are not permitted to include law school grade point averages on resumes and are advised against estimating academic standing in the class; the law school will not support any student’s claim to be in a particular percentage of the class.

Here is Grading Systerm Description:

Law School courses beginning with Fall 2002 are graded on an alphabetic scale: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, F, and FNC. Beginning Fall 1995 through Spring 2002 courses are graded on the following alphabetic scale: A+, A, B+, B, B-, C, F, and FNC.

Legal Writing is graded Honors (H), Credit, or F. Honors in Legal Writing indicates superior ability.  For classes through the class of 2012, it was awarded to 10% of the class.  For the classes of 2013 on, it has been awarded to up to 30% of the class.

The unusual grade of Fail-No Credit (abbreviated FNC) may be given to a student who fails to complete the requirements of a course or who, in the written opinion of the instructor, evidences a lack of bona fide effort to complete the requirements of a course. This grade does not carry credit toward satisfying the student’s graduation requirements.

A course or co-curricular program which does not lend itself to the alphabetic system may be graded simply as Credit, Fail or Fail-No Credit (abbreviated CR, F and FNC).

The following grades are also used: I = Incomplete; W = Withdrew; NR = No grades reported for the course; GR = No grade reported for the student.

Law students taking courses in other divisions of the University receive grades on the other departments’ grading scale. Students are allowed a Pass/Fail option in these courses.

“SH” indicates “semester hours,” the credits the course bears.

Applying to the Supreme Court of the United States

Obtaining a Supreme Court clerkship requires impeccable academic credentials, a clerkship at the Circuit Court level, usually with a “feeder” judge, and networking with people with ties to the Court both at the law school and in the legal community.  Penn Law has placed several graduates in recent years on the Court and the law school will support viable candidates in their quest for a SCOTUS clerkship.

Interested applicants should comply with the following: 

  • Students should meet with the Supreme Court clerkship advisor, Prof. Christopher Yoo, early in their 2L year if not before to assess the viability of their candidacy.
  • Viable candidates should meet regularly thereafter with the Supreme Court clerkship advisor to discuss strategy on course selection and networking.
  • Absent exceptional circumstances, candidates should typically not apply to the Court until they have spent enough time during their clerkship to have the support of their Circuit Court judge.  In most cases, the optimal time for most students to begin applying is after or toward the end of their circuit court clerkship.