Saturday, June 3, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No Pass/Fail Grade for Disgruntled Law Student

(CN) - A student at New York Law School is not entitled to a pass/fail grade in legal writing, a New York appellate division ruled.

Timothy Keefe was dissatisfied with his grade in Legal Writing II after he transferred to NYLS.

He sued the school for breach of implied contract and fair dealing, claiming he was unfairly disadvantaged because he did not take Legal Writing I at NYLS.

Keefe sought to change the law school's grading system from letter grades to pass/fail.

The trial court ruled in favor of the law school, and the Manhattan-based 1st Appellate Division agreed in a per-curiam decision.

"Only specific promises set forth in a school's bulletins, circulars, and handbooks, which are material to a student's relationship to the school, can establish the existence of an implied contract," the justices wrote.

They added that the school never promised to use a pass/fail system.

"Defendant communicated through its student handbook that it utilizes a letter grading system under which all students are evaluated," the justices noted.

They also rejected Keefe's claim that he was disadvantaged by not taking Legal Writing I at NYLS. The justices noted that Keefe did not take advantage of the school's offer for him to get "up to speed" heading into Legal Writing II.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.