Email screw-ups and law school listserves have provided us with tons of material in the past. Today’s cautionary tale comes to us from NYU Law School:
“Reply all” has its pitfalls, but so does the “reply to” address. Yikes!
[This student] was replying to an email from the professor sent out after the semester was over. The prof had sent the email via a listserver, so even if you just hit “reply” instead of “reply all,” everyone’s going to see it. The very same pitfall with the very same listserve caused a smart kid to broadcast an email griping because he had too many circuit court clerkship interviews one day.
And here’s the email that was sent to the listserv:
I am writing to inquire about my grade in last semester’s [xxxx] class. I turned in the exam feeling that I had under-represented what I actually learned, but I was still somewhat surprised to recieve a C in the course. If you get a chance (and it is appropriate), could you tell me if the grade was purely the result of a sub-par exam or if other factors were included?
By the way, this is not very skillful grade-grubbing. An email is too easily ignored, and it lacks emotional force. If you want to grade grub, set up an appointment with your professor, and do it in person.
Let them see you, in the flesh — and with tears in your eyes. Make them fully understand how they’ve shattered your dreams of a Vault 10 law firm job or a feeder-judge clerkship — unless, of course, they revisit their prior determination, and give you a grade that more accurately reflects your true abilities….