We've (I mean law students) have all heard the common refrain that to get good grades we need to learn what the professor wants us to know instead of the material. Obviously, if true, that places a deterrent on learning, since what the teacher wants to hear might not be the correct understanding of the material.
LeiterReports quotes Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford, who bemoans the high 75th percentile GPAs in the top 20 law schools. She argues that focusing on high GPAs could promote coasting, since students are more likely to take easy courses that get them a high GPA rather than take hard classes and risk the mediocre grade.
A benefit of our undergraduate system is its focus on making students well-rounded. Every school has a list of requirements that encompass varied fields of study, and every student is expected to at least be exposed to all those fields. Focusing on high GPAs makes students less likely to take difficult courses, especially if their major is something relatively easy like political science or, in my school, information systems.
Law school therefore affects how students go through college and undermines our entire legal system. Stupid lawyers.