Academic Standards

A. Grading

1. The scholastic achievement of students shall be evaluated by written examinations of suitable length and complexity, papers, or other documents, except that evaluation also may include assessment of performances in the role of lawyers.

2. The law school gives each faculty member the option to allow students to type their exams.  If a professor allows typing, students must use a software program approved for this use by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  This policy does not apply to courses with take-home exams or papers.

3. Written examinations are given by the faculty according to procedures designed to assure that during the grading of the examination itself, the identity of the writer of any particular examination paper will remain unknown to the faculty yet which permits adjustments of final grades, at the discretion of the teacher of that course to take into account class attendance and/or performance.

  • The Office of Admissions and Records will provide each faculty member with a list of the student exam numbers for each course.
  • Faculty will grade examinations by exam numbers.

Faculty will submit grades to the Office of Admissions and Records by exam number.

In addition, faculty will submit the names of those students whose grades require adjustment and the precise change(s) that need to be made.

The Office of Admissions and Records will enter the grades on the students’ records.

The foregoing does not apply to clinic courses, skills courses, seminars, supervised research, and other courses in which grades are based on observation and evaluation of students’ performance or written work, or in which for other reasons anonymous grading is not practicable.

4. For classes completed in the summer of 2011 or earlier the numerical value to each letter grade per hour credit for purposes of computing grade point average (GPA) is as follows:

A=4.00

B+=3.50

B=3.25

B-=3.00

C+=2.50

C=2.25

C-=2.00

D+=1.50

D=1.00

F=0.00.

5. For classes completed after summer 2011, the following grade scale shall apply. Grades are to be assigned by numerical value and numerical values shall be used in computing GPA. Letter grades are listed only so that faculty, students, and employers will know the approximate letter value of each numerical grade

4.0 = A

3.9

3.8

3.7 = A-

3.6

3.5

3.4

3.3 = B+

3.2

3.1

3.0 = B

2.9

2.8

2.7 = B-

2.6

2.5

2.4

2.3 = C+

2.2

2.1

2.0 = C

1.9

1.8

1.7 = C-

1.6 = F

1.5

1.4

1.3

1.2

Adopted 4/14/2011)

6. A faculty member shall not change a student’s grade after submitting his or her final grades to the registrar except for a computational error or for a clerical error in recording the grade or to change a grade of Incomplete to a final letter grade.  (Revised 12/14/04.)

7. Minimum Required GPA to Remain in Good Standing.  To remain in good standing, a student must maintain a GPA of at least 2.30. (Adopted 4/14/2011)

8. Good Standing.  To determine whether a 2L or 3L remains in good standing when the student has earned grades under both the previous and current grading systems, the student’s grades under the old system will be averaged against the student’s grades under the new system. (Adopted 4/14/2011)

Note: The averaging mechanism that applies to students who earned grades under both the previous system and the system adopted on April 14, 2011 is set forth in Appendix D.

9. Grades Below 2.3.  All grades below 2.3 reflect performance that falls below minimum competency.  However, students shall receive credit for the course if they earn a 1.7 to 2.2.  Grades from 1.2 to 1.6 constitute failing grades.  The student will not receive credit for the course.  If the course is required, the student must retake the class.(Adopted 4/14/2011)

10. Pass/Fail Courses.  Courses taught on a pass/fail basis are exempt from the mandatory and recommended means. (Adopted 4/14/2011)

 

B. Mandatory Grade Curve (Adopted 4/14/2011)

1. Mandatory Mean in Required Courses with 9 or More Students and Elective Courses with 30 or More Students.

  • For all required courses with 9 or more students and all elective courses with 30 or more students, the mean GPA of final grades for the course must fall between 2.9 and 3.1, with a target GPA of 3.0.
  • The grades of students who receive an incomplete are not included in calculating the mean GPA for a course.
  • The Mean GPA shall be calculated based upon the final grade for the course, including mid-terms, class participation, and any other graded assignments; it is not calculated using just the final exam, final paper, or other final project, unless that is the only manner in which the students are evaluated.

2. Mandatory mean in Elective Courses with 9 to 29 Students.

  • For all elective courses with 9 to 29 students, the mean GPA for the course must fall between 2.9 and 3.1, with a target GPA of 3.0, subject to the following proviso.

If the mean GPA of all students enrolled in the course – based on prior course work at the law school – is lower than 2.9 or higher than 3.1, the permissible grade range for the course shall expand to encompass the students’ incoming mean GPA average, plus 0.1 GPA points. If the incoming mean GPA average is greater than 3.1, and minus 0.1 GPA points if the incoming mean GPA average is lower than 2.9.

The grades of students who receive an incomplete are  not included in calculating the mean GPA for a course

3. Recommended Mean in Courses with 1 to 8 Students (Required or Elective) and Clinical Courses (Including Externships).

For all courses with 1 to 8 students (required or elective) and all clinical courses (including externships), the mean GPA for the course should fall between 2.9 and 3.1, with a target GPA of 3.0, subject to the same proviso applicable in elective courses with 9 to 29 students.

  • The grades of students who receive an incomplete are not included in calculating the mean GPA for a course.

4. The registrar shall distribute the total mean GPA of each class with enrollment of 29 or less to the professor teaching the class by the last day of final exams.

5. Multiple Sections of the Same Course.  When a professor teaches multiple sections of the same course and administers the same assessment tool (or tools) in each section – e.g., the same final exam – the professor must apply the mandatory curve across both sections as if the two sections together constitute a single course.  Thus, for example, professors teaching two sections of RWA are required to treat the two sections as if they are a single class.  There are five courses excepted in part from this policy.  If the professor is teaching both the day and night sections of Property I, Property II, Civil Procedure I, Civil Procedure II, or Legal Profession, the professor need not treat the day and night Sections as if they are a single course

6. Enforcement Mechanism.  If a professor turns in non-complying grades, the grades are to be returned to the professor.  The professor must then re-curve the class. If the professor chooses not to comply, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall act in his or her discretion to bring the grades into compliance, such as by setting the curve based on the professor’s raw scores.

7. Turning in non-complying grades constitutes failure to turn in grades for purposes of the Late Grade Policy.

8. Transcript and Website Notation.

  • A short description of the law school grading system and curve shall be conspicuously placed on the back of all official transcripts. (Revised 9/12/2011)  The full grading system shall be available on the website. A link to that location shall be included in the transcript notation.

 

C. Exclusion and Readmission (Revised 9/12/2011)

1. Academic dismissal (Note: This paragraph V C 1 applies to students who matriculated at the law school after July 1, 2011.)

  • General rule: A student will be automatically dismissed from the school if either:

After completing one semester of work at this school, the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) is less than 1.80 in all courses taken at this school; or

After completing two semesters of work at this school or any time thereafter, the student’s cumulative GPA is less than 2.30 in all courses taken at this school.

  • Effect of academic dismissal on student currently enrolled:  Dismissal of a student pursuant to subparagraph V C 1 a (1) shall take effect immediately.  Immediate dismissal is required even if, at the time it is determined that dismissal is required, the student is enrolled in classes; and even if the student petitions for readmission.

2. Academic dismissal Note: This paragraph V C 2 applies to students who matriculated at the law school before July 1, 2011.

  • General rule: Any student who matriculated at the law school before July 2011 will earn grades under two, different grading systems.  To determine whether such a student is in good standing, the grades earned under the old grading system and the new grading system will be averaged using the averaging mechanism illustrated in the following example.

Example: Student M finished the 2010-2011 school year with 60 credits and a grade point average (GPA) of 2.1 earned under the old grading system.  Then, in 2011-12, under the new grading system, M earns a 2.1 GPA in 30 credits.  Under the old grading system, M earned 6 GPA points above the good standing line (60 credits x 0.1 above the good standing line of 2.0 = 6 GPA points).  Under the new grading system, M earned 6 GPA points below the good standing line (30 credits x 0.2 below the good standing line of 2.3 = 6 GPA points).  The GPA points below the good standing line are then subtracted from the GPA points above the good standing line.  If that total falls below zero, then the student is no longer in good standing and will automatically be dismissed from school.  In the example, M is at zero.  M is thus in good standing.

  • Effect of academic dismissal on student currently enrolled:  Dismissal of a student pursuant to subparagraph (1) shall take effect immediately.  Immediate dismissal is required even if, at the time it is determined that dismissal is required, the student is enrolled in classes; and even if the student petitions for readmission.

3. Eligibility to petition for readmission following academic dismissal:  Note: This paragraph V C 3 applies to students who matriculated at the law school after July 1, 2011.   A student dismissed for academic deficiency, who has not previously petitioned for readmission, may petition in writing for readmission within eighteen months from notice of dismissal, if either:

  • The student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) is 2.10 or higher; or
  •  The student has completed only two semesters of law school work at this school and has earned at least a 2.50 GPA in either semester.

4. Eligibility to petition for readmission following academic dismissal:  Note: This paragraph V C 4 applies to students who matriculated at the law school before July 1, 2011.  A student dismissed for academic deficiency, who has not previously petitioned for readmission, may petition in writing for readmission within eighteen months from notice of dismissal, if either:

  • The student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) is 1.80 or higher; or
  • The student has completed only two semesters of law school work at this school and has earned at least a 2.25 GPA in either semester.
  • The student has completed only one semester of law school work at this law school and the student’s cumulative GPA is 1.30 or higher.

5. Standards for deciding readmissions petitions:  Readmission will be granted only if the student establishes both of the following:

  •  The reasons for his or her inadequate performance have been resolved and will not interfere with the success of his or her studies in the future; and
  • It is reasonable to expect the petitioner to be an effective and ethical lawyer after graduation.

6. Procedures for deciding re-admissions petitions.

  •  The petition will be granted or denied by the faculty Readmissions Committee, before which the petitioner may personally appear.
  •  If the committee denies the petition for readmission, the petitioner may have the committee’s decision considered by the faculty on the basis of the faculty’s knowledge of the petitioner and the petitioner’s written submission.
  • To obtain faculty consideration of an adverse decision of the committee, the petitioner must deliver a written request for faculty consideration to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within twenty-one days after the date of notification of the committee’s decision.

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will notify the petitioner concerning the time in which additional materials may be submitted for faculty consideration.

The petitioner may not, however, raise any issue before the faculty that was not previously raised before or considered by the committee.

  • If the petitioner does not make a timely request for faculty consideration of the committee’s decision, or if the faculty denies readmission, denial of readmission is final, and no further petition will be entertained.

7. Conditions of readmission.  NOTE: This paragraph V C 7 applies to students who (i) initially matriculated at the law school after July 1, 2011, or (ii) were readmitted to the law school after July 1, 2011, regardless of when they initially matriculated.

  • The following rules apply to students who are readmitted following academic dismissal pursuant to Academic Rule V C 1, Academic Rule V.C.2, or their predecessors in prior versions of these rules:
  • Readmission will be granted on condition that the student begin his or her legal studies anew.
  • A readmitted student will receive no credit for courses completed prior to readmission, and grades previously earned will be disregarded in computing the student’s grade point average (GPA).
  • A readmitted student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above through his or her first two semesters following readmission.  Thereafter, until graduation, a readmitted student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75.  If at any time the student’s cumulative GPA falls below the specified minimums, the student will be dismissed and will not be eligible to petition for readmission.
  • A readmitted student must complete at least six of the following seven courses prior to graduation: Business Associations, Commercial Paper Transactions, Criminal Procedure Pre-Trial Process, Decedents’ Estates and Trusts, Family Law, Sales Transactions and Secured Transactions.
  • A readmitted student must complete at least one of the following two courses prior to graduation: Conflict of Laws and Remedies.
  •  Throughout a readmitted student’s law school career, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs must approve the student’s schedule in writing before the student can register for classes.
  • The Committee — or the faculty, if readmission is granted by the faculty following appeal to the faculty — may impose any other conditions on readmission that it deems appropriate.

In the case of a student who is readmitted but who has not been academically dismissed pursuant to Academic Rule V C 1, Academic Rule V C 2, or their predecessors in prior versions of these rules, readmission will be on whatever terms the faculty Readmissions Committee deems appropriate.

A readmitted student who is required to begin his or her legal studies anew will be readmitted to the next entering class in which the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs determines there is space available, unless the Committee or the faculty, acting pursuant to Academic Rule V C 7 a (7), requires that the student wait a stated period of time before beginning his or her studies anew.  In no event will a readmitted student be required to wait more than one academic year to re-enter law school.  Unless the Committee or the faculty, acting pursuant to Academic Rule V C 7 a (7), requires that the student be readmitted to a particular division, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will determine whether the readmitted student will be assigned to the full-time or part-time division, taking into account the desires of the student, the Associate Dean’s judgment concerning the best interests of the student, and, after consultation with the Chairman of the Admissions Committee, the needs of the Law School.)

8. Conditions of readmission.  NOTE: This paragraph V C 8 applies to students who initially matriculated at the law school before July 1, 2007, were academically dismissed, and then were readmitted before July 1, 2011.

  • The following rules apply to students who are readmitted following academic dismissal pursuant to Academic Rule V. B.1, Academic Rule V B 2, or their predecessors in prior versions of these rules:

A readmitted student will receive no credit for courses completed prior to readmission, and grades previously earned will be disregarded in computing the student’s grade point average.

A readmitted student will be automatically dismissed from the school if, after completing one semester of work following readmission or at any time thereafter, the student is no longer in good standing, as determined by the averaging mechanism set forth in Rule V.C. 2 a & a (1).

9. Conditions of readmission.  NOTE: This paragraph V C 9 applies to students who matriculated at the law school between July 1, 2007, and July 1 2011, were academically dismissed, and then were readmitted before July 1, 2011.

  • The following rules apply to students who are readmitted following academic dismissal pursuant to Academic Rule V C 1, Academic Rule V C 2, or their predecessors in prior versions of these rules:

Readmission will be granted on condition that the student begin his or her legal studies anew.

A readmitted student will receive no credit for courses completed prior to readmission, and grades previously earned will be disregarded in computing the student’s grade point average (GPA).

A readmitted student to whom this paragraph (9) applies may earn grades under two, different grading systems.  Such a student will be automatically dismissed from the school if, after completing one semester of work following readmission or at any time thereafter, the student’s GPA does not satisfy the GPA averaging mechanism illustrated in the following example.

  • Example: Student Q finished the 2010-2011 school year with 60 credits and a GPA of 2.35 earned under the old grading system.  Then, in 2011-12, under the new grading system, Q earns a 2.25 GPA in 30 credits.  Under the old grading system, Q earned 6 GPA points above the minimum required GPA for readmitted students (60 credits x 0.1 above the minimum required GPA of 2.25 = 6 GPA points).  Under the new grading system, Q earned 6 GPA points below the transitional GPA line set for students in this category (30 credits x 0.2 below the transitional GPA line of 2.45 = 6 GPA points).  The GPA points below the transitional GPA line are then subtracted from the GPA points above the minimum required GPA for readmitted students under the old grading system.  If that total falls below zero, then the student is not in compliance with the GPA condition of readmission and will automatically be dismissed from school.  In the example, Q is at zero. Q is thus still in compliance with the GPA condition of readmission.

A readmitted student must complete at least six of the following seven courses prior to graduation: Business Associations, Commercial Paper Transactions, Criminal Procedure Pre-Trial Process, Decedents’ Estates and Trusts, Family Law, Sales Transactions and Secured Transactions.

A readmitted student must complete at least one of the following two courses prior to graduation: Conflict of Laws and Remedies.

The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs must approve a readmitted student’s schedule in writing before the student can register for classes.

  • In the case of a student who is readmitted but who has not been academically dismissed pursuant to Academic Rule V C 1, Academic Rule V C 2, or their predecessors in prior versions of these rules, readmission will be on whatever terms the faculty Readmissions Committee deems appropriate.
  • Readmission will be on condition that the student begin his or her legal studies anew in the next entering class in which there is space available.  In no event will a student readmitted under this provision be required to wait more than one academic year to re-enter law school.

 

D. Rules for Temporary Withdrawal from the Law School

1. Any student who withdraws prior to completing one academic year’s work must file a new application for admission which will be considered pursuant to the then applicable admission policy.

2. The performance of an applicant who has attended law school is considered by the Admissions Committee in the admissions process.

3. A student who has completed only one semester of law school and who has been admitted to law school again, may, after admission, apply to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to receive credit for work previously completed.

  •  The Associate Dean will base the decision to award credit upon the quality of the work completed and the length of time which has elapsed since its completion.
  • The Associate Dean will not award credit for courses in which the student earned a grade below the grade point average necessary to remain in good standing at the school where the course was offered, or for any course work completed more than two academic years before the year of admission. (Revised 1/23/2012)

4. A student who has completed one academic year must petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a leave of absence prior to withdrawal.

  • The student must show good cause for a leave of absence.
  • Upon a finding of good cause, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will grant a leave of absence of a specific duration, subject to any conditions stipulated by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • A student who withdraws without a leave of absence being granted will not be considered in good standing at the law school.  Such a student must petition the Readmissions Committee for readmission.
  • Any leave of absence granted in accordance with the foregoing rules shall not in any way affect the rule that a candidate for the J.D. degree must complete course requirements for graduation within seven years of initial enrollment. (Revised: 5/11/09)