Curricular Standards

A. Rules Governing Course Selection

  1. The first year curriculum is prescribed.
    • First year full-time students must enroll for the 15-hour fall curriculum and 15-hour spring curriculum.
    • First year part-time students must enroll for the 9-hour fall curriculum and 9-hour spring curriculum prescribed, with the option to take Legal Profession in the spring and thereby increase their first-year spring semester load to 11 hours.
  2. All students must enroll in required courses in the semester and in the sequence prescribed in the required curriculum.
  3. Deviations from the required curriculum will not be permitted except with the advance permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

No student may enroll in and attend a course requiring a prerequisite if the student has not already completed the prerequisite, except with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, after consultation with the faculty member teaching the course.

No student may earn more than a total of two hours credit in Independent Study, and no student may enroll for more than one hour of Independent Study in any single academic year, except that the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may allow two hours in special cases.

 

Required Curriculum

The required curriculum is set forth as Appendix A to the Academic Rules and is incorporated by reference.

The upper level writing requirement is set forth as Appendix B to the Academic Rules and is incorporated by reference.

The upper level policy and perspectives requirement is set forth as Appendix C to the Academic Rules and is incorporated by reference.

 

Regular and Punctual Attendance

Regular and punctual attendance is required in all courses.

A student who fails to maintain regular attendance may be excluded from

  • The school by the faculty or
  • From the course by the instructor or both.

Prompt and regular attendance and preparation, or lack thereof, and class participation may be considered by the individual faculty member in regard to grades and by the faculty and the Dean in regard to honors, awards, scholarships, recommendations, and similar matters.

Specific attendance, preparation, and class participation requirements by an instructor in a particular course

  • Shall be announced by the instructor at the beginning of the course and
  • Shall be made known to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

5. The instructor shall convene each class session as scheduled by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  If an instructor cancels class due to inclement weather, illness, or other unforeseeable circumstances, or if the instructor determines that convening a scheduled class meeting is otherwise impracticable, the instructor shall either

  • reschedule the class at a time reasonably convenient for students; or
  • provide methods of instruction reasonably equivalent to a scheduled class session, including but not limited to individual student conferences with the instructor, lawyering skill simulations, oral arguments, observation of judicial or legislative proceedings, or guest speaker presentations related to the course subject matter.
  • If the law school is closed due to weather, health, or other emergency circumstances, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may waive this requirement for the faculty as a whole, as long as every class meets the ABA standard for classroom instruction.

(Adopted 5/14/2012)

6. Faculty shall not schedule a class session for presentation of new material during days reserved for student review for exams, commonly referred to as the “reading period” or “dead week” unless

  • Approved in advance by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs because of extraordinary circumstances.
  •  Faculty may schedule review sessions during this period, but shall not require attendance as part of a course attendance policy.

 

Maximum and Minimum Number of Hours For Which Students May Register

Maximum Number of Hours.  A full-time student shall not register for more than 16 credit hours in either the fall or spring semester, or for more than 9 credit hours in the summer (10 credit hours if the student is registered for a Legal Clinic course).  For the final semester of law school study a student may enroll for a maximum of 17 credit hours. (Revised 4/14/2011)

A part-time student may not register for more than 12 credit hours in either the fall or spring semester, or for more than 6 credit hours in the summer (7 credit hours if the student is registered for a Legal Clinic course).

Credit hours earned in courses which are held during an intersession (for example, between the end of the summer term and the beginning of the fall semester) do not count for purposes of this limitation on credit hours.

Overloads will never be allowed under any circumstances.

Minimum Number of Hours.

A full-time student shall not register for fewer than 10 credit hours.

A part-time student shall not register for fewer than 8 credit hours, in either the fall or spring semester.

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may approve a petition to register for fewer hours.

Any student who registers for more than 12 credit hours is considered a full-time student and must comply with Rule III E (Rule Governing Student Employment).

 

Rule Governing Student Employment

Because the curriculum in the full-time division is designed to occupy substantially all of a student’s working hours,

  • A first year full-time day student is not allowed to work for an employer other than the law school, and for the law school no more than 10 hours per week when school is in session.
  • A student shall not engage in employment for more than 20 hours per week in any semester in which the student is enrolled in more than 12 class hours.

Each student who registers for more than 12 credit hours shall

  • Certify compliance with this rule in the manner prescribed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and
  • Must disclose whether and by whom the student is employed or expects to be employed during the semester.

The Law School will publicize this 20 hour per week maximum to employers.

Any student who works or will work more than 20 hours per week shall not register for or continue to be enrolled in more than 12 credit hours.  (Revised 9/9/04, effective 8/15/05.)

 

Rules Governing Transfer from One Division to the Other and Governing Course Registration in the Division in Which a Student is Not Enrolled

Full-time students take day classes and part-time students take night classes.

A student who has been admitted to either the full-time or part-time division may not register for a course or courses offered in the other division  unless

  • The course is designated as open to all students or
  • In the case of a non-required course, the closed registration period has ended, and there are still openings in the course.

A student who has been admitted to either the full-time or part-time division shall not transfer to the other division unless the student petitions the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the petition is granted.

First year part-time students shall not transfer division.

 

Rule with Respect to Withdrawal from Course

During the first five class days of a semester, a student may enter or withdraw from an upper-year class by following the procedures prescribed by the Office of Student Records of the law school.

After the fifth class day of a semester, a student

  • Must have the written permission of the instructor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to enter or withdraw from a class and
  • File such written permission with the Office of Student Records of the law school.

A student will not be allowed to withdraw from a course

  • After the final examination for that course has commenced, or
  • In the case of a course without a final examination, after 5:00 p.m. on the last day of the examination period of the semester in which the student registered for the course.

First year part-time students shall not drop a course, except that a first-year part-time student may drop Legal Profession.

First year full-time students shall not drop courses except

  • When transferring from the full-time to the part-time division, and
  • The student remains enrolled in the part-time curriculum. (Revised: 5/11/09)

 

Auditing of Courses by an Enrolled Law Student

With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the faculty member involved, an enrolled law student will be permitted to audit a law course; that is, to take a course without receiving either a final grade or credit.

No student taking a normal load of credit courses may audit more than one additional course.

No student carrying a partial load may audit more courses than would constitute a full load giving such audit courses one-half normal credit.

An auditor is held responsible for regular attendance and for all course work except examinations.

No audit course may be counted as credit toward a degree.

 

Rule Regarding Courses Taken at Other Institutions for Credit

1. Prior approval required. Students wishing to take courses for credit toward our degree at another law school shall apply to the Associate Dean for permission to do so before the student enrolls in such course and provide information on the specific course or courses to be taken. Such prior approval will be required to receive credit toward our degree for such courses.

3. Standards for Approval of Courses. The Associate Dean may deny approval or grant approval only for a reduced number of transfer credit hours in the following circumstances:

  • Transfer credit shall be denied for courses in subjects not comparable to courses offered at this school and not considered by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to be of substantial value as preparation for entry into the legal profession.
  • The number of hours of transfer credit granted for any course taken at another law school may be limited to such number of semester hours as are granted for a comparable course offered at this school, or, in the case of a course not comparable to any course offered at this school, to such number of semester hours as the Associate Dean deems appropriate;
  • The amount of transfer credit granted for any course will not exceed the semester hour credit (or the semester hour equivalent for quarter hour credit) earned at the school where the course was taken; and
  • Credit hours granted for study at a law school accredited by the state in which it is located but not by the American Bar Association may not exceed one-third of the total required by this school for its J.D. degree, and credit hours granted for study at a law school which is not a member of the Association of American Law Schools may not exceed 42 hours.

3. Minimum grade required. Transfer credit will be granted only for courses in which the student earned a grade at or above the grade point average necessary to remain in good standing at the school where the course was offered. Credit will be granted for courses taken on a “credit/no credit” basis, only for courses in which the student earned a “credit” (Revised 1/23/2012).

Grade Point Average, Class Rank, Honors, and Prizes.

For purposes of cumulative grade point average, transfer credits will not enter into the computation for purposes of class rank, honors, and prizes; the courses will be treated as pass-fail courses for purposes of cumulative grade point average.

Students with such credit granted for courses taken at another law school will remain eligible for general class ranking, honors, and prizes as long as they complete 56 hours of credit at this institution.

 

Treatment of Cumulative Averages of Students Admitted with Advanced Standing

Students admitted with advanced standing, i.e., students who do not complete at least 56 hours at this law school, will not be given a class rank based on cumulative weighted average and will not be eligible for prizes or awards based thereon.

For purposes of employment only, such students shall be given their average on the work done at UALR and an indication if they desire as to what “constructive rank” such an average would be given if all work has been done here.

For graduation honors based on cumulative weighted averages, such students shall be considered on the basis of their work at this institution if they have completed 56 hours here.

After completion of some work here, transfer students, under appropriate circumstances, may be considered for selection by the Law Review.

 

Duty to Take Examinations and Complete Other Course Work as Scheduled

Students are expected to take final examinations when scheduled and complete other course work as assigned and as due.

An examination schedule is posted before the beginning of each examination period.

Ordinarily, all students will be required to take examinations at the time indicated on the schedule.

If the examination schedule creates an extraordinary hardship for a student, e.g., exams scheduled at conflicting times, two exams scheduled on the same day, or three exams scheduled on three successive days, the student should request as quickly as possible a rescheduled examination time from the faculty member involved.

If such an extraordinary request receives the permission of the faculty member, the examination may be rescheduled at a time agreed upon.

The faculty member shall communicate the date and time of all rescheduled exams to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

If, once the examination period has begun, a student is unable to take a final examination when scheduled or in a timely manner complete other course work as assigned or as due by reason of illness or other suddenly arising imperative cause, the student should, before the examination is scheduled, or work due, inform the faculty member involved.

If a prior excuse has been given and a student has received permission to take an examination at other than the scheduled time, the examination will be rescheduled and taken at that time.

If a grade is not available at the time grades are entered for the term, with the permission of the faculty member, a grade of “I” for “incomplete” will then be entered in the student’s record.

Ordinarily, a student will have no more than 90 days from the end of the examination period to complete the work or receive an “F”(1.2)  in place of the “I.”

Consequences of Missing Scheduled Examinations

General rule:  If a student fails to appear for a final examination at the proper time without giving the required prior notice to the faculty member and having been given permission not to appear by the faculty member involved, the student will be given an “F” (1.2) for the course unless the student can show that the failure to give prior notice was due to a physical incapacity to do so.

The following are exceptions to the general rule stated above:

  • If the student fails to appear for a final examination on account of illness or other suddenly arising imperative and is unable to communicate the request for postponement of the examination to the faculty member due to a physical incapacity to do so, which physical incapacity is documented by the student to the satisfaction of the faculty member, then the faculty member is permitted to waive the general rule.
  • If the student fails to appear for a final examination without permission and under circumstances other than those described above, the faculty member is permitted to allow the student to withdraw from the course or take the exam at the discretion of the faculty member when:
  • The faculty member certifies that the faculty member would have assigned the student a final grade for the course not lower than the student’s “blue book” grade; and
  • The faculty member concludes that the student’s failure to appear was not the result of an intentional effort on the student’s part to avoid receiving a low grade in the course or to avoid taking the exam at the scheduled time.

No student will be allowed to withdraw from more than one course, throughout the student’s career at this law school, pursuant to this rule.