Degree Requirements

To earn the Juris Doctor degree, students must satisfactorily meet the following academic requirements: completion of 84 credit hours, 67 of which must have been taken for a letter grade; fulfillment of the enrollment requirement; completion of each course in the required curriculum with a passing grade; and maintenance of the minimum grade-point average of 1.67. Once a student has earned 84 total credits and fully met the Juris Doctor degree requirements, they are barred from registering for additional credits in a new semester as a Juris Doctor candidate without the prior approval of the Academic Scholarship Committee. Students with transfer status must have a minimum of 48 graded credits to graduate.

Residence

Candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must complete 6 units of residency in order to graduate. A student who is enrolled full time during the entire course of his or her program of study will accumulate 6 residency units in 6 semesters. A student who is enrolled part time during the entire course of his or her program of study and who has paid the equivalent of 84 or more credit hours of tuition will be deemed to have satisfied the residency requirement for graduation. Students who switch between full- and part-time status will accumulate residency units based on the number of credit hours taken each semester or summer session. Students should seek the advice of the dean of students concerning fulfillment of this requirement.

Credit hours are equivalent to residency units as follows:

Full-time status

12+ credits = 1 unit

Part-time status

11 credits = .8 units

10 credits = .7 units

9 credits = .65 units

8 credits = .6 units

7 credits = .5 units

6 credits = .4 units

5 credits = .35 units

4 credits = .3 units

3 credits = .2 units

2 credits = .15 units

1 credit = .075 units

Required Curriculum

Full-Time Division

Full-time students in the day program must take the following schedule in their first year: fall semester—Contracts I, Torts, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure I, and Legal Research and Writing; spring semester—Contracts II, Property, Constitutional Law I, Civil Procedure II, and Introduction to Advocacy.

During the second or third year of study, all full-time students must take Law 6218, Professional Responsibility and Ethics, or Law 6343, Trusts, Estates, and Professional Responsibility, and fulfill the legal writing requirement and the professional skills requirement.

Part-Time (Evening) Division

Contracts I, Civil Procedure I, Torts, and Legal Research and Writing; first year, spring semester—Contracts II, Civil Procedure II, Torts, and Introduction to Advocacy; second year, fall semester—Property, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law I; second year, spring semester—electives.

Some required and elective courses may meet on Friday evenings or on weekend days in the fall and spring semesters.

During their second, third, or fourth year of study, all part-time (evening) program students are required to take Law 6218, Professional Responsibility and Ethics, or Law 6343, Trusts, Estates, and Professional Responsibility, and fulfill the legal writing requirement and the professional skills requirement.

Part-Time/Full-Time Option

With the permission of the dean of students, students initially admitted to the part-time division may transfer to the full-time division as early as their second semester. Students who choose to do so will customarily take the following schedule in their first and second years: first year, fall semester evening courses—Contracts I, Civil Procedure I, Legal Research and Writing; first year, spring semester evening courses—Contracts II, Civil Procedure II, Torts, Introduction to Advocacy; first year, spring semester day course—Criminal Law; summer session—Property; second year, fall semester evening course—Constitutional Law I and electives in the day or evening, subject to certain restrictions; second year, spring semester—electives in the day or evening, subject to certain restrictions.

During their second or third year of study, students pursuing this option must take Professional Responsibility and Ethics and fulfill the legal writing requirement and the professional skills requirement.

Additional information concerning transfer to the full-time division is available from the dean of students, including other course scheduling options for completing degree requirements in three years.

Legal Writing Requirement

Completion of 2 credit hours that are graded on the basis of written work (not examination) is required for the Juris Doctor degree. To satisfy the leg writing requirement the written work must be based on sound legal research, consist of a single paper no less than 8,000 words including footnotes, conform to the legal citation rules recognized and adopted by the Law School, and receive a grade of B- or better. All drafts and the final paper must confirm to legal citation rules and all rules outlined in the Law School publication Citing Responsibly. Failure to adhere to such rules may result in a violation of the Academic Integrity Code.

Subject to the foregoing rules and the rules that follow, the legal writing requirement may be met by (1) satisfactory completion of Law 6656, Independent Legal Writing; (2) satisfactory completion of a qualifying 2-credit seimnar or other 2-credit course that requires or permits a research paper; or (3) satisfactory service on the Law Review, International Law Review, American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal, Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Public Contract Law Journal, or International Law in Domestic Courts.

To meet the legal writing requirement through Law 6656, Independent Legal Writing, the following additional rules apply. The course must be taken for 2 credits, work in the course must be supervised by a full-time or part-time member of the faculty, and the student must submit the following for approval by the instructor by specified dates: (1) the intended topic, the intended length of the paper, and an outline, and (2) one or more drafts of the paper. The draft requirement is meant to provide the student an opportunity to improve the paper. The faculty member may require or permit a revised draft.

To meet the legal writing requirement through a 2-credit seminar or other 2-credit course that requires or permits a research paper, the following additional rules apply. If the instructor of the course requires fewer than 8,000 words for completion of course requirements, the instructor may choose to allow the student to write a longer paper that meets the 8,000-word requirement; submission of two or more shorter papers does not meet the requirement, or is the requirement satisfied if the student earns more than 2 credits for the course even if there are course requirements in addition to the research paper.

Law 6656 or a 2-credit seminar or other 2-credit course intended to fulfill the legal writing requirement may be graded on a Credit/No Credit basis only if the student, under extraordinary circumstances, is granted permission by the dean of students to take the course under the Credit/No Credit option, or if the student is granted an extension beyond the deadline by the instructor. In either case, the student must receive a graude of B- or better for the work product in order to fulfill the legal writing requirement.

To meet the legal writing requirement through journal participation, the work must be completed in coordination with the satisfactory completion of Law 6657, Scholarly Writing. The student must receive a grade of Honors or Pass for the work to fulfill the requirement.

Professional Skills Requirement

All Juris Doctor degree students entering in 2007 or later are required to complete 2 credit hours in a course that requires students to learn and develop practical legal skills through actual or simulated lawyering exercises. This course must be taken for a letter grade unless it is a clinical course that is offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis.The requirement has been established to ensure that all students develop and refine practical legal skills that include one or more of the following: problem solving, factual investigation, communication, counseling, negotiation, litigation, non-litigation advocacy, alternative dispute resolution, and drafting of legal documents such as contracts, estate plans, and briefs.

The requirement may be met by satisfactory completion of any course identified by the designation “(Skills)” following the course description; should the chosen course not be devoted entirely to the skill or skills concerned, the student must also satisfactorily complete any assignments that are determined to be part of the skills component of the course.


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