Degree Requirements

To earn the Juris Doctor degree, students must satisfactorily meet the following academic requirements: completion of 84 credit hours, 67 (48 for transfer students) of which must have been taken for a letter grade; fulfillment of the enrollment unit requirement; completion of each course in the required curriculum with a passing grade; and maintenance of the minimum grade-point average of 1.67. A student may complete coursework in excess of these requirements during his or her final semester of enrollment, but may not register for additional credits in a subsequent semester as a Juris Doctor candidate without the prior approval of the Academic Scholarship Committee.

Full-time students (i.e., those registered for 12 or more credits in any semester) must take the majority of their credits in courses in the day unless an exception for good cause is granted by the dean of students. Registration in journals, skills competitions, field placement, and clinical courses count as day credits. After completing courses in the required first-year curriculum, which must be taken in the evening, part-time students (i.e., those registered for a maximum of 11 credits) may take courses in the day or evening.

Transfer Between the Full-Time and Part-Time (Evening) Programs

After the first semester, students may, with the permission of the dean of students, transfer from one program to another, but should be aware that there may be enrollment requirement consequences (see below). Students initially enrolled in the part-time (evening) program may, with the permission of the dean of students, transfer to the full-time program as early as their second semester. Students who are permitted to pursue this option after completion of the first semester must take all required first-year curriculum courses in the evening. In addition, such students must make up 4 or more credit hours during summer sessions in order to fulfill enrollment and other degree requirements and be eligible to graduate in three years. See Enrollment Requirement, Required Curriculum, and Academic Work Load, below, for regulations governing the full-time and part-time (evening) programs and the full-time/part-time option. Additional information is available from the dean of students.

Candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must complete 6 enrollment units 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 enrollment 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 enrollment requirement for graduation. Students who switch between full- and part-time status will accumulate enrollment 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, especially if they plan to participate in an exchange program or enroll as a visiting student at another law school.

Credit hours are equivalent to enrollment 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

Full-time Day Program

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 program students must take Law 6218, Professional Responsibility and Ethics, or Law 6343, and Professional Responsibility, and fulfill the legal writing requirement and the professional skills requirement. Students must enroll in coursework to fulfill these three requirements for a letter grade, except when journal participation is used to satisfy the legal writing requirement or a clinical course offered only on a non-letter grade basis is used to satisfy the skills requirement.


Part-Time (Evening) Program

Part-time (evening) program students must take the following schedule in their first and second years: first year, fall semester—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. Students must enroll in coursework to fulfill these three requirements for a letter grade, except when journal participation is used to satisfy the legal writing requirement or a clinical course offered only on a non-letter grade basis is used to satisfy the skills requirement.

Legal Writing Requirement

Completion of a 2-credit course that is graded on the basis of a research paper (not examination) is required for the Juris Doctor degree. To satisfy the legal writing requirement, the written work must be based on sound legal research, consist of a single paper of 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 conform 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 seminar 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, Journal of Energy and Environ- mental Law, Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Public Contract Law Journal, International Law in Domestic Courts, or Federal Communications Law Journal.

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 instruc- tor 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, nor 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  (CR/NC) basis only if the student,  under extraordinary  circumstances, is granted permission by the dean of students  to take the course under the CR/NC option, or if the student  is granted an extension beyond the deadline by the instructor. In either case, the student must receive a grade of B- or better for the work product in order to fulfill the legal writing requirement. The letter  grade of B- or better will then be recorded as CR on the transcript.

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 (H) or Pass (P) for the work to fulfill the requirement.

 

All Juris Doctor degree students are required to complete credits in courses that require students to learn and develop practical legal skills through actual or simulated lawyering exercises. The course must be taken for a letter grade unless it is a clinical course that is offered only on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) 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)”, “(Skills/E)”, or “(E)” following the course description; should the chosen course not be devoted entirely to the skill or skills concerned, the student also must satisfactorily complete any assignments that are outside the skills/experiential component of the course.

Students Entering in 2016 or Later

All Juris Doctor degree students who entered law school in 2016 or later are required to complete 6 credits of coursework designated “(Skills/E)”, or “(E)”. These courses must be taken for a letter grade unless the course or courses are offered only on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.

Students Entering in 2015 or Earlier

All Juris Doctor degree students who entered law school in 2015 or earlier are required to complete 2 credits in a single course designated (“Skills”) or “(Skills/E)”. This course must be taken for a letter grade unless it is a course that is offered only on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.