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School of Law
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Academic Regulations

Prerequisites Students must meet all prerequisite requirements for courses they wish to enroll in or have a signed prerequisite waiver form on file in the Student Records Office.

Attendance Regular attendance is part of each student’s required work in courses and seminars. Regular attendance is defined as attending a minimum of eighty percent of class sessions. Each instructor, however, has authority to determine a higher standard of “regular attendance” for his or her courses and seminars. The failure of a student to attend regularly may be taken into account by the instructor in any manner for grading purposes. If a student’s absence in a course is excessive and unwarranted, then the student (a) shall not be permitted to complete the work for the course, (b) shall not receive any academic credit for work performed in the course, and (c) shall receive the grade of “WF” (withdrawn, failing). If a student is frequently absent from classes in general, the assistant dean for academic services may deny residence status for that semester, or may require withdrawal from the Law School.

Change of Courses Students may add and drop courses at will during the Add/Drop period. Once the Add/Drop deadline passes, except for good cause such as sickness or other circumstances beyond a student’s control, students will be expected to complete the requirements for all courses in which they are enrolled. Students must petition the assistant dean for academic services for permission to drop a course after the official Add/Drop deadline. Absolutely no drops will be permitted from short courses, full courses or seminars after the Add/Drop period has ended.

Credit for Courses at Other Law Schools Except in the case of transfer students, University of Virginia law students may not transfer credit for law courses taken at other law schools unless advance approval is obtained. Students will be granted credit for course work completed at the other law school with a grade of D (or its equivalent) or better that does not duplicate course work already completed at Virginia. Students who have received an F grade in a course at Virginia will not be allowed to transfer credit for that course from another law school. No summer abroad program will be approved, including those sponsored by ABA-approved law schools.

Credit for Courses Taken Before Enrollment as a J.D. Candidate No credit is granted to any student, except transfer students, for any academic work completed prior to enrollment as a J.D. candidate, including law courses in the Law School and graduate courses in schools and departments at the University of Virginia with which the Law School maintains joint degree programs.

Credit for Graduate Courses at the University Second and third year law students may supplement their law school curriculum with courses from other schools and departments of the University. To qualify for credit toward a law degree, the courses must be graduate level, non-language, directly relevant to the student’s intellectual development in the study of law, and must be graded (not pass/fail). With the approval of the assistant dean for academic services, students may apply a total of 6 non-law credits toward the J.D. degree. Additional credits may be allowed in certain instances.

Examination and Paper Extensions Students are expected to complete final examinations and submit papers in accordance with published schedules and deadlines. All examination date changes and paper deadline extensions must be authorized in advance by the assistant dean for academic services or the assistant dean for student affairs. Failure to complete examinations when scheduled or submit papers when due, will result in a grade of F for the course, seminar, or research project.

Excess Employment Students may not engage in employment in excess of what is compatible with a full-time commitment to the study of law. No full-time student may be employed for more than 20 hours per week. Particularly where a student is self-employed or works at other than an hourly wage, the assistant dean for academic services shall decide whether a course of employment is excessive. A course of employment may be excessive even if the person intends to work less than 20 hours per week. The test is one of compatibility with a full-time commitment to the study of law. In making this determination, the assistant dean may consider the responsibilities of the employment, the rate of pay, the extent to which the student has control over the obligations attached to and the timing of participation in his or her employment, and other factors relating to the burden likely to arise from the employment that may conflict with legal study. Failure to observe this regulation will result in loss of residency status for the semester in which the student is in violation.

Exclusion for Academic Deficiency Candidates for the J.D. degree must satisfy two conditions during each academic year of enrollment; they must earn and maintain a minimum grade point average of C+ (2.3) and accumulate fewer than three exclusion points. A grade of D carries one exclusion point and a grade of F carries two exclusion points. Students who are academically deficient are excluded from the Law School immediately following the end of the academic year. Excluded students may petition the Academic Review Committee for readmission, however, readmission is granted only in exceptional cases.

Minimum/Maximum Course Load (Upper-class) All upper-class students must enroll in at least 12 credits (excluding audits) and are strongly advised not to enroll in more than 16 credits (including courses audited in the Law School or courses taken for credit or audited in another school or department) each semester. Any student who wishes to enroll in more than 16 credits must petition the assistant dean for academic services prior to the end of the Add/Drop period of the semester for which credit is desired. This includes students pursuing a joint degree. Such a petition is granted only upon a showing that there is good cause for the overload and that the student has a sufficiently strong academic record to support the overload. Under no circumstances will a student be permitted to enroll in more than 21 credits. Students wishing to enroll in fewer than 12 credits must petition the assistant dean for student affairs; such petitions are granted only for illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.

Minimum/Maximum Course Load (First Year) All first-year students must enroll in the required fall curriculum of five courses for 16 credits. In the spring semester, first-year students must enroll in required and elective courses, totaling at least 14, but no more than 16, credits. First-year students are not allowed to enroll in more than 16 credits per semester under any circumstances.

Course Enrollment Students are required to enroll in courses in advance with the Law School. Registration is not complete until: (1) Fees have been paid or proper arrangements for payment have been made with the bursar; (2) Student Health information is complete; (3) Law School registration is complete; and (4) final University registration is complete.

Required Withdrawal The School of Law reserves the right to require the withdrawal of any student who, in the opinion of the faculty, is not profiting or is not likely to profit by the instruction offered, whose grades are unsatisfactory, whose neglect or irregular performance of required duties indicates indifference, or whose character and habits are inconsistent with the good order of the School of Law or with the standards of the legal profession. The faculty has delegated the authority to make such determinations to the Committee on Academic and Professional Misconduct, appointed by the dean of the School of Law. The actions of that committee may be reviewed by the dean but will be reviewed by the full faculty only when the dean recommends.

Voluntary Withdrawal and Leave of Absence Students who wish to withdraw voluntarily from the School of Law must comply with a procedure initiated by the assistant dean for student affairs in order to maintain their good standing. Students choosing to withdraw must do so prior to the beginning of the examination period for that semester. A withdrawal notation and withdrawal date will be recorded on students’ permanent academic transcripts. Students who do not follow the proper withdrawal procedure will be assigned F grades in their courses.

Students who wish to take a leave of absence from the School of Law must submit a written request to the assistant dean for student affairs prior to the semester or academic year for which the leave is requested. Such requests are routinely granted to students in good standing who have completed one semester of law school. Students are usually granted only one leave of absence.

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