10: School of Law

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Academic Regulations

Prerequisites   Without permission from the instructor, students are not permitted to take any course before they meet the normal prerequisites for that course.

Attendance at Lectures To qualify for the residence credit required for graduation and to be eligible to take most state bar examinations, students must have been in regular attendance during their time in the Law School. Regular attendance is defined as attending a minimum of eighty percent of class sessions. However, instructors have the authority to determine a higher standard of "regular attendance" for their classes. Absences from class are not authorized. A student who accumulates an excessive number of unwarranted absences may not be permitted to complete the work for the course, may be given a WF (withdrawn, failing) or may be denied residence credit for that semester, or in extreme cases requested to withdraw in accordance with the provisions detailed below.

Change of Courses   A student may resign from, change, or add courses during a designated period at the beginning of a semester. Thereafter, a student may resign from a course only with the permission of the Assistant Dean for Academic Support. Such permission will be granted only for good cause such as illness or other adverse circumstances beyond a student's control and, in addition, in the case of seminars, small courses, and independent research, only after consultation with the instructor teaching the course.

Credit for Courses in Other Law Schools   No credit is given to any student registered in this School for courses taken in other law schools, unless permission to take such courses is obtained in advance from the Assistant Dean for Academic Support, and unless the student earns a grade of D (or its equivalent) or better. In no event will a student be given permission to take elsewhere for credit a course in which he or she has received a grade of F in this School. No credit is given for any courses taken in summer school programs conducted outside the United States, even if such programs are sponsored by ABA-accredited 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 school courses in this law school and graduate courses in schools and departments at the University of Virginia with whom the Law School maintains joint degree programs.

Credit for Graduate Courses at the University Students may supplement their law school curriculum during the second and third years of law school with courses from other schools and departments of the University. To qualify for credit toward a law degree, the courses must be on the Law School's list of approved non-law courses for law school credit, must be graduate level, non-language, and must be directly relevant to the student's intellectual development in the study of law. Students are permitted to register for such courses on a graded basis for a maximum of 6 credits. No pass/fail credit is accepted. No more than one non-law course may be taken in a semester during the second and third years. Students may petition for an additional 6 credits. The option of enrolling in and receiving credit for non-law courses is not available to first-year students.

Examination and Paper Extensions   Except for good cause, such as illness or other circumstances beyond a student's control, extensions of the regular examination dates and paper deadlines are not given. Lack of good cause results in a grade of F for the course, seminar, or research. Upon a showing of good cause, a student will be permitted, at the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, an appropriate new exam date or paper deadline.

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 Support 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   Students who are academically deficient will be excluded from the School of Law. Academic deficiency is defined as either a grade point average of less than C+ (2.3) for the academic year, or accumulation of three or more exclusion points within an academic year. (Exclusion points are not cumulative from one year to the next.) Exclusion for academic deficiency normally occurs immediately following the end of the academic year.

The system of exclusion works as follows: First, the student who has a grade point average of less than C+ (2.3) for the fall semester of an academic year but earns year-long average of C+ or better (2.3 or better) will not be excluded. Second, any student who has a grade point average of less than C+ (2.3) for the five semesters preceding the semester in which graduation is planned will not be permitted to be a candidate for graduation at the conclusion of his or her sixth semester, but he or she will, if he or she attains a grade point average of C+ (2.3) for six semesters, graduate at the next regular graduation date. If the grade point average for six semesters is below 2.3, the student is excluded for academic deficiency.(For the classes graduating in 1998 and 1999, who have some of their grades under a prior [B mean] grading system, substitute "C [2.0] for C+ [2.3]" in prior two sentences for all semesters graded under the B mean system.) Third, the student who accumulates three exclusion points during the fall semester of a particular academic year is allowed to complete the spring semester prior to exclusion, so that the spring semester performance may be considered if the student chooses to petition for readmission. As a practical matter, fall grades frequently are not available until too late in the spring semester to exclude students at that time.

In calculating exclusion points, the grade of D will be awarded one point and the grade of F two points. The number of credits for a particular course will not be considered in calculating exclusion points because the important determination here is the number of independent, concurrent faculty judgments about a student's performance and not the number of hours per week that a class meets.

A student excluded from the School for academic deficiency may petition the student-faculty Academic Review Committee for readmission; readmission is granted, however, only in exceptional cases.

Minimum/Maximum Course Load   (Upperclass) All upperclass students must carry at least 12 credits (excluding audits) and are strongly advised not to carry 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 take more than 16 credits must petition the Assistant Dean for Academic Support prior to the end of the first week of classes 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 carry more than 21 credits. Students wishing to take fewer than 12 credits must petition the faculty Part-Time Student Committee through the office of the Assistant Dean for Academic Support; 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 courses and elective courses which total at least 14 credits but no more than 16 credits. First-year students are not allowed to take over 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 fees have been paid or proper arrangements for payment have been made with the Bursar.

Attention also is called to the fact that in some states students are required to register with the State Board of Bar Examiners before or shortly after entering law school. Each student therefore is advised to consult the Board of Bar Examiners of the state in which he or she expects to practice for the purpose of ascertaining whether such registration is required.

Required Withdrawal   The right is reserved 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.

Resignation and Leave of Absence from the School of Law   Students resigning from the School must, in order to maintain their good standing, comply with a procedure initiated by seeing the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. It should be noted that students resigning from the School must do so prior to the beginning of the examination period for that semester. Otherwise they will be expected to complete requirements for each course in which they are enrolled that semester or receive an F if they do not.

If, at the time students resign, they are in good standing in all of their courses and have not accumulated (or do not accumulate subsequently) sufficient points to be excluded for academic deficiency, they may be readmitted to the School at the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Academic Support if they apply for readmission within a reasonable period of time, generally considered to be two years.

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