Graduation Requirements

J.D. Graduation Requirements

Limitations on Number of Non-Traditional Credits

Some of the courses are subject to certain limitations:

  1. Only 18 credits may be earned by a student for non-law course work or externships.
  2. Only 8 credits in the aggregate may be earned by a student for Law 600 C, D, E, and F (independent study, journal editing, moot court).
  3. Some courses in the Law School are offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. There is no maximum on non-graded course credits after the first year. However, it should be noted that membership in the Order of the Coif, the national honor society for lawyers (top 10 percent), is not available to persons who take more than 25 percent of their law school work on a non-graded basis.

Required First-Year Courses

First Year Courses

New students enter only in the Autumn Quarter and must take the full-time load of required first-year courses. Because of the heavy course load, first-year students are strongly discouraged from attempting to work on even a part-time basis. The student's first-year requirements are as follows:

Required Upper Level Courses

Second- and Third-Year Courses

To graduate, a student must complete the following requirements during their second and third years of law school:

J.D. Residence Requirement

To be eligible for the Juris Doctor degree, a student must complete at least eight quarters of study in residence. A quarter of residence credit is given for each quarter during which a student successfully completes at least 12 credits of work. Two quarters, in each of which a student earns fewer than 12 but no less than 7 credits, may be combined to produce a quarter of residence credit.

A full-time student in the Law School is one who is registered for a minimum of 12 credits per quarter. To complete the J.D. degree over three years, however, a student must average 15 credits per quarter. No student may register for fewer than 12 or more than 18 credits per quarter without the approval of the Associate Dean for Students & Academic Life or the Associate Dean for Academic Administration. Permission to register for more than 18 credits is granted only to students whose records demonstrate the capacity to assume such a program of study successfully. Students may not enroll in more than 20 credits per quarter.

For students in concurrent degree programs, a full quarter of residence credit will be granted for a quarter in which a student successfully completes a total of at least 12 credits of law courses and courses applied to the concurrent degree, regardless of whether the student will receive credit toward the J.D. degree for the non-law courses. A partial quarter of residence credit will be granted if a student successfully completes a total of at least 7 credits of law and concurrent degree courses, and two partial quarters may be combined to produce a full quarter of residence credit.

J.D. Public Service Requirement

In order to receive a J.D. degree, a student must perform at least 60 hours of public service legal work. The goals of the public service requirement are three: first, to educate students about the attorney’s ethical responsibility to provide pro bono legal assistance, particularly to those who would not otherwise have access to the legal system; second, to foster in students a lifelong commitment to public service by providing the opportunity and training vital to the development of such a commitment; and third, to develop students’ lawyering skills by providing them with work experience under the supervision of an attorney.

Students can fulfill the public service requirement in any of the following ways:

  1. By satisfactorily completing a law school clinic. There is no limit on the number of clinic credits a student can take, but the number of clinical positions available each year is limited.
  2. By satisfactorily completing a public service externship (B530, B535, B538, B539, or B560) for two or more credits. Students can undertake externships with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, legislative bodies, judges, or private law firms on pro bono matters. Externships with a private law firm or a corporate counsel office will not satisfy the public service graduation requirement. Students can enroll in externships only after completing the first year of law school, and must satisfactorily complete all work as assigned by both the faculty supervisor and field supervisor.

    Complete guidelines for identifying, registering, and completing public service externships are available on the Externships page.
  3. By satisfactorily completing Street Law (B514).

J.D. Experiential Coursework Requirement

Beginning with the Class of 2016, J.D. students must complete at least 9 credits of experiential course(s) in their 2L and 3L years. An experiential course may be a simulation course, a law clinic, or an externship. A multi-quarter clinic may count towards the Experiential Requirement in one or two quarters and the Public Service Requirement in a third quarter. An externship in a For-Profit Small Firm (Law C530) may count towards the Experiential Requirement but it will not count towards the Public Service Requirement.

The following courses satisfy the requirement:

Other courses may be added to the list by the faculty at a future date.

J.D. Advanced Writing Requirement

In order to receive a J.D. degree, a student must successfully complete an advanced writing project. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that each student has significant experience working on a project that develops skills in research, analysis and writing. The project may take the form of scholarly works such as law review articles, or may consist of briefs, transactional documents, draft legislation, or other types of legal writing, so long as the writing is substantial and evidences a high level of research and analysis. Faculty supervision and student revision of the written work is an essential component of the requirement and the student must have substantial meetings with the faculty member who serves as project advisor. The project typically extends over two or more quarters but may, with the faculty member's approval, be completed in a single quarter. If the project is performed by a group, each student must identify his or her portion of the work product for the purposes of evaluation by the faculty member.

A course that is used to meet the advanced writing requirement may not also meet the public service or experiential requirements.

A student may satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement in any of the following ways providing always that the project meets the standards set out in the preceding paragraph:

  1. By satisfying the requirements of any seminar which carries at least 4 credits.
  2. By writing and revising a paper, brief or other writing in any course open to second- or third-year students, including clinics and externships which carry at least 3 credits. The paper, brief or other writing may be in addition to or in lieu of an examination as the instructor may require. Advance consent of the instructor is required. Students should verify whether a paper is acceptable for credit in any given course. In most cases the number of students who may write papers for course credit will be limited by the instructor.
  3. By completion of 1-2 credits of Law E 500 Independent Advanced Writing, when the work involves revision of work begun in a class, externship, or moot court competition.

Students should satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement by the end of the second-to-last quarter of enrollment before graduation, unless they will satisfy it in a seminar or course that continues into the last quarter of enrollment.

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