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Student Handbook: Attendance, Registration, and Classes

Attendance

Academic Rule 3 requires regular attendance by students and imposes sanctions – including exclusion from class or lowering of the grade – for non-attendance and lack of preparation and participation. To implement this policy, the Rule provides that a student who misses more than twice the number of weekly classes in a course will be referred to the Assistant Dean of Student and Academic Success, who will determine the extent to which the student’s absences are for excusable reasons and decide whether the sanction of exclusion is appropriate. A faculty member may, by individual policy published to the class, reduce the number of absences that will constitute a violation of the regular attendance requirement if the faculty member judges that the needs of the course require it. A student who is present for less than one-half of a class will be deemed to be absent from that class. A student whose non-attendance has been referred to the Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Success should notify the Assistant Dean of any basis for excusable absences. Faculty will record attendance, by various means, in each class.

Excusable reasons for an absence include but are not limited to illness, quarantine, Covid-related conflicts (child-care issues/elder or family care), injury, religious observances, client meetings or court appearances (for students participating in clinics), job interviews, and taking the MPRE.

Illness or Quarantine. Students who are ill or need to quarantine may not attend on-campus class sessions. Students who cannot attend an on-campus class session due to illness or need to isolate/quarantine are to 1) request and review the course recording (contact your professor), or 2) if permitted by the professor, attend the class remotely.  Absences from class because of illness, quarantine, or self-isolation will be excused, and the student will be permitted to make up the work without academic penalty.

Students may not enroll in courses where class schedules conflict and preclude the possibility of full attendance in all classes. Students engaged in clinics and externships must ensure that their regular clinic or externship schedule does not conflict with regularly scheduled classes.

Auditing Courses

(a)        All regularly matriculated J.D. students may audit any course with the consent of the professor and the permission of the Office of Academic Affairs. The professor may impose terms upon granting of this consent. A student auditing a course must register for that course as an auditor, and must maintain regular attendance. Students may not audit a course that conflicts with a regularly scheduled class in which a student is registered or with regularly scheduled sessions of clinics and externships. Auditors normally will not take the exam for the course, but this may be a requirement imposed by the faculty member as a condition for granting permission to audit.

 (b)       Successfully completed audited courses appear on the student transcript with the notation “AU.” No credit or grade is awarded.

 (c)       A student who has audited a course may not later take that same course for credit, nor may a student who has taken a course for credit later audit the course.

Advisors

First-year students are assigned a faculty member as an advisor by the Registrar. Students may access advisors’ names on Novasis. The faculty advisor’s core role is to (i) be a resource for a student who has academic questions, including course selection for the second and third years of law school, or who has personal concerns, and (ii) serve as faculty for the Professional Development Course. The role of the faculty advisor with respect to academic issues is to be a resource regarding academic policies and course selection in general rather than to offer any advice as to questions related to the subject matter of any law school course other than the Professional Development Course. The faculty advisor does not provide any substantive academic instruction to advisees. The role of the faculty advisor as a resource with respect to personal concerns is to be able to identify appropriate help within the Law School structure (for example, the Director of Student Affairs, the Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Success, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the University Counseling Center).

Course Evaluations

Course evaluations are administered at the end of every semester for each course. All students are urged to complete this anonymous evaluation for each of their courses. These evaluations provide useful information to both the faculty members and the administration, and are also helpful to students when choosing a course and/or professor.

Directed Research

To register for Directed Research, a student must obtain approval of the sponsoring faculty member and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs using the Directed Research form on the Registrar’s website. If a student is registered for Directed Research in a particular semester, the paper must be completed and a grade turned in for that semester. No incomplete is permitted.

• Students must dedicate at least 90 hours to research and writing of the Directed Research project to obtain two credits.

• Students must produce an in-depth research paper of at least 9,000 words inclusive of footnotes or endnotes.

• The Student must conference with the faculty advisor a minimum of four times per semester to discuss progress on the Directed Research project.

• A faculty member must approve a student proposal for Directed Research before the student may register for Directed Research.

• Approval must be obtained before the end of the drop/add period.

• No student may undertake more than one Directed Research project with a particular instructor while at the Law School.

• No student may receive credit for more than two Directed Research projects while at the Law School.

• No student may receive credit for more than one Directed Research project in a semester.

• No student may take more than six total credits of Directed Research and Research Paper Courses (not including practical skills courses) while at the Law School.

• Only full-time members of the faculty, including Legal Writing Professors, may supervise a student in a Directed Research.

Incoming Students

Admission to the Law School requires that an official transcript verifying all academic credits undertaken and degree(s) conferred be on file in the Registrar’s Office prior to Orientation. As noted in the acceptance letter, admission is contingent upon receipt of all transcript(s). In the event that a student does not fulfill this requirement, the student will be administratively withdrawn on or before October 15, to comply with accreditation standards of the American Bar Association. Transcript(s) must be sent directly from your undergraduate institution and must contain the date your degree was conferred. 

Incoming students must be present and must sign-in on the first day of Orientation in order to hold their seats in the incoming class.

First year students take a set curriculum and are assigned to classes by the Registrar. These assignments are not modifiable.

Registration for 2L and 3L Classes

Students are required to register each spring for both semesters of the upcoming school year. All information pertaining to registration can be found on the Registrar’s webpage. It is especially important that students observe the dates set for priority registration, including early registrations for clinics and externships; students registering after these dates will greatly reduce their chances of getting the classes they want. Students should consult with their Faculty Advisers or other faculty members regarding course selections. Students are further required to read the course descriptions before registering, as there are prerequisites and other conditions that apply to many of the classes. The dates for dropping and adding courses are in the registration materials.

While upper level students are not required to be present for a specific registration day, they are required to obtain first-day assignments, books and materials before classes begin, and to be fully prepared for the first meeting of every class in which they are enrolled.

Withdrawal from Classes

Students may not drop a course after the final class meeting for the semester. (See Academic Rule 4 for the withdrawal process.)