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Academic Policies

Good Academic Standing

While enrolled in the School of Law and working toward a J.D. degree, a student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher to remain in good academic standing. Rules on academic dismissal and readmission are as follows:

  1. At the end of the first semester of the first year, any student who has a cumulative GPA of 1.49 or lower will be permanently dismissed from the School of Law for academic reasons.
  2. At the end of the first year and any semester thereafter, any student who has a cumulative GPA of 1.79 or lower will be permanently dismissed from the School of Law for
    academic reasons.
  3. At the end of the first year and any semester thereafter, any student who has a cumulative GPA of 1.80 to 1.99 will be dismissed from the School of Law for academic reasons. Any such student shall be allowed to petition for readmission, but the student may be readmitted only once. If a student is readmitted, he/she will have to raise his/her cumulative GPA to 2.00 or higher during the semester of readmission or that student will be permanently dismissed from the School of Law for academic reasons.
  4. A student who is ineligible to continue at the School of Law but who is eligible to petition for readmission shall be readmitted only upon a decision by the School of Law Petitions Committee. The student shall initiate a petition for readmission by preparing a written petition addressed to the Petitions Committee and filing it with the chair. The petition should describe the student’s academic circumstances, present any facts of explanation and mitigation, and indicate how and why he/she expects to make sufficient improvement to achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher. The student is entitled to make a personal appearance before the committee when it considers the petition in order to answer questions or to offer further argument on behalf of the petition. The committee shall readmit a student only if it determines that there were extraordinary circumstances that caused the academic deficiency and that there is a strong likelihood the student will successfully overcome his/her academic deficiency.
  5. The committee’s decision to readmit shall be final. The committee’s decision not to readmit shall only be reviewed by the entire faculty upon a separate, written petition from the excluded student to the faculty, submitted to the Dean, seeking such review. The committee (or the full faculty on review of a decision not to readmit) may attach such conditions to its decision to readmit as it may deem in the best interests of the student and the School of Law under the circumstances involved. A majority vote of faculty in attendance, including the student representative to the faculty, will be necessary to readmit the petitioner upon review by the faculty. If a student’s petition for readmission is denied, either by the committee or upon faculty review thereof, no further petition will be heard without leave of the law faculty and before the passing of at least one year.
Requirements for Degree

Unless the candidate fails to satisfy the requirements of the “C Rule” (described in the section below), the J.D. degree will be conferred upon a candidate who satisfies all university requirements and who satisfies all of the following law school requirements:

  1. The candidate must successfully complete all applicable law school course requirements.
  2. The candidate must earn at least 90 credits, at least 60 of which are earned in residence at the University of Arkansas School of Law.
  3. At least 75 of the 90 credits required for graduation must be graded credits. Graded credits, for this purpose, include graded credits earned in courses at this law school, graded credits accepted as transfer credits from other ABA-approved law schools to the extent such credits would have been graded credits if earned in residence at this law school, and graded credits earned in ABA-approved study-abroad law programs to the extent the credits would qualify as graded credits if earned in residence at this law school. Ungraded credits include, but are not limited to, credits earned in other departments on campus, including such credits that are part of a dual-degree program, to the extent such credits are approved for law school credit.
  4. The candidate must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for all graded credits at the law school.
  5. If the candidate is a transfer student, he or she must satisfy any special requirements that may apply to transfer students. A transfer student should consult the School of Law Associate Dean for Students about any such special requirements.
  6. The candidate must satisfy all requirements for the degree within five calendar years from the time the candidate first matriculates either at this or at another law school from which credit has been transferred and applied toward the degree.

Application for graduation must be made to the registrar and fees paid during registration for the semester in which degree requirements will be completed and graduation effected. If a student fails to complete the degree, the application must be renewed and a renewal fee paid.

The course of study leading to the J.D. degree requires resident law study for three academic years. The curriculum is designed to occupy the full time of the student. In order to be considered a full-time student during the regular academic year, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours. Students cannot enroll in more than 16 hours per semester without the permission of the School of Law Associate Dean for Students.

Transfer Credits

Visiting Another Law School

Students enrolled in the University of Arkansas School of Law are generally required to complete all their course work in residence at this law school. It is our policy that no J.D. student may have visiting student status at another law school unless there are special, compelling, and unforeseen circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the student. The Associate Dean for Students has the authority to grant visiting status and must approve courses in advance, if visiting status is granted. All transfer credit rules apply to courses completed at other law schools.

No credit will be given for any course in which the student earns a grade lower than a C, or the equivalent of 2.00 on a 4.00 scale; no credit will be transferred for ungraded courses; credit transferred from another school will be reported on the student’s transcript as “CR”; and transfer credits will not be calculated in the student’s GPA.

The student must arrange for an official transcript to be sent to the Registrar at the School of Law at the conclusion of the semester in which the work is completed. Although transfer credit will not be awarded for courses in which a student receives lower than a C, the grades will be considered under the school’s C Rule. Rules governing the number of hours students may take in any or all summer sessions at the UA School of Law apply to courses taken during summer sessions at other law schools.

Visiting Status at the University of Arkansas School of Law

A student enrolled in another ABAapproved law school may request permission to enroll in UA School of Law courses as a visiting student. Submitting the request is a two-step process. First, the student must arrange for the registrar at his or her current institution to submit a letter of good standing and official transcript to the School of Law. Second, the student must submit a written request for visiting status to the Associate Dean for Students. The request should include the academic term(s) for proposed enrollment, the name of the course(s) desired, and reasons for requesting visiting status. If the Associate Dean for Students approves the request for visiting student status, the student will contact the UA School of Law Registrar for registration and tuition and fee information. The student must abide by all applicable School of Law regulations and standards regarding student conduct, attendance, examinations, work load, and the like.

C Rule

A student must earn satisfactory grades in at least 68 School of Law credit hours in order to graduate and will be dismissed from the School of Law if he or she earns more than 22 credit hours with an unsatisfactory grade before what would otherwise have been his or her final semester at the law school. For this purpose, a satisfactory grade is a C or above for any credit awarded on a graded basis, or “pass” for any credit awarded on a pass-fail basis.

If a student is required to take more than 90 credit hours in order to graduate under this rule, all credits in excess of 90 must be successfully completed in a single semester and may not be taken during summer sessions. In addition, the student must satisfy all such requirements within five years from the time the student first matriculates either at this law school or at another law school from which academic credit has been applied toward the degree.

Any student who earns more than eight credits with grades lower than C, or a cumulative GPA below 2.15 after all grades for a given semester have been turned in, shall be required to meet with the Associate Dean of Students and a faculty member chosen by the Dean as the Academic Adviser as soon as possible after the grades or GPA is earned. The student shall be responsible for scheduling this meeting.

In the event that any student earns more than 15 hours of credit with grades lower than C or has a cumulative GPA below 2.05, only the faculty member chosen by the Dean as the Academic Adviser, or a replacement approved in writing by the designated Academic Adviser, will thereafter be authorized to sign off on the student’s advising card.

It is expressly intended that the designated Academic Adviser will have the authority to impose reasonable conditions on such student’s continued enrollment, including, but not limited to, the authority to approve or disapprove any course schedule during the student’s remaining time at this law school, limit the number of credit hours in which a student may enroll during any semester, require attendance at one or more academic enrichment lectures, or require that the student refrain from or limit employment while enrolled as a full-time student. Failure to abide by any conditions imposed by the designated academic adviser may subject the student to administrative sanctions, such as administrative withdrawal from classes, ineligibility to take replacement classes, or other penalties up to and including dismissal from the School of Law.

Honors Designations

A cum laude degree will be conferred on any student in the J.D. program who attains at least a 3.25 GPA and who has been in residence for at least two years. A magna cum laude degree will be conferred on any student in the J.D. program who attains at least a 3.50 GPA and who has completed no more than nine credit-hours of courses anywhere other than at the University of Arkansas. A summa cum laude degree will be conferred on any student in the J.D. program who attains at least a 3.75 GPA and who has completed no more than nine credit-hours of courses anywhere other than at the University of Arkansas.

Magna cum laude and summa cum laude designations may only be awarded to transfer students or students with more than nine hours of credit earned at any other institution by faculty vote.

Grading System

For numerical evaluations, grades are assigned the following values:

Grade Point Value
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.00
D- 0.67
F 0.00
Withdrawal

A student who leaves the University of Arkansas School of Law voluntarily before the end of a semester or summer term must first meet with the Associate Dean for Students and the School of Law Registrar. The registration-change deadlines for dropping courses apply to withdrawal as well. Students who fail to withdraw officially will receive grades of F in the classes for which they are registered but fail to complete.

University Policy on Auditing

When a student takes a course for audit, that student must obtain permission from the instructor and the Dean’s office, register for audit, pay the appropriate fees, and be admitted to the class on a space-available basis. The instructor shall notify the student of the requirements for receiving the mark of “AU” for the course. The instructor and the Dean may drop a student from a course being audited if the student is not satisfying the requirements specified by the instructor. The student is to be notified if this action is taken. The only grade or mark which can be given for a course for audit is “AU.”

Summer School

The School of Law operates a summer school, open to its students and to students at other accredited law schools who have completed at least one year of study. Students from other law schools desiring to attend summer school at the University of Arkansas must satisfy the requirements of admission for students with advanced standing and should write to the School of Law Admissions Office, Robert A. Leflar Law Center, Fayetteville, AR 72701, prior to the date of summer school registration.

Code of Conduct

Those who enter the legal profession must be persons of integrity, meriting at all times the trust of their clients, associates, and other members of the bar. The process of earning trust cannot await graduation but should begin while the student is pursuing a law degree. Conduct of law students is governed by the Student Code of Conduct adopted by the student body. Examinations, for example, are not normally proctored by the professors, but each student is to abide by the Code of Conduct, which is representative of the ethical standards of the legal profession. The code is distributed to students during registration and is available at law.uark.edu.

Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the School of Law to provide an educational and work environment in which individuals are free to realize their full potential and where their thought, creativity, and growth are stimulated. The School of Law should be a place of work and study for students, faculty, and staff, free of all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation. The university prohibits sexual harassment of its students, faculty, administrators, and staff and to make every effort to eliminate sexual harassment at the university.

Non-Discrimination

In spring 1983, the University of Arkansas Campus Council adopted a statement regarding discrimination, which was amended in fall 1991:

The Campus Council of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, does not condone discriminatory treatment of students or staff on the basis of age, disability, ethnic origin, marital status, race, religious commitment, sex, or sexual orientation in any of the activities conducted upon this campus. Members of the faculty are requested to be sensitive to this issue when, for example, presenting lecture material, assigning seating within the classroom, selecting groups for laboratory experiments, and assigning student work. The University of Arkansas faculty, administration, and staff are committed to providing an equal educational opportunity to all students. The Office of Human Relations, 415 Administration Building, has been designated to coordinate efforts to comply with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Essential Academic & Professional Skills

Because the School of Law is a professional school, all students must be able to satisfy the requirements for admission to the bar. In addition to other requirements, this means that all students must be able to demonstrate that they meet requirements of good moral character and mental and emotional stability that are imposed by the Arkansas Board of Examiners as a precondition to eligibility to take the bar exam.

During the time they are enrolled in the School of Law, students must conform their behavior to the principles and requirements of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as adopted by the Supreme Court of Arkansas. The inability or failure to meet either of these standards may subject the student to administrative action, including, but not limited to, the imposition of conditions upon enrollment or continued participation in curricular and extracurricular activities, suspension, or expulsion from the School of Law. Such conditions may include, without limitations, requirements that a student obtain medical evaluation, treatment, counseling, use necessary medications, and/or be under personal supervision by designated University of Arkansas personnel. Students may also be required to refrain from enrolling in classes offered by specified instructors, unless there is no other way for the student to satisfy the requirement that certain courses must be taken prior to graduation.

Professional Standards

Fundamental Lawyering Skills

The following goals for School of Law students come from the MacCrate Report, a report of the Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession, published by the American Bar Association.

Students must be able to participate in School of Law curricular and extracurricular activities to the end that they are able to achieve a baseline competency in each of the following areas:

  1. Problem solving
  2. Legal analysis and reasoning
  3. Legal research
  4. Factual investigation
  5. Communication
  6. Counseling
  7. Negotiation
  8. Litigation and alternative dispute resolution procedures
  9. Organization and management of legal work
  10. Recognition and resolution of ethical dilemmas
Educational Goals

To achieve the required professional competencies, students must be able, either with or without accommodations, to:

  1. Access, comprehend, and use legal educational and research materials, including legal information presented aurally;
  2. Attend classes regularly and promptly;
  3. Meet curricular and specific course requirements, with the ability to comprehend and retain information presented in assigned materials, class presentations, and discussions and to participate in examinations and other evaluative processes;
  4. Learn, retain, and apply the law, rules, processes, values, and responsibilities of the legal profession and the professional skills generally regarded as necessary to effective and responsible participation in the legal profession;
  5. Effectively manage time, including assigning appropriate priorities to tasks and commitments and completing work on time;
  6. Work effectively, both independently and with others;
  7. Identify, logically analyze, and independently research legal issues;
  8. Identify, obtain, and use relevant factual information;
  9. Develop and assess alternative solutions to legal problems;
  10. Develop coherent legal arguments in support of a particular position, effectively communicate them in oral and written presentations, and participate in civil discourse of disputed issues;
  11. Develop intellectual, work, and personal habits consistent with the ethical obligations of the legal profession; and
  12. Recognize, respect, and adhere to standards of appropriate professional and personal conduct in actions as a law student, law clerk, or student attorney.
Class Attendance

As established by the School of Law accreditation standards set forth by the American Bar Association, “regular and punctual attendance” for every class is an essential part of the law school experience and is necessary to satisfy residence credit and credit hour requirements. Failure to regularly attend class is likely to have a negative impact on students’ abilities to learn the required material, succeed on examinations, pass the bar examination, and practice law.

Student Employment

In accordance with the School of Law accreditation standards set forth by the American Bar Association, “A law student may not be employed more than 20 hours per week in any week in which the student is enrolled in more than 12 class hours.” It is a student’s responsibility to adhere to this requirement. In addition, it is strongly recommended that no student have outside employment during the first year of law school. The Office of Career Planning & Placement has adopted a policy informing all employers who use School of Law students to hire law clerks or other workers no more than 20 hours per week while they are enrolled in more than 12 credit hours.

Students with Disabilities

Determination of Disabilities

For purposes of ascertaining whether a student is eligible for accommodations, either in the manner that courses are conducted or scheduled or in the examination of competency in such classes, the determination of whether a student has a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794 (a), shall be made by the University’s Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD).

Coordinator for Students with Disabilities

The Dean will select an appropriately qualified coordinator for students with disabilities. Such a coordinator will work with the Associate Dean for Students to develop and implement procedures to assure appropriate accommodations for law students with disabilities.

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