- A student who fails to attain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 shall be required to withdraw from the law school. If the cumulative grade point average is at least 1.85 but less than 2.00 the student may be allowed to return after an absence of one year.
- At the end of the fourth and each subsequent semester of law study, a student who fails to attain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.10 shall be required to withdraw from the law school.
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.20 is required for graduation.
Any student who has failed to attain the requisite cumulative grade point average will be required to withdraw immediately from the law school, even though he or she has enrolled in the next semester's courses (including summer session courses). A student who fails to attain the cumulative grade point average necessary to continue studies in the Law School may petition the Law School Admissions Committee to review the case. The petition must be filed in writing and addressed to the Dean of Admissions not less than sixty days before the beginning of the semester or term in which the student seeks to be readmitted to the Law School.
The point at which a part-time student must attain the requisite grade point average shall be the time at which he or she has completed the substantial equivalent of the second semester of study and the substantial equivalent of the fourth and succeeding semesters of study. Such students will be notified in advance by the associate dean of the times at which the stated cumulative grade point averages must be met.
A student who has been required to withdraw under the 2.00 criterion stated above will not be readmitted to the law school with advanced standing. In the rare event of readmission, it is as an entering first year student with no credit for prior work. Nevertheless, the prior work will continue to be shown on the permanent academic record, but the grade point average will include only the course-work attempted after readmission.
Note: A failed first-year course must be retaken in the semester in which the course is next offered.
At the end of each semester of law study, a student who fails to attain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 shall be required to withdraw from the law school. If the cumulative grade point average is at least 1.85 but less than 2.00 the student may be allowed to return after an absence of one year. For more detailed Academic Requirements related to specific required courses, please click here.
With the approval of the student's academic advisor, dean, and the instructor of the course, a student may register for a course on an audit basis. The regular rate of tuition is charged, and the audit course is counted as a part of the student's semester load. A permission form must be obtained from and returned with appropriate signatures to the Office of the University Registrar by the end of the 10th day of classes. Once the form is submitted to the University Registrar, the decision may not be reversed. An audited course cannot subsequently be taken for credit unless approved by the appropriate dean.
Caution: The course offerings and requirements of the University of Richmond are under continual examination and revision. This catalog is not a contract; it merely presents the offerings and requirements in effect at the time of publication and in no way guarantees that the offerings and requirements will not change. The University specifically reserves the right to change requirements for any major, minor, and/or program, and to implement them during any particular year.
The student assumes full responsibility for compliance with all academic requirements. Current course offerings may be obtained from the appropriate school or department.
General Policy on Class Attendance, Punctuality, and Preparation
The classroom experience is an indispensable part of a student's legal education, and every student is accordingly required to come to every class fully prepared and on time. The professor shall be responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy, for determining whether a student's failure to comply is excused, and for determining the consequences of an unexcused failure to comply, and shall advise the class of his or her approach to these matters at the beginning of the semester. Students who need an excused absence due to a religious observance should notify the professor in the first two weeks of the semester, consistent with the University's Religious Observance Policy.
Minimum Attendance Requirement
Any student who fails to attend at least 75 percent of a course's required sessions or their equivalent (as determined by the professor, in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and in conformance with the University's Religious Observance Policy) will not pass the course. This requirement applies regardless of whether the absences are excused and regardless of any individual professor's attendance policy (although an individual professor may impose a more demanding requirement for his or her course). In appropriate circumstances, students unable to satisfy this requirement may be granted a leave of absence and full reinstatement upon their return. Students should keep track of their own attendance, and a student who is having difficulty meeting this requirement, or who anticipates such difficulty, should meet immediately with the Associate Dean for Student Services and Administration or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to discuss the possibility of a course withdrawal or a leave of absence from the law school.
Students may reduce their loan requirements by working on-campus. While there are numerous job opportunities available, those with the highest wage rates are in the Law Library and as Law Research Assistants. If you are interested in the Federal Work-Study program, contact the Financial Aid Office. Students are STRONGLY discouraged from working their first year. The Financial Aid Office will not award work study funding to a first year student without special circumstances.
Instructors establish grading criteria for their courses and prepare and submit the final course reports (using the grades defined under Grading Policies) to the University Registrar for recording. In the event of a question about the accuracy of the recorded grade, a student should direct inquiries to the instructor.
It is recognized that each class and each student in a class has unique characteristics that the instructor alone is in the best position to evaluate; consequently, except in unusual circumstances, formal appeals to others concerning the evaluation on which a grade is based are not appropriate.
If that informal inquiry is impossible, or if its results are disputed, the student may next bring the matter to the attention of the department chair and the instructor, jointly, or for courses in Jepson School of Leadership Studies or the Law School, to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Unless announced otherwise by the instructor, the length of an examination will be one hour for each semester hour of credit carried by the course. A student who finds that he or she will be unavoidably prevented from taking an examination at the time scheduled may receive permission to take the examination at a later date, if such fact is communicated to the dean or associate deans (academic affairs or student affairs) before the time at which the examination is scheduled. Unless excused by the dean or one of the associate deans, a student who fails to take an examination in a course for which he or she has registered will receive a grade of F in that course.
First Year Examinations
The following procedures govern the taking of first year examinations.
The procedures set forth below should not be varied by individual faculty members. Relief from them in extraordinary cases should be sought from the Associate Dean or the Dean.
No student may deviate from these procedures or the examination schedules without approval in advance from the Associate Dean or the Dean, unless sickness or some other emergency makes it impossible to obtain advance approval. In the event of sickness or other emergency which makes the taking of an examination impossible, the Associate Dean or Dean must be notified as soon as possible. The emergency must be a situation or circumstance beyond the student’s control.
Failure to take an examination during the assigned time will result in a grade of "F" for the course, unless relief has been granted by the Associate Dean or Dean, as provided in this section.
Make-up examinations will be administered only in exceptional circumstances. In order for a make-up examination to be authorized, the student requesting it must demonstrate to the Associate Dean or Dean good cause for missing the scheduled exam.
Students are bound by the Law School’s Honor Code by virtue of their matriculation at the Law School. The Honor Code applies to the taking of examinations. Students observing conduct that might involve a violation of the Honor Code must report the incident to the Grievance Committee.
Examination dates, starting times and rooms will be specified on the examination schedule posted by the Dean’s Office (the “Examination Schedule”).
Place of Examination
Examinations must be taken in the Law School in the classrooms designated by the professor or indicated on the Examination Schedule, or in Library carrels. Exams may not be taken in library study rooms or organizational offices.
Collection of Completed Examinations
When the time allowed for completion of an examination has expired, students must immediately stop writing and turn in the examination.
Second and Third Year Examinations
Examinations in second and third year classes are administered as scheduled examinations, "take-home examinations," or under the Flexible Examination System. The Examination Schedule indicates those examinations administered on a scheduled basis. All other examinations are administered under the Flexible Examination System, unless the professor has indicated that the examination will be a "take-home examination." The procedures for any such examinations will be announced by the professor. The procedures for scheduled examinations are the same as those for first year examinations. The following procedures apply to the Flexible Examination Schedule:
These procedures may not be varied by individual faculty members. Relief from them in extraordinary cases should be sought from the Associate Dean or Dean.
Students may not deviate from these procedures without approval in advance from the Associate Dean or Dean. Approval to modify will be granted only in cases of sickness or emergency beyond the student’s control. Relief will not be granted on account of sickness or emergency unless the student will actually have been deprived of a sufficient number of examination blocks to take all of his or her examinations on an every-other-day basis.
Failure of a student to take an examination within the two-week examination period will result in a grade of “F” for the course, unless relief has been granted by the Associate Dean or Dean, as provided in this section.
Make-up examinations will be administered only in exceptional circumstances. In order for a make-up examination to be authorized, the student requesting it must demonstrate to the Associate Dean or Dean a good cause for the request.
Students are bound by the Law School’s Honor Code by virtue of their matriculation at the Law School. The Honor code applies to the taking of examinations. Students observing conduct that might involve a violation of the Honor Code must report the incident to the Grievance Committee.
Place of Examination
Unless otherwise specified by the professor, Flexible Examinations may be taken at the student's library carrel or in a classroom specified for taking Flexible Examinations. Exams may not be taken in library study rooms or organizational offices.
Procedure for Distribution and Collection of Examinations
Examinations administered under the Flexible Examination System, not including take-home examinations, will be distributed in the Dean’s Conference Room (201) by the flex exam room proctors during the following times:
- between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. for examinations to be taken during a morning flexible examination period;
- and between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. for examinations to be taken during an afternoon flexible examination period.
- Take-home examinations may be picked up at any time during a Flexible Examination period. Take-home exams may be brought back anytime during the flex periods provided it is within the time frame designated for taking the exam.
- THE TIME PERIOD FOR PICKING UP FLEX EXAMS WILL NOT BE EXTENDED; however, a student returning a flex exam may pick up a take-home exam at the same time. If there is a line of students to pick up examinations at the end of the stated time period, the time period will be extended to allow all students in line to pick up an examination.
Flexible examinations may be taken throughout the two-week examination period only during those time blocks designated on the Examination Schedule as a “Flexible Examination Period.”
During any Flexible Examination Period, a student can request any examination to which he or she is entitled. Students may be required to display their currently validated student identification cards when requesting an examination.
Students are responsible for ascertaining the completion time allowed for each examination they are taking. There will be an automatic time/date stamping clock in the Dean’s Conference Room (201). Students must stamp the examination taken with the time and date upon leaving the room, and with the time and date of return when they return the examination to the flex exam room proctors in 201. Students are responsible for insuring that both time stamps (pick-up and return) are clearly visible. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a grade penalty.
Any examination which is not turned in within the allowed time for completion will be considered a “late examination”. If an examination is less than five minutes late beyond the allowed completion time and grace- period, the grade assigned by the professor for the examination will be reduced by one gradation (e.g. an A will be reduced to an A-; and an A- to a B+; and a B+ to a B, etc.). If an examination is five minutes late, but less than ten minutes late, the grade assigned by the professor will be reduced by two gradations (e.g. an A will be reduced to a B+; a B+ to a B-; a B to a C+, etc.). If the examination is ten minutes but less than fifteen minutes late, the grade assigned by the professor will be reduced three gradations (e.g. an A will be reduced to a B; a B+ to a C+; a B- to a C-; etc.). If the examination is fifteen minutes or more late, the grade will automatically be reduced to an F. In rare circumstances, an exception to this policy may be made with the consent of the instructor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Discussion of Examination
Students may not discuss any examination during the two-week period, even with other persons who have completed that particular examination.
Use of Computers
Computers may be used to take examinations. All the classrooms are wired for computer use or have access to a wireless connection. Scheduled exams may be taken at a student’s carrel only with permission of the professor.
Printing of exam answers must be done on personal printers, rather than on the printers in the Library Computer Lab or elsewhere in the Law School building. Use of another printer is permitted only in an emergency situation with permission of an Associate Dean (Academics, Student Services and Administration, or Library and Information Services) or Deputy Director of the Law Library.
For Students required to use Exam4 to take their exam, the exam procedures remain the same. Instead of printing exams on their own personal printer, however, students will submit their exams electronically. Students are expected to take the exam in the mode in which the Professor has specified, and this is entirely the student’s responsibility to know how the exam should be taken. The exam must be submitted electronically prior to returning the exam.
Computer or Printer Breakdown
If a breakdown or other crisis arises in the operation of a computer or printer during the course of an examination, a student is to notify the Dean’s Office immediately. In that way, the time and nature of the problem can be noted and appropriate relief or accommodation may be made for the problem at that time.
Student Seeking Accommodation for a Disability
Students with a disability or a possible disability should contact the Associate Dean for Student Services and Administration.
The following grades with grade point values are in effect at the University:
Other grades which may be given are P, which shows credit has been earned in a pass/fail course; S and U indicate satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance in a pass/no-credit course; and W, which indicates that the student withdrew from a course without academic penalty. Marks indicating failure, and counted as such in the grade point average, are F, M (withdrew from a course with a failing average), and V (failure because of excessive absences). The X indicates that the grade has not been received from the instructor.
Z shows that the course was audited. A student auditing a course is expected to meet all requirements for the course, except the final examination or papers. No grade or hour credit is earned for audited courses.
I and Y grades mean that coursework has not been completed by the end of the term. The I grade provisionally counts as a failing grade. It is given when the reasons for the incomplete involve student culpability, but the instructor and associate dean determine that an F is not warranted. The work is to be made up by the student's graduation date or at such earlier time as specified by the instructor and associate dean. If the work is not made up during this grace period, the I will be converted to an F. The Y grade, which does not count as a failing grade, is given when the instructor and associate dean determine that the reasons for the incomplete do not warrant an I grade. In the case of an I or Y, once the make-up grade is received, it appears to the right of the incomplete grade on the permanent record. In any case, it is the student's responsibility to complete the coursework for a course in which an I or Y has been assigned.
Performance in the Clinical Placement Program is evaluated on a pass/fail basis. Performance in the In-House Clinics (Disabilities Law Clinic and the Delinquency Clinic) is evaluated using the letter-grade scale above.
Grades for courses taken under the various cooperative programs are recorded by the law school as a pass if, based on the above grading scale, a grade of C (2.0) or better is earned; otherwise they will be recorded as a failure.
The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of academic hours attempted in law school courses that have grades to which grade point values are assigned. Each of these totals is accumulated term by term. The grade point average is represented to two significant decimal figures and truncated, not rounded.
If a failed course is repeated, the grade earned in the repeat and the failure are both included in the grade point average. When the final grade for a course in which an I was given is recorded, the occurrence will be shown on the permanent record, and the grade point average will be recomputed to remove the effect of the I and to include the final grade. For purposes of computing grade point averages, the credit hours earned for work recorded on a pass/fail basis are not included in the hours attempted, if a pass is received. The credit hours for any such work recorded as a failure are included in the hours attempted. Consequently the credit hours for work recorded as a pass have no effect on the grade point average, but a failure in such work would adversely affect the grade point average.
Note: A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.20 is required for graduation. Students admitted with advanced standing must consult the associate dean to determine the manner by which their cumulative grade point averages will be calculated for class standing purposes. Students may review their status and progress with the associate dean or in the Office of the University Registrar. Grades are available after the close of each term via the Internet by using BannerWeb (https://bannerweb. richmond.edu). Students will need their student ID and PIN.
Grades are deemed correct unless notification to the contrary is received by the University Registrar within three (3) months after the close of the term specified.
- The mean (average) grade point for each course will be 3.30 +/- .10;
- The following grade distribution shall apply:
- 25-35% A or A-
- 30-40% B+
- 15-25% B
- 10-20% B- and below
- The above mean and distribution requirements will apply to all classes except:
- For classes with enrollments of 16 students or less, there is no required distribution, only a mean grade point of 3.30 +/- .10
- For clinics, there is no required distribution, and the mean grade point of 3.30 shall be within a range of +/- .30.
- For classes of one student (including Independent Research classes and graded Research Assistant credit) there is neither a mean grade point nor a grade distribution requirement.
- The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will have limited discretion to allow faculty to deviate from the above policy.
Graduation with Honors
At the end of law school study, students who attain in the range of the following cumulative grade point averages are eligible to graduate with the designated honors:
Cum Laude: 3.40-3.59
Magna Cum Laude: 3.60-3.79
Summa Cum Laude: 3.80-4.0
Filing of Application
To graduate, a student must file a degree application and comply with the graduation attendance policy. Degree applications must be filed in the Office of the University Registrar by the second Friday in September for anticipated completion in the coming May or August or by the second Friday in February for anticipated completion the following January.
Attendance at Graduation
Students are required to attend the commencement ceremony for the award of the degree in person except by decision of the University not to do so. A student who expects to have a degree awarded at the spring commencement may request absentia status from the graduation ceremony by explaining in writing the circumstance which prevents participation. Students who have a degree application on file and anticipate summer completion of degree requirements are also expected to participate in the spring graduation ceremony. Students who expect to complete degree requirements in January will participate in the spring commencement following their January completion. If a winter or summer degree candidate does not intend to participate in the ceremony a written statement requesting absentia must be submitted. The request for absentia must be received by the University Registrar no later than eight working days before the ceremony. The registrar will notify the degree candidate of the status granted by the University. Unless approved for absentia status a candidate for graduation who does not participate in the commencement ceremony does not graduate. Such candidate may graduate by again filing a degree application and by following the appropriate graduation attendance policy.
View the law school honor code.
Students who have completed at least one semester in the School of Law and who are in good standing academically and financially may request a leave of absence. Requests must be in writing and submitted to the Associate Dean for Student Services and Administration, and must state an adequate reason for the request. In determining whether to grant the request, the Dean's Office may require adequate documentation. Leaves are ordinarily granted for one academic semester and rarely granted for longer than two academic semesters.
The grant of a leave of absence does not extend the time limits for completion of the J.D. degree and students requesting leave must demonstrate that they will be able to complete their degree within the allowed period of study. The law school will not accept academic credit for work completed at another school during a leave of absence without the prior written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Because a leave of absence can impact a student’s financial aid for the term in which they take a Leave of Absence as well as eligibility for financial aid when they return, we strongly urge students to consult with the Financial Aid Office before requesting a leave of absence.
Students who have been awarded scholarships who wish to retain their scholarships upon their return must specifically request this in their written leave request. Such requests are ordinarily granted.
Any student who has been absent for longer than an approved leave of absence or who interrupts his or her course of study without an approved leave of absence will be involuntarily withdrawn and must reapply through the regular admissions process.
A student's Leave of Absence will not preclude the initiation or continuation of any School of Law Honor Code or University Standards of Conduct investigation or proceeding.
A law student who takes a leave of absence during a semester may be entitled to a refund of certain charges as outlined in the Refund Policy. A leave of absence may also affect a student's financial aid eligibility for the semester as outlined in the federal Return of Title IV Program Funds Policy and the Return of Non-Title IV Program Funds Policy.
You may obtain a letter of good standing from the Law School's Dean's Office. Once you have spoken with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, a form requesting a letter of good standing will be provided to you.
The purpose of the Order of the Coif is to encourage excellence in legal education by fostering a spirit of careful study, recognizing those who as law students attained a high grade of scholarship, and honoring those who as lawyers, judges and teachers attained high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments.
Students are eligible for election to the Order of the Coif if (1) they have completed at least 75 percent of their law studies in graded courses at the University of Richmond School of law and (2) their grade record ranks them in the top 10 percent of all graduating students.
Students shall register according to the instructions that are provided for each term. A student will not be permitted to attend class until his or her name has been entered on the official roster of that class by the University Registrar and arrangements satisfactory to the University have been made for that term's fees.
A student may register late, add courses, or opt for audit status in a course through the 10th class day of the semester provided that the specified approvals are obtained and fees, if any, are paid.
A student may withdraw from courses without academic record through the 10th class day of the semester. Withdrawals after this time will be shown on the academic record, and the student must present an adequate reason, receive the approval of the associate dean, and follow any specified administrative procedures including the payment of fees, if any.
Second- or third-year students may not register for more than 17 semester hours in any semester.
The University is a secular institution that values a diversity of religious expression. The University is also an active community with a wide range of personal commitments and academic and extracurricular activities.
Planning for academic and extracurricular activities should be done with sensitivity to the diverse religious commitments of the community and an awareness of religious holidays. Scheduling large-scale, one-time academic or extra-curricular events on a religious holiday should be avoided whenever possible.
Any student may be excused from class or other assignments because of religious observance. A student who will miss an academic obligation because of religious observance is responsible for contacting his or her professor within the first two weeks of the semester. The student is responsible for completing missed work in a timely manner.
Faculty are expected to be mindful of potential conflicts with religious observances and should make reasonable accommodations when students' religious practices conflict with their academic responsibilities.
The religious observance calendar is meant to serve as a scheduling guide. It lists significant holidays from the five largest global faith traditions. However, it is not comprehensive and students may choose to observe a holiday not included on the calendar.
The holidays listed are those which occur during the academic year when the University is open.
Coursework may not be repeated for credit toward graduation except as sanctioned by the University; however, particular coursework may meet more than one requirement for graduation. An example of a sanctioned repeat-for-credit is the subsequent registration for a course in which the content changes from term to term, such as special topics or independent studies. Also, certain courses in a major or program may have to be repeated if the grade earned the first time does not meet requirements; in such a case, the credit will be counted only once but both grades will be calculated in the cumulative grade point average.
Courses taken on an audit basis cannot be repeated for credit unless approved by the appropriate dean.
Except in clear situations, the Office of the University Registrar should be consulted before registration to learn if a proposed repeat is sanctioned for credit or if sanction is possible.
All courses taken at the University of Richmond become a part of the permanent academic record. The grade for a course repeated at the University of Richmond becomes a part of the grade point average if the grade otherwise would be included in the computation.
Transfer students or students who academically visit another law school (with permission) may apply no more than 31 hours of coursework done at another law school toward satisfaction of the J.D. degree. (Transferring credits toward the LL.M. degree is not permitted.) In order for work to transfer, courses must be taken at an institution accredited as degree-granting by a recognized regional accrediting body for higher education and accredited by the American Bar Association at the time the coursework is completed. The coursework must be taken for a grade and, in order for the work to be transferred, a student must receive a C (2.0) or better in each course.
Credits earned while a student is enrolled in the LL.M. program may not be transferred to the J.D. degree program and do not count towards a J.D. degree. Students who are enrolled in the LL.M. degree program may apply for admission to the J.D. program and the requirements for admission to the J.D. program are the same for LL.M. students as they are for any applicant. Applications from current LL.M. degree students will ordinarily be considered in the spring semester after fall grades have been released.
Transfer students will not be ranked within their respective classes. Instead, transfer students will receive a number corresponding to their position in the class if they had been ranked.
Students who wish to earn credit towards the J.D. degree while visiting away at another ABA accredited law school must first receive special permission to do so from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Permission to visit at another law school will not be granted as a routine matter. Requests for such permission must be supported by a demonstration of compelling circumstances. An administrative fee will be charged to the student by the University of Richmond for each semester in which the student visits away at another law school.
Students choosing to visit must also, of course, apply to the law school they wish to visit. Most law schools will require a letter indicating that the student is in good standing and that the University of Richmond will accept transfer of credits. Upon approval of a visit, this letter may be obtained from the Associate Dean (Academic Affairs). Upon acceptance as a visiting student at another school, the Richmond student must immediately inform the Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) of the acceptance so that University and Law School records will indicate the change in status. Failure to notify of acceptance may result in the University of Richmond billing the student for the coming year's tuition.
Any student who visits at another law school must have all courses approved by the Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) prior to enrollment. Students who visit must also provide the Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) with an official transcript following completion of each semester of work.
Visiting students are expected to return to Richmond and attend graduation as required of all students. The Dean's office should be contacted to arrange to pick up the cap and gown. Visiting students should also be aware that if their transcript does not arrive in time to be certified as a May graduate (generally the third week in May), the student's graduation will be delayed until August.
Students may voluntarily withdraw from the Law School at any time. Students who wish to withdraw voluntarily should notify the Associate Dean for Student Services and Administration in writing of their decision. A student who wishes to return to the Law School after withdrawing must apply for readmission through the regular admission process. A student will not automatically retain any scholarships awarded prior to withdrawal.
Because a withdrawal can impact a student's financial aid for the term in which they withdraw as well as eligibility for financial aid in future terms should they be readmitted, we strongly urge students to consult with the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from the Law School.
A student’s withdrawal will not preclude the initiation or continuation of any School of Law Honor Code or University Standards of Conduct investigation or proceeding.
A law student who withdraws during a semester may be entitled to a refund of certain charges as outlined in the Refund Policy set forth below. Withdrawal may also affect a student's financial aid eligibility for the semester as outlined in the federal Return of Title IV Program Funds Policy and the Return of Non-Title IV Program Funds Policy.