Academics

Academic Policies

Academic Standards

In order to continue their coursework, students must maintain minimum grade point averages of 2.33. Students who do not have overall GPAs of 2.33 or higher at the end of any semester or summer term normally are permitted to remain in the Law School on probation during the next semester or summer term for which they enroll. Students on probation are encouraged to participate in academic support activities sponsored by the Law School. Some academic support activities may be required of students on probation. At the end of that semester or summer term, students who have not achieved overall GPAs of at least 2.33 or higher are excluded from further enrollment. Students also may be excluded because of excessive absences from class, as a sanction for a violation of the Student Honor Code, or for other nonacademic reasons when the dean deems it in the Law School’s best interest. Law students are also subject to other University student policies.

In exceptional cases, students excluded because of academic deficiency may be readmitted to the Law School. If readmitted after such exclusion, a student must achieve an overall GPA of 2.33 or higher by the end of the semester of readmission (including summer term), or he or she may again be excluded from the Law School.

Students readmitted following exclusion for academic deficiency may be required, as a condition of readmission, to repeat some or all of the courses taken previously. A student readmitted under such a condition forfeits all credit previously earned in the courses that must be retaken. However, the grade points earned previously may be counted in the academic average.

Class Attendance

Accreditation standards provide that regular and punctual class attendance is necessary to satisfy residence and class hour requirements.

Graduation Requirements

Upon favorable recommendation of the faculty, the juris doctor (J.D.) degree is conferred upon students who have maintained an overall grade point average of at least 2.33 for all work attempted in the Law School, earned at least 90 semester hours of credit for work in the Law School, including all required courses, and maintained, in the judgment of the faculty, a satisfactory record of honorable conduct befitting a prospective member of the legal profession.

  • First-year law students must follow a prescribed curriculum, except under extraordinary circumstances and with permission of the dean or his or her designee.
  • Pass all required courses (36 hours)
  • Complete all work in a seminar
  • Complete class work for the degree no sooner than 24 months and no longer than 72 months after enrolling in the Law School
  • Complete at least 3 hours of professional skills classes

Limitation on Certain Credits

Students may not use more than 25 hours credit toward graduation from the following activities:

  • Independent Study
  • Externships
  • Journal Credit
  • Moot Court/Trial Advocacy Competition Credit
  • Class work in a department outside the Law School

Alabama Students Visiting Other Law Schools

In exceptional cases, law students are allowed to visit for the third year at another law school. The student should have a compelling reason. The Law School must be ABA accredited.

All courses must be approved prior to the student registering for them and the grades would transfer as “Pass”. Grades at another school do not affect the GPA here. Students spending a semester away are not ranked with their classmates here.

Students who plan to do work at another law school must obtain the written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, prior to the undertaking of the work. When Alabama law students taking classes in other divisions or at other law schools, ask to transfer credit, grades below “B-” will not be transferred. Further information about visiting status can be found in the Student Handbook.

Work Transferred from Other Graduate Divisions on Campus

A student may take up to 6 hours of graduate work from other divisions of The University of Alabama so long as (1) there is prior approval by the office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, (2) the student articulates in writing how the class enhances his or her law school curriculum, and (3) the student makes a “B” or better in the course.

A student may not transfer credit from other schools and divisions that was earned prior to the time the student matriculated as a law student.

Other divisions on campus may charge a fee to students outside their division who enroll in classes.

Further information about transferred credit can be found in the Student Handbook and online here:  http://www.law.ua.edu/students/transferred-credit/.

Transferred Students from Another Law School

A selected number of students each year are allowed to transfer from other law schools with advance standing. These students must complete a transfer student application. The admissions process is very similar to the regular admissions process.

The Law School will accept no more than 30 hours of credit from another school. An evaluation of credit is done on a case-by-case basis. The Law School may require particular courses of transferred students. Students wishing to transfer will not be able to transfer C’s (including C+, C, and C-) or their equivalents.

Usually transferred students will not have class ranks.

While transfer students may be considered for graduation honors, a transfer is not eligible for Order of the Coif.

Transfer students may be considered for honors if the Alabama law gpa is within the honors categories. However, a calculation will be made considering the Alabama courses and all courses taken at the other school (not only those transferred) and the student’s honor category can be no higher than the Alabama gpa.

Further information about transferred credit can be found in the Student Handbook and online here:  http://www.law.ua.edu/students/transferred-credit/.

Appealing a Grade

A student may appeal a grade. The following is the procedure used in such an appeal:

  • Student reviews his or her exam.
  • Student submits to the Records Office a request that the professor review the calculation of the student’s grade.*
  • If the student remains dissatisfied with the accuracy of the grade, the student prepares a written statement on why he or she thinks the grade is arbitrary.
  • Another professor, in the same or a related teaching area, is given the student’s statement, the student’s exam, and a copy of the exam. The professor may also have access to the exams of other students in the class.
  • The reviewing professor makes a determination of whether the student’s grade was arbitrary.

* Please note that the student should keep his/her identity anonymous from the professor when seeking a grade recalculation. Following a grade recalculation, the student may discuss his/her exam with the professor, but only to receive feedback on the test and not to advocate for a higher grade.

Class Load

Second- and third-year law students must be enrolled for at least 10 hours — except during the summer. No student may enroll, except in extraordinary circumstances and with permission of the dean or his or her designee, in more than 16 hours during the regular semester or 2 classes during the summer term.

Bar Admission

Each student should understand at the time of initial Law School enrollment the requirements for admission to the bar of the state in which the student intends to practice following graduation. Several states, including Alabama, require that students, shortly after beginning the study of law, register with the board of bar examiners in that state. The board of bar examiners of the state in question will provide the most complete information regarding state requirements. Addresses are available in the Bounds Law Library and in the Law School Student Records Office.

Disability Services

The Law School is committed to meeting the needs of students with physical, learning, and other disabilities and provides appropriate accommodations and services tailored to each person’s specific requirements. The Law School’s assistant deans and the University’s Office of Disability Services work together to help individuals with disabilities achieve and maintain individual autonomy. Admitted students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the University’s Office of Disability Services so that the individual’s need for support services can be evaluated and accommodated in a timely manner.

Military Leaves

Under federal regulations, see 34 C.F.R. § 668.18, a student who has been admitted to or who has been enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Law may ask for a military leave to fulfill a U.S. military obligation. If the student’s absence was necessitated by this obligation and there is no dishonorable or bad conduct discharge from the uniformed services, then the student will be promptly readmitted if the cumulative length of his/her absence and of all previous absences from the School of Law due to military service does not exceed five years. The student continues law school from the point where he or she left, and the academic requirements at the point when he or she left apply. Students leaving law school should notify the Records Office of their departure. Students leaving school because of military service do not lose Law School scholarships, though all conditions of scholarships remain in place. All Law School scholarships additionally are limited to six semesters. Students leaving because of military service may initiate readmission by contacting the Records Office. Students readmitted to the Law School under this policy are not subject to the six-year time limit for completing the J.D. degree.

Resident/Nonresident Classification

Questions regarding resident and nonresident status should be directed to Law School Admissions Office at (205) 348-5440. Residency information also is available online.