As Amended December 2014
Note: These rules are amended from time to time. Check with the Office of the Registrar or the Associate Dean’s Office for the latest version. Not all of the academic policies are contained in these rules. Additional academic policies and procedures may be found in the School of Law Bulletin and on the websites of the various programs of the Law School.
AR‑101. Responsibilities and Applications
These Academic Rules apply generally to all members of the law school community. Copies of the Rules will be available in the Registrar’s Office and Library and on the Hamline University Web Site. Questions concerning the application of the Rules should be addressed to the Dean or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Requests for exceptions to the requirements of these Rules must be presented in writing to the Dean or to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. (See AR‑113)
AR‑102. Requirements for Admission
The Admission policies of the law school reflect its goal of an educational program of the highest standards of academic excellence. The law school will not admit applicants to the J.D. program who do not appear capable of satisfactorily completing that program. These policies and the provisions set forth below are administered by the Admissions Committee of the law school. All applicants for the J.D. program, except those exempted for good cause, are required to take the Law School Admission Test administered by the Law School Admissions Council. Each applicant should inform himself or herself of the character and other qualifications for admission to the bar in the state in which he or she intends to practice.
Students with a law degree from a country other than the United States may apply for admission to the J.D. program. Those students may apply for credit toward the J.D. degree based upon courses completed in earning their law degree from such other country. Such application must be submitted to the registrar’s office no later than successful completion of the first year of study in the J.D. program. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will determine how many credits will be awarded based upon credits earned for the foreign law degree. In no event shall more than 1/3 of the credits required for graduation with a J.D. degree be awarded based upon the foreign law degree credits. A student seeking such advanced standing nonetheless must take all first year required courses and fulfill all other requirements for graduation.
NOTE: On September 11, 2007, the faculty approved an Admissions Statement which may be found in the Student Policy Manual.
LL.M. Program for Foreign Lawyers
All applicants for the LL.M. program must have an LL.B. or equivalent degree with high academic standing from a recognized university outside of the United States. All applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language satisfactory to the Admissions Committee. If the applicant’s primary language is not English, the applicant must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or similar comprehension test. All applicants must supply official or certified-true, through WES or a similar evaluation service, academic records for all undergraduate, graduate, and professional work. The academic records should include classes taken, grades, dates of enrollment, explanation of the grading system and date and degree awarded. If in a language other than English, the records must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
First‑year Students; J.D. Program
Applicants for admission to the first‑year class must possess a Bachelor’s Degree from an appropriately accredited college or university prior to matriculation, unless the student is enrolled in an approved 3 plus 3 program. All applicants for admission to the first‑year class must have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average and Law School Admission Test score which indicate probability of success in law study. In addition to the more traditional forms of testing and undergraduate grades, the Admissions Committee may give special consideration to motivation, personal experience, maturity, and the ability to articulate one’s particular interest in, and affinity for, the study of law.
To be eligible for transfer to Hamline University School of Law, a student should have an undergraduate record which would have qualified him or her to enter the law school as a beginning student. No student, either ineligible to return to his or her former law school or who has failed to maintain at least a “C” average for all law work attempted, may transfer. If these minimum requirements are met, the application will be judged as to whether such a transfer would be in the best interest of the student and of the law school. Only grades of 2.000 on a 4.000 point scale, or its equivalent or above, will receive credit transferring into Hamline University School of Law. Upon being accepted for transfer into the J.D. program, the Registrar’s Office will evaluate the credits sought to be transferred to Hamline University School of Law to determine what credits will transfer and whether the credits transferred fulfill the requirements for graduation from Hamline University School of Law.
No transfer credit will be accepted toward the LL.M. degree without approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If an LL.M. student is attending a graduate program with another college or university in a dual degree or credit exchange program as approved by the law faculty, up to 6 credits from that degree program may be applied toward the LL.M. degree.
Previously Disqualified Students
A student dismissed because of academic deficiency will not ordinarily be considered eligible for readmission. The dismissed student may not be readmitted for at least one full academic year (fall and spring semester, or spring and fall semester). Any disqualified student considering a possible reapplication should contact the Admissions Office for more information. The student will be required to make an affirmative showing that he or she possesses the requisite ability and that the prior disqualification does not indicate a lack of capacity to complete his or her studies. In addition to this written requirement, the Admissions Committee may in some cases request an in‑person oral presentation by the applicant to the full committee. If an application for readmission is not successful, the student must wait another full academic year (another fall and spring semester, or spring and fall semester) before readmission is possible. A student dismissed for reasons other than academic deficiency may reapply on the terms allowed by the terms of the dismissal.
A student dismissed because of academic deficiency in the LL.M. program will not be eligible to apply for readmission to the LL.M. program.
With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the law school without requiring compliance with its admission standards and procedures, may permit the enrollment in a particular course or limited number of courses, as auditors, as non‑degree candidates, or as candidates for a degree other than a law J.D. or LL.M. degree, of:
(1) students enrolled in other colleges or universities or in other departments of the University of which the law school is a part,
(2) students enrolled in certificate programs offered by Hamline University, and
(3) members of the bar, graduates of other approved law schools, and other persons satisfying the requirements for admission set forth in AR-102.
Second and third‑year J.D. students and LL.M. students may add a course within the first week of classes. First‑year J.D. students in their first academic semester cannot add courses other than the required first-year courses. After their first academic semester, first-year J.D. students can add courses with the permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
If a student drops a course after the drop-add period, a “W” will be recorded on his or her transcript. J.D. students cannot drop Contracts; Civil Procedure; Legal Research and Writing I & II; Constitutional Law I; Criminal Law; Property; or Torts without the permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; and cannot drop any course after the course’s last class session for the semester or term.
Weekend program students will have first registration priority for any courses offered from Friday, 5 p.m., through Sunday evening.
Completion of First-Year Courses
All law students must complete their required first-year courses within the first four semesters of their legal education. Exceptions will be permitted only with the permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
AR‑104. Length of Program and Course Load
Full-time and Part-time Status
Incoming J.D. students in the Weekday Program matriculate as full‑time students and remain full-time students throughout their first year unless they receive approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or Assistant Dean for Students and Multicultural Affairs to go part-time. Students must receive permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Students and Multicultural Affairs to move between full-time and part-time courseloads, or to move between the weekend and the weekday programs. Part-time students, excluding the Founders Enrollment Program participants, may not exceed 15% of the Weekday Program. Full-time students are limited to 20 hours or less of employment per week.
Course Loads & Program Completion
Students must complete their J.D. Degree no earlier than 24 months and no later than 84 months after commencing their law school studies. LL.M. students must complete their program of studies within 36 months from commencing studies at the law school. The following is the breakdown of credit limitations and the enrollment status represented by each:
Fall & Spring Semesters
- Full‑time J.D. students: 12‑16 credits
- Part‑time J.D. students: 8‑11 credits
- Full-time LL.M. students: 8-15 credits
- Full‑time J.D. students: 6‑8 credits
- Part‑time J.D. students: 1‑5 credits
- Full-time LL.M. students: 1-8 credits
- Full-time J.D. students: 1-3 credits
- Full-time LL.M. students: 1-3 credits
In no event may a student exceed 18 credits per semester, 10 credits per summer term, or 3 credits per January term.
AR-105. Grading System
The final grade in each course or seminar offered at the School of Law shall be based at least in part upon one or more of the following forms of written accountability, selected at the discretion of the instructor: a written examination conducted at the end of the course or seminar, written examinations or written exercises given at other times during the course or seminar, or a substantial research paper. Satisfaction of the requirements of special courses such as Law Review, Moot Court, Legal Writing, or clinical courses may require other appropriate activities or submissions.
The final grade in any course or seminar offered in the law school may be based in part upon such factors as class attendance, class discussion, participation in activities of a professional nature related to the subject matter of the course or seminar, or oral examination, provided that the instructor has announced at the beginning of the course or seminar the factors upon which his or her final evaluation of the students in the course will be based.
By the beginning of each semester or term, the instructor will make students reasonably aware of how the final grade for each course will be calculated.
All written examinations at Hamline University School of Law should be graded anonymously.
Each student shall identify him or herself by exam number (not his or her name or student ID number) for any exam graded anonymously.
The administration of the exam will be governed by the Code of Conduct and administrative procedures established by the Dean’s Office and the Registrar’s Office.
All examinations identified by exam number shall be read and graded by the instructor by number.
To maintain grading anonymity in courses involving exams graded by number, instructors shall abide by the following procedures:
Whenever an examination forms any part of a student’s final course grade, the instructor shall submit examination grades to the Registrar’s Office by number.
Whenever a student’s final course grade will be based on factors in addition to one or more examinations identified by number, the instructor shall work with the Registrar’s Office to assure anonymity pending the computation of the final course grade. Normally, the Registrar’s Office will correlate grades for these other factors with each examination number, and either the Registrar’s Office will then calculate the final course grade based upon the instructor’s assessment formula, or the Registrar’s Office will give the instructor adequate information to compute the final grade without violating anonymity.
If the instructor prefers to know the students’ identities before incorporating assessment factors other than anonymously-graded examinations, the instructor can do so under strict limitations. Once a student’s identity is revealed, the instructor can only move the student’s grade up (and not down) by one gradation (e.g., from a “C+” to “B-“).
Once final grades are submitted, they cannot be changed unless a clerical error has occurred.
A student who does not take a scheduled examination will receive a grade of “F” for that examination, unless properly excused. In addition, any student who does not turn in a required paper on the scheduled date will receive a grade of “F” for that paper, unless properly excused. Failure to meet any course requirement can be the basis for a final grade of “F” in the class, unless properly excused.
Successful completion of a prerequisite with a grade of “D-” or better is required in order to remain in the course for which the prerequisite was required.
Numerical Grade Equivalents
A is computed as 4.0
A- is computed as 3.75
B+ is computed as 3.5
B is computed as 3.0
B- is computed as 2.75
C+ is computed as 2.5
C is computed as 2.0
C- is computed as 1.75
D+ is computed as 1.5
D is computed as 1.0
D- is computed as 0.75
F is computed as 0.0
Incomplete grades are issued by instructors only in exceptional cases. All incomplete grades must be removed by the deadline set by the instructor but in no event later than the end of the following academic semester. Failure to remove the grade by the appropriate deadline will result in the grade being changed to an “F.” For purposes of this provision, a summer session of academic or other work is not considered to be an academic semester.
When a student retakes a course for any reason, including because the student received an “F” in a required course, as a condition of an exception to an academic dismissal, or as a condition of readmission following academic dismissal, both grades will appear on the transcript and both grades will be calculated into the student’s cumulative grade point average. For purposes of meeting graduation requirements, credit will be awarded only once, but both grades will appear on the transcript. In special circumstances and for compelling reasons, the Dean may, upon the recommendation of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Admissions Committee, grant an exception and permit a student to retake a course and have the new grade, but not the old grade, calculated into the student’s cumulative grade point average. Both grades will appear on the transcript. Students who fail a required course must retake the course in order to meet graduation requirements.
Calculating Grade Point Averages
Grade point averages are computed as follows: the credit value is multiplied by the number equivalent of the grade received in the course. This multiplication product results in grade points. The sum of the grade points is then divided by the number of graded credits attempted. The grades and credit value of “I,” “W,” “P,” “AU,” “N” and “Z” are not included in grade point averages.
A student shall not be excused from taking any examination on the date regularly scheduled except due to extremely exigent circumstances, for which documentary evidence may be required. Permission for taking a make-up examination must first be obtained from the Assistant Dean for Student and Multicultural Affairs or his/her designee. This rule also applies to any anonymously-graded, non-final exam that counts towards the final course grade, so long as written notice of the exam date(s) (by syllabus, online posting, or otherwise) is provided by the first day of the course or the final day to drop the course, whichever is earlier.
If approval is granted, the student shall be required to take a make‑up examination within two weeks from the date regularly scheduled for the examination.
“Extremely exigent circumstances” does not include the following circumstances:
1. conflict with weddings, receptions, or similar special events;
2. conflict with travel plans or reservations;
3. conflict with employment plans, opportunities, or obligations;
4. examinations scheduled on sequential days or two examinations scheduled on the same day;
5. permission of the instructor alone.
Students with disabilities who may require some type of reasonable accommodation, including an exam accommodation, should contact the Assistant Dean for Students and Diversity and make a formal request for accommodation to the University Disability Services Office
H) Conversion of a letter grade to a “Pass” (applies to JD students for grades received in the Fall Semester 2013 and later)
Subject to the limitations set forth hereafter, a JD student may elect to convert a letter grade in any non-required course, other than those designated by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as not available for the pass option, to a “Pass” represented by a “P,” for “D-” or better work. A student may only convert a letter grade to a “P” in one course during the student’s entire law school career.
Students may elect to replace their passing grade with a “P” by filing with the Registrar at any time after registering for the course but not later than 5 calendar days after his or her last grade is posted.
Once the pass option has been exercised, the student cannot reverse that decision, even if hindsight proves that another choice would have been more beneficial.
AR-106. Academic Standing, Probation and Disqualification
All J.D. and LL.M. students having at least a 2.000 cumulative grade point average are in good academic standing. Students with a cumulative grade point average under 2.800 and/or students in the bottom quartile of the class will be required to complete curricula and/or academic support programming designated by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Probation: J.D. Students
At the end of any semester, a student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.000 is on academic probation. A probationary student has one semester to raise his or her cumulative grade point average to at least 2.000. An academic semester does not include a summer or January term.
A J.D. student will be subject to dismissal in any of the following circumstances:
Failing to achieve a cumulative 2.000 grade point average after completing the probationary semester. An academic semester does not include a summer or January term.
Failing to complete the requirements of the J.D. law program within 84 months.
An LL.M. student will be subject to dismissal in any of the following circumstances:
Failing to achieve a cumulative 2.000 grade point average at the completion of 24 credits.
Failing to complete the requirements of the LL.M. degree within a three-year period.
AR-107. Withdrawals from Law School and Leaves of Absence
Withdrawals from Law School
Any student wishing to withdraw from the law school must make application to the Registrar’s Office for withdrawal. Mere failure to attend classes or unofficial communication of withdrawal to faculty members does not constitute withdrawal. The official withdrawal presumes that the student will not be returning to his or her legal studies at Hamline. Should the student later choose to return, that student can do so only by reapplication to the Admissions Committee.
Leaves of Absence
Any student in good standing wishing to leave Hamline Law School temporarily, intending to return in a later semester, must make application to the Registrar’s Office for a leave of absence. Unless the leave of absence provides to the contrary, the student will be eligible to return at the commencement of one of the three following semesters. If a student does not return from leave at the commencement of one of the three following semesters, he or she can gain admission only by reapplication to the Admissions Committee. Students who are not in good academic standing are not eligible for a leave of absence.
The program of instruction at the School of Law is based on an active and informed exchange between instructor and student and between student and student. Regular, prepared class attendance helps develop skills essential to the competent practice of law. Regular and punctual class attendance and adequate preparation are required. The right to take an examination in any class may be withdrawn if a student has not been attending classes regularly. Also, a student may be dismissed or suspended from this school for excessive absences.
Classroom experience is: 1) an exploration of knowledge; 2) a development of skills; 3) an examination of professional attitudes. These are critical components of a quality legal education. Hamline University School of Law pursues quality legal education as a duty to its students, as a duty to the profession, as a duty to future clients of its students, and as a duty to society. For these reasons the Attendance Policy is established.
A continuing record will be kept of each student’s absences and late arrivals, but no daily reporting of attendance need be made.
Excessive Absences - Effect of
Students are required to attend class regularly in a punctual and prepared manner. Instructors will report promptly to the Registrar’s Office the names of students whose accumulated absences are in their opinion excessive. It is an honor code violation to falsely sign an attendance sheet for a student not present in class. It is an honor code violation to sign in for a class that was not attended in substantial part.
Individual instructors may make these requirements more specific when they deem it necessary for a particular course. Examples of courses where more specific requirements would be appropriate include skills courses and clinical courses. Instructors who do so must communicate that information in writing to their students at the beginning of the course.
If there is a conflict between attendance at a hearing required by a course and another class, the conflict shall be resolved in favor of the hearing. This rule shall not be interpreted to extend beyond hearings in court or before an administrative body. The student who misses a class because of the hearing has the right and duty to make suitable arrangements to cover the materials of that class, if the absence is not to be counted. In addition, observance of a major religious holiday (e.g. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday) shall not be deemed absence for purposes of this policy.
Any instructor may request that a student be removed from the course if the student fails to meet the attendance standard or the instructor’s particular attendance requirements. Such request should be directed to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The student shall be notified of the instructor’s request and will be afforded an opportunity to present reasons why the student should not be removed from the course. The decision whether to withdraw the student from the course will be made by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in consultation with the instructor for the course. Withdrawal from the course for failure to meet the attendance requirement shall result in a “W” on the student’s transcript for the course.
Lateness will be dealt with in the discretion of the instructor involved. Persistent or frequent lateness may be the basis for reduction of the grade awarded in a course. Instructors will notify their classes at the beginning of the term of their policies regarding lateness, under AR-105. Instructors should seek to avoid holding students past the scheduled class period. Students should not be penalized for lateness reasonably necessitated by such holding over.
Unpreparedness means an obvious want of minimal preparation of assigned materials for class recitation or discussion. Persistent or repeated unpreparedness may be the basis for reduction of the grade awarded in a course, under AR‑105. Provided, however, that wherever possible, students should be given an opportunity to redeem prior unsatisfactory performance. Distinguished class recitation or discussion may be the basis for increasing the grade awarded in a course, under AR-105.
The making of a false statement to an instructor or other school official with respect to any of the foregoing matters, or initialing an attendance form for another, constitute violations of Section 3.01 of the Code of Conduct of the most serious order.
AR-109. Rankings & Dean’s Honor Roll
All J.D. students shall be ranked at the end of each semester and upon graduation in order of descending cumulative grade point average. The rank will appear on the student’s transcript.
Before graduation, J.D. students will be ranked once at the end of each semester within their given class, based upon their year of law school (L1, L2, L3/L4). Students in the third (L3) and fourth or more (L4) year of law school are ranked together.
Transfer students into the J.D. program will be ranked only on the basis of grades received at Hamline University School of Law and following two full semesters of attendance.
Graduation rank is calculated once per academic year at the end of each Spring semester. Rankings include all students graduating in the preceding Summer term, Fall semester, January term, and Spring semester (amended December 4, 2008)
Beginning with the first semester of the first year, J.D. students who receive a 3.250 or above grade point average for any semester of 8 or more graded Hamline Law School credits shall be placed on the “Dean’s Honor Roll” for that semester. Such achievement will appear on the student’s transcript. Any student with a grade of “I” for any semester will not be eligible for the Dean’s Honor Roll for that semester until the “I” has been removed from his/her record.
AR-110. Graduation Requirements
Completion of required courses.
Completion of 88 semester credits.
Cumulative GPA of 2.000 or above.
Completion of course work in 24 to 84 months.
Of the 88 credits required to graduate, a student may not have more than 23 credits in the following types of courses: field placement, moot court and other competitions, law review and journals, independent study, structured study group leader, LRW teaching assistant, course exchange or dual degree courses, or a course for credit that is substantially based upon time expended outside a regularly scheduled class time at the School of Law or another ABA accredited law school. This rule does not apply to seminars, clinics which require a substantial classroom component, foreign study programs approved by the Law School or another ABA accredited law school, and courses conducted by the Law School or another ABA accredited law school in accordance with ABA standards for distance education.
Of the 88 credits required to graduate, a student may not have more than 15 credits in designated distance education courses. (amended January 2015)
Each J.D. candidate at Hamline University School of Law entering the law school in 2009 and thereafter is required to perform twenty-four (24) hours of pro bono service as a requirement for graduation.
Completion of required courses.
Completion of 24 semester credits.
Cumulative grade point average of 2.000 or above.
Completion of all requirements within a 3-year time period.
AR-111. Graduation Honors
The School of Law will honor its outstanding graduating J.D. students in the following manner:
Summa Cum Laude: Students who complete their required course work with a cumulative grade point average of 3.750 or higher will graduate Summa Cum Laude.
Magna Cum Laude: Students who complete their required course work and earn a graduation rank (as calculated pursuant to AR-109) in the top ten percent will graduate Magna Cum Laude.
Cum Laude: Students who complete their required course work and earn a graduation rank (as calculated pursuant to AR-109) in the top twenty percent will graduate Cum Laude.
AR-112. Transfer Credits from Other Institutions
A J.D. student in good standing at another approved law school or a Hamline J.D. student visiting at another approved law school may receive transfer credits for all courses in which the student received grade of 2.000 on a 4.000 point scale, or its equivalent or above. Grades for transfer credit courses will be recorded on the student’s transcript, but will not be calculated into the student’s grade point average. For graduation from Hamline University School of Law, a transfer student must complete at least 45 units of credit in residence at this law school.
A student at Hamline University School of Law who wishes to take courses at other law schools for credit must seek approval in advance from the Dean’s Office. See the Registrar for the policy on visiting away.
AR-113. Skills Courses
Consistent with ABA Standards 303(a)(3) and 304, a skills course must be a simulation course, a law clinic, or a field placement. To satisfy this requirement, a course must be primarily experiential in nature and must:
- Integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics, and engage students in performance of one or more professional skills;
- Develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught;
- Provide multiple opportunities for performance; and
- Provide opportunities for self-evaluation.
For purposes of this Rule:
A simulation course provides substantial experience not involving an actual client, that (1) is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks in a set of facts and circumstances devised or adopted by a faculty member; and (2) includes the following:
- Direct supervision of the student’s performance by the faculty member;
- Opportunities for performance, feedback from a faculty member, and self-evaluation; and
- A classroom instructional component.
A law clinic provides substantial lawyering experience that (1) involves one or more actual clients, and (2) includes the following:
- Advising or representing a client;
- Direct supervision of the student’s performance by a faculty member;
- Opportunities for performance, feedback from a faculty member, and self-evaluation; and
- A classroom instructional component.
AR-114. Exceptions to the Rules
The Dean will have authority to grant exceptions to the requirements of these rules for a good cause upon such conditions and in such circumstances as he or she deems appropriate. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs also has the authority to grant exceptions to Rules AR-103 and AR-104. No exception may be granted for Academic Rules that are required by the law school’s accrediting bodies. The Dean will report promptly in writing to the faculty on all exceptions he or she has granted to the requirements of these rules. All requests for exceptions to these rules must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
The Dean will grant an exception to AR-106 Probation and Disqualification only in the most unusual circumstances when such circumstances are found by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs applicable to any request for an exception to such rule. In addition to demonstrating unusual circumstances that justify an exception, a student seeking an exception to AR-106 must demonstrate that the circumstances which resulted in any disqualification have been removed or addressed and that there is substantial reason to believe that the student now is capable of successful performance in law school. Students seeking exceptions to enforcement of AR-106 should present their case to the Associate Dean.