Each student is required to maintain satisfactory academic standing, defined in terms of both the minimum GPA required and the maximum number of D, D+, or F grades permitted. Both of these requirements are reflected in the Table of Academic Standards Based on Credits Completed (listed below). In applying our Academic Standards, the calculation of “total credits completed” excludes credits earned in summer and/or winter session classes. A student may have a GPA in excess of 2.0 and still be dismissed for excessive unsatisfactory grades. A student who has a GPA (cumulative) of below 2.0 at the end of his/her 1st year of law school in substantive classes (i.e., those classes other than Introduction to Lawyering I and II) will be automatically dismissed. Further, while a 2.0 is sufficient for graduation, it is not sufficient to avoid being placed on "academic probation", since that term refers to those students who may be in need of greater than normal academic supervision. The Table reflects that, at the completion of the first year of studies and every semester thereafter, a student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.33 (or whose GPA for the most recent semester is below 2.0) is placed on academic probation. Finally, students who, at any time after their first semester, attain a GPA of between 2.33 and 2.6 may be declared " at risk" academically. Students at academic risk may be warned of their status by the Associate Dean, and may be required to take specific courses in addition to the requirements for graduation.
Grading system used at the school of law
(Excellent) 4.33 A 4.00 A- 3.67 B+ (Above Average) 3.33 B 3.00 B- 2.67 C+ (Average) 2.33 C 2.00 C- 1.67 D+ (Unsatisfactory) 1.33 D 1.00 F (Failure) 0.00 P (Pass) 0.00 I (Incomplete) 0.00 WD (Withdrawal) 0.00 AU (Audit) 0.00 NR (No Record) 0.00 IP (In Progress) 0.00
A limited number of courses, primarily in writing, externship and moot court areas are graded on the Pass/D or Fail system.
A grade of "I" (Incomplete) in any course means that the student has not completed the course requirements. Such grades appear as "F" on the final transcript if the student does not complete the work within the prescribed time limits. Generally, the time limit is the end of the succeeding semester, but it may be the end of the succeeding academic year in cases where the student must wait for the next regularly scheduled examination.
An unexecused student who fails to sit for a scheduled examination will receive a grade of "WD".
In courses with anonymous grading, faculty may increase (positive discretion) or lower (negative discretion) an exam grade by 1/3 grade provided that the announcement that positive and/or negative discretion will be used is made to the class at the first two or three meetings, and provided further that the names of those awarded discretion are submitted to the Director of Academic Services by the last business day before exams. (The faculty have limited the use of discretion to only 10% of the class receiving positive discretion. Where the class is less than 10 students, one student may receive discretion).
JD Mandatory Curve for Required Courses
Category Grades Mandatory Curve
1 A+ and A 15-25% (see below) 2 A- and B+ minimum 15% (see below) 3 B minimum 15% (see below) 4 B- and C+ 10-25% 5 C and C- 10-25% 6 D+, D and F 5-15%
JD Mandatory Curve for Elective Courses
Category Grades Mandatory Curve
1 A+ and A 15-25% (see below) 2 A- and B+ minimum 15% (see below) 3 B minimum 15% (see below) 4 B- and C+ 10-25% 5 C, C-, D+, D and F 10-25%
In either of the above curves, grades in the first two categories should not exceed 50%, and grades in the first three categories should not exceed 70%.
The Mandatory Curve for required courses shall apply to the following classes: Civil Procedure I and Civil Procedure II; Contracts, Contracts I and Contacts II; Criminal Law; Property, Property I and Property II; and Torts I.
The Mandatory Curve for elective courses shall apply to Constitutional Law, Constitutional Law I and Constitutional Law II; Business Associations; Evidence; and Professional Responsibility, and to any elective class of more than 25 students.
Whether or not any of the foregoing grade distributions apply, no more than 3% of the students (rounded up to the next whole student) in any class may receive a grade of A+.
Legal Practice, Clinical, Appellate Advocacy, and Introduction to Lawyering courses are not subject to these curves. In any other class not subject to the foregoing grade distributions, the mean and median grade shall not exceed 3.67 (A-).
Mandatory Curve for Introduction to Lawyering I and II
Class Requirements and Assessment
The assessment of skills covered in Introduction to Lawyering I and II is split in two: you will receive four credits for legal research and writing, and two credits for interactive skills. The four credits of legal research and writing are awarded in two parts – two credits at the end of the fall semester and two credits at the end of the spring semester. The two credits of interactive skills are awarded for the full year at the end of the spring semester. The four credits of legal research and writing are assessed with letter/numbered grades like other doctrinal first year classes, while the two credits of interactive skills are assessed along a spectrum that includes the following options: High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail. Thus, at the end of your first year you will have three grades on your transcript for Lawyering: (1) Introduction Lawyering I – Legal Research and Writing (listed under fall semester grades); (2) Introduction Lawyering II – Legal Research and writing (listed under spring semester grades); and (3) Introduction to Lawyering - Interactive Skills (listed under spring semester grades).
To successfully meet the requirements of Introduction to Lawyering I – Legal Research and Writing you are required to complete the following assignments:
Major Assignments (85% of final grade)
- Final Legal Discussion – 8 pages (30%)
- First Version Office Memo – 10 pages (10%)
- Final Office Memo – 10 pages (45%)
You will receive a numerical score for each of the graded assignments that is based on the total percentage number for that assignment (i.e., you can receive a total of 30 points for the Final Legal Discussion, 10 points for the First Version of the Office Memo, and 45 points for the Final Office Memo). Fifteen points can also be awarded for the other required assignments and for professionalism (see below). At the end of the semester I will calculate each student’s total numerical score out of 100, which will then be translated into a letter grade using the mandatory grade caps explained below.
Other Required Assignments and Professionalism (15% of final grade) Throughout the semester we will ask you to complete assignments that are required but not graded. As the semester unfolds, there may be additions or deletions to the following list of required assignments, but the total weight of these assignments toward your final grade will not change. Each of these assignments is designed to help you prepare for the major assignments, to reinforce skills you are acquiring, and/or to help you reflect on your own work so that you may play an active role in your education and in developing lawyering skills.
You will not receive individual numerical scores for listed assignments. If your work is unsatisfactory, I will deduct points from this part of your grade and, in addition, I may ask you to continue to work on the project until it reaches a satisfactory quality. I may also deduct points if you do not complete the assignment by the stated deadline.
This course is not only an introduction to the skills used by lawyers but also to the standards and habits of professional practice used by lawyers across diverse areas of the law. As you will see in the definition of professionalism below, I expect that you will commit to professional values including active participation in all activities, attention to the rules for this class and all the assignments, effective planning and thoughtful reflection on your work and the work of your peers, and attendance and punctuality. At the end of each semester I will assess your demonstration of these values and factor this assessment into this section of your final grade.
Introduction to Lawyering (Legal Research and Writing) Grading Caps
Introduction to Lawyering utilizes a mandatory grade cap structure that ensures some uniformity of grading across sections:
Category Grades Mandatory Lawyering Caps 1 A 15-25% 2 A- and B+ minimum 15% 3 B minimum 15%
Grades in the first two categories should not exceed 50%, and grades in the first three categories should not exceed 80%. An A+ will be awarded only for extraordinary performance.
Assessment of Interactive Skills
To successfully meet the requirements of Introduction to Lawyering – Interactive Skills, by the end of the spring semester you will have to complete the interview project, which takes place in the fall semester, along with the counseling, oral argument, and negotiation projects in the spring. A Pass will be awarded to students who demonstrate engagement in the simulation and familiarity with the skills taught. Students who excel in the interactive skills exercises may receive a High Pass for the course. No more than 30% of students may receive a High Pass in each section. Students who dedicate an insufficient level of effort to the interactive skills exercises may receive a Low Pass. A Fail will be awarded to students who do not fulfill the basic requirements of the assignments.
Table of Academic Standing
In applying our Academic Standards, the calculation of “total credits completed” excludes credits earned in summer and/or winter session classes.
Credits Completed Dismissal 0-15 credits completed 3 grades of D, D+ or F, or cumulative GPA below 1.00 16-37 credits (including Lawyering but excluding winter/summer credits) Cumulative GPA below 2.00 in substantive law classes, excluding Introduction to Lawyering I and II. At any time (A) 8 credits or more of D+, D or F among the following courses, provided that the credits be earned in at least three of these classes:
- Civil Procedure
- Civil Procedure I;
- Civil Procedure II;
- Contracts I;
- Contacts II;
- **Constitutional Law;
- **Constitutional Law I;
- **Constitutional Law II;
- Criminal Law;
- Property I;
- Property II;
- Professional Responsibility;
- Introduction to Lawyering I; and
- Introduction to Lawyering II
(B) Impossibility of meeting graduation standard of obtaining a 2.00 GPA within the maximum number of credits attempted.
**A D+, D, or F in Constitutional Law, Constitutional Law I or Constitutional Law II will only serve to dismiss a student if (a) the Constitutional Law class encompasses the student’s 8th D+, D or F credit from among the above-listed classes; (b) the prior D+, D, or F credits were earned in at least two classes; AND (c) the student had a GPA below 2.33 at the end of the student’s first year (excluding the Introduction to Lawyering I and II GPA).
Credits Completed PROBATION 0-15 credits completed 4 or more credits of D, D+ and F, or cumulative GPA below 2.33 More than 15 credits Cumulative GPA below 2.33 or GPA below 2.00 in most recent semester
Academic Probation Credentials
A student who is placed on academic probation will be given notice thereof by the Associate Dean. In addition, the Associate Dean may require each such person:
- to consult with a person designated by the Associate Dean to evaluate his or her writing ability, and, if this evaluation indicates a need for remedial work in writing, to complete a required program of such remedial work; and
- to obtain course counseling by the Associate Dean on his or her delegate prior to registering for the following semester.
In addition, the Dean of Students may impose on any student on probation any of the following as he or she shall determine:
- reduction in academic load;
- reducing or eliminating outside employment in the case of a full-time student;
- repetition of specified courses;
- limitation of courses or programs which may be taken;
- reducing or eliminating extracurricular activities;
- suspension for a specified period of time;
Academic probation and academic risk are assessed after the fall and the spring semesters.
A required course in which a grade of "F" is received must be repeated at the first opportunity with a different professor.
No student allowed to repeat the first semester or first year because of failed academic standing may be permitted a further repetition of the same period.
In case of dismissal or suspension, registration in all courses is revoked and tuition for any subsequent semester is refunded in full.
A student repeating a required course because of a grade of "F", who receives a grade of "F" in the repeated course, will be automatically dismissed from the law school. Such dismissal may be appealed to the Academic Credentials Committee. If good cause is shown and the student's academic performance is otherwise satisfactory, the committee may recommend to the full faculty that the student not be dismissed but be allowed to repeat the course one more time.
Any credits earned at another school and approved by Seton Hall as counting toward graduation will not be computed in the student's Grade Point Average.
A grade of "D", wherever referred to in these standards, includes a grade of "D" or "D+".
Students are responsible for reading and understanding all provisions of these standards.
Probation and Grievance Committee Rules
(a) The Probation and Grievance Committee has jurisdiction:
1. to hear allegations regarding alleged offenses committed by a faculty member, the dean or Associate Dean, not otherwise covered by the Code of Student Conduct, asserted by any administrator, student, faculty member, the Dean or Associate Dean of
(i) arbitrary, capricious or substantially unfair application of any rule or regulation of the law school;
(ii) discrimination, including harassment, on account of the person's age, race, color, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or disability
2. to hear student allegations of arbitrary, capricious or bad-faith grading procedures, such as a breach of anonymity, a professor's failure to read the examination, materially misleading examination terms, an examination wholly unrelated to course content, or other procedure that is egregiously unfair.
3. to hear student complaints of a significant problem that directly implicates the Law School's compliance with the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools.
The Probation and Grievance Committee shall have no jurisdiction to review the substantive grade decision of another faculty member, only to hear allegations challenging a faculty member's grading procedures. Prior to the filing of complaint with the Probation and Grievance Committee under this subdivision, a student shall make an appointment with the professor to review the examination. If after meeting with the professor, the student believes that jurisdiction may exist under this subdivision, the student shall make an appointment with the Associate Dean to review the matter. After meeting with the Associate Dean, the student may then file a complaint with the Probation and Grievance Committee under this subdivision.
An arbitrary grading procedure is not established by the absence of a model answer, the fact that the professor has not provided a written explanation of the grade provided, or by comparison of the grades with the grades for other papers. The Probation and Grievance Committee shall have no jurisdiction to re-evaluate, regrade, or rescore a student's examination. The Committee shall have jurisdiction to recommend relief under this subdivision only if the Committee finds that a faculty member's grading procedure was arbitrary, capricious, or in bad faith.
(b) Except as stated above, the Probation and Grievance Committee has no jurisdiction over grading or of the administration of rules and regulations of the law school.
(c) No decision of the Committee shall be made nor any hearing held unless there is a quorum present, which shall consist of a majority of the Committee membership. A majority of such quorum shall consist of full time tenured or tenure track faculty.
Probation and Grievance Committee
The Academic Credentials Committee consists of four or more faculty members, appointed by the Associate Dean, and the president of the Student Bar Association or his/her designee. Appointments are for one year, commencing July 1.
Any person appearing before the committee may elect to exclude the student member or any one faculty member from sitting without any showing of good cause. In such cases the committee sits with a reduced number of members.
A student appearing before the committee has the right to counsel. This counsel need not be an attorney.
For more information, please contact Enrollment Services at 973-642-8502.