Academic Policies

Good Academic Standing

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

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

Requirements for Degree

The J.D. degree will be conferred upon a candidate who satisfies all university requirements and who satisfies all of the following law school requirements:

  1. The candidate must successfully complete all applicable law school course requirements.
  2. The candidate must earn at least 90 credits. At least 64 of the 90 credits must be in courses requiring attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions. Credit is given only for course work taken after matriculation as a law student.
  3. At least 75 of the 90 credits required for graduation must be graded credits. Graded credits, for this purpose, include graded credits earned in courses at this law school, graded credits accepted as transfer credits from other ABA-approved law schools to the extent such credits would have been graded credits if earned in residence at this law school, and graded credits earned in ABA-approved study-abroad law programs to the extent the credits would qualify as graded credits if earned in residence at this law school. Ungraded credits include, but are not limited to, credits earned in other departments on campus, including such credits that are part of a dual-degree program, to the extent such credits are approved for law school credit.
  4. The candidate must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for all graded credits at the law school.
  5. If the candidate is a transfer student, he or she must satisfy any special requirements that may apply to transfer students. A transfer student should consult the School of Law Associate Dean for Students about any such special requirements.
  6. The candidate must satisfy all requirements for the degree within five calendar years from the time the candidate first matriculates either at this or at another law school from which credit has been transferred and applied toward the degree.
  7. No student may complete the course of study for the J.D. degree earlier than 24 months after the student has commenced study at the School of Law or a law school from which the School of Law has accepted transfer credit.
  8. Subject to rules established by the School of Law faculty, students may be able to receive credit toward the J.D. degree for courses offered by colleges on the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas other than the School of Law.

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

The course of study leading to the J.D. degree requires resident law study for three academic years. The curriculum is designed to occupy the full time of the student. In order to be considered a full-time student during the regular academic year, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours. Students cannot enroll in more than 16 hours per semester without the permission of the School of Law Associate Dean for Students and, in no event, more than 18 credit hours per semester. Comparable credit hour maximums also apply to summer sessions and intersessions.

Transfer Credits

Visiting Another Law School

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

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

The student must arrange for an official transcript to be sent to the Registrar at the School of Law at the conclusion of the semester in which the work is completed. Rules governing the number of hours students may take in any or all summer sessions at the UA School of Law apply to courses taken during summer sessions at other law schools.

Visiting Status at the University of Arkansas School of Law

A student enrolled in another ABA-approved law school may request permission to enroll in UA School of Law courses as a visiting student. Submitting the request is a two-step process. First, the student must arrange for the registrar at his or her current institution to submit a letter of good standing and official transcript to the School of Law. Second, the student must submit a written request for visiting status to the Associate Dean for Students. The request should include the academic term(s) for proposed enrollment, the name of the course(s) desired, and reasons for requesting visiting status. If the Associate Dean for Students approves the request for visiting student status, the student will contact the UA School of Law Registrar for registration and tuition and fee information. The student must abide by all applicable School of Law regulations and standards regarding student conduct, attendance, examinations, work load, and the like. Visiting students are not eligible to receive a degree from UA School of Law.

Grading System

For numerical evaluations, grades are assigned the following values:

Grade Value
A4.00
A-3.67
B+3.33
B3.00
B-2.67
C+2.33
C2.00
C-1.67
D+1.33
D1.00
D-0.67
F0.00

Policies adopted by the faculty establish grade medians that apply to most courses (B- in most first-year courses and B or B- in most other courses), subject to limited exceptions. The faculty has also adopted a policy that ordinarily, once a final grade (other than an “incomplete”) has been entered for a given class, that grade will be changed only because of mathematical or similar errors in the calculation of the grade. 

Academic Advising

(a) The Law School has established a variety of avenues where a student can find advice. These avenues include a requirement that all students be individually advised by a member of the faculty before each registration period. Students may choose any member of the faculty, and advising materials, including an advising questionnaire, are provided to each student before each registration period in November and April. The selected faculty member shall provide the student with advice regarding the law school’s academic standards and graduation requirements, and guidance regarding course selection and sequencing. Except as provided below in subsection (c), all students must have their faculty advisor approve and sign their advising card.

(b) Monitoring: Any student who earns more than 8 credit hours of grades lower than a “C,” or a cumulative G.P.A. below a 2.15 in any given semester, shall be required to meet with the Associate Dean of Students and the Designated Academic Advisor, as soon as possible after the grades or cumulative G.P.A. is earned. The student shall have the responsibility for scheduling the first meeting.

(c) Special Advising Program: If any student earns more than 15 credit hours of grades lower than a “C,” or has a cumulative G.P.A. below 2.05, the student will be required to participate in the special advising program set forth in this subsection. As part of this special advising program, only the Designated Academic Advisor will be authorized to approve and sign such student’s advising card during the period of this special advising program. It is expressly intended that during this advising period the Designated Academic Advisor shall have the authority to impose reasonable conditions on such student’s continued enrollment, including but not limited to the power:

1. to approve or disapprove any course schedule;

2. to limit the number of credit hours in which a student may enroll during any semester;

3. to require attendance at or participation in one or more academic lectures, programs, or tutorials;

4. to require the student refrain from or limit employment while enrolled as a student on a full-time basis.

Any student who fails to abide by any condition imposed by the Designated Academic Advisor may receive administrative sanctions upon the recommendation of the Designated Academic Advisor and the faculty, such as administrative withdrawal from classes, ineligibility to take replacement classes, or other penalties up to and including dismissal from law school. The special advising period under this subsection will end when the student earns a 2.5 G.P.A. for a semester unless the student has yet to meet the requirements of (b).

(d) Designated Academic Advisor: The Dean shall appoint the Designated Academic Advisor. The Designated Academic Advisor shall prepare and submit an evaluative report to the Academic Dean at the end of each Spring semester regarding student progress related to subsections (b) and (c) above. Participating students' confidentiality shall be observed in accordance with federal law.

Withdrawal

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

University Policy on Auditing

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

Summer School

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

Code of Conduct

Those who enter the legal profession must be persons of integrity, meriting at all times the trust of their clients, associates, and other members of the bar. The process of earning trust cannot await graduation but should begin while the student is pursuing a law degree. Conduct of law students is governed by the Student Code of Conduct. Examinations, for example, are not normally proctored by the professors, but each student is to abide by the Code of Conduct, which is representative of the ethical standards of the legal profession.  If students or student organizations are cited by staff, faculty, or other students for a possible violation of local, state, and federal laws and/or School of Law policies, they may be subject to disciplinary action by the School of Law and/or appropriate legal action. The code is available at law.uark.edu/current/complaint-policy.

Sexual Harassment

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

Non-Discrimination

The University of Arkansas prohibits discrimination against and harassment of its students, faculty, and staff, or any applicant for employment. It is the policy of the University of Arkansas to provide an educational and work environment in which thought, creativity, and growth are stimulated, and in which individuals are free to realize their full potential through equal opportunity. The university should be a place of work and study for students, faculty, and staff, that is free of all forms of discrimination, sexual intimidation and exploitation. Therefore, the University of Arkansas is committed to providing equal opportunity for all students and applicants for admission and for all employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, age, gender, sex (including pregnancy), religion, national origin, marital or parental status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. In addition, discrimination in employment on the basis of genetic information is prohibited. For the complete text of the non-discrimination policy, please refer to: Non-Discrimination Policy.

Essential Academic and Professional Skills

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

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

Professional Standards

Fundamental Lawyering Skills

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

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

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

Educational Goals

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

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

Class Attendance

Regular and punctual attendance for every class is an essential part of the law school experience and is necessary to satisfy residence credit and credit hour requirements. Failure to regularly attend class is likely to have a negative impact on students’ abilities to learn the required material, succeed on examinations, pass the bar examination, and practice law.

Student Employment

A law student may not be employed more than 20 hours per week in any semester in which the student is enrolled in more than 12 class hours. It is a student’s responsibility to adhere to this requirement. In addition, it is strongly recommended that no student have outside employment during the first year of law school. The Career Services Office has adopted a policy informing employers who use School of Law students of this policy.

Graduation Honors

Each recipient of the J.D. degree who has met the following conditions shall receive the specified honor at the commencement exercise. Summa Cum Laude requires a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or higher (on the 4.00 scale); Magna Cum Laude requires a cumulative grade point average is 3.50 through 3.74; Cum Laude requires a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 through 3.49. In all cases, if a student earns any credits outside the School of Law, a cumulative grade point will be computed separately for (1) the graded credits earned at the School of Law, and (2) the combined graded credits earned both at School of Law and elsewhere. The grade point requirements of the honors designations described above will not be considered satisfied unless the requirement is met with respect to each of the cumulative grade point averages calculated as described in both (1) and (2) of the preceding sentence.

Character and Fitness

A student who exhibits behavior that suggests or portends an inability to demonstrate character and fitness required to practice law may be required to participate in the Arkansas Judges & Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or report to the All University Conduct Board (the AUCB) that oversees student disciplinary matters. Behavior that may subject a student to JLAP or CAPS might include, but is not limited to: repeatedly disrupting the classroom environment through inappropriate behavior; inappropriately exhibiting anger or threatening behavior; and abusing substance(s) that substantially affects mental or physical status. If the conduct at issue is sufficiently serious to involve University action, the matter shall be reported to the AUCB. The same conduct that is covered by this provision may also be subject to the Student Code of Conduct. Matters involving character and fitness under this policy are subject to procedures adopted by the faculty.

Student Complaints

The purpose of this policy is to provide a procedure to allow any student in the School of Law to bring a complaint of any nature to the attention of the School of Law. The complaint may involve, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Any significant problem that directly implicates the school’s program of legal education and its compliance with the American Bar Association’s Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools (the “Accreditation Standards”);
  • Adverse information proposed to be placed in a student’s permanent file that may be submitted to potential employers or to the character and fitness committee of any jurisdiction’s bar; or,
  • Any action that adversely affects the good standing or graduation of the student.

This policy supplements, but does not supplant, all other procedures established by the School of Law for responding to student complaints and concerns.  This policy does not create a right to challenge a grade in a specific course.

Any complaint under this policy must: (1) be in writing; (2) describe the incident, concern, or other matter in sufficient detail to disclose the pertinent facts and circumstances; (3) if applicable, identify the provision or provisions of the ABA Standards or of any established School of Law practices or policies involved and include a brief explanation of how the matter implicates the school’s program of legal education, its compliance with the ABA Standards, or any established practices or procedures; (4) give the student’s name and be signed by the student (manually or electronically); (5) be submitted in a timely fashion; and (6) be submitted to the Dean.  Any faculty member,  administrator, or staff member of the School of Law (other than the Dean) who receives a complaint from a student that he or she concludes should be handled under this policy may forward the complaint to the Dean. Complaints submitted under this policy are handled in accordance with procedures adopted by the faculty.

Before any adverse information is placed in the permanent file of a student, the registrar shall notify the student and provide him or her with a copy of the adverse information. The student may file a complaint pursuant to this policy objecting that the information should not be placed in his or her permanent file because it does not raise significant questions about the student’s character and fitness to practice law. However the following items shall be placed in the file without notice to the student: academic probation, suspension, or dismissal by the law school; adverse findings of the Petitions Committee; adverse findings of the Honor Council; adverse findings of the Student Conduct Council or the University of Arkansas Disciplinary committee; criminal convictions (felony or misdemeanor); a finding of liability for fraud in a civil proceeding. Upon written request, a student may see any information contained in the permanent file, except for information as to which the student has waived the right.

Students with Disabilities

Determination of Disabilities

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

Coordinator for Students with Disabilities

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

Academic Integrity

As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is only possible when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail. Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with and abide by the university’s Academic Integrity Policy at honesty.uark.edu. Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact their instructor.