2022-2023 School of Law Catalog 
    Jun 16, 2024  
2022-2023 School of Law Catalog archived

Academic Regulations



 Academic Success Program:

  • After 1L Spring Semester: Students in approximately the bottom 10% of their class at the end of their 1L year will be, during their 2L fall semester, (a) required to participate in LAW 663-Legal Method, a course normally to be taught by the professor supervising the Academic Support Program; and (b) required to take one bar exam course. (see list below) Please note that the list excludes LAW 685-Evidence, the one bar course we already require.
  • After 2L Fall Semester: Students in the bottom 20% of their class after their third semester will be required to take one bar exam course during their 2L spring semester.
  • After 2L Spring Semester: Students in the bottom 20% of their class after their fourth semester will be required to take (1) one bar exam course during their 3L fall semester; and (2) LAW 750-Core Skills and Concepts during their 3L spring semester.
  • After 3L Fall Semester: Students in the bottom 20% of their class after their fifth semester will be required to take LAW 750-Core Skills and Concepts during their 3L spring semester.                                                         


   Bar Exam Courses

  • LAW 705 - Remedies
  • LAW 713 - Sales
  • LAW 714 - Secured Transactions
  • LAW 716 - Business Associations
  • LAW 725 - Conflict of Laws
  • LAW 733 - Criminal Procedure - Investigation
  • LAW 748 - Core Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Concepts
  • LAW 766 - Decedents’ Estates and Trusts
  • LAW 789 - Family Law
  • LAW 793 - Federal Income Taxation of Individuals



In accordance with the accreditation standards of the American Bar Association, the School of Law requires prompt and regular class attendance.  The School of Law also expects its students to prepare for their classes diligently and to complete course assignments in a timely and professional manner.  A professor has the authority to reduce a student’s grade for poor attendance, lack of preparation, or failure to complete course assignments on time.  In extreme or chronic cases of poor attendance, lack of preparation, or failure to complete course assignments on time, a professor has the authority to give the student a failing grade or to deny the student the right to sit for the final exam.  In the case of a student’s failure to satisfy attendance and other obligations in multiple courses, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, after consultation with the Dean, may impose other sanctions, including withdrawal from a course or courses or withdrawal from school.


Auditing a Course:

Washington and Lee University does not offer audit as a grading option; therefore, students may not formally audit a course. The informal audit practice is a “no record, no charge” activity, whereby students obtain permission from the instructor to attend a class and participate at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty member. Students who informally audit a course under these circumstances may not be registered for the course nor receive academic credit for the course for that particular term. The Student Handbook and the policies contained therein apply to all students enrolled at Washington and Lee University, including those auditing courses.


Class Rank:

Exact class standings (rank) are not released. Each student, however, is informed of their grade-point average, and may divulge this information to prospective employers. In addition, each student can determine the approximate percentile in the class in which they fall as students are provided with grade-point cutoffs at five percent intervals. Updated class standings are calculated and released once all grades are submitted at the conclusion of the semester. Should an individual student’s grade change in a course, class standing reports will not be reproduced.


Class Repeat:

No course may be retaken if a passing grade was previously received (D or higher for a required course, D- or higher for an elective).The only circumstances which a student may repeat a course is if a failing grade was received in a required course or courses that are designated as year-long. Examples of year-long courses which may be repeated for additional credit are: clinics, journals, and select practicums. 


Class Withdrawal:

The first week of each semester is designated an open drop/add period, during which students may drop and/or add courses without first obtaining the approval of the instructor(s) involved. During the second week of each semester a student may drop and/or add a course with the permission of both the instructor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Beginning with the third week of the semester and continuing until exam week begins, if a “drop” is approved by the course instructor and Associate Dean it will be reflected as a withdrawal (“W” grade) on the student’s transcript. This withdrawal grade will not impact a student’s grade point average (GPA). No course withdraw will be considered after the exam period has begun.


Classroom Computer Use:

Laptop computers or other electronic devices may be used in class only for taking notes, displaying case briefs, or other academic purposes explicitly authorized by the professor.  Some professors prohibit classroom laptop use.


Definition of Law School Credit Hour:

The American Bar Association and Department of Education require that schools adopt, publish, and enforce written policies on the determination of credit hours.  According to ABA Standard 310(b)(1), a “credit hour” is “an amount of work that reasonably approximates: (1) not less than one hour of classroom time or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time.”  The ABA stipulates that “fifty minutes suffices for one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction.”  However, an “hour” for out-of-class student work is sixty minutes.  

Washington and Lee University School of Law adopts the following policy in satisfaction of Standard 310: “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates:

(a) Exam Courses.  For courses in which the primary assessment is a final exam:                

(i) One hour of in-class instructional time per week for 13 weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time.  For purposes of this section, an “hour” is defined as 55 minutes;                
(ii) Each week for 13 weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time: at least two-and-a-half hours of time spent preparing for class, reviewing class materials, completing assignments, and preparing for a final exam.  For purposes of this section, an “hour” is defined as 60 minutes.                 
(iii) A final exam of at least 2 hours (for two or three credit courses) or at least 3 hours (for four credit courses).  For purposes of this section, an “hour” is defined as 60 minutes.

(b) Non-Exam Courses. For courses assessed primarily by means other than a final exam, other than those specifically addressed in (c) and (d) below:                

(i) One hour of in-class instructional time per week for 13 weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time. For purposes of this section, an “hour” is defined as 55 minutes; and                
(ii) Each week for 14 weeks: An amount of work reasonably approximating at least two-and-a-half hours of time spent preparing for class, reviewing class materials, and completing assignments other than a final exam.  For courses scheduled over a period other than 13 weeks, an equivalent amount of out-of-class work must be assigned.  For purposes of this section, an “hour” is defined as 60 minutes.

Note: The American Bar Association allows some classroom instruction to be moved to fieldwork time in courses such as practicums or externships and clinics. 

(c) Clinics, Externships and Practicum Courses. These courses require an amount of work reasonably approximating 42.5 hours of student work per credit, including time spent working on cases, projects, simulations, and preparing for a weekly seminar.

(d) Other Academic Work.  For purposes of determining the credit hours awarded in other academic activities such as journal, independent study, and other academic work leading to the award of credit, the faculty advisor must communicate the hourly expectation to students (that the students involved work at least 42.5 hours per credit received). The Educational Planning and Curriculum Committee will periodically review the awarding of credit for “other academic work”.

Ongoing Compliance: All proposals for new courses must include a justification for the number of credits to be awarded that includes in-class, out-of-class, and exam time in accordance with this policy.  The Educational Planning and Curriculum Committee shall review proposals for compliance with this policy as part of its course approval process.  Professors teaching existing courses will be required to review their syllabi to ensure compliance with this policy.  Existing courses will be reviewed periodically. 


Disability Accommodations:

Washington and Lee University School of Law is committed to providing equal access to educational opportunities to qualified students with physical or mental disabilities, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. More detailed information can be found on General Counsel website.



First-year courses and all other required courses may not be dropped. Second- or third-year courses other than externships and clinical courses may be added or dropped at the option of the student (subject to limitations on class size and other limitations announced by the instructor) during the first five days of classes of the semester; thereafter such courses may be added or dropped only with the consent of the instructor and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Under no circumstances may such a course be added after the tenth day of classes of the semester. Courses that are approved to be dropped after the 10th day of classes will be marked as a withdrawal (“W” grade) see class withdrawal policy for more information. Independent Research projects or Tutorials must be approved by the Law Faculty’s Independent Research Committee no later than the tenth day of class of the semester in which the project is to be completed.



First-year students are strongly encouraged not to be employed outside the law school and to limit their hours to 10 per week.



Detailed examination information is posted each semester on the Law Registrar website. Students are responsible for reviewing and complying with all exam policies and procedures. Adjustments to the exam schedule may be granted only by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and only then for serious circumstances beyond a student’s control that interfere with a student’s ability to perform. The following policies and procedures apply to the taking of exams:

i. Exams are graded anonymously. Exam numbers will be available online before exams begin. Do not use midterm numbers or previous semester’s numbers on your finals. Put your exam number and not your name on any materials that you submit for your exam. Anything done by a student that lets a faculty member know or suspect his or her identity may be grounds for reducing a grade and may be considered a violation of the Honor System. Exam numbers may be located by logging in to the Law Grades website using your W&L credentials. This will be the same place you submit your exams unless instructed otherwise by your professor.

ii. The Honor System requires that exams be pledged. It is sufficient simply to write the word “Pledged” on the top of your exam answers unless your professor requires something more. Some professors announce that turning in the exam is an affirmation of compliance with the Honor System. The written pledge is “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this exam”. Please review The White Book online for additional information about the Honor System.

iii. Be sure that you understand what, if any, materials you may bring into each exam and that you have no other materials with you. If your professor has not made clear what materials are permitted, be sure to ask. It is your responsibility to clarify. If your professor is giving a take-home exam, be mindful of the deadline to submit as it may vary by class/section.

iv. Take careful note of the room assigned for each exam. That is where the exam will be handed out for in-person exams. It is not necessarily the same room in which the class was taught.

v. Submitting your exam: all exams whether administered in-person, or as a take-home must be submitted to the Law Grades site. You can find a step-by-step guide for submitting your exam on the Law Registrar website. You will be given a ten (10) minute grace period to submit your exam once the exam time is over. If you are beyond this grace period you may be docked points from your grade. Remember to only use your final exam number on the exam(s) you submit - this will be the only way to identify which exam belongs to which student.

vi. Exams may be taken in the assigned rooms or elsewhere in the law school building, except as otherwise instructed by your professors. Note: You may not use the Law Library Study Rooms for exams. Regardless of where you take your exam, please remember that you must hand in your exam questions in the room in which the exam was handed out. Also, remember that, wherever you choose to write or type your exam, you remain subject to the Honor System in addition to whatever rules or restrictions your professor has chosen to impose. If taking a take-home exam, you are on your honor to promptly delete all copies of your exam questions upon completion of your exam.

vii. Students studying in classrooms should respect their fellow students’ need for quiet if they wish to take an exam in the same room. Everyone needs to remember to be courteous during this time.

viii. Computers may be used for taking exams, unless prohibited by your professor. If your professor has not announced whether computer use is permitted, be sure to ask. If you do wish to use a computer and can do so, you are responsible for providing your own computer. Students who use computers to write their exams assume the risk of computer failure and are responsible for insuring against that risk. Therefore, it is essential that you periodically generate back-up copies of your exam to a personal flash drive or cloud-based drive such as your school provided Box account.

ix. As a rule, exams must be taken at the time indicated on the exam schedule. An exam may be taken at an unscheduled time only for truly compelling reasons (i.e. a serious illness, a death of a close family member, a religious obligation, etc.) and with express permission of Trenya Mason, Associate Dean for Law Student Affairs. Permission must be obtained BEFORE the regularly scheduled exam time unless an emergency precludes doing so. Rescheduling for medical reasons requires a doctor’s written recommendation. No adjustments will be granted for such things as oversleeping or mistaking the scheduled time. Adjustments are not available due to job interviews, travel commitments, and the like. Moreover, Dean Mason will not reschedule an exam after the start of the exam period for a reason that existed before the start of the exam period. IMPORTANT NOTE: Any adjustment in the exam schedule is handled by the Student Affairs Office, not by the faculty. Do NOT discuss an adjustment with the instructor in the course as this may jeopardize your anonymity.

x. Please be very careful not to discuss the content of your exams after you have taken them. Most exams are subject to multiple administrations; moreover, one or more students in your class may be taking the exam at an unscheduled time. Careless remarks that are overheard can give students who have not taken the exam an unfair advantage and may also implicate the Honor System.


Exchange Programs:

The Law School has a number of exchange programs with partner schools in other countries.  One program is with Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. At Trinity, Ireland’s premier university, Law School students take courses with graduate law students from both Ireland and from other countries.  This program offers Law School students a fine opportunity to gain international perspectives on the law, and to meet other law students from around the world. The program also adds to the intellectual life of the Law School by bringing international law students to Lexington.  W&L students would normally spend only one semester at Trinity.  Openings are limited. 

A second program is with the University of Copenhagen, the largest educational institution in Denmark. The University of Copenhagen offers a significant number of courses in English each semester. This allows exchange students to put together a comprehensive study programme, which will meet the demands of their home institutions.

These programs, however, may present challenges in meeting the law school’s experiential credit graduation requirements. Students considering either of these should discuss scheduling with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who has the authority to grant waivers in appropriate cases. Law School students pay regular Law School tuition during their stays; financial aid packages are not affected by participation in these program. For more information, please visit the Study Abroad page. 


Grading System:

The School of Law uses a letter grading system based on a standard 4.00 scale. Below are the letter grades used and their weights uses for grade-point average (GPA):

A  (4.00)

B+ (3.33)



F (0.00)

A- (3.67)

B  (3.00)

C  (2.00)

D  (1.00)



B- (2.67)

C- (1.67)

D- (0.67)


In addition to the above letter grades, the School of Law also utilizes the following grades which do not carry any weight nor impact GPA:

H (Honors)*

I (Incomplete)

P (Pass)

CR (Credit)+

LP (Low Pass) *

TR (Transfer Credit) #

NP (Not Passing) %

WIP (Work-in-Progress) ^

*Only used for grading in Skills Immersion.
%Only used when a student does not pass a course they elected to take on a pass/no pass basis.
+Used for ungraded courses such as journals and moot court.
#Only used for credit approved for transfer in to W&L School of Law.
^Used exclusively for year-long courses during the fall term while the spring term is in-progress such as clinic courses.

A mandatory mean grade applies in every course, including first‐year and upper‐class courses, and including seminars, clinics, externships, practicum courses, and all other graded activities with the exception of (1) independent research, for which the only grades are “pass” or “not passing,” (2) ungraded courses such as journals and moot court, for which the only grades are “credit” or “not passing”, and (3) the two‐week skills immersion courses, for which the only grades are “honors,” “pass,” “low pass,” or “not passing,” with no more than 20% of the grades being “honors”.

The mandatory mean grade is 3.30, plus or minus 0.05, except in courses in which more than half the grade depends on work product other than an exam, for which the mandatory mean grade is 3.50, plus or minus 0.05. This exception does not apply to first‐year courses, including Legal Writing and Legal Research, for which the mean is the generally applicable mean of 3.30, plus or minus 0.05. If a course offers students the option of taking an exam or writing a paper, the course is treated as an exam course, and the mandatory mean is 3.30, plus or minus 0.05. For all courses in all three years, regardless of enrollment, the grade of F shall be excluded from the mandatory mean calculation.

Excluding first-year courses, additional flexibility is allowed in smaller enrollment courses:

  • Courses in which more than half of the grade depends upon an exam
    • over 30 students          +/- 0.05           3.30 (3.35 - 3.25)                
    • 21-30 students             +/- 0.1             3.30 (3.40 - 3.20)                
    • 20 or fewer students    +/- 0.2             3.30 (3.50 - 3.10)                
  • Courses in which more than half of the grade depends on work product other than an exam (seminar, practicum, clinic, externship)
    • over 30 students          +/- 0.05           3.50 (3.55 - 3.45)                
    • 21-30 students             +/- 0.1             3.50 (3.60 - 3.40)                
    • 20 or fewer students    +/- 0.2             3.50 (3.70 - 3.30) 


Incomplete Grade:

Faculty members may award a grade of “Incomplete” (designated “I” on a transcript) in instances in which they believe the award of such a grade is warranted. Incomplete grades should be cleared by the end of the semester following the semester in which a grade of Incomplete is awarded. Determinations that a longer period is to be made available to clear the Incomplete may be made justified by special circumstances, and in consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Incomplete grades that are not cleared within one semester will be converted to a failing (designated “F on a transcript) grade unless an extension has been given by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. 


Independent Research:           

Students may conduct independent research or pursue specialized studies in areas of the law which are of particular interest to them in the form of independent research projects or tutorials. Faculty members may conduct tutorials for small groups of students on issues not otherwise taught in the curriculum. Arrangements for independent research projects or tutorials should be made with the professor who teaches in the subject area involved. One to two hours of credit will be granted per independent research project or tutorial, depending on size and scope. No more than four credits may be awarded for independent research projects or tutorials during one’s academic career. Projects or tutorials may only be “credit” or “no credit”. Independent Research Projects or Tutorials must be approved by the Independent Research Committee no later than the tenth day of the semester in which the project is to be completed.


Leave of Absence:

Law students who have successfully completed at least one semester of law school and who wish to leave the School of Law temporarily may request a Leave of Absence for one or two semesters. The law school reserves the right to require adequate documentation relevant to determining whether to grant a leave request. A request for a leave of absence will be denied if one or more of the following circumstances is present:

  • The student has previously withdrawn or taken a leave of absence from law school*
  • The student is academically ineligible to continue in law school
  • The student is on conduct probation
  • The student has outstanding financial obligations to the University
  • The requested leave is judged by the Law Dean or her/his designate not to be in the best interest of the student and the School of Law

*A second leave of absence will be considered for documented medical reasons and must be approved by the VP for Student Affairs.

Please note:

  • Depending on the time in which the leave of absence takes effect, a student may be given incomplete and/or withdrawal grades.
  • Students should consult with the Financial Aid Office before requesting a leave of absence, since a leave of absence may impact a student’s financial aid for the term in which they take a leave of absence as well as eligibility for financial aid upon return.
  • Students who withdraw during a semester may be entitled to a refund of certain charges as outlined in the law school’s tuition refund policy.
  • The grant of a leave of absence does not extend applicable law school, ABA, or state bar time limits for completing the J.D. degree.
  • The law school will not accept academic credit for work at another school during a leave of absence without prior written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Students who do not return for the appointed term will be withdrawn retroactive to the effective date of their leave of absence.
  • A leave of absence will not preclude the initiation or continuation of any disciplinary investigation or proceeding.
  • Students who are reinstated following a leave of absence will continue to receive any previously awarded scholarship upon re-enrollment.


Pass/No Pass:

Any elective course (but no required course, and no clinic, externship classroom component, or practicum) may be taken on a pass/no pass basis unless the instructor, before the beginning of the semester in which the course is offered, denies students this option. A 3L student who elects to take a course or courses pass/no pass must be enrolled in a minimum of six graded credits in the semester in which they are taking the course pass/no pass. A 2L student who elects to take a course or courses pass/no pass must be enrolled in a minimum of twelve graded credits in the semester for which they are seeking a pass/no pass enrollment. Students must submit a pass/no pass election form with the Law School Registrar’s Office no later than the end of the third week of the semester. 

When a pass/no pass election has been filed, it cannot be withdrawn, except as provided in the following paragraph:

A grade of C or higher shall be recorded as P (Pass). A grade of C- or lower shall be recorded as NP (Not Passing) unless the student promptly files in the Law Registrar Office an election to accept the letter grade. Neither a grade of P nor a grade of NP shall affect the student’s cumulative average. Any semester credits for which a grade of NP is recorded shall not be included in the total semester credits the student has completed toward the minimum required for a degree. If a student who has received a grade of C- or lower elects to accept the letter grade, it shall be treated as a grade in a graded course for all purposes.


Prerequisite Courses:

Many courses have prerequisites (or, in a few cases, concurrent requisites or “co-requisites”). Pre- or co-requisites are listed in the online course descriptions in the Law School’s catalog. Students must meet all such requirements for courses they wish to enroll in or have an appropriate eligibility waiver to enroll.



Registration is the initial process of signing up for courses each term. Consistent with W&L’s principle that students bear responsibility for their academic choices and progress, each student selects sections to register into each term. Students create a planned schedule in Workday then when the registration window opens, determine which section is moved to register into or move to wait list status. Workday will check for open seats and for appropriate eligibility, including prerequisites, time conflicts, holds, etc. If a course is already full, students will automatically be placed on the wait-list. 

  • Registration Policies:
    • Experiential Courses: once registration opens, students may only enroll in two (2) experiential courses (practicums, clinics, externships). During the drop/add period (first week of class) students may request an exception to this rule by requesting a third experiential course enrollment if space is available from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Skills Immersion and the seminar portion of an externship are excluded from this policy. If a student enrolls in more than two experiential courses prior to open drop/add they will be administratively dropped from the extra course(s).
    • Required Courses: second-year students must enroll in a section of Evidence (LAW 685) for the fall semester and a section of Professional Responsibility (LAW 690) for the spring semester of their 2L year. Third-year students must enroll in a section of Skills Immersion (LAW 707B or LAW 707L) for the fall semester of their 3L year.
    • Seminar courses: once registration opens, third-year students may NOT enroll in any seminar until second-year students have registered. Therefore, third-year students must wait until open registration to select a seminar. If a third-year student enrolls in a seminar prior to open enrollment they will be administratively dropped from the course. Additionally, no student shall take more than one seminar per semester unless a waiver from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs has been granted.


Registration Time Conflict:

Students may register for classes that have a time conflict (overlap) as long as they overlap for no more than two class sessions, i.e. students may not register for two classes that have on ongoing conflict (ten minute overlap throughout the semester).  As a mandatory prerequisite, students must obtain the permission of the professor of the class that they will miss before registering for the overlapping courses (this is required whether a student will miss one class or two).  A student may not request to miss a class of a short- or mini-course, as those classes meet very few sessions. Faculty are under no obligation to give such permission, they often have sound pedagogical grounds for refusing to permit you to miss even one class session, and they may impose an additional assignment to ensure you have grasped the material missed by your absences.  The administration will not accommodate any request to modify this policy.


Religious Holidays:

Washington and Lee University values diverse religious perspectives and beliefs. Our students celebrate and value a variety of religious traditions. We are committed to supporting our students in observing their religious holidays, while also maintaining their commitment to their academic efforts. The catalog states the following university policy:
Any student who is unable, because of his or her religious holiday(s), to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, athletic, or work requirement on a particular day shall be provided an opportunity to satisfy the requirement in a timely manner or shall be excused from the requirement. Specifically,

  • Undergraduate students should reach out to their faculty member, adviser, supervisor, or coach, within the first two weeks of class in fall or winter term, two days in spring term, and again prior to the religious holiday to discuss how best to make up the missed requirement.
  • Law students should reach out to their faculty member within the first two weeks of class in the relevant semester and again prior to the religious holiday to discuss how best to make up the missed requirement.

No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who makes use of this provision of university policy.
The faculty (including coaches) receive annual reminders of this policy and are encouraged to work carefully with students in anticipating and resolving conflicts to their mutual satisfaction.
As stipulated in the Faculty Handbook, apart from absences for observance of religious holidays, faculty may set their own attendance policies and have discretion to designate absences for other reasons as “excused” or “unexcused” based upon their professional judgment.



Students must maintain residency for six semesters unless they transfer in with advanced standing, in which case they must maintain residency for four semesters. To meet the residency requirement students are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. Enrollment in ungraded credit (journals and moot court) does not count towards the 12-credit minimum. Additionally, a student must receive a passing grade in at least nine credits per semester. 


Second-Year Writing Requirement:

A student, in order to receive a degree, must, at some time during his or her second year, complete a research and writing project under the direct supervision of a member of the Faculty or Dean. Satisfactory completion of the requirement will be demonstrated by certification from the instructor who supervises the project. To satisfy the requirement a writing project must require thorough legal research, a substantial piece of legal writing, and rewriting in response to criticism from the supervising instructor. The requirement may be satisfied by an Independent Research Project or a law journal note if the above standards are met. The requirement may also be met by satisfactory completion of a paper meeting the above standards and submitted as part of the regular work in designated courses or seminars.


Student Grievance Policy:

Students who wish to bring a grievance or concern pertaining to University policies, procedures, or operations are encouraged to address their concern to the appropriate department head or official who oversees that area of University operations. Law students with disabilities who need assistance in addressing a grievance or concern should contact the Associate Dean for Law Student Affairs.

If a student has any doubt as to whom to direct a concern, please refer to section VI of the student handbook for contact information.

The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA), is the approving authority of education and training programs for Virginia. Our office investigates complaints of GI Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email saa@dvs.virginia.gov


Summer Coursework:

The School of Law does not offer a summer session. However, students may take courses offered in the summer sessions at other accredited law schools to earn up to six credit hours toward their degrees. For information about W&L summer internship credit please see the Summer Internship page.

The following requirements and procedures apply:

  • The summer school program must be ABA-accredited. No more than six (6) credits earned through such a program may be applied toward your W&L degree.  For a list of ABA accredited study abroad programs, go to http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/aba_approved_law_schools.html.
  • Both your participation in the program and the specific courses you intend to take must be approved in writing by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in advance. Failure to obtain advance permission may result in denial of credit.
  • The summer program must be one that gives grades. You will receive W&L credit for each course you successfully complete with a grade equivalent at least to our “C.”
  • In order to receive credit, students must furnish the Law Records Office with a transcript from the summer program no later than the end of the grading period for the semester following the summer school program.
  • We will record successfully completed summer school courses on your transcript, but transfer credit (“TR” grade) will be indicated in place of a letter grade; your W&L grade point average will not reflect grades earned in summer school programs.
  • Some summer school programs will require a “letter of good standing” from us as part of your application. The Law Records Office can supply such a letter.


Summer Internship Program:

Arrangements may be made for up to eight weeks of unpaid summer work with approved government agencies, courts, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and law firms.  The work involves research and participation in the functions of the organization, under the supervision of a lawyer, and submission of a reflective memorandum. Required documentation must be submitted to the Office of Career Strategy no later than noon on Friday, September 23, 2022 for a Summer 2022 internship. Up to one credit hour per summer, ungraded, with a maximum of two total credits during academic career. Credits will count towards the J.D. degree as an elective.See Law Registrar Summer Internship website for more information regarding policies, procedures, and eligibility.


Third-Year Practice:

Students who wish to be certified for third year practice in the State of Virginia must have satisfactorily completed Evidence, a course that fulfills the professional responsibility requirement, and have completed four semesters of law study. More information can be found on the Virginia State Bar Professional Guidelines page. Students who wish to be certified in a state other than Virginia should consult the rules of that state.

Those who are qualified and wish to be certified should contact the Assistant Registrar for Law Records. Virginia Third Year Practice certificates are generally made available by late May of the year in which you finish your second year.


Transferring in to W&L Law:

Students who have completed two semesters of work in other ABA approved law schools with excellent academic records may be admitted with up to 31 hours of credit for such work.  However, their last four semesters of law study must be completed at Washington and Lee University School of Law in order to receive a degree.

Credits for courses completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher, may be transferred to Washington and Lee and used as degree credit. Grades for these courses, however, will not be transferred, and a student’s cumulative grade-point average will include only work attempted at Washington and Lee.

A student admitted as a transfer will receive no more than 31 credits for work transferred. Such credits are assessed and assigned at the discretion of the appropriate dean. Only work comparable to that at Washington and Lee in level, nature, and field may be accepted for degree credit. An official transcript of student’s work at their law school is required, as well as course descriptions and/or syllabus for which transfer credit is sought. 


Ungraded Credit:

Ungraded credit towards the J.D. degree can be earned by participating in the following activities:

Inter-school competitions: A student may earn only one credit in each of the following categories, for a maximum of four credits for inter-school competitions in their academic career:

  • A student may earn one credit hour by participating in an inter-school appellate advocacy competition approved by the Moot Court Board Faculty Advisor. 
  • A student may earn one credit hour by participating in an inter-school mock trial competition approved by the Moot Court Board Faculty Advisor.
  • A student may earn one credit hour by participating in an inter-school negotiation competition approved by the Moot Court Board Faculty Advisor. 
  • A student may earn one credit hour by participating in an inter-school client counseling competition approved by the Moot Court Board Faculty Advisor.
  • A student may earn one credit hour by participating in an inter-school mediation competition approved by the Moot Court Board Faculty Advisor. 
  • A student may earn one credit hour by participating in an inter-school arbitration competition approved by the Moot Court Board Faculty Advisor.
  • A student may earn credit for participation on the Moot Court Board, one credit per semester for the Chair and Vice Chairs, and one credit for members of the “Lower Board” (those in charge of particular intramural competitions) in the semester of the relevant competition.

Law Review: up to six credit hours may be earned by participating in this activity.  (Second-year students may receive two ungraded credits per semester; third-year students may receive one ungraded credit per semester.)

Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice: up to six credit hours may be earned by participating in this activity. (Two ungraded credits per semester during second year; one ungraded credit per semester during third year.)

German Law Journal: up to four credit hours may be earned (one ungraded credit per semester during second and third year).

Summer Internship Program: credit may be earned by participation in an approved unpaid internship program. (Maximum of two ungraded credits, one per summer).

Rules for ungraded credits listed in this paragraph:

No more than six (6) credits for activities described above may be earned toward the required 85 credits for graduation.

Activities listed in this paragraph cannot be used towards the 12-credit residency requirement, see residency policy above.

Allocation and granting of credit for participation in each of the activities described in this paragraph shall be determined by the faculty advisor.

The faculty advisor of any activity listed in this paragraph may assign a grade of F to any student who fails to perform satisfactorily. In the alternative, the faculty advisor may enter a grade of “I” or may require or permit the student to drop the activity.

Additional information about these activities can be found on the Programs for Academic Credit page.


University Withdrawal:

Students who withdraw voluntarily sever their connection with the University. Students must accomplish withdrawal during a term through the Associate Dean for Law Student Affairs. A voluntary withdrawal will have an effect on academic grades and/or credits, refund of applicable fees, and access to University housing or other facilities. The University will consider students not returning for a subsequent term to have withdrawn voluntarily. Students who withdraw voluntarily may apply for reinstatement.