2023-2024 School of Law Catalog 
    Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 School of Law Catalog archived

Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree Requirements

Candidates for the J.D. degree must satisfy the following to earn their degrees. 

  1. Required Courses: In addition to successfully completing the basic first-year required courses (Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Research, Legal Writing I, Legal Writing II, Property, Torts, and Transnational Law), J.D. degree candidates must successfully complete Professional Responsibility and Evidence in their second year and Skills Immersion during their third year.
  2. Second-Year Writing Requirement: A student 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 work in a seminar course, a law journal note, or an independent research project if the above standards are met.  
  3. Experiential Credits: A student must successfully complete at least 16 experiential credits (in addition to Skills Immersion) during their second and third year. Students may earn experiential credits by enrolling in Practicums, Clinics, or Externships. At least one course must be designated as an “actual practice” experience. Examples of actual practice courses are: Clinics, Externships, and select Practicums.            
  4. Academic Performance: Beginning with a student’s second semester, a student who fails to attain a cumulative average of 2.33 at the end of any semester is ineligible to continue in the School of Law. A student who fails to attain a cumulative average of 2.33 at the end of the sixth semester is ineligible to receive a degree. A minimum grade of D in each required course is necessary for graduation. A student receiving a grade of D- or F in a required course, who is otherwise eligible to continue in the School of Law, must retake the course.
  5. Minimum Credits: The J.D. degree requires a minimum of 85 completed credits. These credits are comprised of 31 required first-year credits, six required second-year credits (Evidence and Professional Responsibility), two required third-year credits (Skills Immersion), and 16 required experiential credits. The remaining 30 credits needed may be earned by completing upper-level elective courses.
  6. Residency: 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. Ungraded credit does not count towards the 12-credit minimum.                            
  7. Program Length: Washington and Lee University School of Law only offers a full-time program. In accordance with American Bar Association (ABA) standard 311, students must complete their degree in no more than 84 months from the date of matriculation for first-year students and no less than 24 months for advance standing transfer students.


Curriculum Map (required courses): 




LAW 509 - Civil Procedure (4Cr)

LAW 506 - Constitutional Law (4Cr)

LAW 504 - Contracts (4Cr)

LAW 522 - Criminal Law (3Cr)

LAW 525 - Legal Research (1r)

LAW 524 - Legal Writing II (2Cr)

LAW 523 - Legal Writing I (2Cr)

LAW 579 - Property (4Cr)

LAW 507 - Torts (4Cr)

LAW 595 - Transnational Law (3Cr)



15 Credits

16 Credits




LAW 685 - Evidence (3Cr)

LAW 690 - Professional Responsibility (3Cr)




LAW 707 - Skills Immersion (2Cr)