2023-2024 School of Law Catalog 
    Jul 24, 2024  
2023-2024 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.


Board of Trustees Policy on Withholding of Degrees:

The Board of Trustees reserves the right to withhold the degree of any student who has been convicted of a felony by a court in any jurisdiction. Upon the satisfactory completion of that student’s court-imposed sentence, including any period of supervised probation, the Board may approve the awarding of such degree.

The Board may postpone approval of a degree for any student who has been charged with a felony in any jurisdiction when such charge is pending at the time the degree is to be awarded.


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.


Commencement Exercises:

Only those students who have completed all requirements and who are receiving degrees participate in Commencement. Students who choose not to participate in commencement must notify the Associate Dean of Law Student Affairs no later than one week prior to Commencement Day. Attendance is required of all graduating students at the official exercises of Commencement Day. Students who, without notification, willfully absent themselves from the Commencement exercises will not be awarded their diploma until the next date upon which degrees are awarded (typically October 1). Under extraordinary circumstances, the Asociate Dean of Law Student Affairs is empowered to give consideration to written requests, presented in advance, for exemption from these regulations.


Concurrent Enrollment at Other Institutions:

While enrolled in the Law School, no student may be enrolled concurrently in academic courses, as part of a degree program or otherwise, at another institution without prior approval by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.


Course Load:

All students must enroll in at least 12 credits and no more than 17 credits each semester. Students are required to complete 85 credits to graduate; our required 1L curriculum is 31 credits, meaning students need to complete 54 credits in their last four semesters to complete the J.D. requirements in three years.


Credit for Non-J.D. Coursework:

Second- and third-year law students may approach the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Law for permission to take one course per term, at no additional charge, in each fall and spring semester (undergraduate fall and winter term) up to a total of four courses. Only certain courses are eligible, with all requiring the written approval of the Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the course instructor, and the undergraduate department head. Participation in all class activities is required in the same ways as for undergraduates, so students must be aware of calendar differences (e.g., course start and end dates, different holiday and examination schedules), academic policies, and workload. If approved, the course will appear on the academic transcript but will not be included in the count of credits for the law degree nor in the law grade-point average. The application form is available on the University Registrar’s website at go.wlu.edu/app-law-to-ugr.


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 for 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 of Law Student Affairs, Community, and Belonging 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 backup 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 the express permission of the Associate Dean of Law Student Affairs, Community, and Belonging. 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, after the start of the exam period, exams will not be rescheduled for reasons 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.

Grade Changes:
Grades may be changed after the end of the term at the written request of an instructor, only in the event of an error in calculation or transcription. The Law school does not entertain appeals or grievances of the faculty’s academic evaluation of students.

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 50% or more 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) 


Holds on Registration:

Students with unpaid financial obligations to the University or other administrative holds will not be permitted to register or matriculate for any term of any academic year. They are still responsible for paying appropriate fees and penalties outlined above.


The Honor System and Student Conduct:

Honor is the moral and ethical cornerstone of Washington and Lee University. This commitment to honor is recognized by every student, faculty member, administrator, and staff member of the University. Providing the common thread woven through the many aspects of this institution, honor creates a community of trust and respect affecting fundamentally the relationships of all its members.

The Board of Trustees has granted to students the privilege of overseeing the administration of the Honor System.  The pledge, “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this paper (exam, assignment),” expresses the student’s promise that the work submitted is his or hers alone and that no unfair advantage has been taken of peers by cheating. Students’ dedication to honorable behavior in all their academic work creates a strong bond of trust among them and between them and the faculty. This student dedication and the bond that it engenders also provide the basis for the faculty member’s commitment to accepting a student’s word without question.

The dedication to behave honorably is not confined to academic life. It is expected that students will respect each other’s word and intellectual and personal property in the residence halls and the Greek houses, on the playing field, in the city of Lexington, and wherever Washington and Lee students take themselves. This principled expectation provides the foundation for the community of trust that students seek to create not only in the academic sphere but also in life outside it as well.

The School of Law operates under the Honor System. By matriculating, each student accepts the obligations of the Honor System, including recognition of the full and final responsibility of the Executive Committee of the student body for the handling of honor offenses.

Most student offenses not involving honor issues are handled by the Student Judicial Council, composed of university students.  Alleged violations of sexual misconduct and of the University’s non-discrimination and harassment policy by students are heard by the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board.  For additional information on student conduct policies and procedures, see the Student Handbook.


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.


Call to Active Duty:

Students called to active duty in the armed forces of the United States will be allowed to withdraw from the university without penalty upon presenting an official copy of their military orders to the Associate Dean of Law Student Affairs, Community, and Belonging. This must be done at the time a student is required to stop attending classes.

The University will credit 100% of tuition for the term that the student departs to the term when the student returns to the University. Should the student not return, a refund of the tuition will be issued based upon the University’s refund policy at the time of withdrawal. For students who have room and/or board contracts in force, the cost of room and/or board will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis.

Students who withdraw before midterm will receive normal withdrawal notations and/or grades on the transcript. After midterm, students may, with the permission of the appropriate instructor, exercise one of two additional options: 1) receive final grades earned as of the date of withdrawal, if work of sufficient quantity and quality has been completed to warrant a passing grade for the term; or 2) receive an Incomplete grade for one or more courses provided that a reasonable completion timeline is agreed to by the students and the instructor. Students who exercise one of these two additional options are subject to all other faculty policies regarding those grades and will not receive a tuition refund for those courses in which a final grade or Incomplete is assigned.


Reinstatement After Serving Active Duty

Students whose absence from the University results from being called to active duty for more than 30 days will be reinstated at the University with their same academic status if: 1) they provide notice of such service, and other documentation required by law, to the  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the School of Law, as appropriate; 2) within three years of their completion of service (or within two years after any period necessary to recover from an injury incurred or aggravated during such service) they notify the Associate Dean in writing of their intent to return; and 3) the cumulative length of all absences from the University for service in the armed forces of the United States does not exceed five years. (American Bar Association rules require that the Juris Doctor must be completed within 84 months after the beginning of law study.)


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 for full-length semester courses. For courses that are a week in length, students have until the second day of classes to submit a pass/no pass election form.

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 a P (Pass). A grade of C- or lower shall be recorded as NP (Not Passing) unless the student files in the Law Registrar Office an election to accept the letter grade, within five business days from the date the grade was posted. 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. When the registration window opens, students must log on to submit their preferred schedule. 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: Third-year students may not enroll in more than two experiential courses (practicums, clinics, externships) per semester, and second-year students may not enroll in more than one experiential course per semester. Students with extenuating circumstances who need to exceed this cap may request a waiver from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Skills Immersion and the seminar portion of an externship are excluded from this policy. If a student enrolls in more than the permitted number of experiential courses, they will be administratively dropped from the extra course(s).
    • Required Courses: second-year students must enroll in a section of Evidence (LAW 685) and a section of Professional Responsibility (LAW 690). Third-year students must enroll in a section of Skills Immersion (LAW 707B or LAW 707L) for the fall semester of their 3L year; once students have made their selection and registered for a section, they are not permitted to switch.
    • 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 for 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 an 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. Their 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


Students’ Rights with Respect to Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, (often referred to as the “Buckley Amendment” or “FERPA”) is designed to protect the confidentiality of the records that educational institutions maintain on their students and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents. The Act affords you certain rights with respect to your education records, as follows:

To inspect and review your education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a written request for access, any time after your matriculation. To request amendment of your education records if you believe they are inaccurate or misleading. To consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information in your education records, except to the extent that the Act or any superseding law authorizes disclosure without your consent. To contact the Family Policy Compliance Office with a complaint concerning the University’s compliance with the requirements of the Buckley Amendment.

A more thorough explanation of a student’s rights and privileges under this law, including the directory information policy and the student’s right to withhold the release of directory information, is contained in the Student Handbook, a copy of which is made available to each student upon matriculation. Further information may be obtained from the University Registrar or on the web at go.wlu.edu/FERPA.

Although FERPA allows post-secondary schools the discretion to release education record information to parents of tax-dependent students upon presentation of tax returns to confirm dependency, W&L’s general practice is to require written consent of the student, except where release of education record information is otherwise authorized by law.


Third-Year Practice:

Students who wish to be certified for third-year practice in the State of Virginia must have completed four semesters of law study, and successfully completed the following courses:

  • LAW509- Civil Procedure
  • LAW522- Criminal Law
  • LAW685- Evidence
  • LAW690- Professional Responsibility

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 Law Records Office. Virginia Third Year Practice certificates are generally made available by late May of the year in which you finish your second year.


The transcript is a complete record of all academic work taken at Washington and Lee, regardless of whether the student was enrolled in law or undergraduate courses, as degree- or non-degree-seeking. Only the name at entrance and the last name used while enrolled at W&L appear on the transcript. After your last enrollment at Washington and Lee, no subsequent name change will be reflected on the academic record, with the exception of a name change associated with a gender change.

Official Washington and Lee University transcripts, whether electronic or print, bear the University seal and the University Registrar’s signature and are provided as a service to students and alumni. For information about ordering and delivery, see go.wlu.edu/transcripts. The University Registrar does not provide unofficial transcripts or other unofficial documents.

Grades are recorded on transcripts at the end of each academic term. During the posting of end-of-term grades, no official transcripts for current students will be created once the grading window has opened until all grades for all students have been submitted, in order to avoid sending partial grade information. No transcript will be provided for students with overdue accounts or other holds at the University.


Transfer Credit:

Advanced Standing: Students who have completed two semesters of work in other ABA approved law schools with excellent academic records may be admitted with up to 28 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 28 credits for work transferred. Such credits are assessed and assigned at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. 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. 

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. 

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.


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).

Rules for ungraded credits are 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.


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, Community, and Belonging. 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.