Nov 15, 2018  
2018-2019 Law School Student Handbook 
    
2018-2019 Law School Student Handbook

Academic Standards



The following academic standards pertain to those who matriculate as students during the 2018-2019 academic year. Unless otherwise noted, continuing students who matriculated in prior academic years are governed by the Grading Policies portion of the 2018-2019 Handbook and by all other portions of the Academic Standards in the handbooks for their respective matriculation years.

LLM, LLM Certificate and SJD students should consult the Graduate Law Academic Standards  section of the Graduate Law Programs  section of this Handbook. 

Students also should note that the policies, rules and procedures in the Student Handbook are subject to change.

The Academic Standards of the School of Law reflect:

  1. The requirements of our continuing accreditation by the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State of California;
  2. The goal of ensuring that graduates are prepared to achieve a high standard in the practice of the legal profession; and
  3. Dedication to equal educational opportunity.

Definitions

  1. “Academic year” means the two-semester period from August through May.
  2. “Associate Dean” means the Associate Dean for Law Student Support or the person appointed by the Associate Dean to perform or administer a designated task or program.
  3. “Student” without other qualification includes both full‑time and part‑time students.
  4. “JD first year courses” means Civil Procedure I and II, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Property, Torts, Writing & Research I and II, and the first year Lawyering elective.
  5. “Required courses” means those courses listed as JD Required Courses.
  6. “Upper division courses” means all courses other than first year courses.
  7. “Grade point average (GPA)” means the figure derived by dividing the total number of grade points a student has earned by the total number of units the student has attempted in courses completed for letter grades. GPAs are typically calculated to three decimal places and are not rounded up in order to satisfy academic, financial aid, or career services standards.

JD Degree Requirements

The requirements for the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence are:

  1. Successful completion of 88 or more units, including the requisite required course units and the first year Lawyering elective;
  2. A GPA of 2.3 or better in all required courses. This GPA is referred to as “required course GPA”;
  3. A GPA of 2.0 or better in all courses in which a letter grade is earned;
  4. Academic good standing at the completion of the student’s final semester;
  5. Satisfaction of any and all conditions imposed by the Academic Standards Committee; and
  6. Satisfaction of ABA Time to Completion limits.

JD Required Courses

The following 43 units are used to calculate a student’s required course GPA for purposes of
academic standing and merit scholarship eligibility:

LAW 700A Civil Procedure I (3)  

LAW 700B Civil Procedure II (3)  

LAW 801A Constitutional Law I (3)  

LAW 801B Constitutional Law II (3)  

LAW 705A Contracts I (3)  

LAW 705B Contracts II (3)  

LAW 710 Criminal Law (3)  

LAW 803E Criminal Procedure I (3)  

LAW 804 Evidence (4)  

LAW 805A Professional Responsibility (2)  

LAW 715 Property (4)  

LAW 720 Torts (4)  

LAW 725A Writing and Research I (2)  

LAW 725B Writing and Research II (3)  

Required Course Sequence

For required course sequence information, see the relevant academic program below:

Juris Doctor (Full-Time Day Program), JD  

Juris Doctor (Part-Time Evening Program), JD  

Juris Doctor (Honors Lawyering Program), JD  

ABA JD Degree Time to Completion

Pursuant to ABA Standard 311(b), students may not complete the JD academic program in fewer than 24 months and, except in extraordinary circumstances, must complete it within 84 months (7 years) after they have commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit.

Limits on Study Outside the Classroom

JD students may earn a maximum of nineteen (19) units in outside classroom activities. Students must not exceed the maximums for each type of non-classroom course listed below:

  1. Non-Simulation Experiential Courses
    Students may take a maximum combined total of thirteen (13) units in clinics, externships, and field placements.
  2. Law Review and Environmental Law Journal
    Students may take a maximum combined total of seven (7) units in Law Review and Environmental Law Journal.
  3. Independent Study
    Students may take a maximum of four (4) units in Independent Study.
  4. Mock Trial and Moot Court
    Students may take a maximum combined total of eight (8) units in mock trial, moot court, or negotiation competitions.
  5. Joint Degree Program Courses
    Students in the JD/MBA or JD/PhD programs may transfer up to twelve (12) elective units from the MBA or PhD program towards their JD program. These 12 units are considered “outside classroom” units.

Classroom Attendance, Preparation, and Participation

Pursuant to ABA Standard 308(a), students are required to regularly attend class. Golden Gate University School of Law requires every student to prepare class assignments, attend class regularly, and participate knowledgeably in class discussions.

At the beginning of each course, each instructor will announce standards for attendance, participation, submission of assignments and papers, and other objective criteria as well as the sanctions for their violation. Instructors may impose sanctions such as reducing a student’s grade to the next lowest grade (in addition to the discretionary grade adjustment described in the Grading Policies below) or recommending that the student be administratively withdrawn from the course.

Regardless of whether or not the instructor announces an attendance policy, students must attend a minimum of seventy-five percent (75%) of scheduled class meetings for a course. Failure to do so will result in removal from the course as either an administrative withdrawal or as an incomplete course attempt, depending on the circumstances surrounding the absences.

A student may not register for two courses that meet at the same time or overlap in time, even by five minutes.

  1. Absences Due to Medical Circumstances
    If a student misses a class due to a medical appointment or other medical circumstance and would like to request that the absence be excused under the professor’s attendance policy, that student should provide relevant documentation of such occurrence to Student Affairs, Law School. Once documentation is received, Student Affairs will contact the student’s instructor(s) confirming receipt of documentation. Instructors are not required to excuse medical absences and may choose to apply their standards for attendance to all absences. Even if an absence is excused by a professor, the absence still counts in the calculation of attendance for the 75% attendance rule described above.
  2. Absences Due to Disability
    Absence from class and/or modifications of participation requirements may be appropriate accommodations the School of Law may provide in some instances of student disability. (See Policy on Absences Due to Medical Circumstances and Student Requests for Disability Related Accommodations in Attendance or Class Participation  in the Disability Services section of this Handbook for more information.) Students should contact Student Affairs, Law School with any questions about the policy. Accommodations are not retroactive, so all absences fall under the standard policy until the relevant accommodation is approved. Students should request this accommodation directly through Student Affairs and not through their instructor(s). Please refer to Appendix B for further detail.

Grading Policies

  1. Grade Designations
    1. Grades are based on a twelve-category letter system with numerical point equivalents as follows:
        A+ 4.0 (awarded, at discretion of instructor, to 1 student maximum in any course)
        A 4.0
        A- 3.67
        B+ 3.33
        B 3.0
        B- 2.67
        C+ 2.33
        C 2.0
        C- 1.67
        D 1.0
        F 0.0
        WF 0.0
    2. ​The grade designations represent scholarship achievement as follows:
        A+ Outstanding scholarship and intellectual initiative (awarded at discretion of instructor)
        A Superior scholarship and intellectual initiative
        A- Very good work
        B+ Good work
        B Above average work
        B- Work demonstrating acceptable competence
        C+ Work demonstrating minimal acceptable competence and indicating a need for improvement
        C Substandard work
        C-/D Unsatisfactory work
        F Failing work; no academic credit awarded
        WF Withdrew failing; failure to complete course requirements; no academic credit awarded
    3. In no course shall a grade of “C+” or better be given to an examination or paper completed by a JD student that fails to demonstrate the ability of that student to achieve a passing grade on a question of comparable complexity on the California Bar exam; i.e., the exam or paper must demonstrate:
      • The ability to analyze the facts of a question and to distinguish between material and immaterial facts;
      • The ability to discern the point of law or fact upon which the question turns; and
      • The ability to apply the relevant principles of law to the given facts and to reason in a logical, lawyer-like manner from the premises adopted to a sound conclusion.
  1. JD Grade Curves
    1. First year Required Courses
      Please note that the first year Lawyering elective, although required, is not considered a first year required course for purposes of the curve or for computing required course GPA, and instead is to be graded pursuant to the curve in section 2.c.i. below.

      ​All JD first year required courses, as defined in section C.2. above, whether taken in the first year of a full-time program or in the second year of a part-time program, will be graded on the curve set out below:
        Maximum Minimum
      A- and above 20% 5%
      B- and above 70% 45%
      C- and below 20% 10%
      D and below 5% 0%
    2. Other Required Courses
      All required courses except those covered by subsection 2.a. above will be graded on the curve set out below:

        Maximum Minimum
      A- and above 30% 5%
      B- and above 75% 45%
      C- and below 20% 10%
    3. Other Courses
      All other courses*, not covered by subsections a. or b. above will be graded on the curves set out below.
      • Curve for Elective Courses with 20 JD Students or More and for the First Year Lawyering Elective
          Maximum Minimum
        A- and above 60% 15%
        B- and above 100% 45%
        C- and below 10% 0%
      • Curve for Elective Courses with Fewer Than 20 JD Students
        In elective courses in which there are fewer than 20 students, there shall be no mandatory curve, except that no more than 20% of the students may receive a grade of C- or below.

        * The elective curves will be applied to JD students enrolled in LLM courses. The applicable curve will depend on the total number of JD students enrolled.
    4. Honors Lawyering Program (HLP)
      Courses composed of 60% or more of HLP students, including the HLP summer classes, are not subject to the mandatory grading curve.
  2. Discretionary Grade Adjustments
    In courses in which the grading is anonymous, each instructor has discretion to adjust grades on the basis of his or her subjective evaluation of the students’ class participation, commonly known as “push/pull points.” Any such adjustments are subject to the following conditions:
    1. A grade may be raised (“pushed”) or lowered (“pulled”) only to the next grade (e.g., from “C” to either “C+” or “C-“).
    2. At the beginning of the semester, each instructor gives written notice, by posting the course syllabus online or providing it in class, of his or her intention to adjust grades on the basis of subjective evaluation.
    3. The instructor must maintain reasonable documentation to support such grade adjustments. The Registrar will adjust individual students’ grades at the direction of the instructor, only after the instructor has assigned and submitted to the Registrar unadjusted grades for the entire class, prepared on an anonymous basis.
    4. If the adjustment is made because of non-attendance, then the provisions of the section on Classroom Attendance, Preparation, and Participation shall apply.
    5. If the instructor reduces a student’s grade for both poor participation and attendance, the student’s grade can be reduced by two steps (e.g., from a “B-” to a “C”).
  3. Credit/No Credit Policy
    1. All JD required courses (as listed in section C.1.), and the first year Lawyering elective, must be taken for a letter grade. (LLM and SJD students should refer to the Graduate Law Student chapter  for limits on credit/no credit classes.) In all other letter graded courses, a student may elect to receive, in lieu of a letter grade, a grade of “credit” or “no credit.” In the event of such election, any grade of “C+” or better shall be recorded as “CR” (credit), and any grade of “C” or lower shall be recorded as “NC” (no credit). Credit/no credit grades are not included in the calculation of a student’s grade point averages. However, earning “no credit” may have an impact on a student’s financial aid. (See Financial Aid section on Satisfactory Academic Progress .)
    2. The deadline for submitting the Election for Credit/No Credit form to the Law School Registrar’s Office is the day of the last class meeting for the course, or the last day of instruction for the term for courses with no class meetings. However, in no case shall a student be permitted to elect a grade of credit/no credit after all work upon which the student will be graded is due.
    3. Except for independent study courses, the “credit/no credit” election must be kept confidential. Students must not indicate on their exams, papers, or other assignments or notify their instructors that they are contemplating or electing to take a course on a “credit/no credit” basis. Failure to abide by this rule may subject the student to disciplinary action.
    4. Once the student has submitted the election form, the decision to take the course credit/no credit may not be revoked unless a grade of “NC” (no credit) is received. Students receiving a grade of “NC” may submit a written request to restore the actual letter grade received. Requests to restore the letter grade must be received by the deadlines indicated below, or the request will be denied:
      Fall Semester January 15
      Spring Semester June 15
      Summer Session September 15
    5. For a JD student, the option to take a course on a “credit/no credit” basis is limited to one course per term, except in a student’s final term. JD students may elect to take up to nine units on a “credit/no credit” basis to fulfill JD degree requirements. Excluded from these limitations are units earned in clinical and externship programs and any other courses only offered on a “credit/no credit” basis (see paragraph h. below). Also excluded from these limitations are units transferred from another law school.
    6. Because “credit/no credit” grades are not included in GPA calculations, taking courses on a “credit/no credit” basis may make JD students ineligible for Dean’s List. (See the section on Dean’s List in the Administrative Rules & Procedures  section of this Handbook.)
    7. After grades are posted, students who elected to take a course “credit/no credit” may find out the letter grade awarded by the instructor by asking the Registrar.
    8. The following courses are always graded on a “credit/no credit” basis. Letter grades are not an option, and the units do not count towards the maximum number of “credit/no credit” election units.

      LLM 395 Curricular Practical Training (LLM) 
      LLM 307 DOJ Internship 
      LAW 862C Environmental Law Journal Assoc. Editor 
      LAW 862D Environmental Law Journal Edit. Board 
      LAW 862A Environmental Law Journal Writer I 
      LAW 862B Environmental Law Journal Writer II 
      LAW 896A Externship: Civil Field Placement 
      LAW 896R Externship: Consumer Rights 
      LAW 896F Externship: Criminal Litigation 
      LAW 896C Externship: Judicial 
      LAW 809B HLP Client Representation 
      LLM 309 IRS Internship 
      LAW 861C Law Review Associate Editor 
      LAW 861D Law Review Board 
      LAW 861A Law Review Writer 
      LAW 801E Legal Analysis 
      LAW 863C Legal Methods 
      LLM 306A Pro Bono Tax Clinic: State Income Tax  
      LAW 855 Professional Presentation & Persuasion 
      LLM 397 Tax Fieldwork 

       
  4. Transfer Credit on Transcripts
    Courses transferred from another ABA-approved law school or as part of an approved joint degree program will not appear on a student’s law school transcript. Instead, a summary notation of credits will appear for the courses transferred.

Academic Standing

  1. JD Student First Semester GPA Requirement
    Full-time JD students must earn a cumulative required course GPA of 1.67 or better after the first semester. Part-time JD students must earn a cumulative required course GPA of 1.67 after the second semester. Students who do not meet this requirement will be disqualified. These students will not be in good standing.
  2. JD Student Requirements for Good Standing
    To be in good standing, JD students must earn a cumulative required course GPA of 2.3 or better, as set forth in the JD Degree Requirements section, and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better in all courses, and must have earned a “D” or better in all required courses at the time of evaluation. All students who are not disqualified under the “First Semester GPA Requirement” above are deemed to be in good standing until their first official evaluation. See the evaluation period tables below for evaluation periods that occur at the end of the designated evaluation semester for full-time and part-time JD students. All JD required courses are subject to this provision.
  3. JD Student Evaluation Timing

Full-time Students Evaluation Periods

Academic Year 1

First Fall

15 units

*academic evaluation

First Spring

15 units

academic evaluation

 

First Summer

5-8 units

Academic Year 2

Second Fall

12-16 units

Second Spring

12-16 units

academic evaluation

 

Second Summer

5-8 units

Academic Year 3

Third Fall

12-16 units

Third Spring

12-16 units ⁺academic evaluation

 

 

*cumulative required course GPA 1.67   cumulative required course GPA 2.3

Part-time Student Evaluation Periods

Academic Year 1

First Fall

9 units

First Spring

8 units

*academic evaluation

First Summer

5 units

Academic Year 2

Second Fall

9 units

academic evaluation

Second Spring

9 units

Second Summer

4 units

Academic Year 3

Third Fall

8-12 units

Third Spring

8-12 units  ⁺academic evaluation

Third Summer

4-6 units

Academic Year 4

Fourth Fall

8-12 units

Fourth Spring

8-12 units

academic evaluation

 

 

*cumulative required course GPA 1.67 cumulative required course GPA 2.3

Note that all JD students on a leave of absence during their evaluation semester will be evaluated for good standing following the conclusion of the first semester back from leave (not including a summer term.

All JD students are subject to automatic probation at the end of any term in which they receive an “F” in a required course.  See JD Program Automatic Probation section of this Handbook.

  1. JD Student Evaluation Outcomes
    After students’ academic standing evaluations, those who meet the requirements will be determined to be in good standing. Students determined to not be in good standing will be academically disqualified. Students who are disqualified, including those disqualified pursuant to section H.1. above, may have the right to petition for reinstatement on academic probation. See the JD Program Eligibility to Petition for Reinstatement section below for more information.
  2. LLM and SJD Student Requirements for Good Standing
    LLM students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better, and SJD students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to remain in good standing. LLM and SJD students will be evaluated for academic standing at the conclusion of each semester following the completion of a cumulative total of eight (8) or more units. LLM students who have completed a cumulative total of fewer than eight (8) units are considered to be in good standing.
  3. LLM and SJD Student Evaluation Outcomes
    After evaluation, LLM and SJD students will be determined to be in good standing or on academic probation. Students who do not achieve the required minimum cumulative GPA in the probation semester(s) may be academically disqualified. Students on academic probation must have their schedules approved by their Program Directors before they will be permitted to register for courses. 

JD Program Academic Supervision

JD students whose required course GPAs fall at or above 2.3 and below 2.65 at the time of their academic evaluations (see above section H.3. - JD Student Evaluation Timing) will be placed on academic supervision status under the supervision of the Academic Standards Committee. These students still are considered to be in good academic standing. The Academic Standards Committee will review the records of these students. The Academic Standards Committee has the authority to, among other conditions, require these students to do any or all of the following:

  1. Repeat any or all required courses.
  2. Complete a course in Legal Methods or another skills course (including writing courses).
  3. Complete any or all of the recommended bar courses, including but not limited to Business Associations; Community Property; Early Bar Prep; Practical Legal Writing; Privacy, Defamation, and Other Relational Torts; Real Estate Transactions; Remedies; Sales; and Wills & Trusts.
  4. Follow an academic improvement plan developed by the Academic Development Program.
  5. Limit involvement in extracurricular activities so as to focus on academics.
  6. Meet with the Associate Dean or Director for Student Affairs, Law School prior to registration each term for schedule approval. The Associate Dean periodically reports the status of all students on academic supervision to the Academic Standards Committee.
  7. Work with the Bar Exam Services program at the start of the student’s final year.

Students will remain on academic supervision until their next academic standing evaluation, as defined in H.3. above. Students who are removed from academic supervision still are required to satisfy the conditions of academic supervision, including repeating/completing courses before they graduate. Once students have been removed from academic supervision, their academic advising registration hold is removed.

JD Program Academic Disqualification

JD students who do not meet the requirements for good standing shall be academically disqualified. Disqualification is effective when all of a student’s grades for the spring or fall semester are recorded by the Registrar’s Office. Disqualified students who are enrolled in summer school at Golden Gate University School of Law will be withdrawn from their summer courses and will have all summer tuition charges reversed. Disqualified students who are enrolled in summer abroad programs will not be withdrawn from those courses. However, these students may elect to withdraw, in which case, any reversal of program charges will be at the discretion of the director of that program. Students who elect to continue will not receive credit for any courses completed after disqualification unless they are reinstated on academic probation.

JD Program Automatic Probation

JD students who receive failing “F” or “WF” grades in one or more required course(s) shall automatically be placed on academic probation. In order to return to good standing, students must retake (one time) the failed course(s) as soon as the course is offered, earn a grade of at least a “D” in each of the repeated courses, and satisfy the academic standards for good standing by the end of the next full semester during which they have successfully completed the course(s). If all of these probation conditions are not met at that time, the student will be academically disqualified from the School of Law. Students remain subject to requirements for good standing and academic evaluation timing, as described in Section H. above.

If JD students receive “F” or “WF” grades in the first part of a two-part sequenced course, the students may not enroll in the second part of the sequenced course without first repeating and receiving a grade of “D” or better in the first part of the sequenced course.

If JD students receive “F” or “WF” grades in required courses in their final semester of law school, they will be placed on academic probation and will not be allowed to graduate until they have retaken the courses and received grades of at least “D” in those courses.

JD Program Eligibility to Petition for Reinstatement

All JD students who have been academically disqualified have at least one opportunity to petition the Academic Standards Committee for reinstatement to resume their studies on academic probation. Please see the “JD Program Procedures for Petitioning for Reinstatement” section below for guidelines on petitioning for reinstatement. Students who are reinstated on probation and subsequently disqualified for not meeting probation conditions do not have any further right to petition.

  1. Eligible to Petition for Reinstatement, However Not Eligible Immediately Following Disqualification
    1. First year students with first semester GPAs below 1.67
      First year students who are disqualified after earning a GPA below 1.67 after their first semester may not petition for reinstatement immediately following disqualification. Such students must wait one year from the time of disqualification to be eligible to submit petitions for reinstatement. This petition process usually occurs in the March a full year after the time of the initial disqualification and is the student’s only opportunity to petition for reinstatement.
    2. First year students with required course GPAs below 2.0
      First year students who are disqualified after earning a required course GPA below 2.0 after the completion of two semesters may not petition for reinstatement immediately following disqualification. Such students must wait one academic year from the time of initial disqualification to be eligible to be reinstated upon a successful petition. This petition process usually occurs in the March preceding the next academic year and is the students’ only chance to petition for reinstatement.
    3. Upper division students disqualified after a spring term Leave of Absence
      Upper division students disqualified after having taken a leave of absence in a spring term and having been evaluated for standing after the subsequent fall semester pursuant to H.3. above may not petition to be reinstated in the immediately subsequent spring semester. Instead, these students must wait to participate in the petition process that usually occurs in March of that semester for possible reinstatement in the following summer or fall term. This paragraph does not apply to students disqualified after a fall term for not meeting their probation conditions.
  2. Eligible to Petition for Reinstatement Immediately Following Disqualification
    Students have the immediate right to petition the Academic Standards Committee under the following circumstances:
    1. First year students with a required course GPA of 2.0 or above
      First year students who are disqualified after earning a required course GPA of 2.0 or above after the completion of two semesters may submit a petition to the Academic Standards Committee.
    2. Upper division students not currently on probation who are disqualified
      Upper division students who are disqualified after completing more than one academic year may petition the Academic Standards Committee for reinstatement on academic probation regardless of their required course GPA and cumulative GPA, unless they have been disqualified for not meeting their probation conditions.
  3. Deadline for Submitting Petitions
    The petition for reinstatement on probation must be submitted by the deadline specified in writing by the Academic Standards Committee and/or Student Affairs, Law School
  4. Successful Petitions
    If a student’s petition is granted, the student will be reinstated to the School of Law and allowed to resume his or her law studies on academic probation, subject to all conditions imposed by the Academic Standards Committee. These conditions may include, among other things, any or all of the following:
    1. The student does not resume his/her law school studies for an academic year, or any part thereof.
    2. The student demonstrates success on the State Bar of California First Year Law Students’ Examination.
    3. The student repeats the entire first year or repeats any course in which he or she earned a grade of “C-” or lower. See the “Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress ” section of this Handbook for financial aid implications.
    4. The student successfully completes a course in Legal Methods or another skills course.
    5. The student takes any or all of the following courses: Business Associations; Community Property; Early Bar Prep; Practical Legal Writing; Privacy, Defamation, and Other Relational Torts; Real Estate Transactions; Remedies; Sales; and Wills & Trusts.
    6. The student successfully completes additional writing courses.
    7. The student follows an academic improvement plan developed by the Academic Development Program.
    8. The student works with the Bar Exam Services program at the start of the student’s final year.
    9. The student limits or curbs involvement in extra-curricular activities so as to focus on academics.
    10. The student meets with the Associate Dean or Director for Student Affairs, Law School prior to registration each term for schedule approval.
  5. Notations on Transcripts
    The transcripts of students who are academically disqualified permanently will reflect their disqualification from the School of Law. The transcripts of students who are academically disqualified and subsequently reinstated on probation permanently will reflect their disqualification from and reinstatement to the School of Law.
  6. Unsuccessful Petitions
    Students who had the immediate right to petition in June/July following disqualification and whose petitions for reinstatement were denied through that process may not subsequently petition for reinstatement unless the second petition alleges facts that could not have been discovered with reasonable diligence at the time the first petition was prepared. These students must wait one academic year following the denial of their petitions before they are again eligible for reinstatement. This subsequent petition process usually occurs in March preceding the next academic year and is the students’ final chance to petition for reinstatement. A student interested in pursuing a petition in March should contact Student Affairs, Law School to request a Petition for Reinstatement form by the March deadline indicated in the student’s notice of petition denial letter. Please see the JD Program Procedures for Petitioning for Reinstatement section of this Handbook for guidelines on petitioning for reinstatement.

    Students whose petitions are denied in the March process have no further right to petition for reinstatement, even if they have petitioned only once. The only exception to this rule is for students who petition for reinstatement in March under L.1.c. above. If these students’ first petition is denied, they must wait until the following March before they are again eligible to petition for reinstatement. That subsequent March petition process is the students’ final chance to petition for reinstatement.
  7. Time Limits within which to Petition for Reinstatement
    If students eligible under the descriptions above wish to petition the Academic Standards Committee for reinstatement, they must do so within one academic year of their disqualification, with the exception of students disqualified after their first semester with a GPA below 1.67 who must petition within three semesters of their disqualification. If more than this prescribed amount of time has passed since the students’ disqualifications, the students do not have the right to petition the Academic Standards Committee for reinstatement. Such students may contact Golden Gate University or other law school admissions offices to inquire about the possibility of applying for admission or readmission as a new student.
  8. Return to Good Standing
    Students on academic probation due to falling below the GPA requirements for good standing will have their grades reviewed after the first full semester of their reinstatement (whether it be fall or spring) for purposes of determining whether they may continue their studies with the School of Law. Students with a cumulative required course GPA below 2.3 at the completion of that first semester of their reinstatement will be disqualified from the School of Law with no further right to petition. Students who earn at least a 2.3 cumulative required course GPA, maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and meet all other conditions imposed by the Academic Standards Committee are removed from academic probation and are returned to good standing. These students still will be required to satisfy the conditions of academic probation.

    Students on academic probation due to “F” or “WF” grades in required courses will remain on probation until after they have retaken and earned a grade of at least “D” in the failed course(s). At that time, they also must satisfy the academic standards for good standing in order to be removed from probation.

JD Program Procedures for Petitioning for Reinstatement

  1. A JD student petitioning the Academic Standards Committee for reinstatement on probation has the burden of showing that (a) his or her disqualification was not the result of a lack of capacity to satisfactorily complete the degree requirements of the JD program, and (b) he or she will be able to perform in an academically satisfactory manner in the future. To meet this burden, the student must:
    1. Identify with specificity the factors that led to the deficient GPA, including any extraordinary or exigent circumstances;
    2. Explain with specificity why these factors no longer affect the student’s performance and are not likely to affect the student’s performance in the future, including by detailing what specific actions the student has taken to address, resolve, or eliminate these factors;
    3. Demonstrate a capacity to perform in the JD program in an academically satisfactory manner; and
    4. Present a specific remedial plan, and demonstrate that plan’s reasonable likelihood of success.
  2. A student’s petition must contain the Petition for Reinstatement form as a cover sheet and an essay that clearly and completely sets out the bases for the student’s petition.
  3. A student’s petition should clearly state any and all evidence the student wants the Academic Standards Committee to consider. Where a student’s medical condition has been a contributing factor, a report from the student’s attending physician must be provided. Where other external factors, such as death of a family member are alleged, reasonable documentation should be provided.
  4. A student who chooses or is required to wait one academic year before petitioning for reinstatement as provided in the “JD Program Eligibility to Petition for Reinstatement” or “Unsuccessful Petitions” sections of this handbook, or a JD student whose initial petition was denied, must submit a petition for reinstatement by March 1 of the following academic year or such later date as is specified in writing by the Academic Standards Committee and/or Student Affairs, Law School. A student interested in pursuing this option should contact Student Affairs to request a Petition for Reinstatement form. (The specific deadline for submitting completed petitions also is set by the Academic Standards Committee.) The Committee views success on the State Bar of California First Year Law Students’ Exam as one possibly persuasive factor for a petition and strongly encourages students eligible to take the exam to consider taking it and receiving the results before submitting a spring petition. (Please visit the State Bar’s website at www.calbar.ca.gov/admissions for further information about this exam.)
  5. The student must submit the original petition packet plus the number of copies requested (properly copied and collated) to the Law School Student Affairs Office by the stated deadline. Student Affairs will distribute the student’s petition to the Academic Standards Committee.
  6. The student does not have the right to appear personally before the Committee.
  7. The Committee shall review and decide each petition as soon as possible. Notice of the Academic Standards Committee’s decision will be sent to the student by US mail and email. Notification of the decision will not be given over the phone.

Academic Standards Committee

  1. Membership
    The Academic Standards Committee is composed of at least three voting faculty members.
  2. Jurisdiction of the Committee
    The Committee shall have jurisdiction to consider student petitions relating to all academic standards except the following:
    1. The requirement that a student successfully complete a minimum of 88 units to receive the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree;
    2. The requirement that a student achieve a 1.67 or better at the end of their first semester;
    3. The requirement that a student achieve a required course GPA of 2.3 or better and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better at the point the student is evaluated for academic standing, at the point the student completes all required courses, at the point the student completes 88 units, and at the point at which the student would otherwise graduate;
    4. The denial by an instructor of a request for a grade change for reasons other than mathematical or clerical error, unless the Committee determines that the exam or assignments/exercises on which the grade is based, or their administration, were so improper or unfair as to have clearly caused an unfair result;
    5. The requirement that a student on academic probation must achieve a required course GPA of 2.3 or better and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better at the completion of the next semester; and
    6. The requirement that a student must have a required course GPA of at least 2.0 to have the right to petition for reinstatement for the next semester.

Any such petition should be addressed to the Committee and provided to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School, who will share it with the rest of the Committee.

  1. Authority of the Committee
    The Committee shall have authority on matters within its jurisdiction to grant appropriate relief from the requirements of the academic standards, where the relief is justified by special requirements, is necessary to avoid serious detriment to the student, and is consistent with sound educational policy.

    In the exercise of sound discretion that takes into account all relevant factors, the Committee may deny petitions for reinstatement on academic probation or any other relief, or grant them upon such conditions as the Committee deems appropriate.
  2. Appeal
    There is no appeal of a decision by the Academic Standards Committee.
  3. Deadline to Submit Petitions other than Petitions for Reinstatement
    Petitions other than petitions for reinstatement must be submitted within 60 days of receipt of the grade, conclusion of the course, or receipt of information that raises a question about a grade or course.

Decisions of the Associate Dean for Law Student Services

In those instances in which an application is made to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School for approval of a variance from an established policy or rule (other than those decided by the Academic Standards Committee), the Associate Dean shall exercise informed discretion that takes into account one or more of the following factors: the number of previous applications of a similar nature filed by the student, whether the need for relief is caused by a situation beyond the control of the student, and whether the variance or relief is necessary to avoid serious detriment to the student. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs has no discretion to allow students with a required course GPA below 2.00 the right to petition for reinstatement or to allow students to graduate who do not meet the required course and overall GPA requirements.

A student aggrieved by a decision of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School on a matter based on the academic standards may petition the Academic Standards Committee within 60 days of the decision. This petition should be in writing and should be submitted to the Student Affairs Office, which will forward it to the Academic Standards Committee. There is no appeal of decisions by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Law School on matters not based on the academic standards.

  1. Part-time students entering in fall 2015 or later will have fulfilled this requirement by the end of their second year as part of the curriculum outlined in sections C.4.a and C.5 above.
  2. Part-time students entering in fall 2015 or later will have completed Evidence and Professional Responsibility by the end of their second year as part of the curriculum outlined in sections C.4.a and C.5 above.