I. ACADEMIC POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
In accordance with American Bar Association standards, all J.D. degree candidates must satisfy the Law School’s upper-level writing requirement by completing at least one substantial research paper during law school. J.D. students may not satisfy the upper-level writing requirement during their first year of law school. LL.M. degree candidates also must satisfy the Law School’s upper-level writing requirement as part of their degree requirements. Briefs, a series of papers or team-written papers may not be used to satisfy the writing requirement.
Students may satisfy the writing requirement as follows:
1) Successfully completing a substantial research paper in a Law School semester-long or yearlong course included on the Approved Writing Requirement Course List.
3) Successfully completing a substantial research paper by “special request” in a Law School semester-long or yearlong course not included on the Approved Writing Requirement Course List. This option requires students to complete and submit a Writing Requirement Intent Form by the end of the fifth week of the semester in which the research paper is to be submitted. Contact the Student Records Office for details.
4) Dual-degree students may satisfy the writing requirement by writing a substantial research paper on a law-related topic in a course taken in the other school or department — either at UVA or at another institution approved for participation in Virginia’s dual-degree program — provided that a resident Law School faculty member certifies that the written work meets the Law School’s standards for the writing requirement. In no case will this approval result in additional course credit; the certification relates solely to satisfaction of the upper-level writing requirement. This option applies only to work completed as part of the dual-degree program. Undergraduate papers, papers completed in other graduate programs, briefs written over the summer while employed and the like are expressly excluded from satisfying the writing requirement. For more information about this option, contact the assistant dean for academic services.
WRITING REQUIREMENT STANDARD
The expectation is that the written work will be typed, doubled-spaced and a minimum of 7,500 words, footnotes included. However, this is intended only as a guideline. Final determination of appropriate requirements is left to the judgment of the course instructor/supervising faculty member. Students should arrange with the course instructor/supervising faculty member to submit an outline, abstract, first draft or other mutually agreeable research plan for comment prior to submitting the final version of the paper.
For the semester in which a student intends to satisfy the writing requirement, it is the student’s responsibility to enroll in a course included on the Approved Writing Requirement Course List or an independent research project, or submit a completed, approved and signed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office no later than the end of the fifth week of the semester. Late submissions will not be accepted.
The course instructor/supervising faculty member will be asked at the end of the semester to certify that the research paper submitted satisfies the writing requirement. Every student should be certain that his or her understanding of what is required to meet the writing requirement coincides with that of the course instructor/supervising faculty member.
Students seeking permission to visit away at another ABA-approved law school must petition the assistant dean for student affairs. Approval will be granted only when the student’s continued presence in the Charlottesville area places an exceptional hardship on the student. An example of a qualifying circumstance would be the onset of a severe illness of a close family member that requires the student’s presence outside of the Charlottesville area. The need to accompany or join a spouse elsewhere, out of area employment opportunities or the desire to study in another location, does not constitute such a hardship. For further information and assistance, contact the assistant dean for student affairs.
NOTE: Transfer students awarded two residency semesters at entrance are not eligible to visit away at another ABA-approved law school.
Students receiving permission to spend one or two semesters at another law school are governed by the following:
1) Students are expected to attend a law school of comparable quality. If that is not possible in the area where the student is located, the student must attend the best available institution in that area, although that fact alone will not ensure its approval; all requests will be considered on an individual basis.
2) Students must satisfy the upper-level writing requirement and complete the required professional ethics and professional skills courses while in attendance at Virginia.
3) Students must be in good academic standing at Virginia before enrolling at the other school.
4) The student’s proposed course schedule at the school visited must be approved by the assistant dean for academic services.
5) Enrollment at the school visited must be on a full-time basis and for a minimum of 12 semester credits (or the equivalent) each semester.
6) Students may not enroll in courses at the school visited that duplicate courses completed at Virginia.
7) Only grades of C (or its equivalent) or better earned at the school visited will be credited toward the Virginia degree. Pass/fail grades will be accepted for courses graded only on a pass/fail basis.
8) Students who have received an F grade in a course at Virginia will not be allowed to transfer credit for that course from the school visited.
9) Registration as a “not-in-residence” student and payment of the associated fee at the University of Virginia are required during the semester in which the student intends to graduate.
NOTE: Grade and credit certifications from the school visited must be received by the Virginia Student Records Office no later than 10 a.m. on the Thursday preceding Virginia’s May commencement in order to receive a diploma at commencement.
10) Students who undertake course work at the University of Virginia while visiting away are responsible for any resulting tuition and fee charges at Virginia.
11) Grades received at the school visited are not included in the calculation of Virginia grade point averages or in the consideration of Virginia honors.
All class sessions and meetings must be completed on or before the applicable “Classes End” date identified on the Academic Calendar. No examination review sessions (even optional ones) should be held by instructors after this date. Instructor office hours, of any duration and/or frequency, after this date are acceptable.