Suspension or Dismissal
School of Law Policy
Please check the JD Handbook for the most up-to-date information, as this policy was up for review after publication of the 2017–2018 Bulletin.
Excerpt from Article II of 2017/2018 Academic Regulations
1. First-year program. The first-year program includes (1) required first-year doctrinal courses, (2) the first-year Lawyering Skills course with moot court, and (3) the intersession Lawyering Lab. As provided in Article I, paragraph 2(b), no student may earn a JD degree without passing each part of the first-year program. For the Class of 2018, the first-year program included: (1) required first-year courses, (2) the first-year seminar in legal research and writing, and (3) the first-year moot court program. The first-year program also included the Lawyering Lab.
2. Continuation. Students will be dropped from the School if (1) they earn an average below 2.0 in a completed first-year program, or (2) they fail more than 6 first-year credits. Such students must petition for reinstatement under Article X. Other students may continue, subject to the provisions of section 3 below and, for students whose average is not above 2.7, subject to any conditions or academic support program that the Academic Standards Committee may prescribe.
3. Retaking failed parts of the first-year program. A student eligible for continuation under section 2 above, but who has failed any part of the first-year program, must retake any failed part of that program during the next year. If practicable, the student will be assigned to a section taught by a different instructor. Both the original grade and the grade earned on retaking will appear on the student’s transcript, and both will be counted in the student’s average. Students who fail a retaken part of the first-year program will be dropped from the School and must petition for reinstatement under Article X.
Excerpt from Article III of 2017/2018 Academic Regulations
4. Continuation for second- and third-year students. Second- or third-year students will be dropped from the School if (1) they fail to earn an average of at least 2.0 in second-year courses and seminars; (2) they fail to earn a cumulative average, at the end of the second year, of at least 2.3; (3) they fail a retaken required course; or (4) they fail more than 5 credits after the first year. Such students must petition for reinstatement under Article X. Other students may continue, except that continuation for students whose cumulative average at the end of the second year is not above 2.7 is subject to any conditions or academic support programs that the Academic Standards Committee may prescribe.
5. Professional responsibility requirement. In the second or third year, all students must pass one of the following: (1) a course in professional responsibility offered to JD students generally, (2) a course in professional responsibility offered in conjunction with the School’s civil or criminal clinics, or (3) the School’s legal externship program. Unless the Faculty directs otherwise under Article IV, paragraph 4(b), a student who fails a course or program listed above, but who is nonetheless in good standing, must take or retake a professional responsibility course offered to JD students generally at BU Law. Both the failing grade and the grade in the second professional responsibility course will appear on the student’s transcript, and both will be counted in the student’s average. Students who fail a second course in professional responsibility will be dropped from the School and must petition for reinstatement under Article X.
6. Upperclass Writing Requirement. In addition to the First-Year Writing Seminar, students must satisfy the Upperclass Writing Requirement during their second or third year. The central goal of the Upperclass Writing Requirement is to provide each student with a rigorous writing experience that will assist the student in developing superior writing skills in a legal context. While the content and format of the writing experience may vary, to meet the requirement, the student must write a paper or series of papers involving substantial legal analysis and research, multiple drafts, and review by a member of the full-time faculty, or, with the approval of the Dean or the Dean’s designate, a part-time faculty member. The final product must demonstrate analytical and writing ability of a high professional caliber.
As a condition for registration for the final two semesters, a student who has not yet satisfied the Writing Requirement must specify how she or he intends to satisfy the requirement and must obtain the approval of the supervising faculty member. Upon the student’s satisfactory completion of the work, the faculty member shall certify to the School of Law Registrar that the student has satisfied the Writing Requirement.
A student may satisfy the Writing Requirement in a number of different ways, as long as the option chosen satisfies the requirements and expectations specified above. The available options for satisfying the requirement are as follows:
- A paper at least 7,500 words in length, not counting footnotes, written in conjunction with an upper-class law school course, seminar, or independent study.
- A combination of shorter papers written in conjunction with an upper-class law school course, seminar, or independent study that in the aggregate satisfies the length requirement of 7,500 words, not counting footnotes.
- A paper based on a draft written for one of the law school’s journals, including a completed note draft, subject to the following requirements: In order to satisfy the requirement using a journal draft, the student must obtain the approval of a faculty member to register for a no-credit independent study, in which the faculty member will review the student’s draft and require at least one revision based on the faculty member’s comments. The final paper must be at least 7,500 words in length, not counting footnotes. If the faculty member has already worked with the student in development of the journal draft, such that the faculty member is satisfied that the student has already done at least one revision under her or his direction and thereby produced a paper of sufficient quality to satisfy the Upperclass Writing Requirement, then the faculty member may certify the completion of the independent study as if the earlier work had been done for the independent study.
- A moot court problem and bench memo at least 7,500 words in length, not counting footnotes, written for one of the law school’s intramural moot court competitions.
- A paper written in conjunction with a clinical program that: 1) is at least 7,500 words in length, not counting footnotes, or a combination of shorter papers that, in the aggregate, satisfies the 7,500-word length requirement; and 2) in the judgment of the clinical professor, involves substantial legal analysis and research, multiple drafts, and review by the clinical professor.
7. Experiential Education. Effective for the Class of 2019 and thereafter, the professional skills requirement will be referenced as the “experiential education requirement” and every student will be required to take one or more experiential courses, earning a minimum of 6 credits of experiential education, prior to graduation. For the Class of 2019 and thereafter, no course used to fulfill the experiential education requirement can be applied to the professional responsibility or Upperclass Writing Requirement.
A list of qualifying courses will be published with the registration materials each spring.
8. Business Fundamentals. All JD students must complete and pass the noncredit online Business Fundamentals (JD 605) course. This requirement may be fulfilled during the summer after the first year or thereafter. Students are encouraged to complete this requirement as early as possible and strongly encouraged to do so prior to their final semester.
9. Failure to satisfy degree requirements. Any student who, at the end of the third year, has failed to satisfy the requirements for the JD degree must petition the Academic Standards Committee with a specific proposal for completing outstanding requirements. The Committee will report the matter to the Faculty with a recommendation. Upon receipt of the Committee’s report and recommendation, the Faculty may direct either that the student be dropped from the School or, where appropriate, that the student complete specified work to satisfy degree requirements.