William and Mary Law School

Student Status

How to maintain good standing.
Attend class

The American Bar Association requires students to attend class regularly and punctually. Many of your professors will have specific attendance requirements (e.g., a maximum of only 3 absences is permitted). Students who are identified as having missed an excessive number of classes may be withdrawn from the class or the course grade may be adjusted if attendance is a factor in determining the final grade.

If you find you must be absent from your courses for an extended period of time, contact the Associate Dean for Administration who, in turn, will contact your professors.

Conduct yourself professionally

It's your obligation to conduct yourself in a manner commensurate with the educational purposes of our school. You are required to adhere to the Code of Student Conduct as well as any Law School specific policy. Infractions can result in disciplinary action by the Law School, the University or both.

Follow the Honor Code

The Honor System at William & Mary Law School is one of the oldest in higher education. It exists to provide a living and learning environment that reflects the values of the Law School community, including those of academic integrity, personal integrity, and personal and professional responsibility. Our students do believe in and cherish this system.

Be a full-time student

 We are a full-time law program and you must successfully complete between 10 and 17 credit hours each term.

Limit work outside the study of law

We recognize that it may be necessary to have a steady or extra income while a student. However, the number of hours you may work is limited by the American Bar Association. The ABA mandates that full-time students devote "substantially all working hours to the study of law." We interpret this rule as a limit of 15 hours per week. In exceptional circumstances, the Associate Dean for Administration may grant permission to work up to but no more than 20 hours per week.

Eligibility to Continue as a Law Student and Terms Related to W&M Law Study

To be a full-time student in good academic standing

  • Commence the first year of study in the fall term.

  • Complete all degree requirements by the end of the third consecutive spring term following commencement of study.

  • Earn at least 10 academic credits in each term.

  • Earn at least 20 credits in each academic year.

  • Register for no more than 17 credits in any term.

Earning credit
To earn credit a student must be properly registered in a course, for the required number of academic credit hours and have received a grade, including a failing grade. Credit hours are not counted when a student withdraws from a course prior to its completion. Academic year means the period beginning with the summer session and ending with the next succeeding spring term.

Academic year
The academic year is the period beginning with a summer session and ending with the next succeeding spring term.

Eligiblility to continue in residence is determined by grade point average.  

  • A student who does not achieve a 2.3 grade point average at the end of the first term of legal study will be placed on academic probation. A student who has not achieved a 2.3 cumulative GPA at the end of the first year of legal study will be dismissed for academic deficiency (whether or not the student was previously placed on academic probation). 
  • To be able to continue in residence at the Law School as a 2L and 3L, a student must maintain a term and cumulative grade point average of 2.0.  To clarify, the student must maintain the minumum grade point average of 2.0 for each semester in the second year and each semester in the third year; as well as a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 at the conclusion of both the second and third year of legal study.
  • GPA shall be truncated at the 100th and rounded to the nearest tenth and otherwise calculated according to the normal conventions of the Law School.  The Academic Advisory Committee has the authority, in its discretion, to interpret and implement the eligibility criteria set forth above.
  • Rising 2L students (students who have completed two terms (one full academic year) of legal study) who are  in-eligible to continue as a student may not petition for the right to continue.   Students who fail to meet the minimum GPA after their third, fourth, or fifth term of legal study (students in their second or third academic year) may petition the Academic Advisory Committee for reinstatement. The Committee, in its discretion, may grant such a petition for good cause shown and may impose such conditions as it deems appropriate in approving the reinstatement. 
  • A student who fails to qualify for a degree solely by reason of failing to obtain a 2.0 term GPA for a semester in the third year may be permitted to coninue in the Law School for an additional session. If, after the completion of the additional session, the student's GPA for that session combined with the GPA for the entire third academi year is 2.0 or higher, the student will be granted the degree.
  • A student who fails to complete degree requirements within the stated time period, other than described as above for academic deficiency, may petition the Academic Advisory Committee for permission to continue.  Their ruling may include specific terms and conditions for degree completion and will ensure the extension will comply with the American Bar Association guidelines for degree completion.  The Dean must approve the petition and the terms or conditions imposed by the Committee.

These regulations apply to all degree candidates. Exceptions are granted only when approved in advance by first the Academic Advisory Committee and then the Dean.