Registration Information Session FAQ
How do I choose courses? We encourage students to explore the various types of law. We do not advise students to take courses just in preparation for the Bar exam.
Are there courses I should take? Students should be exposed to a type of administrative law (employment law, labor law, administrative law) and a type of Code course (Payment Systems, Bankruptcy, Procedure). We highly recommend students take evidence in their 2L year especially if they are interested in going to court (which is possible through a clinic, externship or employment) under the rules of Third-Year Practice Certificate (only available to those students who completed their 2L year AND successfully completed evidence).
Am I scheduling for the year or just one term? You will schedule just for the coming term. However, you should consider the offerings for the entire year as you plan your fall schedule. We also advise you to make a tentative plan for the following year. This is important especially when considering courses with a prerequisite; you will want to ensure you have taken the foundation courses first.
What are clinics? Clinics are opportunities to hone the skills you have learned and are learning in Legal Skills by working with live clients. We have seven clinics at the law school, four available to 2Ls: Veterans Benefits, Special Education Advocacy, Elder Law and Innocence Project (the latter only if you have completed Evidence). Some clinics are graded by letter grade. A notation of whether or not a course is pass/fail is made in Banner and the course description.
What are externships? Externships are also opportunities to use your legal skills, gain experience, and develop contacts by working for a law firm, in-house corporate law department, prosecutor, U.S. Attorney, government agency, legal aid office, private nonprofit organization, or court under the supervision of a licensed attorney or a judge. Externships are pass/fail. Employers view externships as favorably as paid positions. All externships require Dean Kaplan's approval before your registration is final.
Why should I register for a seminar? These are smaller courses (up to 15 students) where students can participate more and may even present information on the subject. Because, often, students write a major paper for the seminar, taking these courses gives you the opportunity to create a writing sample for your job interviews. In addition, the smaller class size allows the professor to know you better and so then perhaps serve as a job reference.
Will a schedule of 10-12 credit hours be considered "light" by employers? No, especially during semesters when you are conducting a job search. Your job search is similar to taking a 3-hour course.
For how many credits can I register? You can register for 10-17 credits in a term. If you waitlist for a class, those credits also count in the 17 credits. 2Ls must be certain to register for Advanced Practice in their spring 2L term, which is part of the maximum number of credits.
Where are the course descriptions? Our web site has courses arranged by type, subject area and title. http://law.wm.edu/academics/programs/jd/electives/index.php Descriptions for courses called "special topics," where the description may change from term to term, will be posted to the registration pages in Banner.
Are there required courses for 2Ls? Yes, Advanced Practice in the spring. Professional Responsibility may be taken in either the fall or spring semester and must be taken in either the 2L or 3L year.
Are there required courses for 3Ls? No
What other course requirements must I meet? All students must satisfy the Writing Requirement, earn at least 86 credits and earn at least 65 graded W&M Law credits.
Should I consider summer school? There are a variety of summer school courses available, including those in Madrid, and many of them offer graded credits. Externships are pass-fail. Keep in mind that your GPA will be revised at the end of the summer based on your summer class(es), but class ranks will not be revised until January after fall semester grades are in. Summer school credits are a good way to reduce your fall 2L year course load for your job search. If you choose to enroll in summer school, it is a good idea to get some kind of law-related employment as well; it does not matter if that employment is paid or unpaid, or full or part-time.
How do I satisfy the Writing Requirement? By writing a Journal note in your second year, taking a seminar or course where you write a significant paper or by working one-on-one with a law professor who will supervise the two-credit Independent Writing paper.
May I register for a graded course as pass/fail? No, we give students the option to convert a non-required grade of "C" or better to a pass. You may not, however, register for a graded course as pass/fail.
May I register for courses that have a time conflict (overlap)? Perhaps. We do not permit students to register for classes where there is a consistent conflict of time. However, we do permit students to register for overlapping courses provided the overlap is a no more than twice. For example, we offer several one-week mini courses. Because these typically meet Monday through Thursday nights, they may overlap with a course but only one time during that one week. With advanced permission of the professor teaching the overlapped course, you will be given permission so you can register in the mini-course or conflicting class.