Requirements for the JD


Juris Doctor Degree

Program Length

This is a full-time program of legal education. As such, the American Bar Association specifies that the program must be completed in no fewer than 24 months and no more than 84 months from the date of matriculation as a degree-seeking first-year law student.

  • 86 total credit hours
  • 65 of 86 credits must be a William & May standard letter grade
  • The American Bar Association specifies that no more than 20 percent of the required credit hours may be taken in any one semester. At William & Mary, this means students may not take more than 17 credits in any one semester.
Required Courses

First Year

  • Law 101 - Criminal Law
  • Law 102 - Civil Procedure
  • Law 107 - Torts
  • Law 108 - Property
  • Law 109 - Constitutional Law
  • Law 110 - Contracts
  • Law 130- Legal Research & Writing I
  • Law 131 - Lawyering Skills I
  • Law 132 - Legal Research & Writing II
  • Law 133 - Lawyering Skills II
Second Year or Third Year*
  • Law 140 - Advanced Writing & Practice or any course designated as Legal Writing Requirement
  • Law 115 Professional Responsibility or Law 117 The Legal Profession
  • *For students intending to apply for a Third Year Practice Certificate for use in their summer prior to or during their third year,  Evidence and Professional Responsibility or The Legal Profession, plus four semesters of legal study are required for eligibility
Program Requirements
  • Experiential Learning
  • Writing - satisfied with Legal Research & Writing I and II and Advanced Writing & Practice or any upper level writing course designated with the Legal Writing Requirement attribute
Graduate Employment Survey You will not be certified to graduate without completing and updating the Survey.

In addition, you, as a law student, must maintain good academic standing as defined by the Law School.

**Directed Reading in Advanced Legal Analysis & Doctrine - required for only those students who have been identified, based on academic performance, as likely to benefit from additional bar exam preparation studies. The Dean’s Office will be responsible for identifying and contacting such students and granting exceptions to the requirement, on a case-by-case basis for good cause.

Note that curricular requirements are subject to change.