Requirements for the JD

Total hours required 86 credit hours (of which 65 must be for a W&M Law letter grade).  Additionally, 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. 
Length of program This is a full-time program of legal education.  As such, the American Bar Association specifies that it 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.
Courses required
  • In the first year: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Torts.
  • Three semesters in the Legal Practice Program including the first-year courses:  Legal Research & Writing I and II; Lawyering Skills I and II; and the second year course: Advanced Writing and Practice.
  • In the second or third year: Professional Responsibility.
  • One or more experiential courses totaling at least six credit hours (for students graduating in 2019 or later). Three of these six credits are satisfied by the required Lawyering Skills I and II in the first year.
Required writing experiences

For students graduating in 2018 or earlier:

  • In the first year: Legal Practice I and II
  • In the second year: Advanced Writing and Practice
  • In the second or third year: An additional significant paper of publishable quality.

For students graduating in 2019 or later:

  • In the first year: Legal Research & Writing I and II
  • In the second year: Advanced Writing and Practice
Complete the 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 by achieving at least a 2.3 cumulative grade point average at the end of your first year; at least a 2.0 cumulative average at the end of each successive semester and at the end of each successive academic year; and at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in order to graduate.

Note that curricular requirements are subject to change.