Mandatory Grade Policy

Type of Class

Grade Distribution
(described below)
  • First-year doctrinal courses
  • Professional Responsibility (regardless of size)
3.25 3.30 3.35 Must substantially follow distribution as determined
by the Vice Dean
  • Upper-level courses of 30 or more students
3.25 3.30 3.35 Should follow distribution to the extent practicable
  • Upper-level courses of 10 to 29 students
  • All sections of Legal Research & Writing courses offered in the Legal Practice Program (regardless of size)
3.20 3.30 3.40 Should follow distribution to the extent practicable
  • Upper-level courses of 9 or fewer students
  • Clinics (regardless of size)
  • Courses classified as satisfying the writing requirement (regardless of size)*
3.20 n/a 3.70 n/a
Limits on Mean GPA
  • Faculty shall ensure that the mean grade for each class falls between the maximum and minimum grade means described above.
  • Faculty should not treat the upper (or lower) bounds as the target grade mean for their classes and should seek a target mean of 3.30 in classes enrolling 10 or more students.
Distribution of Grades
A (including A+ if available) 10%
A- 20%
B+ 35%
B 20%
B- or below 15%
Legal Practice Program

Grading in all first-year Lawyering Skills classes shall be on an Honors/Pass/Low Pass/Fail scale.

The Director of the Legal Practice Program shall supervise and coordinate grading in the Program and seek substantial uniformity in distribution across its sections.

*Courses Satisfying the Additional Upper-Level Writing Requirement (applicable to students in the Class of 2018 and earlier classes)
  • Seminars that do not satisfy the additional upper-level writing requirement are subject to the same mean requirements as other classes of similar enrollment.
  • In courses classified as satisfying the additional upper-level writing requirement, the faculty member shall apply the mandatory limits on grade means separately to those students writing a qualifying paper (even if they have otherwise satisfied the additional upper-level writing requirement) and to those students who are not. The permissible range of means for students not writing a paper is based on total enrollment.

Example: Nineteen students are enrolled in Law and Social Order, which offers students the option of writing a paper that satisfies the additional upper-level writing requirement. Ten of the students take this option, leaving nine who do not. The grade mean of the ten paper students must fall between 3.20 and 3.70 (the range for paper courses). The grade mean of the nine non-paper students must fall between 3.20 and 3.40 (the range for a 19-student class).

Grade of A+

A single grade of A+ may (but need not) be awarded in a class with 30 or more students. No grade of A+ may be awarded in a class of fewer than 30 students.

Certain Students Not Counted

Solely for purposes of establishing compliance with the Grading Policy, faculty shall disregard the following students:   

  • LL.M. students
  • Other non-J.D. students
  • Students awarded a grade of D or F.

Example: 32 students are enrolled in Taxation of Derivatives. Of the 32 students, one is an LL.M. student and one is a non-J.D. graduate business student. The faculty member awards one J.D. student a grade of D. All other students receive grades of C- or better. In order to satisfy the Grading Policy, the grade mean of the 29 J.D. students receiving a C- or better must fall between 3.20 and 3.40 (the range for a 29-student class).

The Grading Policy does not establish standards for grading LL.M. and other non-J.D. students.

Grades may be based on the results of assigned written work wholly or may include class participation.