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 Students who are identified as having missed an excessive number of classes may be withdrawn from the class or the course grade may be adjusted if attendance is a factor in determining the final grade.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 [[laura.shepherd,Associate Dean for Student Services]] 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 J.D. students must successfully complete between 10 and 17 credit hours each term.


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.

  • Take courses totaling at least 10 academic credits in each term.

  • Take courses totaling at least 20 credits in each academic year.

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

Taking courses
A student is deemed to have taken a course if that student was properly registered in a course, for the required number of academic credit hours, and received a grade, including a failing grade. A student is not deemed to have taken a course when a student withdraws from a course prior to its completion. A failing grade in a course is included in calculating a student’s grade point average but results in zero credits awarded toward the number of credits required to graduate.

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

Beginning with the Class of 2021 eligibility to continue in residence is determined by grade point average.  

  • A student who does not achieve a 2.5 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 2.5 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 2.3. To clarify, the student must maintain the minimum grade point average of 2.3 for each semester in the second year and each semester in the third year; as well as a cumulative grade point average of 2.3 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 ineligible 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.  See petition for reinstatement requirements and process below. 
  • A student who fails to qualify for a degree solely by failing to obtain a 2.3 term GPA in the student's final semester in the third year may be permitted to continue in the Law School for an additional semester with permission from the Vice Dean. If, after the completion of the additional semester, the student's GPA for that semester combined with the GPA for the entire third academic year is 2.3 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. Petitions will be considered followng the same procedures as those for reinstatement, below, but with a focus on reasons for lack of timely completion and steps taken or to be taken to ensure degree completion.  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.
Petition for Reinstatement Requirements and Process
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.