Fall 2023 or later
Graduation Requirements for students entering Fall 2023 or later
General Description — Detailed information follows
1. Complete a minimum of 90 semester hours of which:
At least 65 semester hours must be in FOUNDATIONAL COURSES
At least 6 semester hours must be in HIGHLY SPECIALIZED COURSES
At least 6 semester hours must be in a course approved by the faculty as meeting the EXPERIENTIAL requirement.
NOTE: A single course can count toward the credit requirements in multiple categories (65 Foundational, 6 Highly Specialized, 6 Experiential) if it is listed in multiple categories.
2. Complete two upper-division writing requirements: WIE and Capstone.
Submit writing requirement notifications to the Registrar.
3. Pass Constitutional Law II
4. Complete the Professional Responsibility Requirement.
5. Meet the requirement that at least 65 credits be in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction. This requirement is automatically fulfilled when you complete the 65 credits of Foundational courses.
6. NOTE carefully that The ABA requires 6 experiential credits, 2 professional responsibility credits, and 1 upper-division writing experience (all of which are integrated into Lewis & Clark’s graduation requirements). These three ABA requirements must be fulfilled in completely separate classes. You may, however, fulfill your second Lewis & Clark upper-division writing requirement (either the WIE or Capstone) in one of the classes you use to fulfill these ABA requirements.
DETAILED INFORMATION ON REQUIREMENTS FOR STUDENTS ENTERING LAW SCHOOL IN FALL 2023
Criminal Procedure I
Constitutional Law I
Foundations of Professional Practice
Lawyering I and II
All first-year courses (including those first year courses taken after the first year of classes by part-time students) are Foundational courses.
Upper Division Courses:
Upper Division courses may be foundational, highly specialized, experiential, or in more than one category. Remember item #6 above regarding your two writing requirements.
Writing Requirements: WIE and Capstone:
To qualify to receive the JD degree, a student must satisfy each of two separate writing requirements:
(1) The “writing intensive experience” requirement, and
(2) The “capstone writing” requirement, as follows:
Students are strongly encouraged to complete the “writing intensive experience” before undertaking the “capstone writing” project.
The following rules are applicable to BOTH the “writing intensive experience” (WIE) requirement and the “capstone writing” requirement:
- The student must write the paper as part of a course or as an Individual Research project.
- The paper must be approved and supervised by a faculty member, and the course or individual research project must be undertaken for at least 2 semester hours of credit.
- Papers written for a course or Individual Research supervised by a faculty member and meeting all other WIE or capstone requirements may also be eligible for a Lewis & Clark law journal (Animal Law, Environmental Law, or Lewis & Clark Law Review) paper requirement.
- The student’s written work must demonstrate articulate, thoughtful, and well-structured analysis of the subject matter, based, where appropriate, on careful and competent research.
- No one course, project, or written product may be used to satisfy both the “writing intensive experience” requirement and the “capstone writing” requirement.
Writing intensive experience (WIE)
The student must successfully complete a “writing intensive experience” (WIE). This requirement may be met in any of three ways:
(a) The student successfully completes a course that has been designated by the Curriculum Committee as a “writing intensive” course. Courses will be designated as writing intensive courses only if they include substantial instruction or coaching, and feedback, on writing skills as a central component of the class, apart from any coverage of an area of substantive law.
(b) The student successfully completes a course in which the instructor certifies, upon completion of the course, that the student’s work in the course was a “writing intensive” experience. Work will qualify for this designation only if it includes substantial instruction or coaching, and feedback, on writing skills as a central component of the work, apart from any coverage of an area of substantive law.
(c) The student successfully completes an individual research project that upon its completion is certified by the supervising faculty member to have been a “writing intensive” project. Projects will qualify for this designation only if they include substantial instruction or coaching, and feedback, on writing skills as a central component of the project, apart from any coverage of an area of substantive law.
The course or project must be graded by a faculty member, and receive a grade of “C” or better; or a faculty member must certify to the Registrar that the student’s written work would, if graded, receive a grade of “C” or better.
What is “substantial instruction or coaching, and feedback, on writing skills”? It includes the following:
- The professor will provide students with guidelines on the writing requirements for the course or individual research. These guidelines should include an overview of expectations for written work and should specify deadlines for submission of outlines, drafts, and final versions of course assignments.
- The professor will provide substantial writing instruction in-class, through written guidelines and handouts, and/or through conferences with students. This instruction could include topics such as organization, topic selection, pre-writing strategies, thesis development, persuasive writing techniques, style, and grammar. It could include having students review and evaluate sample legal documents on the same topic or in the same format as the student is producing. This instruction could also include structured peer reviews in which students provide written feedback on specific aspects of writing projects based on specific instruction from the professor about the focus and depth of peer reviewer comments.
- The professor will provide substantial written feedback on student writing during the semester. This feedback should include comments on projects at the outline or draft phases and can vary in focus and purpose as the semester progresses. In addition, the professor should evaluate the extent to which a student has understood and incorporated the feedback provided. Feedback may include, but is not limited to:
- Margin or bubble comments identifying specific problem areas;
- Endnotes noting overall problems; and
- Grading rubrics showing whether assignment requirements are met.
- The professor will conduct at least one conference with each student and, when appropriate, should offer additional optional conference opportunities. Conferences should include discussion of the student’s progress toward meeting the expectations for the course writing requirements. The professor may require students to prepare for the conference by creating a written conference agenda.
Capstone writing experience
The student must successfully complete a course or individual research project which, upon its completion, the instructor or supervising faculty member certifies was a “capstone writing” experience for the student. Courses and individual research projects will qualify for this designation only if they require a significant written product that demonstrates thorough research, the ability to synthesize and report on that research, the ability to engage in complex legal and critical analysis, and sophisticated writing skills.
Although many Capstones follow the format of a law review article or note, they are not required to do so. A student could undertake a survey and analysis of a legal doctrine in one or more jurisdictions, draft a mock merits or amicus brief for a pending case, or prepare materials that educate the public about a certain area of law. The specific form of the Capstone paper will emerge from discussions between the student and the supervising faculty member.
The written product must involve a mandatory rewrite after a draft has been reviewed and commented upon by the faculty member grading the written product; the final product must be reasonably responsive to the commentary and criticism received. The course or project must be graded by a faculty member and receive a grade of “C” or better.
A student may not write a Capstone paper for an adjunct faculty member without prior approval of the Associate Dean of Faculty.
Students who write their Capstone papers as an individual research project should consult the requirements for individual research in the course description.
Allocation of Credits for a Capstone. Students who write their Capstone paper as an individual research project typically earn two credits, but some students write a three credit paper. Students who choose in advance to write their Capstones over two semesters may take their credits in either semester, or over two semesters, at their discretion. Students who choose to write their Capstones over two semesters will receive an incomplete grade at the end of the first semester.
Professional Responsibility Requirement
To be eligible for a JD degree, a student must have earned a minimum of 2 credits in a course or courses which provide instruction in the duties and responsibilities of the legal profession. The Dean, after consulting with the Curriculum Committee, shall designate the courses which satisfy this requirement.
The Curriculum Committee has approved the following options to satisfy the professionalism requirement:
LAW-132: Regulations and Ethics of Lawyers
LAW-150 and LAW-151: Earthrise Ethics I and II (both semesters)
LAW-152: Business Law: Lawyering and Ethics
LAW-153: Practical Legal Ethics
LAW-154: Modern Ethics & the Future of Lawyering
LAW-155: Legal Ethics for Government and NGO Lawyers
Minimum Number of Hours in Courses with Regularly Scheduled Classes or Direct Faculty Instruction
ABA Standard 311(b) regarding accreditation of law schools states that a student must complete at least 64 credit hours in “courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.” Lewis & Clark requires a minimum of 65.
The following classes meet the regularly scheduled class or direct faculty instruction requirement:
Foundational and Highly Specialized courses
Practicums with a seminar component: 2 hours of credit will be counted toward the regularly scheduled class hours for the 2-hour per week seminar meetings; 2 hours of the total 4, spent in the internship placement, will not count toward the regularly scheduled class hour minimum.
Moot Court — The classroom components of Fall moot court classes
Individual Research — Individual Research counts as direct faculty instruction.
The following classes do NOT meet the regularly scheduled class or direct faculty instruction requirement
Externships— No externship counts to meet this requirement..
Law Review — No law review credit counts to meet this requirement, but students in their second year of earning academic credit on law review may earn up to 4 Foundational credits.
ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE AND ACADEMIC RULES & REQUIREMENTS
- No student is allowed to take more than 17 credits per semester without special permission of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Such permission requires unusual, circumstances. The assumption is that a student would not receive such permission more than once. The maximum credits any student can take in one semester is 18.
- Students are allowed to count up to 15 Externship credits towards the total credits required for graduation.
- Students may earn up to 8 credits through Individual Research and are allowed to undertake up to two Individual Research papers per semester.
- Students are allowed to earn up to 6 credits in any one skills area (e.g., a limit of 6 credits in any one moot court).
In addition, to be issued a degree and to be certified to take a state bar exam, all students must:
- Have no outstanding incomplete coursework (i.e. no XT or INC grades);
- Have a minimum yearly and cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better at time of graduation (see rules on Standard for Continuation and Academic Probation);
- Have all official transcripts on file verifying all academic credits undertaken and degrees conferred for undergraduate (undergraduate transcripts are due by October 15 of 1L fall semester, per ABA requirements) and advanced degree studies;
All new law students MUST have their official undergraduate transcripts in by October 15th. If a new law student has not submitted their undergraduate transcript by October 15th, then such student will be administratively dismissed on October 16th.
- During the 2L year, attend at least one workshop focused on career exploration or career-building skills presented by the Career Services Office or meet individually with a Career Services’ counselor.
- During the final year in law school, preferably during fall semester, meet individually with a Career Services’ counselor to discuss post-graduation plans. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Career Services’ counselors throughout law school.
- Submit Degree Application during the fall before graduating. Degree applications are available online through WebAdvisor.
- Clear all accounts with the Student and Departmental Account Services, Law Library, Law Bookstore, and Law Business office. You can check Web Advisor for any holds on your student account
- Complete any required exit interviews with the Financial Aid office.
- Be in good standing both academically and in matters of discipline.
- Comply with the ABA standard that states that students must complete all law school work within 84 months of starting law school and no less than 24 months from starting law school.