Attendance Requirements and Limitations on Units and Working

Class Attendance

The law school requires regular and punctual class attendance in order to receive course credit. A student’s failure to satisfy this standard, whether by missing class, arriving late, or departing early, may constitute failure to maintain good standing in the course.

This policy addresses attendance in SLS non-clinical courses. Attendance within the SLS clinical program, which requires full-time professional commitment from students, is determined by the clinical faculty within each clinic. Any clinical instructor who feels that a student is at risk of violating the clinic’s effort requirements shall bring that concern to the student’s attention as soon as practicable and shall notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs as necessary.

In addition to this general standard, individual instructors may announce and enforce specific attendance requirements.

If an instructor concludes that a student is at risk of failing to meet Stanford Law School’s general standard of “regular and punctual attendance” and/or any specific attendance requirement for the course, then the instructor may notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Once notified, the Associate Dean, in consultation with the Vice Dean and, when appropriate, the referring instructor, may engage with the student to address issues that prevent the student’s consistent attendance. This may include a referral to appropriate campus resources. If the problem persists, action may be taken, which may include, but is not limited to, the student’s exclusion from further attendance in the class, the student’s exclusion from taking the final examination in the course, and/or the entry of an automatic “F” in the course. A student shall only be barred from further attendance, excluded from taking the final examination, or given an automatic “F” in a course if reasonable notice has been provided.

In addition to the policy above, and even in the absence of referral to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the instructor may take attendance into account for grading purposes (including when awarding Fs, Rs, or class prizes), as long as the instructor has noted in the course syllabus and/or course description that “attendance” or “participation” may provide a basis for student evaluation.

Continuous Registration

Law students must register for each Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarter from the term of their admission until the conferral of their degree or withdrawal from the Law School. The only exception to this requirement occurs when the student is granted, in advance, an official leave of absence (see the section on Leaves of Absence).

Failure to register for a term during the academic year without taking a leave of absence results in denial of further registration unless and until reinstatement to the degree program is granted and the University’s reinstatement fee paid.

In addition, the University requires graduate students to be registered:

  • In each term during which any Law School requirement is fulfilled, including the JSD oral exam.
  • In any term in which a thesis or dissertation is submitted.
  • In any term at the end of which a degree is conferred.
  • In any term in which the student received financial support from the University.
  • In any term for which the student needs to use Law School or other University facilities.
  • For international students, in any term of the academic year for which they have non-immigrant status (for example, a J-1 or F-1 visa).

First-Year Courses for JD Students

First-year JD students may not take courses outside the Law School (other than Physical Education courses or music lessons). The autumn quarter comprises only required courses. During winter quarter, first-year JD students continue to take required courses but have the option to take a limited number of units of elective coursework that has been approved for first-year students by the Vice Dean or the Associate Dean for Curriculum. All spring quarter law classes are open to first-year JD students.

Minimum and Maximum Number of Quarter Units

All students (except JSD students on TGR or students eligible by law for a reduced course load) must take at least nine (9) quarter units of course work for credit toward their degree in each quarter and pass at least eight (8) such units by the date all grades for the quarter are due. Students who take fewer than 9 units or pass fewer than 8 units during any quarter may be subject to action by the Committee on Petitions, Disqualification and Reinstatement (the “Petitions Committee”), such as being required to take an additional quarter of coursework in order to graduate. (See the section on ‘Satisfactory Academic Performance’ for more information.)

Except during the fall quarter for 1L JD students, no student may take more than 14 quarter units of course work for credit in any quarter, except upon an approved unit overload petition (see SLS forms and petitions here).

Limitations on Working

Students are expected to devote substantially all of their working hours to the study of law during the academic year. Therefore:

  • A student may not be employed more than 20 hours per week in any week of the term, whether such employment is inside or outside the Law School.
  • The Law School cannot employ any student as a legal assistant, research assistant, teaching assistant, or other position for more than 20 hours per week during the academic year.
  • Any student who is receiving financial aid through the Law School must report any employment during an academic year, including the number of hours per week that the student is working, to the Office of Financial Aid. If, based on this information, the Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid believes that a student may be violating Law School policy regarding work during the quarter, the Associate Dean will take appropriate action.
  • The Office of Career Services endeavors to schedule on-campus interviews to avoid conflicts with a student’s courses or other academic programs at the Law School.
  • Second-year and third-year students are expected to schedule off-campus job interviews at times that do not conflict with the student’s courses or other academic programs at the Law School.
  • First-year students are encouraged to schedule interviews during the academic breaks or at other times that do not conflict with the student’s courses or other academic programs at the Law School.