Curriculum – BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School

Curriculum

A.  Directed Research

All full-time instructors are authorized to approve academic credit for Directed Research for students who have completed their first year of study.  No more than two credit hours may be approved for a student in any semester, with no more than four cumulative credits.  Furthermore, the cumulative credit for Directed Research (790R), Co-Curricular (792R and 793R) and Law Help/Externships (599R) cannot exceed 15 hours.

Directed Research cannot be approved as an alternative means of taking a course that is offered in the Law School, even though scheduling difficulties might prevent a student from taking a course that he or she desires to take.

Directed Research credit may be approved only for a project in which the research proposal, the grade rule and the credit hours have been agreed upon in advance by the supervising instructor, and where that instructor can give guidance during the development of the project.  Written notice of the approved proposal needs to be submitted by the instructor to the Law School Registrar within two weeks of the start of the semester.

Students taking Directed Research must submit to the supervising instructor written work consisting of a completed draft of a research paper or memorandum of law containing either criticism of the law relating to the topic area or synthesis of legal source materials into a statement of the law in the topic area.  A minimum of 50 hours of work is required for each hour of credit awarded.

No Directed Research credit shall be awarded for research substantially used to earn credit in any Co-Curricular program that has adopted a Third-Year Writing Program.

Instructors are under no obligation to supervise Directed Research projects, but they should not in any event be requested to undertake to supervise more than a total of two students in externships, Directed Research, or a combination of both in any semester.

A student may register for Directed Research credit only during Fall or Winter semester.

B.  Credit for Co-Curricular (Law 792R §§1-5)

Credit for participation in a Law Review, Moot Court, Journal of Public Law, Trial Advocacy, or Journal of Law and Education  co-curricular program is authorized in the amount of one credit per semester for successful completion of the Basic Work Assignment in the program.  The governing body of each Co-Curricular program, subject to the approval of its faculty advisor, shall establish the Basic Work Assignment of the program.

The faculty advisor for each Co-Curricular program shall evaluate each enrolled student’s academic achievement.  Evaluation of students’ academic achievement may include, but is not limited to, the faculty advisor’s review of hourly logs or other records to determine that students are completing the Basic Work Assignment and required 50 hours of work per co-curricular credit; consultations with student leaders; observation of student performances of skills; review of student written work; etc.   The faculty advisor shall submit to the registrar the grade for each enrolled student.   Credit, if awarded, will be recorded as a pass or as a low pass.  Low pass will appear on the transcript at a grade of 2.7.  The grade submitted for non-completion of the Basic Work Assignment will be a 1.6.

Credit for Law 792R §§1-5 is subject to the law school rule (VIII.B.) that no student can earn more than fifteen credits total from the various co-curricular programs (792R and 793R), directed research (790R) and externship programs (599R).

Students otherwise eligible for membership may participate in multiple co-curricular programs, subject to the cumulative credit limits described in Section VIII.B.

Participation in a co-curricular program is limited to students who have completed their first year of law study and who have a cumulative 2.7 or above grade-point average.

C.  Credit for Co-Curricular (Law 793R §§1-5)

Up to two hours of additional credit (793R) is available for certain additional academic work by students who are members of a co-curricular program under the conditions described below. The governing body of each co-curricular program will recommend to the faculty advisor the names of students to receive credit under this provision.  Credit, if awarded, will be recorded as a pass or a low pass.  A low pass will appear on the transcript at a grade of 2.7.  The grade submitted for non-completion of the additional academic work will be a 1.6.

Credit for Law 793R §§1-5 is subject to the law school rule (VIII.B.) that no student can earn more than fifteen credits total from the various co-curricular programs (792R and 793R), directed research (790R), and externship programs (599R).

1. Credit for Law 793R § 1  (Law Review)

Third-year law students who register for Law 793R § 1 may receive two additional hours of credit for successful completion of the Third-Year Co-Curricular Writing Project established by the governing board of the Law Review and approved by its faculty advisor.  Although the Co-Curricular Program’s faculty advisor is not automatically the supervisor of a student’s writing project, the faculty advisor shall evaluate each enrolled student’s academic achievement for these two additional credits.  The faculty adviser shall submit to the registrar the grade for each enrolled student, whether pass, low pass, or fail.

2. Credit for Law 793R § 3  (Journal of Public Law)

Third-year law students who register for Law 793R § 3 may receive two additional hours of credit for successful completion of the Third-Year Co-Curricular Writing Project established by the governing board of the Journal of Public Law and approved by its faculty advisor.  The requirements are enumerated below.   Although the Co-Curricular Program’s faculty advisor is not automatically the supervisor of a student’s writing project, the faculty advisor shall evaluate each enrolled student’s academic achievement for these two additional credits.  The faculty advisor shall submit to the registrar the grade for each enrolled student, whether pass, low pass, or fail.

a. Papers are approximately thirty pages in length, including footnotes.  Text is double-spaced, footnotes single spaced.

b. By the end of the second week of the semester, the student notifies the lead note and comment editor of the Journal of their intention to write their third-year paper and obtain topic approval.

c. Drafts of papers are submitted to an assigned editor for comments and suggestions on a scheduled basis throughout the semester.

d. After making appropriate changes, students resubmit papers for lead note and comment editor approval.

e. When papers have met required standards, Journal management committee members will certify completion of the requirement.  Students must have certification of satisfactory completion prior to the end of the semester in which they have registered for third year co-curricular writing credit.

3. Credit for Law 793R § 4  (Journal of Law and Education)

Third-year law students who register for Law 793R § 4 may receive two additional hours of credit for successful completion of the Third-Year Co-Curricular Writing Project established by the governing board of the Journal of Law and Education and approved by its faculty advisor.   Although the Co-Curricular Program’s faculty advisor is not automatically the supervisor of a student’s writing project, the faculty advisor shall evaluate each enrolled student’s academic achievement for these two additional credits.  The faculty advisor shall submit to the registrar the grade for each enrolled student, whether pass, low pass, or fail.

4. Credit for Law 793R § 2  (Moot Court)

One hour of credit is authorized for second- or third-year students who are members of the Moot Court Co-Curricular program and who, in addition to successfully completing the Basic Work Assignment of the program, participate in one or more Moot Court competitions during the academic year.  No more than one extra hour of credit shall be awarded for each academic year regardless of the number of competitions entered, making students eligible for a total of two hours of additional credit during their second and third year.  The faculty advisor shall evaluate each enrolled student’s academic achievement for these additional credits.  The faculty advisor shall submit to the registrar the grade for each enrolled student, whether pass, low pass, or fail.

5. Credit for Law 793R § 5  (Trial Advocacy)

One hour of credit is authorized for second-year students who, in addition to successfully completing the Basic Work Assignment of the Trial Advocacy program, travel to a trial advocacy competition during the winter semester of their second year.  One additional hour of credit is authorized for third-year students who, in addition to successfully completing the Basic Work Assignment of the Trial Advocacy program, travel to a trial advocacy competition during the winter semester of their third year.  The faculty advisor shall evaluate each enrolled student’s academic achievement for these additional credits.  The faculty advisor shall submit to the registrar the grade for each enrolled student, whether pass, low pass, or fail.

D.  Duplication of Credit

A student may not submit for credit in a course or seminar substantially the same paper or other work product that he or she has prepared for:

  • another course,
  • another seminar,
  • an employer,
  • any other non-university activity,

unless the following requirements are all met

1. The paper as submitted shall not have been edited by the employer or other law-trained person (including law students);

2. There has been full disclosure and advance consent by all persons involved in any instructional or supervisory capacity in the course or          seminar;

3. The research and writing must have been substantially performed during or immediately prior to the semester or term for which the course credit is awarded;

4. No credit in a course or seminar shall be awarded for work substantially used to earn credit in a co-curricular program; and

5. The student must not have received compensation for the paper or other work product.

E.  Seminars

The maximum size will be decided by the instructor.  Any enrollment priorities specified by the teacher of the class will be determinative.  To the extent that teacher determination does not control, the following enrollment priorities will be followed in the order listed:

1. Those who have taken the fewest seminars will be given preference over those who have more.

2. Students who have not had a trial practice type seminar will be preferred over those who have taken such a seminar or course.

3. Students with less time remaining prior to graduation will be preferred over those with more remaining.

4. Within categories, selection will be by lot.

Use of reports, papers, examinations or other methods of teaching and evaluation, as well as attendance requirements, are matters in the discretion of the instructor.  The Curriculum Committee must approve departures from numerical grading.

F.  Professional Responsibility

The ABA requirement of teaching professional responsibility will be met as follows:

1. Instructors of first-year courses will cover in their courses professional responsibility issues where applicable.

2. Instructors of second- and third-year courses will cover in their courses professional responsibility issues where applicable.

3. Students must take a two-credit Professional Responsibility course during their second or third year of Law School.

G.  Substantial Writing Requirement

Each student must individually prepare, during his or her second or third year, a substantial paper.  Students may not fulfill the substantial writing requirement during the first year of law school.

The standards and procedures are:

1. The paper must be original work consisting of criticism, analysis, synthesis or history of law or a law-related topic.  The paper must not be a paraphrase or summary of the work of others.  It must advance and defend one or more central theses.

2. The paper must be of satisfactory quality, meaning that it must have been revised in accordance with paragraphs II.G. 8 and 9, and that it must qualify for a grade of 3.0 or higher, or a pass grade in a pass/fail offering.  The paper must be at least 30 letter-size pages long, including footnotes.  Text shall be double-spaced, and footnotes shall be single-spaced.

3. The paper must be written for credit in connection with a Law School course or seminar, a co-curricular law journal, or directed research.  Courses that offer the substantial writing option are so designated in the Law School course materials.  Briefs and trial advocacy documents, whether prepared for a course, seminar, co-curricular program or other activity, do not satisfy the substantial writing requirement.

4. A paper written for a co-curricular law journal may satisfy the substantial writing requirement if the paper is written for credit (including co-curricular credit), is submitted to the supervising faculty member without co-curricular editorial advice or revisions, and meets the other standards and procedures described in this section (II. G.).  The faculty advisor of the co-curricular program is not automatically the supervising faculty member for the paper; students shall find their own supervising faculty member.

5. The paper must be supervised by a Law School full-time faculty member, except that supervision by a law library faculty member, a part-time faculty member, or an adjunct faculty member may be authorized by the Associate Dean—Faculty and Curriculum in circumstances that he or she finds appropriate, such as expertise on the part of the authorized supervisor that is not available in the full-time faculty.

6. The student must obtain the supervising faculty member’s written agreement to supervise the paper, preferably by the end of the second week of the semester.

7. The supervising faculty member shall be available to meet individually with the student to provide supervision, guidance, and individualized assessment regarding the paper.

8. The student shall submit at least one draft of the paper to the supervising faculty member for comments and suggestions, and that faculty member shall make comments and suggestions as appropriate.

9. After making appropriate changes, the student shall resubmit the paper to the supervising faculty member for approval or directions for further revision.

10. When the supervising faculty member finds that the paper meets the applicable standards, he or she will certify completion of the substantial writing requirement by signing a blue card obtained by the student from the Law School Registrar.

11. The student must submit certification of completion for the substantial writing requirement to the Law School Registrar before graduation.

H.  Professional Skills Requirement  [This requirement applies to students who begin study at the Law School in fall semester 2007 and before fall semester 2015.]
Each student must fulfill the Professional Skills Requirement by completing:
1. At least two hours of externship credit; or
2. At least one of the second-year or third-year courses designated as a “Professional Skills Course” in the Law School course materials.
The Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum will designate in the course materials the courses that qualify as Professional Skills Courses in accordance with ABA standards.
[The following requirement applies to students who begin study at the Law School in fall semester 2015 or thereafter.]
Each student must fulfill the Professional Skills Requirement by completing at least six hours of:
1. Externship credit; and/or
2. Courses designated as “Professional Skills Courses” in the Law School course materials.
The Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum will designate in the course materials the courses that qualify as Professional Skills Courses in accordance with ABA standards.

I.  Externships

The following policies govern registration for, participation in, and required reporting by students who participate in an approved externship for credit.  Registration and tuition payment procedures for all programs are handled through the Law School Registrar.  A student must see the Registrar prior to participating in the program.

Academic credit may be given to students for uncompensated work in public agencies, courts and other law offices when accepted by the head of the operation or his designee and approved by the Externship Director or the Assistant Dean of Career Services.

The time commitment for these programs is 50 hours of work for each hour of credit.  Any externship credit counts against the combined 15-credit-hour limitation on the amount of credit that may be awarded toward graduation for Directed Research (790R), Externships (599R), and Co-Curricular Writing (792R and 793R).  No more than three (3) externship credits can be earned during a semester.  Up to 4 externship credits can be earned during a summer session.  Any exceptions to these semester and summer limitations must be approved by the Externship Director or the Assistant Dean of Career Services.

Credit is awarded on a pass/fail basis.  In order to receive a pass, students must be certified by the supervising attorney or judge as having completed the required work.  They must also complete all requirements in the Externship Log Packet.

A faculty member generally may not supervise more than a total of two students in externships, directed research or a combination of both in any semester.

J.  Non-Law Courses

Students may receive law school credit for approved non-law school courses in the three categories described below.  Approval is given by the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.  While a student may obtain law school credit under each of these categories, no student may receive more than a total of 15 law school credits for non-law courses.  Furthermore, no student may receive more than a total of 6 law school credits for non-law courses outside the category of a Joint Degree Program.  In order to receive credit for a non-law school course, a student must receive a grade of “C” or better in the course.  The grade for the non-law school course will be reflected on the student’s university transcript but will not be considered in determining the student’s law school class rank.

As further described in Section VIII.B, infra, to the extent a student earns more than 5 hours of credit in approved non-law school courses, any additional credits will count toward the maximum of 15 hours of cumulative credit for Law 790R Directed Research, Law 792R Co-Curricular, Law 793R Co-Curricular Writing Program, and Law 599R Externships.

a. Joint Degree Programs

The Law School has entered into formal arrangements under which students can receive the indicated amount of law school credit by completing their degree in the following joint degree programs:  JD/MBA (12 credits), JD/MPA (11.5 credits), JD/MPP (9 credits), JD/MAcc (6 credits), and JD/MEd (6 credits).

For further information about the requirements of these joint-degree programs, consult with the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.

b. Foreign Language Courses

Students may receive credit for foreign language courses taken after the first year of law school as follows:

For approved 300-level (or above) university courses in grammar or composition, a student may receive one law school credit for every two university credits earned; for approved 400-level (or above) courses involving translation of legal materials, a student may receive one law school credit for every university credit earned.  To receive credit for these courses students must obtain prior approval from the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.  An official BYU transcript must be submitted to the Law School Registrar showing foreign language courses before or at the time of the graduation interview.

The Law School has also arranged with the Marriott School of Management for law students to receive two law school credits for completing any of the following three-credit, Business Management (596R) courses:  Business Arabic; Business Chinese; Business French; Business German; Business Italian; Business Japanese; Business Korean; Business Russian; Business Spanish; or Business Portuguese.  Students may register for these courses without obtaining formal permission from the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs.  Students will, however, need to notify the Law School Registrar of their enrollment so that they receive two law credits for each course.

c. Other Non-Law Courses

Students may obtain law school credit for other non-law school courses under the following conditions:

1. The courses must be graduate courses or upper division undergraduate courses and must be in subject areas substantially related to law;

2. The students must request and obtain the approval of the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, including with each request detailed course information and an endorsement from a member of the law faculty; and

3. Effective Fall Semester 2009: Law school credit approved for such courses will be at a rate of one law school credit for each graduate course credit and one law school credit for each two upper division undergraduate course credits.  [Non-law school credits earned prior to Fall Semester 2009 are subject to the previous rule which provided “Law school credit approved for such courses will be at the rate of one law school credit for each two course credits.”]

K.   Required Courses

See Law School rule VIII.A, infra.

L.     Non-Law Students in Law Courses 

1. A non-law graduate student at BYU may enroll in a law school class if:

a) The student’s department chair certifies to the law school Registrar that the student is academically capable of doing the work and that the law class is an important element in the student’s overall education plan;

b) There is room in the class; and

c) The professor agrees, in advance, that the student may enroll.

2. If a class taught at the law school is cross-listed with another department or college at the University, non-law students may enroll in the class under the course number listed by the other department or college, if they are eligible to do so under the rules of the other department or college.

3. Non-law students enrolled in a law school class under a law school course number will be graded according to the law school’s grading standards, procedures, and deadlines.

Students enrolled in a cross-listed class under a course number listed by another department or college will be graded according to the University’s grading standards, procedures, and deadlines.

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