Student Bulletin – Honors and Awards

School of Law Student Bulletin

Honors at Graduation

Students who have received letter grades in at least 65 units (50 units for transfer students) are eligible to graduate with honors. The top 2 percent of the combined full- and part-time class is designated summa cum laude. The next 3 percent is magna cum laude and the next 5 percent, cum laude.

Order of the Coif

The School of Law is a member of the Order of the Coif, a nationally recognized legal honor society. Students receiving honors at graduation will be inducted into the Order.

Dean’s List

Students in the top 20 percent of their level (First-Year, Upper-Division, or Graduating Class), based on GPAs, are recognized on the Dean’s List. Students’ current and cumulative GPAs are available on Workday.

  • Scholastic Awards

The CALI Excellence for the Future Award®
The CALI Excellence for the Future Award® program recognizes excellence achievement by law students in their studies. The award is given to the student with the highest grade in the class as determined by the instructor.

Generally, the faculty member picks one student to receive the highest grade in a course and therefore the CALI Excellence award. If, in extraordinary circumstances, in the opinion of the faculty member teaching the course, there is a “tie” for the highest grade, the faculty member may submit two students to receive the same award for the same course.

Witkin Award for Academic Excellence
For each qualifying course, the award should be given to the student designated by the instructor as attaining the highest grade in the course. In the event of a tie for the highest grade, the faculty member should select a single winner by considering class performance, additional work, attendance, and overall grade point average. Qualifying courses are those offered for academic credit in a JD program. Performance must be graded by a letter grade. Courses graded pass/no pass or credit/no credit do not qualify and students receiving pass/fail or credit/no credit in graded courses do not qualify. A qualifying course must have an enrollment of at least 10 students. Courses with fewer than the requisite number of students (including seminars) do not qualify.

Nominating students to receive awards is at the instructor’s discretion. Instructors may give out 2 awards to the students who received the highest grades in a class; 1 Witkin and 1 CALI. Instructors may give both awards to the student in a class who received the highest letter grade. Only one student is eligible for the Witkin. In case of a tie, instructors may give out two CALI awards. Instructors may decide to give the Witkin Award to the top student and the CALI Award to the second student. In case of a tie, instructors may give out two CALI awards.

  • Dean’s Leadership Award

This award is selected by the Dean and given to the student in each graduating class who exemplifies our motto of “Lawyers Who Lead” and who has served other students, the school, and the community.

  • Mabie Outstanding Law Graduate Award

Through the generosity of the Inez Mabie Foundation, this award is presented every year by the Mabie Family Foundation, to the graduating student who best represents in his/her class the type of student SCU Law is most proud to graduate by reason of demonstrated qualities of scholarship, community leadership, and a sense of professional responsibility.

  • John Bates Jr. Award in Conflict Resolution

The award is given by the generosity of our prominent alumnus and ADR expert, John Bates, Jr.  The criteria the selected Committee considers for the award follows; the nominee has distinguished herself or himself through (1) coursework in dispute resolution classes; (2) academic publications addressing pressing issues in dispute resolution; (3) performance in dispute resolution scholastic competitions; (4) externships or work experience focusing on dispute resolution, and (5) public service relating to dispute resolution.

  • Art Gemmell Prize

A benefactor of the Law School (Ted Biagini BSC ’62, JD ’64, LLM ’08) has endowed an annual prize in honor of the late Art Gemmell, who was a long-time adjunct professor at Santa Clara Law and who taught International Commercial Arbitration at the Law School. The Art Gemmell Prize honors the best student paper in International Arbitration/Conflict Resolution.