J.D. Admissions Standard
To gain admission to the Santa Clara University School of Law’s Juris Doctor program, an applicant must exhibit a demonstrated capacity to successfully complete the School of Law’s program of legal education and thereafter pass a state bar examination. In evaluating applications, the School of Law assesses each applicant’s attributes and qualifications holistically, without any single criterion being determinative. Admissions decisions therefore depend upon consideration of a variety of factors. These factors include the applicant’s performance on ABA-approved admission tests; undergraduate academic record and course of study; academic performance in graduate or professional programs; demonstrated writing ability; extracurricular and volunteer activities; work experience; obstacles overcome; and potential contribution to the diversity of the student body. In addition, the School of Law considers evidence of an applicant’s character and moral fitness in an attempt to assess the applicant’s suitability to practice law and qualification for admission to a state bar.
To be considered for admission as a first-year student, applicants must (i) register with the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) Credential Assembly Service (CAS), and (ii) take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or other ABA-approved admission test. (These steps are preferred but not required for applicants seeking admission as transfer students.) All applicants must demonstrate that they have earned (or will earn prior to matriculation) a bachelor’s degree that has been awarded by an institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Applicants who have graduated from an institution outside the United States may apply if the quality of the program of education of their degree-granting institution is equivalent to that of institutions accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Foreign applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and are proficient in English are eligible to apply. Applicants who have completed all of their undergraduate work at institutions outside of the United States, its territories, or Canada must have those institutions send their transcripts directly to LSAC.
The first year of law school introduces students to the fundamentals of legal analysis and to the substantive law in several basic subjects. First-year J.D. courses are listed below.
Coursework totaling 28 units is prescribed for full-time students. All part-time students, including those who transfer to full-time status after the first year must take their remaining first-year classes at night. Law Student Services will enroll students in Law 114A: Civil Procedure 1 and Law 465: Critical Lawyering Skills in Fall and LAW 114B: Civil Procedure 2 in Spring.
– 101A and 101B Legal Research and Writing 1 and 2
– 102A and 102B Contracts 1 and 2 (full-time)
– 102C and 102D Contracts 1e and 2e (part-time)
– 103 Torts
– 104 Property
– 106 Criminal Law
– 114A and 114B Civil Procedure 1 and 2
– 465 Critical Lawyering Skills Seminar
The School of Law offers a wide range of one-semester advanced courses. See the complete list at law.scu.edu/course-listing/. Required courses are listed below.
Students who were full-time their first year must take Law 105, 200, and 201 in their second year.
All part-time students, including those who transfer to full-time status after the first year must take their remaining first-year classes at night. Law Student Services will enroll students in Law 114A: Civil Procedure 1 and Law 465: Critical Lawyering Skills in Fall and LAW 114B: Civil Procedure 2 in Spring.
– 105. Advocacy (to be taken in Summer/Fall of the second year)
– 200. Constitutional Law I (to be taken in Fall of the second year)
– 201. Constitutional Law II (to be taken in Spring of the second year)
– 302. Professional Responsibility (formerly Legal Profession)
– 320. Evidence
Upper Division Proficiency (UP) Points
- The UP system will not apply to first-year students. The system focuses exclusively on the upper division.
- Upper division courses eligible for proficiency points:
200. Constitutional Law I is eligible for proficiency points only for students who began in the Fall of 2017 or thereafter. (Required Course)
201. Constitutional Law II (Required Course)
248. Business Organizations
281. Wills & Trusts
290. Community Property
302. Professional Responsibility (Required Course)
310. Criminal Procedure: Investigation
311. Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
320. Evidence (Required Course)
540. Advanced Torts
543. Real Estate Conveyancing
- The minimum grade necessary to earn a point: Students must receive a C+ or better in an UP-eligible course to earn one UP point.
- Expected number of UP points: Except as provided in paragraph 6, students are expected to earn at least 4 points in UP-eligible courses.
- Monitoring Student Progress Toward Completion of the UP Requirement:
- All upper division students are required to enroll in four or more UP-eligible classes prior to the completion of 54 units.
- Students must take all UP-eligible courses for a grade until after they have successfully earned four UP points.
- For students who have completed 54 units or more, the Law Student Services Office will compute the number of UP points that each student has earned in upper division courses as of the first day of each new semester. Any student who has earned fewer than three points in upper division courses will be required to enroll in at least two UP-eligible classes during that semester.
- All students who fail to earn at least three UP points in upper division courses by the time they have completed 54 units will be required to complete 373b, Advanced Legal Writing: Bar Exam in their final semester before they graduate from law school, and receive individual counseling from a faculty member from the Office of Academic and Bar Success.
- Students who fail to earn at least four (for students who began in Fall 2017 or thereafter) or three (for students who began in Fall 2015 or Fall 2016) points in UP-eligible courses by the time they have completed 68 units will be required:
- Concurrent with their enrollment in Advanced Legal Writing: Bar Exam (in their final semester), enroll in and successfully complete Law 702, an additional 0-unit supplemental course to 373b devoted to enhanced bar exam preparation; and
- Continue to enroll in a sufficient number of UP-eligible courses to satisfy the 4-point requirement (and take those courses for a grade)—provided, no student shall be required to enroll in more than 2 UP-eligible courses in one semester.
Transfer students may receive UP credit for course work completed at their home school as long as they have taken an UP-eligible class and received a C+ or higher as an upper-division student. Students may not receive UP credit for a course, even if it is categorized as UP-eligible, if it was taken as part of the first-year curriculum at the school from which they transferred.
Experiential Course Requirement
As a condition to graduation, each student must successfully complete one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours. An experiential course is a simulation course, a law clinic, or a field placement that focuses on professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.
- Experiential courses are determined by the law school and may include skills such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency, and self-evaluation.
- The Associate Dean for Experiential Learning in collaboration with the professor will determine which courses satisfy the experiential course requirements and they will be designated as such in the course description.
- A student may not use a course to satisfy more than one requirement for graduation.
Regular Classroom Instruction Requirement
The law school’s accrediting agency requires that students complete at least 64 credit hours in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction. The credit hours may include credit hours earned by attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction and credit hours earned by participation in a simulation course or law clinic.
Course units awarded for all field placements, Juvenile Justice courses, the Panetta Fellowship program, independent research, coursework completed in another department and co-curricular activities such as journals, moot court, and trial competitions will not meet this requirement.
The law school assumes no responsibility for a student’s failure to complete the graduation requirements as outlined. Students should check their progress regularly by running a degree audit in eCampus. Direct questions regarding degree audits or graduation requirements to the Student Services Office at LawStudentServices@scu.edu or 408-554-4766.
For more information regarding the Juris Doctor program of study, contact the Student Services Office.