Academic Policies

Program of Study

The program of study at the School of Law provides for flexibility in meeting the needs of students. The full-time program requires attendance in residence for six semesters over three academic years, during which the full-time student is required to devote substantially all of his or her time to the study of law and during which the student is not permitted to be employed for more than 20 hours per week. It is generally recommended that first-year students in the full-time program not work at all as the course load during that year will require the student’s full-time effort.

The part-time program requires attendance in residence for eight semesters over four academic years plus attendance during the abbreviated summer sessions. The part-time program is designed to provide a high quality legal education to those individuals who for whatever reason are unable to attend the full-time program and who may have to be fully employed while attending law school. The part-time program requires a lighter academic load each semester than does the full-time program, and the required courses are offered during the evening hours to accommodate those students who must work full time.

Enrollment Status

Each student must be enrolled in, and classified as, either a full-time day or a part-time evening student. The choice is made by each student at the time of application for admission to the School of Law. Inter-division transfers after the start of one’s study requires permission of the Associate Dean and will be granted only for good cause shown.

Attendance Policy

Regular and punctual classroom attendance is required to satisfy residency requirements for receipt of the J.D. degree. Recognizing that classroom absence is occasionally unavoidable, the School of Law has adopted a policy permitting a maximum of twenty percent absence in any class. This rule provides that any student absent from more than twenty percent of the class hours offered in any course will be automatically withdrawn from that course and receive the grade notation of “W/F” on his or her transcript. Individual faculty members shall take roll in each class, and the roll record of the faculty member is presumptively correct on the issue of attendance. Additionally, each faculty member, while obligated to enforce the attendance standard, is free to adopt his or her more stringent classroom attendance requirements and to take class attendance into account in assigning a final grade for the course.

Class Preparation

Each student is expected and indeed required, as a part of the professional obligation of a law student, to be thoroughly prepared for each class and to be actively involved in each class they attend. As a general rule, one can anticipate approximately three hours of outside class preparation time for each hour of in-class time.

Change of Program

After registration, all course changes must be made in writing on the appropriate form in the Registrar’s Office.

Inter-division Courses & Change of Divisions

Required courses must be taken at the times regularly scheduled for the division in which the student is enrolled unless an exception for good cause shown is approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students may take elective courses in either the day or evening hours irrespective of the division in which the student is enrolled. A preference for enrollment will be given to evening division students for limited enrollment courses offered during the evening hours. Inter-division transfers must be approved in advance by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students are cautioned that a transfer from a full-time status to a part-time status will usually extend the student’s course of study beyond the three academic years required of full-time study.

Withdrawal & Leave of Absence

A student wishing to withdraw from the School of Law following registration must submit a withdrawal form to the Registrar’s Office. Such withdrawal will be effective to terminate a student’s status at the School of Law provided it is filed prior to the last day of classes for the term. Failure to submit the proper written form to the Registrar may result in a “W/F” notation being placed on the student’s transcript for each course in which that student was enrolled. Leaves of absence may be granted by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Dean for good cause shown. Such leaves, which carry with them the right to return to the School of Law as a student in good standing, will generally be granted for a period of one semester, but in no case will such a leave exceed one year in length. Requests for such a leave must be made in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Dean and will be acted upon promptly.

Class Rankings

The class rankings for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School will be updated on the following days throughout the year: January 30, March 15, June 30, and September 15.

For additional information, contact Cheryl Ferebee.

Grading System

The grading system of the School of Law is as follows:

A = 4.00 grade points

A- = 3.67 grade points

B+ = 3.33 grade points

B = 3.00 grade points

B- = 2.67 grade points

C+ = 2.33 grade points

C = 2.00 grade points

C- = 1.67 grade points

D+ = 1.33 grade points

D = 1.00 grade points

D- = 0.67 grade points

F = No grade points

N/C = No credit for the course

W = Withdrawal from course

W/F = Withdrawal/Failing from course

AU = Audit status

P = Pass

I = Incomplete If the grade of “Incomplete” is awarded, it must be made up within a specified period of time, or the grade is automatically changed to the grade of “Fail.”

Please see the Academic Code in the Student Handbook for further details.

Grade Changes

Final course grades as submitted by the professor are final and may not be changed by the professor or anyone else, except as specified in Sec. 708 of the Academic Code. A student seeking a grade change must submit a written petition to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in accordance with Sec. 708(b)(3) of the Academic Code.

Advancement Standards

Standards for advancement from year to year in good standing are set forth in detail in the Academic Code in the Student Handbook. Generally, students advance in good standing from the first year of study to the second year of study in the full-time division, and in the part-time division, from the first to the second and to the third year of study if they have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 1.90. From the second year to the third year in the full-time division and from the third year to the forth year of the part-time division students are required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00. The minimum grade point average required for receipt of the Juris Doctor degree is 2.00. Additional academic requirements for advancement and graduation are found in the Academic Code contained in the Student Handbook.

ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools

As an ABA-accredited law school, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is subject to the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. The ABA Standards may be found here. Any student at the law school who wishes to bring a formal complaint to the administration of the law school of a significant problem that directly implicates the school’s program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Standards should do the following:

  1. Submit the complaint in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is not available, then to the Associate Dean of Students. The writing may consist of e-mail, U.S. mail, or fax.
  2. The writing should describe in detail the behavior, program, process, or other matter that is the subject of the complaint, and should explain how the matter implicates the law school’s program of legal education and its compliance with a specific, identified ABA Standard(s).
  3. The writing must provide the name, official law school e-mail address, and a street address of the complaining student, for further communication about the complaint.
  4. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean of Students, will acknowledge the complaint within three business days of receipt of the written complaint. Acknowledgment may be made by e-mail, U.S. mail, or by personal delivery, at the option of the Associate Dean.
  5. Within two weeks of acknowledgment of the complaint, the administrator, or the administrator’s designee, shall either meet with the complaining student, or respond to the substance of the complaint in writing. In this meeting or in this writing, the student should either receive a substantive response to the complaint, or information about what steps are being taken by the law school to address the complaint or further investigate the complaint. If further investigation is needed, when the investigation is completed, the student shall be provided either a substantive response to the complaint or information about what steps are being taken by the law school to address the complaint within two weeks after completion of the investigation.
  6. Appeals regarding decisions on complaints may be taken to the Dean of the law school. Any decision made on appeal by the Dean shall be final.
  7. A copy of the complaint and a summary of the process and resolution of the complaint shall be kept in the office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a period of eight years from the date of final resolution of the complaint.


There is no academic probation.

Academic Dismissal

Students who fail to meet the minimum academic standards for advancement or graduation shall be automatically dismissed for academic reasons. Students so affected have the right to seek reinstatement through the submission of a written petition to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs pursuant to Article III of the Academic Code. Reference should be made to that document prior to submission of a petition. If reinstatement is granted, it shall be on the terms and conditions established by the Associate Dean.

Student Records

Consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the School of Law has established and published procedures to ensure that students have access to their educational records, that those records are accurate, and that the privacy interest of each student is protected. The policy relative to student records is available in the Student Handbook and is available in the Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs.

Code of Student Responsibility

The School of Law has adopted a Code of Student Responsibility, a copy of which is distributed to each student and is included in the Student Handbook.

Degree Requirements

To be recommended by the faculty for receipt of the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, a student must meet the following requirements: Completion with passing grades of all required courses, and of 88 credit hours of study of which a minimum of 60 credit hours must be in residence at John Marshall; and A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 for all graded work undertaken at the School of Law; and Attendance in residence for six academic semesters in the full-time division or eight academic semesters in the part-time divisions having enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit each semester in the full-time division and eight semester hours of credit each semester in the part-time division; and The student’s tuition account is current. The School of Law may require a leave upon specified terms, terminate a student’s enrollment, or decline to award a degree if the Administration determines that this is in the best interests of the School or that a student is not qualified for admission to the legal profession because of factors other than academic standing.