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1.18 Grading

The grading scale at the Law School is as follows:

180-186 A

174-179 B

168-173 C

160-167 D

155-159 F

Law School grades are recorded as numerical grades for all LAWS-prefixed offerings, unless otherwise explicitly noted in the offering’s description. The median grade in all courses and all seminars in which students are graded primarily on the basis of an examination must be 177. The median grade in all paper seminars, clinics, and simulation classes must be no lower than 177 and no higher than 179. Courses in which all students write papers, as well as courses and seminars in which students have the option to write a paper or sit for an examination, must have a median of 177 or 178. All classes designated as first year electives must have a 177 median, regardless of the basis for grading in those classes. The median grade in first year Legal Research and Writing and Lawyering classes must be 178. The Law School may permit minor deviations from these mandatory medians for classes with very low enrollments when the instructor certifies that the students’ performance was unusually strong or weak relative to students’ performance in the same class during prior years.

In the absence of any contrary statement, it is understood that a student’s grade in a course will be based entirely upon the written examination or paper in the class. Professors may choose to add a class participation component to the grade.

A grade of 160 or above is required to receive credit in a course.  A student who fails a class will be contacted by the Dean of Students. A student who receives two failing final grades in any one academic year or three failing final grades during his or her period of residence at the Law School will not have maintained satisfactory academic standing.  Additionally, J.D. students must attain a minimum cumulative GPA of 168 at the conclusion of each academic year to maintain satisfactory academic standing.  Maintenance of satisfactory academic standing is a prerequisite to continuing study in the Law School as well as to graduating from the Law School.

The LL.M. and M.L.S. degrees are awarded to students who have successfully completed 27 course hours over three quarters and who have earned a minimum grade point average of 170. 

J.D. Honors

Honors are awarded to J.D. students at graduation based on final cumulative grade point averages as follows:

182 and above Highest Honors
180.5 and above High Honors
179 and above Honors

Note: The Law School does not round grade point averages.  Thus, a student who graduates with a grade point average of 180.499 will receive Honors, and only students receiving a grade point average of exactly 180.50000000 or higher will receive High Honors, and so on.


The Law School does not rank students. Students must not provide estimates of their class rank on resumes, in job interviews, or in any other context. A key on the back of the transcript provides information about the rolling percentage of students graduating with honors.

Order of the Coif

Membership in the national Order of the Coif organization is awarded pursuant to terms set by the national organization.  J.D. degree students are eligible for nomination for Order of the Coif upon graduation if they have earned at least 79 of the 105 credits needed for graduation in graded courses. From that pool of eligible students, the top 10% at graduation are nominated for membership in the Coif. 

Kirkland & Ellis Scholars

In recognition of a generous gift to the Law School’s Centennial Capital Campaign, the Law School designates outstanding students as Kirkland & Ellis Scholars. Beginning with the Class of 2009, students with grades in the top 5% of the class are so designated at the end of their first year or second year of study.   Additional students are added to this group during the third year of study so that by graduation, 10% of the class will have been designated Kirkland & Ellis Scholars.  Once a student receives the designation, it is not removed.