Rule I: Requirements for the Juris Doctor Degree
- Degree: In all Academic Rules and Regulations, the term “Juris Doctor” or “J.D.” degree refers to both the residential and hybrid Juris Doctor programs, unless only one program is specified.
- Student: In all Academic Rules and Regulations, all references to students in a Juris Doctor or JD program refers to both students in the residential and hybrid Juris Doctor programs, unless only one type of student is specified.
B. Authority to Grant the Degree
Pursuant to authority granted by the State of New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law (UNH Law) confers the Juris Doctor degree on candidates recommended by the faculty.
C. Eligibility to Receive the Degree
To be eligible for recommendation for the Juris Doctor degree, a student must complete the required curriculum by taking JD classes designated for the JD program in which a student is enrolled (hybrid or residential) as follows:
- Undergraduate Degree - Receive an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and submit an official transcript, which includes the date the baccalaureate degree was conferred, no later than October 15; and
- Grade Point Average - Achieve a grade point average equivalent to a C (2.00) or higher in all enrollment for credit toward the Juris Doctor degree; and
- Offset of Credits Below C Minus - Offset all credits toward the degree in which the grade is below C minus with an equal number of credits in which the grade is B minus or above; and
- Minimum Credits - Earn a minimum of eighty-five (85) credits not more than
- Nine (9) of which are earned at grades below C minus,
- Eighteen (18) of which are earned in clinical work,
- The number of credits for distance learning permitted by the American Bar Association (ABA). Caution: Some states set their own maximum and students should check for states where they are likely to take the bar exam. (Revised by faculty 10/5/2017.)
- Eight (8) credits may be earned in Independent Study,
- Fifteen (15) credits may be earned from legal residencies,
- Twelve (12) credits may be earned in non-law, graduate-level work,
- Twenty-one (21) of which are earned in courses that do not qualify as “regularly scheduled class sessions” (as defined in ABA Standard 304(b), and Interpretation 304-3), which consists of the following coursework (or course opportunities) at UNH Law:
- Independent study;
- Clinical courses that do not have a mandatory classroom component;
- Legal Residencies;
- Non-law, graduate level work; and
- Co-curricular activities such as law review, moot court, and trial competitions.
- Curriculum - Complete the required curriculum (adopted by faculty 5/1/2014) (revised by faculty 5/4/2017) (revised by faculty 6/2019)
Course List Code Title Credits LGP 900 The Legal Profession 1 LGP 909 Civil Procedure 4 LGP 916 Constitutional Law 4 LGP 952 Property 4 LGP 920 Contracts 4 LGP 960 Torts 3 LSK 900 Legal Research and Information Literacy 2 LSK 919 Legal Analysis and Writing 1 2 LSK 920 Legal Analysis and Writing 2 3 Perspectives Course LPI 912 Fundamentals of Law Practice (residential only) 3 or LIP 944 Fundamentals of Intellectual Property Upper Level Required Courses 1 LGP 903 Administrative Process 3 LGP 951 Professional Responsibility 3 LCR 906 Criminal Procedure I: The Law of Criminal Investigation 3 Upper Level Writing Requirement 2-3 Upper Level Experiential Learning Requirement 6 Total Credits 47-48
Note from faculty 6.19: in June 2019, the faculty elected to remove Article II Sales as a separate course from the required 1L curriculum and add an additional credit to Contracts to allow for Article II coverage in Contracts. This curricular change applies to both residential and JD programs; however, it will be implemented in the 2019-2020 academic year for the hybrid program and the 2020-2021 academic year for the residential program to give the faculty time to make any additional curricular adjustments that may be necessary in the residential 1L curriculum.
Upper Level Required Courses—hybrid JD only. Hybrid JD courses must be completed as set forth on the Hybrid JD Curriculum Map established by the Curriculum Committee and posted on the UNH Law website; Curriculum Map may be updated with a minimum of one semester notice to students.
- Upper Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements – separate courses
Students must complete separate courses to fulfill the Upper-Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements. A course may be designated as meeting each of the Upper-Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements, but a student cannot fulfill both requirements by taking a single course.Hybrid JD students must complete the upper-level writing and upper-level experiential learning courses designated specifically for the Hybrid JD program and set forth on the Curriculum Map.
Upper Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements – credits
Students must complete a minimum of 2 credits for the Upper-Level Writing requirement.
Students in the class of 2019 and thereafter must complete a minimum of 6 credits of Experiential Learning.
- Upper Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements - timing. Students may complete courses fulfilling the Upper Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements after they have earned at least 26 credits. Students are encouraged to start fulfilling the Upper Level Writing and Experiential Learning requirements no later than in the next-to-last semester of law school. Failure to do so could result in a delay of graduation. To enroll in a course meeting the Upper Level Writing requirement, a student must have satisfactorily completed Legal Analysis & Writing I & II and Legal Research and Information Literacy.
Advanced standing students for the Residential JD Program (adopted by faculty 10/1/2015)
This section applies only to advanced standing students who are transferring into the residential JD program from a law school outside of the United States or from UNH Law’s residential LL.M. degree programs. Advanced standing is not available for the hybrid JD program.
In addition to the required curriculum set out above, advanced standing students must complete the following courses:
Course List Code Title Credits LBS 907 Business Associations I 3 LCR 905 Criminal Law 3 LGP 924 Evidence 3 LBS 942 Wills Trusts and Estates 3 Total Credits 12
Students who transfer into the JD program from UNH Law’s residential LL.M. program will not be required to take LGP 920 Contracts, LSK 919 Legal Analysis and Writing 1, LSK 900 Legal Research and Information Literacy if in LIP 894 American Legal Process and Analysis I, LIP 895 American Legal Process and Analysis II, LIP 855 Graduate Programs Contracts if:Students must meet the requirements above for each class for which they are seeking a Rule I waiver.
Students admitted under this section may enroll in no more than one 4-credit Legal Residency or one 4-credit clinic.
The provisions of this paragraph may be waived if the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Assistant Dean of Students find that the coursework required by this paragraph has been completed under the terms of Rule X or because meeting the requirements of Rule I would be unduly repetitive.
They have achieved a grade of HH; and
The professor of the course recommends that they have achieved competency in the subject matter such that taking the JD courses would be unduly repetitive.
- Residency - Complete residency of
- For residential JD students six (6) semesters of full-time enrollment, including a minimum of four (4) semesters at UNH Law, or
- For residential JD students the equivalent of (a) to the extent permitted in subdivision D (“Residency”) of this part.
- For hybrid JD students, there is no geographic residency requirement.
- For hybrid students, complete ten semesters (3.5 years, including summer terms) of study.
- Complete the requirements for obtaining the Juris Doctor Degree no later than 84 months after commencing the Juris Doctor degree program at UNH Law or a law school from which UNH Law has accepted transfer credit, and
- Academic Probation - Be eligible to continue as a candidate for the Juris Doctor degree under Rule VI.A.(1) taking into account the semester immediately preceding graduation and have satisfied the terms of any applicable probation; and
- Financial Responsibility - Satisfy outstanding financial obligations to UNH Law; and
- Conduct Code Violation - Not be subject to a complaint of an alleged violation of the Conduct Code that if determined against the student could result in the suspension or dismissal of the student.
- Preliminary Bar (adopted by faculty 5/1/2014) (revised by faculty 5/4/2017) - All first year students, transfer students, and advanced standing students shall take a preliminary bar exam administered by UNH Law. This exam shall not count for course credit, GPA calculation, or class rank calculation. Scores on the preliminary bar exam shall not be recorded on students’ transcripts, although completion of the preliminary bar shall be noted on transcripts. All residential first-year students and transfer students shall take the preliminary bar in the spring of 1L year (or first year); retake in spring of 2L (if needed). Hybrid JD students will take the preliminary bar in the spring of 2L year; retake in spring of 3L year (if needed). Students who are unable to sit on the designated date due to an emergency, religious reason, or other circumstances beyond their control shall contact the Director of Academic Success as soon as possible upon realizing they will not be able to sit and will work with the Director to make arrangements to take the test at an alternate time that is reasonable both for the affected students and UNH Law. Students shall complete the preliminary bar exam in one of the following ways:
- receiving a score at or above the level set by the Committee on Academic Standing and Success (CASS) in consultation with the Academic Success Program when they take the preliminary bar in the spring of their 1L year (or, if they are transfer students, the spring of their first year at UNH Law);
- coming under “early intervention” jurisdiction of CASS (which is not designated on transcripts), fulfilling reasonable program requirements established by CASS in consultation with the Academic Success Program to address specific weaknesses in substantive knowledge and / or skills, and re-taking the preliminary bar exam in the spring of their 2L year (or, if they are transfer students, the spring of their second year of studies at UNH Law), should they not receive the set score in their 1L year (or, if they are transfer students, the spring of their first year at UNH Law). Students who first took the exam in the spring of their 1L year and do not achieve the set score in the spring of their second year shall have the option of re-taking the preliminary bar exam in the spring of their 3L year but shall not be required to take it.
D. Determination of Class Membership
For purposes of determining eligibility for the Juris Doctor degree under subdivision B of this rule, a student shall be a member of the class with which the student completes the majority of the courses then required in the second semester of the first-year Juris Doctorate curriculum.
- Definition of A “Full-Time Enrollment.” A “ Full-time enrollment” in a semester is defined as:
- Registration in curricular offerings totaling at least twelve (12) credits; and
- Completion of requirements for credit in curricular offerings totaling at least ten (10) credits.
- Definition of “Semester.” A “semester” is one of two terms in an academic year.
Each semester contains at least fourteen (14) continuous weeks of classes, subject to holidays and vacations, followed by reading and examination periods. Enrollment in credit offerings in a summer term or another term outside the academic year is not enrollment in a semester and thus does not constitute residency credit. Summer and other term courses do count however towards total credits earned and towards a student’s GPA.
- Continuous Full-Time Enrollment for Six Semesters for Residential JD Students. A student must complete within a three-year period the six (6) semesters of full-time enrollment required for the Juris Doctor degree. The only exceptions to this requirement are:
- A leave of absence as provided in Rule XI;
- Admission of a student with advanced residency standing under Rule X;
- The suspension of a student as a probationary term prescribed by the Academic Standing Committee under subdivision A(3) of Rule VII;
- The permission granted by the Assistant Dean of Students to enroll in fewer credits than qualify as full-time enrollment in a semester as
- a short-term accommodation in an extraordinary situation beyond the control or responsibility of the student or
- a short- or long-term accommodation based on disability;
- or the experiment in part-time enrollment where full-time enrollment is not economically feasible; and
- The failure of a student who has registered for full-time enrollment to complete full-time enrollment because of receiving an F or U grade in one or more offerings.
- Curing a Deficiency in Full-Time Enrollment for Residential JD Students. A student permitted to enroll under subdivision (d)(i) immediately above, for less than full-time residency or a student who fails to complete full-time enrollment in a semester as provided in subdivision (e) immediately above, should cure the deficiency by enrolling in courses in the summer or otherwise outside the academic year. If such enrollment is not practicable, a student may cure the deficiency by enrollment, which may be less than full-time, in a seventh semester. Residency credit may be earned under this subdivision in the ratio that the credits enrolled in or earned, whichever is appropriate, bear to the minimums specified in subdivision (1) above.
- Requirements for Hybrid JD Students
- Hybrid JD students have no geographic residency requirement;
- Hybrid JD students are not required to be enrolled full-time, as defined in (D)(1)(a);
- Hybrid JD students are required to fulfill the course requirements set forth on the Hybrid JD Curriculum Map [insert x-reference] each semester;
- Hybrid JD students are required to be enrolled for 10 consecutive semesters, with “semester” in this specific context defined to include summer terms, as set forth on the Curriculum Map;
- Hybrid JD students must obtain permission from the Assistant Dean for Students to enroll in fewer or different courses in a semester than those specified in the Curriculum Map when it is necessary a as
- A short term accommodation in an extraordinary situation beyond the control or responsibility of the student; or
- A short or long term accommodation based on disability.