As required by the Rules of the New York Court of Appeals, "All study shall be evaluated by authentic written examination, except where such examination is inappropriate, such as in seminar and practice court courses or those courses which are principally concerned with legal writing, and research."
Written examinations are essential parts of examination courses and are held after the end of classes at the end of every semester in all subjects completed therein, except courses where grades are determined entirely by papers or clinical work. Mid semester examinations may be scheduled at the discretion of the professor. Classroom work, in so far as practical and at the discretion of the professor, may also be considered in determining final grades. Examinations for both divisions are usually held on weekdays during the regular examination period. Please note: examinations given on weekdays in evening division courses generally begin at 5:30 p.m.
Examinations for all classes will begin promptly at the hour announced in the examination schedule posted prior to the examination period of each semester. No student will be permitted to enter the examination room after the first hour has passed nor will any student be permitted to conclude the exam and leave the room during the first hour of the examination, unless the student is accompanied by a proctor.
Students must present themselves for examination at the scheduled time except in courses where the student's grades will be determined entirely by papers or clinical work, unless permission to be excused is granted as provided in these rules. Omission to do so will constitute failure of such examination by the student.
The Dean or the Dean's delegate may grant permission to be excused from a regularly scheduled examination. The Registrar is the individual delegated to grant permission to students to be excused from a regularly scheduled exam due to exam conflicts or religious observance.
For all other reasons allowed by this Rule, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs is the individual delegated to grant permission to students to be excused from a regularly scheduled exam. Requests to defer exams will be denied if for:
- social plans
- employment reasons for full-time JD students.
Requests for permission to be excused from a regularly scheduled exam may be granted for extraordinary causes. The following are reasons that will be considered in granting relief:
- an absolute examination conflict
- two examinations scheduled to start within 16 hours of each other
- documented medical incapacity
- religious observance
- death or documented serious medical emergency of a close family member
- automobile accident, mugging, robbery, or similar traumatic experience at the time of the exam or period immediately preceding the exam
- subpoena requiring court appearance at the time of exam or period immediately preceding the exam
- childbirth that interferes with exam or period immediately preceding the exam (applies to either parent)
- military commitment written military orders are required
- extraordinary family circumstances.
Requests for an exam deferral must be in writing and requires satisfactory documentation of the reasons. Students should be prepared to provide complete documentation, which is subject to verification and approval. If your file shows that you have previously deferred one or more examinations for reasons other than exam conflicts, another examination deferral will be granted in only the most extraordinary circumstances.
No exam may be rescheduled prior to the exam official date. The Registrar's Office will notify all students of rescheduled exams.
An exam conflict exists when two scheduled final examinations start within 16 hours of each other (take-home exams do NOT constitute a conflict). Students with a conflict must complete the Examination Conflict form 3 weeks after the start of the semester. Please do NOT schedule any travel arrangements until the END of the exam period. Students should consult the Rules Governing Exminations, Grades, and Honors section before submitting the Examination Conflict Form. Exam conflicts will not be negotiated by the Registrar's Office after 3 weeks after the start of the semester.
Any student with an absolute examination conflict may elect to take the two conflicting exams on the same day if, before the end of the seventh week of class, he or she properly notifies the Registrar of his or her election to do so. These examinations will be scheduled so that there is a short interval between the end of the first examination and the beginning of the second examination.
Those who have properly notified the Registrar that they, for religious reasons, cannot take examinations when scheduled will be required to take these examinations earlier on the day scheduled or later, in so far as practical.
Any student who did not take an examination during the examination period and who is eligible to take it during the make-up period is required to make up the examination on a scheduled date during the examination make-up period. The make-up examination period will be determined after the end of the regularly scheduled examination period.
Any student who misses an examination and did not comply with Rule 5 above must apply in writing to the Faculty Re-Examination Committee for permission to make up the examination. The petition must be in writing and supported by documentation showing the reason for the missed examination which is subject to verification. The Committee may request and consider any information it deems relevant. The petition to make up the examination must be filed with the Registrar within 5 days of the date of the missed examination. The times and conditions of the make up examination, if allowed, will be within the absolute discretion of the Committee.
A student who, although eligible to take a make-up examination, fails to do so will be deemed to have failed the examination. A student may apply in writing to the Faculty Re examination Committee for removal of the failure and for permission to make up the examination during the next regularly scheduled examination period during which an examination in that subject is given. The application must be filed with the Registrar and must be made within 10 days of the missed make-up examination. The Committee will grant the application only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances. If the Committee grants the application, the student will be allowed to continue conditionally in the school, subject to achieving a true weighted average of at least a 2.0 for the academic year in which the omitted examination was regularly scheduled.
All courses receive a standard letter grade, with the exception of Clinical Externship Fieldwork, Journals and Independent Studies. Students enrolled in Trial and Arbitration Advocacy and Advanced Trial and Arbitration Advocacy courses, may select to receive the Standard letter grade or Pass/Fail. Students must inform the Director of the Moore Trial Advocacy Center of their decision prior to the end of the second week of classes. Once a grade format is selected, it cannot be changed.
Except for pass/fail courses, the course grading will follow as indicated below. For the purposes of calculating weighted averages, numerical equivalents will be used for the letter grades as follows:
The minimum grade that will be recorded in a course is "F".To continue in good scholastic standing, however, a student must maintain a true weighted average of at least 2.0 in every academic year. In computing a true weighted average, hours in a pass/fail course that was passed will be disregarded. If such a course was failed, an "F" will be entered on the student's transcript and a 0.0 will be used in computing the student's true weighted average. For the purposes of this rule, an academic year shall begin with the summer term. If a student’s final term is a summer session, it will be considered part of the prior academic year. Honors and awards are determined by the student's true weighted average.
J.D. Grading Curve
The percentage distribution of grades listed below are mandatory for all first year courses and upper-division courses with a minimum J.D. enrollment of 21 students. The percentage distribution of grades for these and first year courses will be strictly enforced.
Grade Category Grade Curve Requirement
A+ (0 – 3%)
A and above (0 – 12%)
A- and above (15 – 30%)
B+ and above (45 – 60%)
B (30 – 45%)
B- and below (10 – 20%)
C+ and below (0 – 10%)
Upper‐Level Courses (Enrollment: 4 to 20 J.D. students):
The mean GPA range of 3.150 to 3.500 will apply to all upper‐level courses enrolling between 4 and 20 J.D. students, including summer school courses, summer study abroad programs, drafting, simulation/advocacy courses and seminars (including the seminar components of clinics and externships).
Clinical Casework Courses:
The mean GPA range of 3.15 to 3.67 will apply to the casework component of clinical courses.
For any class in which the mean GPA or aggregate A-level grades of the enrolled students prior to the term is higher than the authorized upper limit, the upper limit of the mean GPA range or the mandatory distribution for the class will be adjusted to the higher mean GPA or distribution.
J.D. Curve Frequently Ask Questions
J.D. Academic Honors
Summa Cum Laude
Top 1 percent of the graduating class with the highest weighted cumulative GPA.
Magna Cum Laude
Top 12 percent of the graduating class with the highest weighted cumulative GPA.
Order of the Coif
A graduating student is eligible to be inducted into the Order of the Coif (1) who has completed at least 75 percent of his or her law courses in graded courses and (2) whose grade record ranks in the top 10 percent of all graduating students of the school.
Top 33 1/3 percent of the graduating class with the highest weighted cumulative GPA.
Top 25 percent of the entire J.D. class based on annual weighted GPA. Annual GPA is calculated by coursework taken in an academic year.
Mandatory Academic Support Services Policy
Fordham Law School is committed to the academic success of every student. This policy requires mandatory academic support services to assist students whose academic performance suggests they could benefit from academic counseling, tutoring and/or other support, but who might be hesitant to seek assistance.
The following students must meet with the Associate Director or Assistant Director of Student Affairs:
Any First Year Student who:
a. is referred to the Office of Student Affairs for consultation based on a fall semester take-home exam, in class assessment, or a legal writing assignment; or
b. receives two or more B-s, one or more Cs, or a grade point average of 2.99 or below at the end of their first semester of law school; or
c. at the beginning of their second semester of law school, has one or more incompletes; or
d. receives an "F" in any of their first semester courses.
Any Upper Division Student who receives:
a. an incomplete in any course or a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or below at the end of the any semester (except the first); or
b. an "F" in any upper division course.
The Associate Director or Assistant Director of Student Affairs will notify students, via email, to schedule an appointment. The email will include a copy of this Mandatory Academic Support Policy.
Students who fail to meet with the Associate Director or Assistant Director of Student Affairs will have a hold placed on their registration for the following semester.
No information about a student's participation in this Mandatory Academic Support Program will be included in the student's official records.
LL.M. and M.S.L. Grading Policy
LL.M. and foreign exchange students are graded together on a separate curve from J.D. students. M.S. L. students are graded on a separate curve also and follow a separate but similar LL.M. curve policy.
This curve is mandatory for all courses in which 4 or more LL.M./foreign exchange or 4 or more M.S.L. students are enrolled where final grades are awarded primarily on the basis of examinations. For all other courses (including paper option courses) enrolling 4 more or LL.M./ foreign exchange or M.S.L. students, the curve is recommended but not required.
Each LL.M. or M.S.L. student enrolled in a class shall receive a grade ranging from H+ to F (for failure), that generates a mean grade for all enrolled LL.M. or M.S.L students, respectively, of between 3.1 and 3.4 (exclusive of failing grades), where grades have the following equivalencies:
For courses enrolling 1 to 3 LL.M. /foreign exchange or 1 to 3 M.S.L. students where grades are awarded primarily on the basis of examinations, instructors may give no more than one H grade.
Magna Cum Laude
Students who complete a paper that satisfies the LLM Writing Requirement and who rank in the top 10% of the graduating class will be eligible to receive magna cum laude honors.
Students need not complete the LLM Writing Requirement in order to be considered for cum laude honors. Additionally, all students in the top 25% of the graduating class who did not receive magna cum laude honors will receive cum laude honors, including students in the top 10% who did not complete the LLM Writing Requirement.
No student who fails to attain the required year average of 2.0 will be permitted to advance into the next year. An average of 2.0 in the final academic year and overall is required to graduate. Such a student may, however, seek permission to repeat the failed year by filing a Petition for Permission to Repeat with the Dean of Admissions and by appearing personally before the Readmission Committee at its stated sittings, usually in late July. The Readmission Committee may consider any information it considers relevant, including without limitation not only the applicant's law school record but also information revealed in his or her law school application file. Permission to repeat is granted only under extraordinary circumstances, such as where the applicant has shown a reason for his or her failure, which reason is not likely to recur. The transcript of any student who is readmitted will contain all grades received in the failed year.
Failed courses aggregating in credit value more than one quarter of the credits taken by a student in any academic year will constitute a failed year irrespective of the weighted average obtained by the student. In such case, the student will not be permitted to continue in the school or to graduate. For purposes of this rule any failed course that is retaken will be treated as if it had not been retaken. The student may seek readmission pursuant to Rule 10.
A student who fails a required course must retake that course. The student must retake the course, if feasible, during the next semester in which it is offered in the class division in which the student is registered, and must pass the examination in it. A student who fails an elective course, other than a paper course (see Article V of the Academic Regulations) may, if the course is offered again, retake that course. Transcripts will reflect both the original failure and, where applicable, the new grade. The numerical equivalent of the new grade will be averaged with the failure 0.00 for cumulative grade point average purposes.
A student who, although not required to repeat the year, repeats and passes a course in which an examination was failed, or, in the case of a failed elective paper course, who submits a paper that earns a "pass," will receive credit for that course in the semester in which it was first taken. No credit for such a course will be counted toward residence credit in the semester in which the course was re taken.
No day division student will be permitted to enter the third year class with any failed first year course outstanding against him or her; no evening division student will be permitted to enter the fourth year class with any failed first year course or failed second year required course outstanding against him or her.
A faculty member may only change a grade if an error in mathematics or computation has been made with permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Special Note: Incompletes (INC) or No Grades (NGR) remaining on a student's record at the completion of the semester following the course in question will be converted to "Fs".